By GalaGrigoreva, head of marketing communications, LoyaltyPlant
Automation of restaurant marketing campaigns is no easy task. Experts say that traditional channels such as emails and SMS are vulnerable to spam. According to MailChimp, the average open rate for restaurant businesses is about 21 percent, so sending promotional messages to your customers' messenger apps may be more effective with an average open rate of up to 70 percent.
Many of your customers, however, may not use the messenger app you are communicating through. Besides, people normally prefer using messenger apps for private and professional chats. They may likely consider your messages as spam and delete immediately or even block the sender. Messenger marketing is good at bringing you one-deal customers but requires extra measures to make them repeat customers and brand advocates.
For this and other business purposes, mobile apps are getting more popular with restaurants. If you encourage your first-comers to download your app in order to receive rewards for engaging with you, you will most likely manage to build a loyal community.
Your customers will be on their mobile phones for a myriad of reasons, so it only makes sense to create push "blasts" that go directly to their mobile hubs. Let's discuss three types of blasts you can use to maximize your customer outreach.
1. Getting pushy
The first step is to send them a basic push blast that shows you are paying attention — a simple "Happy Birthday from Our Team" — type of message. If you want to take it even further, you can offer a personalized gift offer — a discounted group meal at your establishment, for example.
You can also throw in recommendations in the push notification to attract the customer to something specific in your establishment. With such notifications, the goal is to attract a larger group of people, because the customer in question will likely bring friends. In order to optimize fulfillment of the offer, you can put a time limit on the offer. This way, you can maximize your customer's loyalty and attract new customers within the same period.
However, it doesn't take a birthday to optimize loyalty. You can also optimize push notifications to increase customer retention after the initial first visit by way of a bounce-back coupon.
The bounce-back coupon is delivered by push blast after the initial visit with some kind of incentive encouraging the customer to return. We recommend choosing a low-cost gift suitable for most customers so as to maximize the possibility of a positive experience for everyone. Customers will also be encouraged to try something else on the menu upon their return. Again, consider imposing a time period for redemption, such as seven days. A little fire under the seat will increase the possibility of customer retention, as customers are more likely to return if they sense they will lose an opportunity. Once they've received the first message, you can keep them up to date with reminders about the gift, so you don't slip to the back of their mind.
Don't overdo it, though. One or two reminders within a seven-day period are fine, and a reminder on the last day, if they still haven't redeemed their gift is appropriate. Be careful to toe the line between helpful and annoying. The right number of announcements and reminders, however, will turn a one-time customer into a long-time devotee.
Have a geo-blast
The last thing to consider in your marketing campaign is physical proximity. You can optimize the physical space your establishment is in through a "geo-blast." A geo-blast entails sending a push to all phones within a set physical boundary — say, 500 meters — of your location.
You can consider a push blast within several locations so as to optimize multiple establishments, as well. The geo-blast can entail a specific time for redemption that can help attract new customers. The item chosen for gift-ing should be low-cost and fairly universal, as previously discussed. The geo-blast allows for outreach to customers who may be on a pre-established route already and secure your place in their routine.
Blasts can take your outreach and loyalty a step beyond. Whether the focus of the blast is on an existing customer or reaching new audiences, optimizing your customer's mobile phones can be automated in an ultimately quite successful method. Remember to keep it short, attractive and to the point. Your customers won't be able to forget you.
Mobile apps allow restaurant not only send push blasts to customers' smartphones but also track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. You can learn how many users open and read the message, how many take your promo in-app or in-store, how much they spend, how their average check increases, how your retention rate changes, etc. All these stats and much more like demographic and preference data are displayed with dashboards in the CRM-system integrated with your restaurant loyalty app.
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