October 19, 2023
Lauren Platero

SMS Restaurant Marketing: 10 Steps to Craft the Perfect Texts

SMS restaurant marketing efforts are the best methods of contacting loyal customers directly. In fact, it wouldn’t be a shock if SMS marketing for restaurants had open rates of nearly 100 percent. That’s right, people keep their phones with them at all times; therefore, text marketing is unbelievably effective.

Another great value proposition for restaurant brands associated with restaurant SMS marketing is how versatile it is. A text that goes out today can center around the customer rewards program, while next week's alert is about the menu types.

So how can the business owner, restaurant manager, or marketing coordinator go about making such alerts? In this blog, we'll outline a step-by-step guide. But before we jump in, let's discuss why you need an SMS restaurant marketing plan in the first place.

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Why You Need to Start Sending SMS Restaurant Marketing Alerts

If you don’t already have an SMS restaurant marketing strategy in place, it’s time to begin! Not only are text messages the most direct way to reach people, but such campaigns are super simple to create and send out. 

Find a restaurant promotional SMS sample list to pique your inspiration. Then, use the guide in the section below to manage effective and engaging campaigns. You might be familiar with the debate of SMS marketing vs email marketing. And even though there are many similarities, restaurants should probably prioritize SMS alerts. For one, they are more time-sensitive, just like decisions surrounding where you’ll dine. Plus, they’re simpler to craft and manage.

10 Steps to Craft the Perfect SMS Restaurant Marketing Campaigns 

Ready to begin crafting a perfect cadence of SMS restaurant marketing alerts? Check out the following ten tips for everything you need to know!

1. Identify Your Target Audience

All restaurant marketing strategies revolve around an ideal customer profile. If you’re unsure of how to find a target audience, simply look at your social media and sales analytics. Data points like age ranges, demographics, and sales trends will tell you all you need to know. For instance, customer data about best-sellers will help guide which menu items you discuss in SMS alerts.

2. Choose An SMS Marketing Platform

Keep in mind that many platforms that can host an email marketing strategy can also host SMS campaigns. So, if you’re already sending emails to your customers, setting up SMS alerts might just be a few clicks away. If not, there are many sites to choose from. Platforms like Capterra, Klaviyo, and Brevo are all great options.

3. Gather Phone Numbers to Make Up a List

One of the best ways to retrieve phone numbers is from online ordering sales. Adding a phone number is part of the billing information page. Just add a checkbox that automatically defaults to “checked,” granting the restaurant permission to send SMS alerts. Eateries can also ask for permission when receiving phone numbers during the restaurant loyalty program sign-up process.

4. Input Your List to the SMS Platform

Once you have a substantial number of phone numbers, it’s time to add them to the platform you chose during the earlier step. If you want to take SMS restaurant marketing efforts one step further, you can break up the subscribers into segments. For instance, you might have one sub-group that comprises loyalty members. Meanwhile, another might be for recent diners. Segmentation allows businesses to send tailored messages within an already niche market. As a result, communications are much more personalized, which is key for a great customer experience.

5. Choose Call to Action Links for Each Message

Now that you have the backend set up for future SMS restaurant marketing efforts, what will you focus on? In other words, what will you attempt to drive traffic toward? This could be online ordering apps to accelerate mobile orders. It could also be a redirection to a social media page if you have a giveaway going on. Or, it could simply be reminders to stop by the restaurant. Before you select calls to action, you’ll want to determine your goals and KPIs. Then, you’ll be able to identify what you need to say to achieve them.

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6. Write Brief and Catchy Copy

The limited number of characters that SMS alerts need to stick to can be a blessing and a curse. While you don’t have to elaborate, you still need to briefly get your point across in an exciting tone. Unlike restaurant email marketing, view it similarly to social media copy. While a restaurant email campaign might be more conversational, social media captions are kept short and sweet.

7. Include An Attention-Getter At the Beginning

When writing your SMS copy, don’t forget to include an attention-grabbing opener. This can consist of things like “For a limited time only,” or “Hungry?,” or even something like “Freebies are here!” This step traces back to your target audience. What do they like? What aspects of your restaurant do they enjoy most? Answering these kinds of questions will help you figure out how to catch their attention.

8. Limit Multimedia Elements In Each Message

Members of the restaurant email list is who receives the multimedia content, such as pictures and GIFs. The main reason why you might want to stray away from these elements when sending SMS alerts is that they might not load for everyone. Plus, it may bump up the cost per SMS. Lastly, and most importantly, if you’re sending a link, the cover photo will already appear, which is part of the call to action. You wouldn’t want to distract readers from the main selling point with a picture or GIF.

9. Promote SMS Subscriber-Only Promotions

Once you start sending frequent SMS restaurant marketing campaigns, you need to continuously grow the subscriber list. Use your other outlets like social media, paid ads, and email alerts to promote the perks of signing up for texts. These may include SMS subscriber-only discounts, birthday perks, and more. Enticing incentives can also boost customer retention.

10. Schedule Posts Ahead of Time

Make your job a whole lot easier by scheduling your text alerts far in advance. Set some time aside on a weekly or monthly basis to schedule each campaign for a date and time that makes sense. SMS marketing automation software gives you these features to make the most of your time. So, use them wisely, become an expert multitasker, and put the bulk of the work on autopilot.

Frequently Asked Questions About SMS Restaurant Marketing

Even though SMS restaurant marketing is a fairly simple concept, there’s so much to learn about it. That’s why you’ll find a brief FAQ section below. So, if you’d like some additional details on the topic, you’re in the right place. Read on:

What Is SMS Restaurant Marketing?

SMS restaurant marketing is the process of sending text alerts from an eatery for promotional purposes. These campaigns may include new dishes, discount codes, and so much more.

Is It Easy to Conduct SMS Restaurant Marketing?

Yes, conducting SMS restaurant marketing is fairly easy. Unlike email marketing efforts, there are minimal design components. Instead, just write brief and catchy copy with a link. After establishing a subscriber list in your platform of choice, just schedule them, and you’re set!

Is SMS Restaurant Marketing Legal?

Yes, SMS restaurant marketing is legal as long as the business receives consent from the subscribers. If an eatery doesn’t receive content from their customers and begins sending unsolicited messages, they can get into legal trouble. And considering how much time and money you'll be investing in marketing, that would be quite the setback. So, just include checkboxes on sign-up pages that grant permission.

Does SMS Marketing Work for Restaurants?

Yes, SMS marketing is very effective for restaurants. On average, text messages have a 99 percent open rate. This is massive, considering how low open rates can be for emails. Plus, they cater to shorter attention spans, which is essential in the modern digital age.

Do Customers Enjoy SMS Marketing?

Yes, people enjoy SMS marketing! In fact, according to a recent survey, about 51 percent of consumers enjoy receiving text alerts from brands before making a purchase. The survey also states that consumers would rather see promotions from brands via text instead of social media or email. This is great news for businesses, due to how simple SMS marketing is.

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SMS Restaurant Marketing: They Key to Successful Promotions

When you set up your SMS restaurant marketing efforts properly, successful outcomes should be right around the corner. With high open rates and easy to create designs, SMS campaigns may end up being your most effective marketing tactic yet. Did you know that Revolution Ordering offers hospitality brands with seamless integrations, which include marketing features? That’s right, with Connect, eateries can be one step closer to SMS restaurant marketing efforts. Book a demo today with an industry expert to learn all about it!