When you have a restaurant, the first hurdle is to bring people in. Once you’ve done that, you must master how to keep the same customers dining with you on a regular basis. By utilizing Text Message Marketing, you are reaching your audience in a quick and efficient way.

Text message open rates are hard to beat. 98% of texts are open and read within 90 seconds after being sent. Consumers are constantly on their mobile devices throughout the day and checking their text messages frequently. If you want your restaurant to catch consumers’ attention, the best way to do that is with text messages that will attract them to your business!

Here are some things to remember when you dive
into restaurant text message marketing:

Opt-in is crucial

In order to send your customers exclusive offers and notifications, they have to give you explicit permission to send them messages. Users request to be part of a database where they will receive your messages. Once you have an opt-in list of phone numbers, you don’t have to feel guilty about sending these customers messages. They expect to hear from you with deals and discounts that they will be excited to use.

You get to build your brand by interacting with an audience who would actually order from your restaurant or visit regularly. Looking for a good way to get permission? Ask customers if they would like to receive future marketing information after they place an order. Make sure that the initial message gives the user directions for how to opt-out if they wish.

Provide a strong initial offer

Having an initial incentive is a crucial way to get customers to opt-in to your SMS campaign. Make sure that people understand what exactly they will be getting in exchange for opting in. Make sure they know that these text message specials cannot be found anywhere else. If they know that they are only available through text, it will make them more likely to opt-in.

Providing an incentive otherwise known as a lead magnet will make the opting-in seem beneficial for the user. In restaurant marketing, providing a free extra pizza with a pizza purchase or 10% off a first order are great lead magnets to get people to opt-in. The value of getting the customer’s phone number is worth so much more than the lost 10 percent.

Choose keywords wisely

The keyword that you choose is going to be the word that customers text in order to opt-in. Choose a keyword that is easy to remember and will not be auto-corrected by a phone. The word should also be relevant to your offer or products.

If you own a pizza restaurant then using the keyword “pizza” would be a good idea. Maybe you want to let customers know about a new ice cream flavor that you’re offering. You could tell customers to text the word “flavor” to get the new flavor for 50% off.

In addition to the keywords, you want the entire text message to be easy to read and understand by everyone. Avoid abbreviations and slang in the messages.

Timing is everything

Paying attention to when you send customers text messages is extremely important. You do not want to send them too early or too late in the day. Instead, you want to send them at times when customers are starting to think or plan for their next meal, snack, or dessert.

Many people decide on their lunch pretty last minute during the workday. In fact, 37% of people decide where they will get lunch less than an hour in advance. Sandwich shops that are popular for lunch should send these text messages in the late morning to early afternoon time frame. When someone gets a message about a discount they could use for lunch that day, they are more likely to decide to order from your restaurant.

Be valuable, relevant, and useful

Make sure that every text you send actually provides value to the customer. You should be sending exciting deals that are realistic for them to take advantage of. Make sure that you give them enough time to utilize the deal as well.

If there is a certain holiday or event coming up where you know people are going to be ordering food, take advantage of that. The Super Bowl, New Years’, and Fourth of July are all days where people spend a significant amount of money on food. Sending customers deals for food that goes with these “holidays” is a great way to get them to respond to your message and come in for business.

A well sought-out SMS campaign can really make a difference in building your restaurant’s brand. Your text message marketing efforts can help your restaurant bring in new customers. It will also allow you to keep consistent business with current customers. By sending out relevant deals, codes, and discounts, your business can start to improve quicker than you think.