he first article in Wisely’s SMS marketing series, Why SMS Marketing Matters for Restaurants, outlined the case for utilizing SMS, and the basic rules and regulations to consider as you create an SMS marketing strategy.
This article dives deeper into campaign creation, why SMS automations are effective, the anatomy of a good SMS automation, and the top three automated SMS campaigns any restaurant can use to drive engagement and profits.
The Power of SMS Automations
SMS automations might be the best tool in the SMS marketing toolbox, but before outlining what makes SMS automations effective, here’s a quick definition:
Wisely’s restaurant CRM is built to trigger automations based on behaviors specific to restaurants (e.g. when a guest visits the restaurant, or places an order online).
While mass SMS campaigns can drive results for specific goals, SMS automations have real advantages when it comes to driving predictable, sustainable results.
What makes SMS automations so effective?
1. They are timely: because they trigger automatically based on behavior, they arrive at the right time—whether reminding a customer who hasn’t visited for three weeks of a brand’s popular menu items or asking for feedback directly after an online order closes
2. They are relevant: content is tailored specifically to customer actions, increasing responsiveness and building a 1:1 relationship
3. They are consistent: SMS automations don’t rely on daily, manual marketing effort to be sent—they reach every guest, every time, over time
4. They are targeted: reaching a guest on their mobile device is, by far, the most personal
5. They reach the intended recipient, guaranteed: SMS messages don’t get caught by filters, like email inboxes, and aren’t served alongside competitive ads (as is often the case on platforms like social media)
Anatomy of a good SMS campaign
Despite the built-in power of SMS automations, the content itself must still be carefully crafted in order to be opened, engaged with, and to drive returns.
The elements of a good SMS campaign:
- Short, concise, natural copy: Texts should read like they’re coming from a friend
- Consistent brand voice: A good SMS campaign should reflect the same voice used on a brand’s website, in email campaigns, and on social media
- Personalized content: Using the recipient’s name is good, but a text that is relevant to the behavior that triggered the text makes comms feel organic and personal
- Clear call to action: Make clear what you want customers to do when they receive your text—a CTA should also align with a campaign's marketing objectives
- Urgency: LTOs and VIP perks are go-tos, but exciting copy and creative engagement strategies can go a long way to create urgency without direct promos
Campaign Inspo: Top Three Automated SMS Campaigns for Restaurants
Once the brainstorming starts, use-cases for automated SMS campaigns are limitless. Get inspired, and build on the basics of good SMS campaigns, with these examples:
Be the First to Access Special, Value-Add Content
Campaign Goal: Reward opt-ins and build a 1:1 connection with guests
Trigger: New SMS opt-in from WiFi, website, etc.
SMS Content: Welcome text with exclusive value-added content
- Drink recipes that complement take-out offerings or cooking tips from the culinary team
- A link to your playlist or to download a coloring sheet
- A special survey to provide input on upcoming menu additions
If You Ordered That, You’ll Love This
Campaign Goal: Drive continued take-out menu exploration and guest frequency
Trigger: Guest ordered [menu item] but not [menu item] (a combo your brand knows drives repeat orders most often)
SMS Content: A simple reminder from a friend about menu items they love, and what they pair well with, is often enough to keep your brand top-of-mind come meal time
- Are you craving an extra order of [menu item]? Asking for a friend. Don’t forget [menu item]
- Did you know (fun fact about the menu item)?
- It’s #MeatlessMonday/#TacoTuesday (or other trending food hashtag). Let’s celebrate with [menu item] and [menu item]
“Show this Text” for Perks (Bonus: Creates Urgency)
Campaign Goal: Boost online order frequency and average check
Trigger: Ordered [menu item] online
SMS Content: Incentivize guests with a special perk that’s redeemable when they order online (for a limited time)
- A special incentive tied to a new menu item or a specific day-part lagging in sales (e.g. $5 off your next lunch order)
- A perk that incentivizes guests to order bundled items that are popular with your most high-value guests (e.g. free __ when you order __)
- A promotion tied to a new category of items you’re looking to drive trial of (e.g. plant-based offerings, new family meal kits, etc.)
The punchline? SMS automations not only save marketers time and streamline workflow, they’re more likely to create immediate and meaningful ROI for your business than most other channels. Leading brands are texting with their most engaged and loyal customers multiple times a week—building a 1:1 relationship by adding value with each and every message and creating urgency because every SMS is triggered by individual guest behaviors.
For more tips and marketing strategies, check out these Wisely resources:
- Take a Page out of the Retail Playbook — Consider a Subscription Strategy for your Restaurant
- 5 Counterintuitive Plays for Restaurant Growth Post COVID-19
- Smart Guest Segments To Build Today
Photo credit: Brooke Cagle