The three main things people use their mobile phones for are calling, texting and e-mailing. Mobile coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional coupons. Forty-two percent of your customers want to opt in to receive specials, coupons and announcements from you, and less than 5% of customers will choose to opt out. Half your customers will make special trips to redeem those coupons.

It’s more than a good idea to reach your restaurant’s mobile customers through these channels — it’s necessary for your success.

Building your mobile e-mail and SMS message list

When it comes to building a list for mobile e-mail and SMS messaging coupons, your best friends are going to be QR codes, short codes and your mobile website.

QR codes

A QR (or quick-response) code reads faster than a barcode. QR-code scanners are free applications for smartphones — users open their scanner application, scan the code and are instantly directed to a landing page.

Place your QR code on table tents, menus, hot cards, receipts, print advertisements and any hard-copy publication you produce. Direct the QR code to a sign-up for e-mail alerts, coupons and specials.

Short codes

For customers who don’t have a smartphone or a QR-code scanner, offer short codes for text-messaging alerts next to the QR code. Short codes work when a customer texts a word (PIZZA) to a number (12345) and is automatically set up to receive those alerts.

Mobile website

Don’t neglect your mobile website as an opportunity to build your customer list. Add an option high on your page to sign up for these alerts. One tap should take customers to an opt-in page where they enter their names, birthdays and e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Now, a potential customer who only visited your mobile website out of mere curiosity is a new customer because you offer mobile coupons.

Your customer also achieves instant gratification when you offer a coupon for opting in. By instantly offering an incentive, your customer is more likely to visit your restaurant before visiting your competitors.

Alerts you should send

Your customers want strong, compelling reasons to visit your restaurant. Give them those reasons by offering exclusive deals they can’t say no to, such as:

  • Buy one, get one free.
  • 25% off their entire bill.
  • Join us on your birthday for a free meal when you bring a guest.
  • Bring a colleague to lunch this week and get 25% off your bill.

Customers also want to know of exclusive, limited-time specials, such as fresh ahi tuna brought overnight from Hawaii or drinks created specifically for new movie releases.

Best practices

Sending the right messages to your interested customers is important, but the frequency of the messages can kill you. Rarely send your alerts and your customer forgets about you. Send them too often and your customer is annoyed and opts out. The minimum is to send one e-mail and one text message a month to keep the contact fresh, but send no more than four in one month.

You don’t want to waste your customers’ time or money. Their time is precious, they pay little attention and some have limited text-messaging plans. Send them offers and specials they can’t refuse and are worth their time.

Nobody likes a spammer, so make sure you don’t send any alerts to people who didn’t opt in to your service and who didn’t give you permission to do so.

E-mail and text marketing works — you can bring $45 into your restaurant for every $1 you invest toward these campaigns. Start an e-mail and text-messaging campaign and start making more money.

Sara Petersen is the content and marketing manager at Punch Mobile Marketing. Punch’s mission is to produce the best mobile-marketing content and solutions for foodservice providers to succeed at the mobile level. Read the company’s blog, follow it on Twitter and like its Facebook page.

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