24 Restaurant Marketing Ideas (That Actually Work)

May 18th, 2018

When it comes to restaurant marketing the competition is intense and winning in this area means that you’re going to have to find (and master) a select few marketing tactics that can help you create a dominant presence inside the mind of the market.

In this article I’m going to share 24 insanely powerful restaurant marketing ideas that will help you seriously ramp up your bookings!

Let’s dive in…

 

1. Set Up Your Google My Business Account

Not incredibly exciting but this is first on the list for good reason, local search is HUGE when it comes to food, people are whipping out their phones trying to establish a nearby eatery to unwind and enjoy and this will help you get instant visibility.

It’s also free, so there’s no excuse for not having this set up.

This listing shows important information like opening hours, cuisine, reviews etc.

Follow this quick guide on how to get everything sorted.

Remember add as much content as you can including:

  • Latest menu
  • Photos
  • Opening hours
  • Address etc.

Set up your listing on Google My Business.

 

 

 

 

2. Food Photos & Videos (build up your marketing assets)

Let’s face it, we eat with our eyes and so your food is your greatest marketing tool.

Food photos and videos should be taken often and promoted endlessly on your various media channels (social media, email, websites, flyers etc.).

What should you take photos and videos of?

  • Signature dishes
  • Everything on your menu (or at least the main items)
  • Parts of your process (sourcing, preparation, cooking, serving etc.)
  • Your Team
  • Festivals or events that you’re involved in

By collecting footage about your restaurant you begin to build an image inside your customer’s mind giving them the feeling that they know you.

 

Find Different Ways To Promote Yourself

Don’t limit yourself to the food on your menu, create unique, fun and amazing dishes that are designed to stop people in their tracks once they set their eyes on it.

Photos that showcase great food instantly snaps up attention and has a person imagining what that food would taste like and gets the salivation glands working.

 

3. Instagram – Build A Following

Instagram was practically designed for restaurants due to the highly visual nature of the platform.

The goal of Instagram is to build a following of foodies who will actively promote your restaurant with the purpose of creating new customers.

 

Find Gold Inside Hashtags

Hashtags are basically a way Instagram categorises content and you can use this to get a lot of eyeballs on your foodie shots.

There are two types of hashtags:  brand and community.

Brand hashtags are brand related and will be your #RestaurantName this is where you’ll add all of your photos as well as encourage followers to contribute their photos as well for example, contests and giveaways.

Community hashtags are general hashtags that use keywords related to specific interest’s for example #FoodPorn.

 

Finding Relevant Hashtags

Use the search function inside Instagram to find good potential categories (hashtags) to place your photos into.

Start entering in keywords that are relevant to your business and it will start to auto-populate suggestions.

If you have a keyword list for SEO or PPC ads then this will provide a lot of good ideas.

Find competitors who are killing it on Instagram, look for hashtags that they use consistently.

Use hashtag tools like hashtagify to give you some more ideas.

Don’t use hashtags that have millions of posts, instead look for tags that have 20k – 50k and see how you go but test larger or smaller sizes.

 

Model The Best – Don’t Reinvent The Wheel.

The best way to speed up results is to simply model (not ripoff) restaurants that are already doing well in your space.

 

Model & Innovate

Smart restaurants have already gone through the trial and error phase and have now settled on their winning formula – take that formula and innovate on it so you can start benefiting for yourself.

  • See how many hashtags they’re using for each post
  • See which hashtags they’re using
  • See the level of engagement on their post and the hashtags they’ve used
  • Look at the types of photos they use – try to look for themes

 

Stay Close To Your Competition

Like most other social media platforms, Instagram is a great monitoring tool.

Setup an account that you use to follow your competition and also follow restaurants in other cities that are doing well this platform.

This will give you an endless supply of ideas to use for menus, plates, events and marketing ideas.

This is quite tedious at the beginning but Instagram is a good marketing channel and worth mastering.

 

4. Facebook Post Boosting

For most businesses Facebook just isn’t worth the time and I agree, the amount of time I’ve spent handling various Facebook accounts trying to get any kind of ROI was just not worth the time invested.

If you want to get any traction with Facebook then you’re going to have to spend some money.

 

Boosting Posts With Facebook Works Well

A lot of marketers will tell you not to waste your time on boosting posts because it brings in little return and that is true for a lot of businesses but for restaurants I’ve had success with it.

The best part is it is very simple to use.

