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Why SMS marketing for restaurants, cafes and bars works

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Advanced SMS guides 5 min read | Sinch Messagemedia wrote in blog on April 28, 2021

One of the top industries hugely benefiting from adopting mobile communications is hospitality. From restaurants, cafes, bars and caterers; text messaging can help you engage with staff, drive up loyalty with existing patrons and so much more – all with ease and affordability.

Why you should use SMS for restaurant marketing

We are a worldwide nation of technology users addicted to our phones. With a current global population of 7.9B, and 5.2B unique mobile subscribers, more than 2/3rds of our global populace have mobile phones. 

According to RescueTime, consumers spend 3 hours on their phone and check their phone over 58 times per day. Despite a cut-through rate of 98%, many restaurant owners are still not aware of the penetration and increased engagement that only SMS marketing campaigns can deliver.

How using restaurant SMS will drive deeper engagement

Managing a restaurant or hospitality venue, and keeping it thriving, is no easy feat. There won’t always be hoards of hungry customers lining up outside your door. There will always be slumps in business, as COVID proved. Consider new restaurant marketing ideas!

While there are numerous channels and tools to help you engage patrons such as email marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing and customers who spread the word, nothing quite beats text messaging. SMS messaging can help you to engage patrons and customers in new ways. For example, you could reward your existing consumer base for their loyalty with special deals or broadcast limited-time offers to attract potential customers. 

SMS alerts also reduce dining no-shows with automated text confirmations and reminders sent one day before their reservation. Not only does it increase booking fulfillments for your restaurant or bar; it also keeps staff rostering in check. Imagine the profits you could save from ensuring the right amount of staff are on, as well as maximising booking attendance. Never again will your restaurant or café be less than a full house!

Drive up bookings and improve staff engagement.

Start now with a free SMS trial + get 25 free texts!

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3 steps to make SMS marketing work [plus restaurant SMS sample templates]

1. Build your customer database

A text message marketing campaign only works once you have established a consumer base. SMS marketing is opt-in, with potential consumers choosing to subscribe to your marketing campaign. 

RELATED: 20 practical ways to build your customer database with SMS 

This means you have to build your consumer base by recruiting followers through other channels. An easy way to do this is to incorporate an opt-in tick box for text message alerts when customers make a reservation.

Make sure to include an FAQ page about the mobile subscription. It should inform consumers about how it works and what to expect. Don’t forget to include your privacy policy!

RELATED: Find out how small retailer Lollyology quickly built their customer list during COVID.

2. Personalise your messaging

Once you have established your customer database, tailor your restaurant marketing strategies and SMS content accordingly. Customers have high expectations when it comes to the messages they opt-in to receive. Nothing will make a customer unsubscribe faster than communication that has no relevance to their needs, persona or buying preferences. 

Hi #NAME#, our next #EVENT#  is on #DATE#! Invites are exclusive to Green Grill subscribers first, so book in quick! Txt STOP to opt out

Ensure that you always customise your text messages to provide a valuable service to your subscribers. If a customer has sent back a negative survey, don’t clutter their text inbox with multiple promotional offers to come back. Instead, focus on creating positive and personalised interaction between customer and service provider. 

RELATED: Learn how SMS can lift your reputation with our 5 proven SMS feedback templates! They helped restaurant chain the Wilson Group drive 33% ROI and 30% more regular patrons to their venues.

The content of marketing messages is important in keeping customers from losing interest. Avoid spamming customers with generic promotional messages that can be mass-marketed over Facebook and Twitter. Instead, keep it personal and of value to the customer!

3. Provide incentives

Finally, signing up to SMS alerts should be of value to your customers! Make your text messages personal by sending discounts, birthday rewards or invitation-only events hosted by your venue. This will increase retention rate, avoid high opt-outs and cement strong customer satisfaction.

Happy birthday #NAME#! Get #DISCOUNT#% off the next time you dine with us – it’s just our thank you for being a loyal subscriber. Book in now: #LINK# Txt STOP to opt-out

A badly planned SMS marketing campaign can lead to high opt-outs and an overall decrease in business. However, if done correctly, you will see higher traffic in your restaurant or bar. Not only limited to restaurants, but SMS marketing can also be used in a wide variety of hospitality and service industries.

RELATED: Start learning how to use SMS marketing with our easy beginners guide.

Give your restaurant marketing a boost!

Don’t believe us? Take SMS on a test run with a FREE trial.

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Final thoughts, further reading

SMS can help your venue achieve its goals whether that’s increasing patrons, improving service or building a better reputation. Now that you know the basics, isn’t it time to try yourself? Start now with a free trial OR make sure to also check out:

Ready to roll?

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