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Yearly Archives: 2009

If it’s your goal to reach customers faster and more effectively, mobile marketing is the most powerful tool available for the restaurant industry. With the better part of the world carrying mobile devices and sending and receiving text messages, mobile marketing deserves the top spot on your restaurant’s action plan and is a prime opportunity for you to connect with your customers like never before. Read on to discover why a text message marketing plan will work for you and how both you and your customers can reap the benefits of using the Opt It Mobile platform.

There’s no denying it, mobile marketing allows restaurant owners to reach customers with an immediacy never seen before in the marketing space. Your message is sent instantly to all customers in your loyalty program, giving them real-time knowledge of your latest promotions, events and contests. What’s more, you’re reaching out to targeted customers with their permission – they have requested your information to be sent, allowing you to speak directly to customers who are anticipating information about your business, wherever they are, via their mobile device. Getting the latest information about your restaurant to your customers in this way drives traffic through the door, boosting business before your eyes.

Consider the various applications for mobile marketing in the restaurant world allowing you to reach your audience at home or on the go, instantaneously. Utilize Opt It Mobile to provide the access into your restaurant’s loyalty program and send time-sensitive information or last minute offers for specific meals. Get real-time feedback from customers via surveys or comments. Coupons, contests and RSVP’s are easily managed with Opt It Mobile and allow this ideal two-way means of communication between owner/operators and customers to become the main method of communication. Uses of mobile marketing in the restaurant industry are limited only by your imagination.

So now you know why and how the Opt It Mobile platform can launch your restaurant’s mobile marketing campaign. But how do your customers benefit from your text message marketing efforts? Receiving text messages is a low cost and simple way for customers to stay informed about what’s going on at their favorite eateries. Not only will customers be up-to-date on the latest events and best deals, but they’ll be notified of and able to find ways to save money while continuing to eat at and enjoy the places they love – a big draw in tough economic times. With the permission-based technology that Opt It offers, your customers control what, when and how often they receive and send information about your promotions through their cell phones.

Becoming part of your restaurant’s loyalty program is very meaningful to many customers and provides a sense of belonging and membership to an elite group of patrons. This is an advantage to both the restaurant owner and customer, establishing a lasting relationship made possible by the reach of the instant and versatile mobile channel.

The restaurant industry’s interest in the area of mobile marketing is skyrocketing. Savvy business owners understand that when it comes to connecting with customers, nothing is more economical or effective than text message marketing. At the recent National Restaurant Association trade show in Chicago, restaurant owners and marketers voiced this new overall theme across the industry, solidifying the knowledge Opt It already has about the power and reach of text message marketing.

Using a permission-based marketing plan via Opt It Mobile, restaurant owners and marketers can reach their client base instantly, with the latest news on promotions and events. Contests and coupons also lend themselves to mobile marketing, giving the restaurant industry various methods to connect with their customers, while simultaneously building a mobile marketing list of VIP’s.

Not only is mobile marketing simple and effective, but the connection it provides allows restaurants a way to link to customers in a struggling economy. Opt It features do more than just keep customers be up-to-date on the latest events and information, they notify them of and give them the ability to take advantage of discounts, promotions and special offers – a big draw in tough economic times. Letting valued customers know that their favorite eateries are still within reach is key. Getting the word out through a mobile marketing campaign via the Opt It Mobile platform drives traffic through the door.

Opt It Success Story: In its first-ever nationwide mobile campaign, Moe’s Southwest Grill is offering customer discounts on a limited-time menu item, the Phil E. Cheese burrito. Powered by the Opt It Mobile platform, the Moe’s campaign is active and successful in all of over 400 locations. Take a look at a recent press release on this restaurant’s winning mobile marketing campaign.

Moe’s Southwest Grill Goes Mobile with Opt It Technology

In the previous blog entry we talked about how your organization can generate ideas for offers and promotions in the mobile market. Now it’s time to discuss an equally important concept.

Here we talk about how to lure, entice, and tempt your customers to give you their mobile number.

Keep these simple ideas in mind –

  • The younger generation- sometimes called Generation Y or Millenials – is much more likely to give up a mobile number. Older generations think of a phone number as something they have to protect so they don’t get harassed by intrusive callers. Text messages are not as intrusive as calls, and for younger generations, the mobile phone is all about being connected. It’s a fundamental difference in the way people see their phone. More and more, people want to stay in constant contact with a wide range of friends, family, associates, and co-workers; they also want to stay closely aware of value in the marketplace where they shop and play.

  • Once you have people on your mobile marketing list, you have to provide value in your offers or people will opt out. The idea is to build a relationship over time with individuals and the people who associate with them. Although an amount of turnover is inevitable, you want to make sure that people are not joining your list one week and then leaving it the next. You need to find the right mix of value and timeliness in your offers. If you send a message every day, they may be easy to ignore in a short time. If you send one message a week with real value and appeal, you may do better, but the real goal is to find the right combination of frequency and value for your customers.

Where do you start?

  • Start with your web site. Yes, it can be a drag to do updates to your web site, but it’s a powerful “always there” presence that people can easily access. Make sure that on your home page you have a clear invitation to your visitors to “opt in” to your mobile messaging program. When they click through to your “opt in” page where your customer elects to give you their phone number, there are several things you need to tell them. First, explain to them that they can always opt out, and explain how. That’s a pretty basic requirement that makes it harmless for them to sign up. Second, give them some idea of how often they will be hearing from you, and what kinds of offers they will receive; if you are not sure about how often and what, you will have to be vague about it until you know. Third, tell them that you value their feedback, and give them a way to talk back to you. Why? Because you DO value their feedback! That’s the only way you can improve your offers. Put a link to your opt in page on every other page on your site.