 

How To Boost A Post:

  1. Create a post or select a post you want to promote.
  2. Click the boost button on the post.
  3. Select your audience.
  4. Select your budget (I recommend starting with $5).
  5. Engage with comments to give the post more legs.

If the post doesn’t gain any traction then kill it and try another post.

If you find a winning post, that is it is getting a good amount of comments and shares then put another $5 behind it to keep it going.

Facebook advertising requires a lot of trial and testing but when you find that winner it can go crazy and expect bookings to fill up fast!

What you’ll find is that the more comments and shares a post gets the more people will chime in and engage in conversation to keep the interaction high – people love it when the Chef or business owner responds to comments.

You should be getting bookings from this promotion as well as a lot of engagement.

Some of the posts that go “viral” are really driven by boosting or paid ads since it is tough to get an organic post to gain momentum.

 

Paid Ads

Facebook ads is an incredibly powerful targeting platform.

If you’re an Italian restaurant you can target people who:

  • Love eating out with friends
  • Love Italian food
  • Enjoy wine
  • And live in the immediate areas near your restaurant

You can drill even deeper if you like to find a highly profitable pocket of customers that your competition have not found.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to launch your first Facebook ads campaign.

 

Organic Posting

Facebook is considered a “pay to play” platform and as of the time of this article is not recommended for organic posting simply because your reach is effectively zero but it still helps to post images on there just so people can see that you’re active but for organic posting there are better platforms to spend your time on.

 

Automating Facebook Posts

It is recommended that you use social media management tools to help automate as much of the workload as possible – especially if you’re doing social media yourself.

Hootsuite is a great little tool that allows you to schedule your Facebook posts so you don’t have to be on there every day posting content you can schedule

Also, Meet Edgar is a social media tool that recycles your old posts.

Why would you want to do this? You may have posts that are evergreen (they are relevant today as they were when you took them) these posts should not be forgotten about and should be shown to people who started following you today.

 

5. Twitter

Twitter is often times overlooked but it shouldn’t be because your customers are on there.

With Twitter you can get your restaurant images, blog posts and offers out quickly and because Twitter is a “fast channel” meaning that content is updated very quickly you can actually post the same post multiple times per day without being seen as spam.

As with all marketing timing is essential.

Again, use a social media management tool like Hootsuite to schedule all of your Twitter posts for the week and then get on with running your business.

Create a post with an image and schedule it to go out at the most opportune times during that day 11am and 4pm for example.

 

6. Yelp

Review sites are essential for any business especially in hospitality.

Yelp is a directory where customers can leave reviews on businesses that they frequent.

With Yelp you can add all of the necessary information about your restaurant including:

  • Opening and closing times
  • Photos
  • Directions
  • Information about your cuisine

If you’re currently receiving great word of mouth from customers then review sites like this become an incredibly powerful marketing tool because they amplify your restaurant and will help you get more customers for your restaurant.

If you don’t have a Yelp page yet, claim it by submitting your business details to show you are the owner.

After you’ve claimed your page, you can respond to reviews and participate in advertising if you choose.

Upload your best photos.

 

7. Urbanspoon

Reviews are essential for driving traffic to your restaurant and website and although Google displays reviews anyone can get on there and make up a bunch of stuff i.e. give you a bad review just because they’re a competitor of yours – this happens a lot!

Urbanspoon actually have a different process for taking reviews from customers.

Unlike Google, reviewers actually need to build up a reputation before their reviews will be placed at the top this means that the reviews that you see are from genuine food lovers instead of one-off bad customers.

For example, if a competitor of yours decides to go on there to leave a nasty review it will be at the bottom of the review heap because they haven’t developed a reputation yet – whereas Google will place the latest review first.

 

8. Encourage User-Generated Content

User generated content is great because it’s like having an endless supply of marketers promoting your business to their friends.

People who dine out love nothing more than to see art on a plate so they can take snapshot and fire it off on their favourite social media accounts.

Obviously the food needs to be presented well but it’s important that they have a good time so there’s a story to go along with their photos.

 

Decide The Rules Of Engagement

Where do you want these photos appearing? What hashtag will be used (if any)? Will they have to wear a Viking helmet in the shot?

 

Give Prizes For Best Photos

Give away free dinners and other offers when a customer uploads amazing shots of your food. This will give your UGC strategy a good push. This also encourages people to get a little more creative, they’ll be looking to take the best angle and even add props to make the photo even better.

 

Engage On Submitted Content

It’s always cool to see the business owner take time out to weigh in on a post to give their approval or opinion. Commenting on posts are great for starting a conversation and giving it more legs.

