Making Dough with Diane: November 2013

SMS style - Seven ideas for text message campaigns
Diane Chiasson
November 01, 2013
Using text messaging is a great way to build your database, attract new customers and gain customer loyalty.
Using text messaging is a great way to build your database, attract new customers and gain customer loyalty. Once you have your customers’ cellphone numbers plugged into your database, you can use a variety of auto-responder programs to send out text messages. These text messages usually contain upcoming promotions and coupons, among other content, on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

Text messaging is also a very cost-effective way to run a marketing campaign. Plus, today’s society is so obsessed with text messaging that it is more likely your message will be seen than if you send e-mail or use a direct mail campaign.

Here are some ideas on how to boost sales in your pizza operation using text messages.

Text when pizza is ready
Offer to text your customers to let them know when their table is ready or when pizza is ready for pickup. Whether your business is a sit-down restaurant or a takeout and delivery operation, this system provides a great incentive for customers to give their cellphone numbers. If you are delivering pizza, tell the customer that the driver will send them a text when he or she is five minutes away. Then ask your customers if they would like to receive occasional coupons and discounts via text. If they say yes, you have just added another customer to your database.

Offer promotions to drive referrals
Encourage your customers to share your promotional text messages with their friends. If they get three friends to opt-in to your text program, reward them with a free slice of pizza. 

Use cellphone numbers to keep track of rewards

So many companies now offer customers loyalty rewards programs that most people’s wallets are now jammed with dozens of punch cards from various retail stores, restaurants and other businesses. Make life easier on your customers by tracking their purchases using their cellphone numbers. Send them a text each time they make a purchase to let them know how many more buys they need to achieve the free meal. If your customer has not visited your pizza operation in a while, send them a text message to remind them that they are close to their reward.

Use geo-fencing
Geo-fencing technology has proven to be a great success. This technology creates a virtual perimeter around a geographic area so your customers will receive a text message when they are within a set radius of your pizza operation. Pizza Hut recently ran a geo-fencing campaign in the U.K. and found it to be its most effective marketing technique to attract customers. Geo-fencing technology is also affordable for small businesses.

Use text messaging to boost Facebook fans
Text messaging is a great way to gain more fans on your Facebook page. Use a do-it-yourself short message service, or SMS, marketing platform such as Ez Texting that allows you to launch bulk SMS campaigns at the touch of a button. For example, place an ad where there will be crowds of young people, for example, at a sporting event, movie theatre, concert or community gathering. In your ad, offer a free slice of pizza to anyone who texts a certain code to a designated number (via your marketing platform). Once the person sends the text, they immediately receive a response telling them to visit and like your Facebook page, and then they will get their free pizza

Send text blasts on slow nights
Send out coupons via text during slow periods that require an immediate call to action. For example, if you know you are slow on Monday nights, send out a text blast in the afternoon with an offer that expires that night. This will get your customers to act immediately on your offer.

Be sure to get permission
Before bombarding your customers with text messages, always make sure you let your subscribers know that if they enter a contest via text they will be added to your marketing database. It’s also important that subscribers are offered an opt-out option. This, however, should be a standard feature with any platform you choose.

Launch your own text-message campaign, and watch how many more people respond compared to the traditional e-mail or direct mail approach. •

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at1-888-926-6655 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit .

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