Mobile marketing has been growing over the past year, but it is expected to really take off in 2012. Many experts believe that it is critical for small businesses to get on board. This year an estimated 10 trillion text messages will be sent and received worldwide, and more than 50 billion apps will be downloaded, while the number of smartphone users will exceed the number of PC users. Therefore, the best way to reach a wider audience is via their phone.
There are many benefits to mobile marketing including an increase in repeat customer visits, gaining new customers and spreading word-of-mouth awareness. It is also a fairly inexpensive way to do marketing. But most importantly, mobile marketing helps you establish a personal relationship with your customers.
There are several different platforms in which mobile marketing can be applied, ranging from simple local advertising to more complicated GPS-related location detection. It can be as simple as sending out a text message or a coupon to your customers’ cellphones, or offering incentives to your customers for visiting your pizzeria multiple times. You can use mobile marketing to offer social events and meet-ups based on the physical location of your store, or share location-based information with your customers via a social network.
Here are seven ways you can apply mobile marketing to your restaurant.
1. Simple text messaging
Use Short Message Service (SMS) to send short, text-based messages to your customers. These messages can include your daily special or a discount coupon. Always send your phone number, address and a link to your website. Text message marketing can also create more meaningful relationships with your customers.
However, because it is permission-based, you need to make sure that you give your customers a good reason to opt-in and receive your deals.
2. Multimedia messaging
You can use Multimedia Message Service (MMS) to send messages to your customers that include more fun and creative content embedded in images, videos, games or audio files. If your target audience is a younger demographic that would appreciate this type of content, MMS is the way to go.
3. Mobile web browsing
Make your website more user-friendly for mobile devices. Allow your customers to place orders for pizza and download coupons or other specials via their phones.
4. GPS-enabled marketing
Most smartphones come equipped with GPS and are capable of broadcasting locations. You can use this technology to send your ads or messages to users in a specific location. For example, a customer who has opted-in to your restaurant’s mobile marketing plan will walk by your restaurant and instantly receive a text message inviting him in for an immediate reward. Or you could market via a mobile network, whereby the customer’s mobile service provider delivers offers, rewards and coupons to their subscribers based on specific geographic location.
5. Get it on the app
Developing an app for your restaurant can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, but if successful, an app could help increase your sales. For example, Pizza Hut’s app for the iPhone is one of the most popular downloads. The company offered its users a 20 per cent discount when ordering food via the app. Pizza Pizza launched its app last year and offered users a “scratch-and-win” opportunity for a limited time. Both apps allow users to customize their pizzas and save the user’s order, delivery address and payment method, making all subsequent orders that much easier.
6. Location-based mobile platforms
There are several location-based mobile platforms that allow your customers to “check in” at your restaurant, giving you presence on Facebook, Twitter and other sites. Customers check in and tell all their friends where they are, thereby promoting your restaurant. In return, you can increase repeat business by offering your customers rewards and discounts.
E-mail is still considered a mobile channel, and one of the easiest ways to send a message. As with text messaging, your customers must sign up to receive e-mails from your business.
Corner your share of the growing mobile market and make sure that customers always have your restaurant’s key information at their fingertips.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or
, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.
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