 

9. Build A Brand People Can Connect To

People love familiarity and is one of the reasons people come back.

Creating a vivid image of what your restaurant is about and the people who are in it can create that sense of familiarity before a person has even eaten at your restaurant.

Brand building is far beyond the scope of this guide but a great way to build a personable brand is to showcase your team, product and restaurant.

  1. Take photos of your team (shoulders and head shot). Create a “Meet Our Team” page and add photos.
  2. Take in-the-moment photos of your team while they’re working to capture more natural shots.
  3. Snap photos of your customers enjoying the atmosphere and the food.
  4. Take photos of the restaurant décor
  5. If you shop local organic produce then take photos of where you buy your food – this helps to reinforce your image.

 

Videos Are Great Too!

Videos tend to get high engagement on social media.

  • If you’ve got something interesting like a giant cheese wheel take a video of your team opening it up.
  • Take videos of signature dishes being prepared

Photos and videos can capture the various characters inside your business and people can connect to characters.

Reinforcing ‘what you are about’ through video and image allows people to connect to that idea, this creates more commitment which helps with customers coming back time and again.

 

10. Monitor Your Social Media Reputation

If you’re going to be on social media you’re going to have people talking about you which is great but you don’t want to let it get out of control.

 

Boost Positive PR

If you’re getting lots of great comments, you want to be their commenting and replying to ‘fan the flames’ so you can keep driving that momentum.

 

Be Proactive With Negative Comments (It’s Free PR)

If you’re getting negative comments you want to act fast and jump on it.

This does a few important things:

  • Give you an opportunity to improve your service by identifying recurring problems developing processes to reduce similar issues.
  • You can win that customer back by showing you’ve heard them out and are willing to resolve it for them.
  • Shows potential customers that you’re a proactive restaurant that cares about its customers.
  • Creates PR via online conversations.

Most restaurants won’t go that extra mile and actively monitor their online reputation outside of Google or Yelp reviews which will.

There are tools like Hootsuite, Buzzlogix and Sprout Social that will help you keep your finger firmly planted on the pulse of what people are saying about you to give you the general feel of how the market feels about your brand.

This form of PR is extra work but think of it as an additional marketing channel that you can use to get people talking about you.

 

11. Spy On Competitors (Or Yourself) With Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a free tool that will send you a daily email on specific keywords that are of interest.

The keywords you should be tracking are your own brand name, your competitors brand names perhaps specific dishes or trends.

 

It’s Useful For Content Curation (using other peoples content)

It’s also a decent content curation tool, set up keywords that your customers might be interested in and post the best finds on your social media channels, this will save you from having to come up with ideas yourself.

Whatever intelligence you want to stay abreast of you can let Google keep you updated.

  

12. Optimize Your Website For Maximum Traffic

Your website should be your top marketing tool, think of it as your 24/7 sales rep that will bring in web traffic and turn that traffic into table bookings on autopilot.

This means that your site needs to be:

  • Clean: when a person lands on your site you want to have a site that is free from clutter and make it easy for people to take specific actions (see the menu, book a table etc.)
  • Easy to navigate: every visitor has a goal that they want to complete and your job is to help them and navigation is an important factor because it helps them find specific information. Keep your navigation as simple as possible and design it in a similar way as other websites so that visitors aren’t fumbling around your site, they know exactly where to go.
  • Answer questions: visitors are going to have questions in their mind like “do they have parking?” “where is the menu?” “how do I book a table?” “are there tables left?” “what time to do they open?” etc. so make sure that you have all of the answers on your site.

Ultimately, the job of the restaurant website is to get your phone ringing with hungry customers – that’s it.

 

Make Your Website User-Friendly

Before a person lands on your website a lot of the times their mind is all over the place – they are thinking about 101 things this is not good for you.

A clean website has a calming effect on a person it has few options available and always has the main call to action (make a booking now) always present.

Here’s a quick example from Bop Design:

On the before version it is quite confusing as what the user should do now look at the redesigned version of their website below, you’ll notice that the option has been simplified with the two largest button on the screen displaying “search jobs” or “find talent”.

They have determined that the majority of people who land on this site want either of these two outcomes.

If the user clicks the top right hand menu then they are presented with more options.

Make your site easy to navigate, build it with their needs in mind and you’ll create a high-performing website.

