The next big wave of strategic marketing tools for restaurants is text messaging, according to Harbortouch, a leading provider of point-of-sale (POS) solutions. But what exactly is this new type of marketing, how does it work, and how should restaurants be using it?
Short-message service marketing, better known as SMS marketing, is one of the fastest-rising strategies in marketing and customer engagement, according to POS solutions provider Harbortouch. It simply involves sending text messages to get more business. Many restaurants in larger cities are using this marketing strategy, but it’s not something you’ll very much in smaller towns.
The Harbortouch team says marketing is all about getting people in the door, whether that’s a brick-and-mortar store or the home page of an online business. Plus, with the vast majority of people owning cell phones and the rising popularity of loyalty mobile-app programs, restaurants have a direct line of communication to many of their customers. They should be taking advantage of every marketing strategy available to them.
SMS marketing campaigns involve sending text messages in real time to customers about your business. It’s especially helpful when you have news-based messages to send, such as a limited-time sale or a new product or menu item you want to release to the public. It’s also a great way to collect feedback as the software can send a text message to the guest as soon as they leave the establishment thanking them for visiting or asking about their experience. Harbortouch says restaurants can even use SMS marketing to set up reservations with your recurring customer base.
Businesses can also use SMS marketing methods internally to streamline and automate various staffing procedures, according to Harbortouch. For example, if you need to find an employee to cover a last-minute shift, you can create a customized message for that particular situation. Then, when that situation comes up again, you can just send it to a specific group of staff members to get the quickest response. There are countless other practical uses when implementing this technology. Essentially, it can be used for any correspondence you need to disperse on a large scale.
SMS marketing is one of the newer forms of marketing, and Harbortouch has seen first-hand the positive impression it makes on the customer, saying that it makes the customer really feel like you care about them.
In terms of options, Harbortouch says there are a few variations of SMS marketing platforms. Normally, the software sends messages out to your entire text list at once, as opposed to sending out texts one at a time. Some software programs for restaurants come supplied with pre-written marketing messages, which save an enormous amount of time. Getting set up with SMS marketing is relatively easy, although you may need to know some minor programming. There are several companies that will get you set up for a one-time fee and help manage your marketing campaigns, or you can purchase the software and learn it yourself.
Either way, SMS marketing is not slowing down, and it’s a method that restaurants can use to put themselves one step ahead of their competition and put their brand at the forefront of their customers’ minds.