GoGoGuest: Top 5 Strategies for Restaurant SMS Marketing In 2022

Is SMS Marketing Effective in 2022?

If you’re a restaurant business owner, and you’re wondering if SMS marketing is effective in 2022, we’re going to tell you not only why it’s worth your time, but also why it shouldn’t come before email marketing. We’re also going to discuss best practices for texting your guests, because SMS communication is something that must be done correctly.

Restaurant, bar and cafe owners know that running a successful restaurant business is about more than good food and service – it’s about creating those valuable relationships with guests, which is what makes loyal customers who keep coming back to their favorite businesses.

Why trust us? GoGoGuest is a data platform that helps restaurants craft guest relationships and business operations through understanding the data you already use (from your POS, WiFi and such) with guests’ permission to be actionable with email, SMS marketing, loyalty programs and more – and we’ve watched our customers grow their businesses exponentially, even in the midst of the pandemic.

Here are some quick stats about SMS marketing that may surprise you:

  • Almost 98 percent of text messages get read, consumers say texting is their preferred method of communication with businesses
  • 75% of guests would like to get timely offers via text so they can use them to make decisions throughout their day
  • 90% of guests feel that loyalty programs that use texting provide value (48% of internet consumers prefer texts for loyalty program offers)
  • Guests are 4.5 times more likely to respond to texts from brands than email about things like time-sensitive offers and events.l
  • 90% of text messages for marketing efforts are read in the first 3 minutes
  • 45% of guests say that mobile programs for loyalty and ordering would lead them to order more.

Another reason why texting is so successful is that people are already on their phones anyway – they probably used it to find your restaurant or cafe, or even to look online for coupons, to order takeout or to make reservations.

So, here are our top 5 strategies for effective restaurant SMS Marketing:

Top 5 Strategies for Restaurant SMS Marketing

1. Ask Permission First

You must ask permission of each guest before sending them texts according to legal standards, and for good reason:

Legal Standards

Legally, you must ask permission – not to mention that people who get texts without having opted in aren’t nearly as likely to stick around.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was made to prohibit businesses from using automated messaging for texting or calling customers without consent.

However, 59% of consumers have received texts without consent from companies.

How to avoid issues: according to the law, you must get opt-ins for SMS in writing, and this cannot be included with the email marketing opt-in. It also must clearly explain the types of text messages that you’ll be sending and clear instructions on how consumers can opt out of messaging if they change their mind.

Make sure to get an SMS provider that follows these rules.

Other reasons why you need to make sure guests know they’ve opted into texting:

61% of guests unsubscribe if they didn’t opt in to SMS messaging, so making it clear is important.

SMS marketing for restaurants can help you grow a local and loyal fan base because it functions as a quick way to communicate without the fuss – like texting a friend, or a concierge service. The real-time, personal nature of text messaging is perfect when you want to send out announcements and offers.

To keep people from opting out because they forgot they clicked that box, make sure to remind them that they opted in when you send the message. One way you can do this is by giving incentives like contests and giveaways, and reminding them the reason why they opted in, and/or just reminding them of what they’ll be getting, like weekly promotions, for instance.

Also keep text messages short. 160 characters or less is perfect. Think of texting as a privilege you’re allowed to have when customers sign up, and you don’t want to give them any reason to opt out!

Why You'll Need SMS and Email Marketing To Grow Your Restaurant's Revenue

2. Use SMS To Compliment Email Marketing

Did you know that there’s a 209% increase in response rate for SMS over email, phone and Facebook?

That said, you still need to have email, and if you’re just starting out, pick email first.

Here’s why:

  • Texting is more expensive (but still way more affordable than traditional advertising), so it’s better to use it as an add-on to email
  • People are more likely to change their phone numbers than email (and email is usually forwarded to the new address)
  • You can send more information via email, and more sensitive information.

The vast majority of consumers, when asked, said they’d opt out of SMS if they were messaged too often or if they received impersonal texts.

Basically, leave texts for personalized, time-sensitive promotions or occasional things like announcements, plus mobile app downloads and reservation reminders – and communicate everything else via email.

3. Keep It Localized

Texts tend to do better when they’re location-based. You can do this with geo-targeting and let customers know if there are promotions or specific items at the closest locations to them (unless you’re sending texts about e-commerce).

Here are some real-life examples:

Edley’s BBQ has Pit Master’s Choice on Mondays, which allows each pitmaster at every Edley’s location to craft a special and offer it to guests that day. The marketing team then sends out a targeted email and SMS campaign directed to the audience in each store. 

Edley’s BBQ has had amazing results from this campaign, and their founder gets regular compliments from guests who look forward to these texts each week.

Another tip is to use SMS to mostly focus on your most loyal and VIP guests, because they’re the ones who will use and appreciate it the most.

Additionally, personalizing SMS messages by aligning your current offer to their favorite menu item will let them know you’re sending them offers based on their personal preferences.

In short, make it worth their time so they’ll keep opening those texts each time they come in!

A Journey Map On How To Get Started With Restaurant SMS Marketing

4. Know When To Send Text Messages to Customers:

Only use SMS for important messages – and don’t get carried away. Once a week is plenty, but not more than 3 times a week. Use email for anything other than special, timely promotions or major announcements and events.

Here are some things to use text messaging for:

  • Weekly special offers by store location, based on menu items ordered
  • Slow day promotions (Monday – Wednesday)
  • Local events
  • Birthday giveaways
  • Loyalty benefits
  • Confirmation for reservations and reminders
  • Order updates for online ordering, shipping or delivery status (for restaurants who sell products online)

You can also use SMS to provide exclusivity to guests by sending special offers they can’t get elsewhere, special loyalty program points, new menu items before others can see or buy them, and more.

5. Test, Iterate And Repeat

Lastly, test constantly to improve the performance of your SMS messages. As you try new offers across a variety of audiences, you’ll discover  opportunities and improvements that will sharpen your restaurant’s SMS marketing program.

Guests expect brands to know them, and this will only continue to grow as a normal part of communication between businesses and consumers. SMS is an easy way to send guests promotions that will keep them coming back.

How To Start Using SMS Messaging For Your Restaurant

The best and easiest way to start using SMS for your restaurant, bar, cafe or other restaurant business is to get a partner who can track your data, segment your guests and personalize texts to each one, testing automatically.

GoGoGuest, a guest engagement platform for the restaurant industry, integrates and partners with SMS and email providers as well as integrating loyalty programs. Also, good news – we now offer all of this in one seamless dashboard experience!

Using your data from your POS, WiFi, social media and online ordering platforms, you’ll get automated segmentation and messaging. Want to see how it works? Schedule a demo to see if we’re right for you!

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