 

 

Optimise These Areas To Improve Website Performance:

  1. Implement an ongoing SEO strategy
  2. Create epic content
  3. Keep your site code clean, compress images, use less plugins to increase loading speeds
  4. Make sure you have a mobile website (most people are searching for restaurants using mobile search)
  5. Have a way to collect email addresses
  6. Include a click to call (when a person touches your phone number it automatically rings your restaurant)
  7. Include a feature that allows people to book online (not essential however)

 

13. Use SEO To Move Up In Google Rankings

SEO is incredibly important because it helps people find you – if you can find yourself on the 1st page of Google preferably in position 1-5 then you will notice a dramatic increase in bookings than if you were on page 2+.

According to SEO authority Brian Dean (Backlinko) Google has around 200 ranking factors – but you only need to focus on a few key areas:

  1. On-Page SEO – this tells the search engines what your site is about.
  2. Keywords – these are search phrases that a person enters into Google “italian restaurant” .
  3. Content – video, audio, images and written articles.
  4. Backlinks – other websites that have a link on their site that points to yours.
  5. Mobile Optimized Website – a version of your website that fits on a mobile screen.

 

Help Search Engines Understand Your Website With On-Page SEO

This helps Google understand what you page is about.  This is a fairly large subject and beyond the scope of this article however there are plenty of resources online about how to create great on-page SEO.

Check out Neil Patel and Brian Dean (Backlinko) and MOZ for information on on-page SEO.

 

Find Keywords That Drive Traffic

Keywords are short phrases that you will use to match up with what people are typing into Google (search queries), for example:

  • “Italian restaurant”
  • ‘Italian restaurant Sydney”
  • “best Italian restaurants”

Each of these keywords will have a specific numbers of monthly traffic behind them and your job is to create content based around these keywords in order to cut you off a slice of that traffic.

For example:

Let’s say you have a restaurant in Sydney.

  • “Italian restaurant Sydney” has 2,100 monthly searches in Australia.
  • “best Italian restaurant Sydney” has 700 monthly searches in Australia.
  • “Italian restaurant CBD Sydney CBD” has 350 monthly searches in Australia.

That’s 3,150 people looking for Italian restaurants in Sydney just with these 3 keywords and there are at least 200 more keywords similar to these that will give you even more traffic potential!

Most of the keywords that you use will be the same ones that your close competitors will be using as well and you can use tools like AHREFs to find those keywords and how much traffic they are receiving.

 

Get Backlinks To Skyrocket Search Rankings

What is a backlink?

When you’re on a website and you click on a link that takes you to a different website that is called a backlink, the site that you are on has linked to another site that it deems valuable.

Think of backlinks as a form of ‘digital voting’ since Google is only a machine it can’t really tell what is valuable content (although it is getting better) so it relies on humans to fill in the gaps.

When a lot of websites link back to another website or specific piece of content, Google assumes that website is valuable and so it pushes it up in rank so that more people can see it.

There are plenty of experts on how to create backlinks, if you do a search for Brian Dean, Neil Patel, MOZ this will give you a good place to start learning how backlinks work and how to create them.

 

Avoid Future Penalties By Having A Fast Loading Website

Your website needs to load quickly but mobile users are especially intolerant of slow websites so you need to make sure your site takes no longer than 2-3 seconds to load on a mobile device – you can test your website speed here.

Here are 4 ways to increase site speeds:

  1. Clean code: Websites are made up of coding language and sometimes if not coded correctly can make it hard for the search engines to read and also slow down your site speed.
  2. Images: You’re going to have a lot of images on your site so it is essential that you compress these down to under 100kb each preferably 50kb in order to do this resize your images so that they’re 800-1200 width this will cut down on the file size quite a lot, next you’ll need to compress the images further using a tools like TinyJPG or if you’re using WordPress using a plugin like WP Smush will help.
  3. Less Plugins: To many plugins can slow down your website, they can also create website issues and conflicts between other plugins.
  4. Use A Faster Host Provider: Moving your site over to a faster hosting service like WP Engine (if you’re using WordPress) will improve site speed time. There are plenty of great hosting providers available.

 

Is Your Site Mobile-Ready?

In 2018 52% of searches are happening on mobile, not only that but smartphone usage is only going up with the U.S. has 237 million smartphone users (2018), Australia has nearly 100% smartphone penetration with currently 88% of the country (2018) owning a smartphone device, New Zealand is already at 100% penetration.

The world is heavily mobile based with customers pulling out their smartphones to find places to eat out.

For this reason it’s important that you have a mobile-ready site.

The image on the left is an example of a site that is not mobile responsive. This is a site that you actually need to zoom in to see the text – not a good experience for a mobile user.

