3 Customer Texting No-No’s Restaurants Should Avoid

There’s no doubt that marketing to mobile devices is a smart move on the part of restaurant owners. There’s also no doubt that texting, or SMS messaging, is an efficient and cost-effective way of getting started with mobile marketing—well within the reach of even the smallest restaurant business.

Text marketing can be a powerful way to reach your customers, if it’s done well. Do it wrong and you end up alienating your customers and tarnishing your business’s reputation. Here are three text marketing pitfalls you’ll want to avoid on the road to a successful mobile marketing campaign.

No-No #1: Overwhelming Your Customers with Too Many Texts

There’s no magic formula for determining the right frequency at which to text your customers, but most sources say that 3 to 4 times a month is sufficient for the average restaurant. The reason people are sometimes reluctant to opt in to a text or email subscription is because they are afraid of how their information will be used. No one wants to feel spammed or badgered. Be clear upfront about approximately how often customers can expect to hear from you and stick to it. Let them know that you respect their privacy, will not share or abuse their information and that you appreciate their willingness to let you contact them. Ask whether or not they can/want to receive media text and ensure that you don’t send big media texts to people who request plain text only. Bottom line: realize that you are trying to build trust and a rewarding relationship with the people you’re communicating with. Remember that mantra in every message you send, and don’t over-do it.

No-No #2: Sending Poorly Written and/or Inane Messages

Perhaps more important than the frequency at which you contact your customers is the value of the content itself that you send. It is critical that every message offers something that is interesting and of value to your restaurant customers in order to keep response rates high and opt-out rates low. Text campaigns can include contests (text-to-win), text or loyalty clubs, soliciting polls, coupons, discounts, offers and announcements. You might even opt to send a text on a day when you have excess product or empty seats to let your customers know that a members-only special is available. Whatever you decide to say, ensure that it is an enticing message, and valuable to your consumers. It only takes a couple irrelevant or unprofessional texts for a customer to permanently opt out of communication with you. Pay attention to your grammar and spelling too. These texts are part of your brand’s overall reputation and image!

No-No #3: Sending Messages Blindly Because You’ve Failed to Do Your Homework

Assuming you’re sending out meaningful, well-written messages to your consumers at an appropriate frequency, your text campaign is still remiss if you haven’t analyzed your results. You need to know if your customers respond better to say, a 20% discount off their entire orders, or a buy one get one free offer. You need to test to see whether your response rate is higher if you impose a shorter time frame for coupon redemption or if you send out the offer on a certain day of the week.

This type of data takes some time to accumulate and utilize to fine-tune your mobile marketing campaign, but the effort is well worth the trouble. The better you know how to solicit a response out of your restaurant patrons with your text messages, the better positioned you are to utilize this form of marketing as a powerful tool in your overall marketing campaign and customer-relation efforts.

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