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SMS for marketing: how it can benefit the hospitality industry


SMS for marketing is turning out to increasingly benefit the hospitality industry. When you’re a restaurant owner, there’s not much that can top the ability to reach your customers in real time — when they’re nearby and possibly feeling a little peckish. In the bad old days, you had to rely on highway billboards and hope your radio ads played right before the lunch rush.

These days, there’s text message marketing. Sure, you have to get permission from customers to reach out to them via text with marketing messages, but it’s worth it. Because of the tight regulations surrounding the use of telephones and text messages to market to consumers, most people still trust marketing text messages and even want to receive them.

The ways SMS for marketing can benefit the hospitality industry

You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that many customers are more than willing to join your SMS list — and when you use the medium properly, you’ll find that SMS for marketing even builds customer loyalty and brings in new business.

Reach customers in real time

The real value of text message marketing for restaurants lies in the medium’s immediacy. Emails can languish in an inbox unnoticed for hours, if they’re not filtered immediately into the spam folder. But people see their text messages right away and 90 percent of people open their text messages within three minutes of receipt.

That makes text messages perfect for reaching out to customers in the moment, right at the time of day when they’d be making a decision about what to do for lunch or dinner, so that you can hopefully entice them to choose your restaurant for their next meal. You don’t even need to craft your campaigns weeks or months in advance. Because marketing messages should be brief and to the point, it’s easy to put together a quick campaign to advertise that lunch special you came up with to get rid of your extra ingredients. Things move fast in the restaurant business, and text message marketing can keep up, particulary if you use automated text messages.

Get more regulars

Launching a text message marketing program is a lot like launching a customer loyalty program. Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act, consumers have to give you permission to send them marketing texts. They have to opt into the messaging list, and they need to be able to opt out at any time, too. There are other requirements you should familiarize yourself with, including only sending marketing texts between certain hours and only sending so many texts within a given period.

While all of this can seem like kind of a hassle, it actually creates an environment where customers want to engage with businesses via text and where they trust — even look forward to — marketing text messages from their favorite brands. They know they aren’t going to be bombarded with tons of spammy messages, and they’re willing to sign up for messages when they know they’re going to contain valuable offers and discounts. Because you have to sign up for it, an SMS marketing list can serve as a tool to strengthen loyalty among your existing customers, giving them more things to value about your restaurant and helping them to feel like they’re members of an exclusive club.

Entice new customers

SMS marketing can also help you turn new customers into repeat customers. If they have a good experience at your restaurant, they’ll want to sign up for text messages that could include valuable offers, event notices, news, and more. Getting new customers signed up for your SMS marketing list can sway them to come back again and again. All you have to do is entice them with well-timed texts promoting your meal specials, offering members-only discounts, and encouraging pickup and delivery orders.

Customers won’t be allowed to eat at your restaurant once, then leave, get busy with their lives, and forget how much they enjoyed your food. With SMS marketing, you’ll always be wherever they are, engaging with them in their text inbox like a trusted friend or family member, reminding them that they liked your food and offering incentives for them to come back and eat more of it.

SMS marketing can be a lifesaver for a restaurant, and a great way to build a loyal customer base. Now you can reach your customers in their homes, cars, and offices, and build more goodwill and brand loyalty than you ever thought possible.

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