The image on the right is able to neatly get all of the necessary elements onto the mobile screen. Here’s a good example from BentoBox an unoptimised mobile site versus optimised. Notice in the first version the website is crammed into the mobile frame? This is not good for the user experience and as a result could impact your Google rankings.

 

 

Can People Book Straight From Their Phone?

Make sure that you have a “click to call” function on your mobile site so people can tap your phone number or “make a booking” button and call directly to your restaurant.

 

14. Local PPC – Search Advertising

PPC is performance-based advertising meaning that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

In this case we’re talking about Google AdWords PPC advertising – also known as search engine marketing…

Imagine finishing work late, you’re tired and you want to get home quickly and you think to yourself “I would really love a cab right about now.”

At that exact moment, an empty cab (that doesn’t smell like bad body odour) comes around the corner.

Perfect.

This is how search advertising works.

Someone wants to go out for Italian cuisine, types “Italian cuisine in hampton hills” into a search engine and your ad shows up on that page.

Timing plays a major factor in marketing and there’s no better time than showing up when someone is looking for you.

While generally not as good in terms of conversions as an organic listing, AdWords is great if you’re not on the first page as you will be able to snap up bookings that would have otherwise gone to another restaurant.

To learn how to set up AdWords use this guide.

 

15. Great Content

People will often make certain assumptions about your business based on what your website looks like and the content inside it.

Used correctly, content will help you get people over the line and have them booking a table.

What kind of content should you have?

  • Have fresh new articles that talk about the dishes you have right now not last season.
  • Show video teasers of dishes being prepared in the kitchen.
  • Show happy customers enjoying your food.
  • Have press releases and reviews so visitors can see how good your food is.

 

16. Use HTML For Your Menu

Your menu is one of your central marketing pieces and should find its way into as many homes, emails and mobile devices as possible!

What I see most restaurants do is that they convert their menu into a PDF which are typically a pain to read on a mobile device.

Instead use HTML to showcase your menu and make sure it is Mobile friendly, not only that but you can make it interactive, like including “book now” button or link that calls your restaurant up.

That said, have a PDF version available for download if they want to store it on their phone or computer.

 

17. Online Reservation Tools

When someone is on your website and searching your menu they have momentum so if you have a tool they can use to book online it streamlines the entire user-experience.

This isn’t a must-have tool but can be a good option especially for busy nights when the phone is busy and unable to take bookings.

 

18. Local Community – Stay Active

Getting involved in community projects is great for business any way you look at it.

Take care of the community and they will do the same.

Sponsoring events will give you something to talk about on your marketing channels, and give you a platform to leverage in various ways.

Get involved with local schools and hold cooking classes or offer to update their school menus for example.

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder in business, it makes people forget, so finding ways to stay in the light is a good idea.

 

19. Food Blogging

Content creation is incredibly useful for generating traffic, increasing your website rankings/visibility and driving customers.

If you want to generate traffic through search then you must create delicious content.

Of course this requires time and attention but this does pay off.

There are two food blogging strategies that I recommend:

  1. Food blogging for your own site
  2. Food blogging for other peoples sites

 

Food Blogging On Your Own Site

This is posting food blog posts on your website.

I don’t think you should post because everyone else is doing it.

Since you (or your marketing person) only have a limited number of hours in a day each tactic must deliver on multiple objectives.

For example let’s say you create an article on a relatively low competition keyword like” Fresh semolina pasta recipe”.

By creating various posts on low competition keywords you can overtime dramatically increase site traffic while improving your Google rankings from people backlinking to your content.

 

Food Blogging On Other Websites

Why would you spend time writing for another website?

  1. To reach new audiences
  2. To get new backlinks
  3. To make new connections

There are plenty of food blog websites that are looking for people to provide content, by giving them your content you can get access to their audience, drive those people back to your website and of course Google will start ranking you higher in search results.

It also gives you an opportunity to make a connection with an influencer, if they have an email list (they will have one) and you have an event, you can shoot them an email to promote your event or special offer to their list of followers or just write more content or maybe add banner ad on their site etc.

 

20. SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing is overlooked by a lot of restaurant owners which is great for those who do decide to integrate into their overall marketing strategy.

Here is why we recommend SMS marketing:

  • Less Competition: You can advertise where there is less (or even zero) competition – inside a customer’s SMS inbox.
  • No Internet Required: Unlike mobile marketing (which is largely dependent on the customer being connected online, to send and receive an SMS a customer only needs to be in mobile coverage.
  • Effective Reach: Incredibly high open and response rates.
  • Affordable: It’s one of the cheapest advertising channels – you can have a person make a booking with you and all it costs is a few cents in messaging costs.

