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Opt It’s new age gate feature allows customers to add a message or gate into their message flow that requires the end user to text back their date of birth in order to proceed. This feature is ideal for liquor or beer companies that must verify a user’s age in order to send special offers and promotions or to permit contest participation. Controlling entrance to specific groups allows businesses to meet all laws and requirements for age verification.

Here’s how the Opt It Mobile age gate feature works:

  • In an attempt to join your specific group, the user texts in any keyword, for example: LIQOUR.
  • The user will then receive a message stating, “You must be 21 to join this program – reply with your date of birth in the format DDMMYYYY to join.”
  • The user responds via text “01181974″.
  • The user receives a message back stating that they have successfully joined the LIQOUR group.

Many Opt It clients have had great success with this age gate feature, such as Corona, who has launched campaigns such as contests, targeted event reminders and discounted offers around Cinco de Mayo, as well as the Kenny Chesney summer concert tour. Budweiser currently uses the age gate feature to ensure valid entry into many summer contests and promotions.

Contact your account manager regarding how you can apply the age gate feature to your business needs. Keep in mind that this feature is not available in your account by default, so talk with your account manager for more information.

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.

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.