How SMS Messages Can Improve Your Restaurant Loyalty

by Nick Jerome

What is SMS Text Message Marketing?

SMS stands for “short message service” and it allows you to reach customers where they are most likely to read your message: on their phone or mobile device. After reserving a keyword (your restaurant name, for example), you can use an SMS messaging service to reply to customers, who are then added to an SMS marketing list. When you would like to promote a special deal or event at your restaurant, you are able to notify customers through SMS messaging.


Why Use SMS Messaging?

The most obvious reason for using SMS messaging is that a text message is an uninterrupted interaction with a customer. According to research conducted by mobileSquared, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receiving them. That direct communication with customers is difficult to match through other forms of visual communication.

Text messaging is also one of the most popular forms of communication in America, especially with young adults. An overwhelming 97% of young adults text regularly. This is especially valuable for restaurants, as that same age group dines out more than any other demographic. Add up these factors and restaurant text messaging is a strategic approach to connecting with customers and increasing sales.

A text messaging service also helps build customer loyalty. Text messages are intimate connections and allow customers to interact directly with your restaurant. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, around 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS. And 90% of consumers currently signed up for a loyalty program say they have gained value from them.

How Do I Get More People on My SMS Messaging List?

Customers have to be aware that your program exists. A prime time to increase awareness is when they are already at your restaurant. Strategically placed banners, signs and graphics can quickly grab their attention while they wait for food or use the restroom.


Sam Leopold of FASTSIGNS® of Fort Worth, Texas - Alliance, produced several visual communication products for a client that wanted to promote its SMS messaging service. Through the use of table graphics, table tents, and door decals, the client gained hundreds of subscribers within only a month. The client was so pleased with the results that they referred Sam to a similar company, which also saw its SMS service gain immediate traction. The larger your program grows, the more effective it becomes—but, it won’t grow without getting the word out first.

What Do I Text to Customers?

It’s all about keeping your customers up to date and coming back to your restaurant. Let them know about mobile coupons, time-specific deals and special events. You can also get feedback on service or specific meals. But it’s important that you don’t overstay your welcome. About 83% of people only want to receive a maximum of two messages a month and unsubscribing is just one text away, so tread lightly.

Smartphones and tablets are integrated in our daily routines and way of living. SMS messaging has great potential to reach your customers at the right place at the right time. What are your favorite SMS loyalty programs? Tweet us @FASTSIGNS.


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