Earlier I mentioned that the job of your website is to generate bookings but what about people who land on your website and didn’t actually make a booking?

This is where SMS Marketing comes in handy!

Include a highly visible space on your site that offers some kind of incentive in exchange for their mobile number, for example:

Text the word FREEVINO to 9999 and get a free bottle of red when you book this week!

Anyone who texts in is automatically added to your SMS list which means whenever you want to drive more bookings just send out an SMS message to your list and watch the bookings come in!

But this is not limited to just your website add this offer to your:

  • Social media channels
  • Flyers
  • Sandwich board
  • POS
  • On the tables
  • If you offer takeaways, include a flyer with the food

 

Generate bookings on demand

SMS has up to 45% response rate and almost everyone opens an SMS they receive making SMS marketing one of the most effective strategies for generating new customers on demand.

By having a list of customers you don’t need to rely on paid advertising or SEO you can create revenue with the click of a button.

Click here for a Free SMS Trial and start collecting mobile customers.

 

21. Partnerships

Partnerships are a good way to share resources and get access to each other’s customers further building up your awareness.

Finding local food producers are very popular now and will be well into the future as people become more conscious and weary of mass processed foods.

A restaurant I worked with set up partnerships with local cheese makers, wine makers and a high end butcher and held events which attracted a lot of attention from local foodies as they were able to experience different produce.

 

Partner Up With Delivery Services

Not everyone wants to eat out but they probably want great food.

By partnering with a delivery service you extend your reach beyond the chairs you have available inside your restaurant.

 

Insert Marketing Into The Takeaway Package.

If you’re going to give a delivery service a cut of your profits then you need to maximise that opportunity by including special offers to those people.

I have ordered from countless restaurants and I have never received additional marketing to entice me to come in, or join their SMS or email club…nothing.

 

22. Deal sites

This one is a sore point for most restaurants because many restaurant owners believe that it:

  1. Devalues your food
  2. Attracts the cheapest customers
  3. Crushes your team with orders
  4. Increases complaints from unsatisfied customers

The list is long and I don’t recommend this option if without a solid strategy in place to further monetize the bookings you get.

Deal sites can still be a fantastic way to create buzz, awareness and also fill up your SMS list with hungry buyers.

Grow your own customer list fast

Big coupon sites are valuable because they have large lists of buyers, by capturing as many of these buyers as you can and placing them into your email or SMS list you are actually using that site to grow your own list of customers.

 

23. Food Blogger Outreach

Food blogging is big business and there is no shortage of opportunity to continue to grow awareness around your restaurant and brand.

 

Food Bloggers (Influencers)

Leveraging the influence of others is a powerful way to get not only get access to another audience but to piggyback off the influencer’s reputation.

Food bloggers are seen as authorities inside various foodie communities and because of this they are able to command and send traffic to places they recommend.

 

Start With Smaller Food Bloggers

If you don’t currently have contacts with well-known bloggers, start building relationships with smaller food bloggers because they’re looking for great content to put on their websites and are a lot more open to any offers.

This typically includes a free meal of course.

You do want to make sure that they have:

  1. A good sized audience on multiple platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.)
  2. More importantly that audience is engaged (do they get a lot of shares and comments?)
  3. Do they get comments on their food blogs (this isn’t a deal breaker since most comments will come from the social media channels)

Offer them free dishes to come in and review – you never know if they become popular and grow a large audience they will remember you.

Let them try your signature dishes or dishes that you know will strike a nerve with their audience.

I found it relatively easy to get food bloggers to review the food of a restaurant I was working with – it was a little tedious initially but the payoffs far outweigh .

  1. Building key relationships.
  2. Getting access to new groups of potential customers.
  3. Giving you content to send out on your social media channels.
  4. Getting backlinks back to your site.

 

24. Guest Blogger Outreach

Guest blogging means that you will write a piece of content and another website will place it on their website for their audience to see – not only that but you will be able to promote your restaurant (typically in the bio link at the bottom of the article/recipe) and ALSO get a backlink which will boost your rankings.

Guest blogging on a website with a good reputation is one of the best ways to increase your Google rankings.

I’m not going to lie – it is very time consuming, which is why most restaurants won’t do it and Google places a high value on it.

But often times the greatest opportunities in business involve areas where your competitors are unwilling to try.

