4 SMS Marketing Ideas Just For Restaurateurs

Independently owned restaurants often have the greatest need for creative marketing. They depend almost entirely on word of mouth for business as budgets are usually stretched thin. They also rely on review sites like yelp.com, but sometimes reviews are unreliable. Disgruntled internet denizens have been known to leave poor reviews for restaurants without ever dining there. Restaurateurs must put the power back into their own hands. Fortunately, SMS Marketing can do just that.

Restaurants that take advantage of mobile marketing tend to enjoy an influx of new business. These marketing efforts are usually in the form of special coupons and offers, but there’s no need to be so one-dimensional. Unlike other businesses, restaurants truly benefit from an atmosphere that makes the customer “part of the family.” Back in pre-cell phone days that meant the owners would personally greet each guest and know the regulars by name. These days there are many more ways to offer the same sense of familiarity.

Below are four outside-the-box SMS Marketing ideas to help restaurateurs kick-start their SMS marketing efforts

  1. Reservations – If somebody cancels a reservation or if you start taking reservations for a certain day, give your opt-in SMS group the first crack at a table. A simple text message alert reminding them that they can reserve a table for a special dinner offers the exclusivity that makes SMS marketing so popular. It’s also a great way to spur business the second the opportunity arises.
  2. Table Paging – Save money and clutter by replacing traditional restaurant pagers with quick SMS messages letting patrons know that their table is ready. Great for busy nights (when most people pass the time by looking at their phone anyway), an SMS-based paging system would be easy to automate and fun to use.
  3. Menu Changes – Your restaurant probably enjoys featuring new items on the menu from time to time. The problem is the only people to know about that new special are those who happened to show up that night. If you’re planning to add something new to the menu or just want to take advantage of seasonal ingredients, create some buzz for yourself by letting your opt-in SMS group know ahead of time.
  4. Photos – It is said that we eat with our eyes first. Give your customers a visual appetizer by occasionally sending group MMS’s or SMS’s with links to photos of featured dishes coming out of your kitchen. The rise of Instagram and high-resolution camera phones has made food photography one of the hottest fads in mobile technology. Hop on the bandwagon and literally show pride in your product.

Dining should be a celebration of creativity. Use some of that creative spirit to start a mobile marketing campaign that is as deep and varied as your menu.

Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan writes about Marketing for TextMarks--The industry leading SMS Marking & Communications platform.

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