  • After the web site, offer your mobile updates in as many places as you can. Put up signs in your facility on the walls, in your storefront window, on counter tops and desktops, and especially on surfaces that people stare at when they are paying or waiting for service. Any promotional brochures or paper of any kind that a customer looks at or takes with them should say “Text (your keyword) to 46786 to receive our free mobile updates and offers.”

  • Provide an immediate discount/incentive that can be used during their visit.

  • Run a contest weekly or monthly giving away something of value to your audience.

  • Educate your staff on the program so that when patrons or guests ask questions you make sure that you do not lose a subscriber.

  • Next: Whenever you reprint anything for your business, include the text about signing up for mobile messaging. What if you have 10,000 printed brochures and don’t want to reprint them just to include a message about mobile marketing? That’s what stickers are for! What do you put stickers on? EVERYTHING! Have some attractive stickers made up in your company colors and place them on every bag or brochure or receipt or business card. Don’t let anyone or anything go out of your door without a sticker. If you want people to sign up for the program, they need to know they can and it is your job tell them in as many different ways and places as you can.

  • Recognize that mobile or text message marketing will be an important part of the marketing mix in the future. If you do coupons, or mailings, or send emails, remember to encourage customers to sign up for mobile messaging via those media too. Couponing and direct mail are expensive, and moving customers to less expensive media like mobile marketing is a smart move for increasing your bottom line.

Finally, delegate the job of coordinating this important activity to an individual within your organization who needs a challenge or development. Encourage them to see what competitors and others are doing to build their lists, and empower them to try the things that will create a powerful list for increasing future revenues using text message marketing.

For those of you who are new to text message marketing, we have created a page to give you a short overview of how text message marketing works. This is meant as an introduction for beginners that provides background information and defines some of the commonly used terms.

Please read A Simple Guide to Text Messages…

In the preceding entry we talked about pushing forward with a mobile text messaging program in order to learn about – and take advantage of – the surge in texting behavior. And, to be ready for the not too distant day when marketing to cell phones comes into its maturity as a major force.

The question is, how much progress can you make in 2009 in building your list – a topic for our next blog entry – and creating programs that work for your business? The focus here is on how to begin the process.

First, who does it?

As the person who pays the bills, the business owner probably feels some ownership of any new program. This could be a mistake, especially if you have people in your organization who are seeking new opportunities.

Delegation is a good thing, period. As a rule of thumb, the more people you have involved in the process, the better. Here are some things to consider when you decide how to manage your mobile marketing campaign in your organization

  • Your employees may be younger and may relate to this program. It’s possible that someone in your organization has strong thoughts or good ideas about text message marketing already.
  • Your employees may be looking for added responsibility, or to add to their skill sets. Capitalize on that energy and motivation.
  • If you have a valued employee who is bored and you fear that they may want to leave, this might be the thing for them to focus on. During difficult economic times, business owners tend to focus on daily problems and challenges. Employees who buy into a grass-is-greener perspective may look for opportunities that they perceive to be better. Remember that it is your best employees who have the most opportunities. Give them something new and different to do.

Give an employee a specific purpose and responsibility to focus on, and show them that it matters with daily follow-up of even the most informal type.

Second, how do they go about it?

Many people – even bright ones you value – do not possess the creativity and initiative to go about this kind of thing in a systematic way. So, give them a framework for learning about mobile marketing. Here are some ways to do that.

  • Assign them some reading. Reading! It sounds terrible, but it’s a great way to develop some perspective. Have them read the blogs and guides on the site. Then, point them in the direction of a web site devoted to mobile marketing like so that they can begin to understand the background, the trends, and the opportunities. Don’t stop there. Ask them to talk to you once a week about something they have read about mobile marketing. It’s a good way to see if they are up to the job you’ve given them.
  • Involve more people! Tell your designated employee to talk to as many people as they can about their assignment. Their grandmother is an unlikely candidate for this kind of thing, but even the act of explaining it to their grandmother stretches their ability to understand and talk about mobile marketing. Great ideas often come from places you wouldn’t expect, but they also come from your suppliers, your customers, and other business people.
  • Have them opt into the mobile marketing programs of other companies in order to see what they are doing. Start with competitors, and then move on to similar markets or products, and then move on to companies you admire. You cannot collect too much market intelligence this way – it’s the easiest way to learn what your competitors are doing, and it will open your eyes to the many possibilities that exist out there already. Capitalize on the experience of others, and don’t let your competitors outflank you with new offers that you are not ready to provide.

As your expertise and experience grows, take things to a higher level. Chicago is filled with colleges and universities that have a tremendous interest in teaching new media. These may be business classes or they may be media classes. Ask a professor if you can present your issues to a class and see if an individual or a team want to take up your cause as part of their course work.

Finally, encourage your employee to take action. Especially at the beginning, be conservative and take baby steps. Use techniques you’ve seen others use and, monitor the results closely so you can see what works for you. Enjoy small successes and build from there. As the business owner or department head, stay involved and let them know mobile marketing is important to you.

We will talk more in future blog entries about how to design offers and measure results, and we’ll also talk about how to involve your entire organization in the mobile marketing program. In this entry we’ve talked about putting the program in the hands of one person in order to make sure that the responsibility belongs to one motivated person, and not a committee. As the program develops, you’ll want to encourage others to contribute ideas and help carry them out.