 

Guest Blogging The Basic Process

Writing out the entire process is beyond this article but this is basically how it works:

  1. Find a blog that you’d like to guest post for using Google search (see guest blogger search strings below)
  2. Review their content and get idea for what their audience likes
  3. Find a great article that you know their audience will love AND has been proven to get a lot of shares and comments
  4. Reach out to the blog owner / editor and let them know who you are and give them the idea for a post that you think their audience will love.
  5. If they like it write your recipe/article – make it unique, put your own twist on it – this is critical.
  6. Send it back to the blog including your bio, restaurant name and link back to your website

As you can see this is a lengthy process but if you have a marketing person, or are willing to hire someone temporarily to hand this process over to it is well worth the effort!

This needs to be a process, the more relationships you build in the foodie community the more your name gets out there.

 

Guest Blogger Search Strings

Here are some search queries you can use in Google to find websites that allow guest blogging:

  • Keyword + “guest blogger”
  • Keyword + “guest post“
  • Keyword + “guest article”
  • Keyword + “Add Guest Post”
  • Keyword + “Submit Guest Post”
  • Keyword + “Submit a Guest Article”
  • Keyword + “Guest Post Guidelines”
  • Keyword + “become a contributor”
  • Keyword + “contribute to this site”
  • Keyword + “Add Content”
  • Keyword + “write for us”
  • Keyword + “write for me”
  • Keyword + “submit your writing”
  • Keyword + “submit article”
  • keyword + “inurl:category/guest”

In this example I searched for: food blog “write for us” and it brought up literally hundreds of opportunities:

Check the authority of the blog

If you’re going to write for another site you’ll want to make sure that they have a good authority rating with Google.

In the above search example you’ll notice a little bar with a padlock, this is the MOZ SEO toolbar it’s free and plugs in to your browser.

This tool tells you the domain authority of each website, the higher the “DA” number the greater the benefit you’ll receive from having your content on their site.

 

Check the audience size of the blog

This is not a deal breaker, the DA is more useful, plus you’ll get an idea for the size of the audience by looking at their social media channels but by using a tool like Similar Web you can see how much traffic they’re receiving – this tool is a rough estimate, the traffic is typically more and sometimes it won’t work especially for smaller sites.

What’s most important is that they have an active social media presence with people commenting, sharing etc and that they have a DA 20+

 

Tools And Resources

Restaurant Guide

I recommend checking out this excellent in-depth restaurant guide, it’s loaded with fantastic restaurant tips & ideas (by the way most restaurateurs never do tip #34 even though it’s one of the core strategies that separates the best restaurants from those that struggle).

  • Guest blogging & Outreach: Guest blogging helps you not only improve your Google rankings but also gets you access to other peoples audiences and is one of my favourite strategies.
  • Google search: The best tool for finding opportunities to post your advice or recipes.
  • AutokloseAutoklose is a paid tool that allows you to send out hundreds of emails to bloggers and also does the follow up for you so you don’t need to do it one by one. If you’ve got a marketing person they can just use the free options like gmail or outlook etc.
  • Moz ToolbarThis is a free tool that will tell you the authority a site has, the more authority the better the opportunity. This is called the DA rating, you want to look for sites that are at least DA 20+.

 

Web Platform

  • WordPress – this is the best web platform in my opinion.

A lot of people are using Wix but I’ve heard it is not that good for SEO – I’ve used WordPress for years and it is an easy platform and is Google likes it.

 

Lead Capture Plugins

  • Thrive leads: Thrive leads is a paid wordpress plugin that can capture leads.
  • SumoMe: A free tool that can be used with wordpress.
  • OptinMonster: This is another popular paid lead capture plugin for wordpress.

 

List Marketing Tools

There are plenty of email platforms to choose from but these two are the best to start with.

  • MailchimpMailchimp is one of the most popular email automation programs and is incredibly easy to use.
  • Campaign monitorAnother great email platform has more features but is a little more complex than Mailchimp.

 

SMS Platform

Generating customers on demand helps you turn slow nights into highly profitable ones and SMS is an incredibly effective tool here.

Email is a good channel but it does fall down in terms of open rates (how many people see and then open your email) SMS on the other hand virtually guarantees everyone will see your text message and you can expect anywhere from 20-45% response rate depending on the offer.

If you’re interested in a free trial you can so here.

It only takes a few seconds to sign up and you can start sending a few SMS messages to see how it all works.

160.com.au

 

How To Send Bulk SMS Messages Online

March 14th, 2018

Bulk SMS (also referred to as Mass SMS) is an SMS solution that allows you to send SMS from PC to mobile devices quickly and easily.

Text messaging continues to be one of the most effective ways to deliver business to consumer messages thanks to the high open and response rates.

Both large and small businesses in Australia quickly realize the high upside potential of such a medium.

 

How Are Businesses Using Bulk Messages Services?

Online businesses

  • This helps online businesses encourage customers to come back (e.g. abandoned carts if it’s an ecommerce business)
  • Integrate online SMS as part of the buying process – a potential customer is learning about a specific product but may have a specific question, you can have your SMS details available for them to contact you directly to begin a dialogue.
  • To confirm presentations or appointments if you are selling online and then via webcam or face to face.
  • To improve webinar show up rates or email open rates on important newsletters.

Schools

  • Our clients are using SMS to notify parents whenever their child is sick. It’s also good for notifying parents about transport updates, weather conditions etc.

Marketing agencies

  • Create powerful SMS marketing campaigns for clients including lead generation or revenue generation campaigns to increase encourage repeat business and upsells.

Courier Companies

  • Keep customers updated on the delivery status of an item and also improve internal logistics communications.

Healthcare

  • SMS is incredibly effective here because it gives the medical centre direct access to their patients allowing them to send reminders of upcoming appointments and keep patients updated on any important news.

Restaurants

  • Restaurants can use a simple SMS blast to promote special offers to entice people to come in and try their menu.
  • Restaurateurs are able to send an SMS blast out to their existing customer list and turn slow nights into profitable ones.
  • Great for keeping staff updated on rosters

Clubs & Associations

  • By sending bulk messages to members clubs can instantly keep everyone updated on important events, accepting bookings or even target specific member groups with personalised messages.

Gyms & Health Clubs

  • SMS marketing can be used to generate highly-qualified leads for the sales consultants.
  • Build lists of potential new members and send out an SMS whenever there is a special new offer.
  • Keep existing members updated on class times, new product offerings, special offers or other important updates.
  • Re-activation tool for sales consultants to try and win back old customers.

Hair Salons

  • Remind clients of upcoming appointments
  • Let clients know if their hairdresser is away and when they will be back at the salon
  • Keep existing staff notified on rosters
  • Used for special client-only promotions

Bars & Clubs

  • Used for creating VIP lists and pushing out special offers
  • Text patrons inside the club to encourage spend
  • Keep teams updated on rosters

Real Estate Agents

  • Generate leads from interested home buyers
  • Notify homebuyers whenever there is a relevant listing
  • Encourage show up rates to open home viewings

Call Centres

  • Text messaging is typically used to reduce call congestion. Simple questions can be answered via SMS rather than taking up a phone line.

Almost any industry can benefit from SMS as long as your potential or existing customer has a mobile phone you can begin a conversation and make an immediate impact on important KPI’s.

 

Advantages of Bulk SMS Solutions

Here are a few of the reasons Australian businesses are looking to bulk SMS and SMS marketing services:

  1. 78% of consumers believe SMS/Text Messaging is fastest way to reach them
  2. 90% of all SMS/Text Messages are read within 3 minutes
  3. SMS campaigns have over 7 times greater performance than email campaigns
  4. 90% of mobile device users who were enrolled in SMS loyalty clubs felt they had benefited from being involved in the program
  5. Coupons delivered via SMS have redemption rates 10 times higher than those of printed coupons
  6. 75% of mobile phones worldwide are enabled to receive SMS/Text Messages
  7. SMS/Text Messaging will surpass apps in importance
  8. 50% of consumers in the U.S. make direct purchases after receiving an SMS branded text/QR code/discount coupon
  9. SMS/Text Message marketing is predicted to contribute a 40% growth rate of revenues by 2019.
  10. 98% of people will open an SMS/Text Message sent to their phone versus 27% of people who will open an email sent to a mobile device

 

What to look for with an SMS Service Provider?

This largely depends on your needs but at the very least you want to look for:

Free Trials and/or Special Offers

Free Trials will let you have a look around but typically the free trial is a little different to the real thing (service limitations) so you actually want to get a little skin in the game, buy the lowest package and see how it works without the limitations.

 

Customer And Tech Support

There will be times where you will need a little help – or sometimes you have an important campaign that needs to be sent yesterday having that customer and tech support is essential to get everything back on track again.

 

API Integration

Integration is not valuable for every company but having the ability to be able to plug all of your technologies together into one platform is handy, everything can be done from one dashboard and there’s no new software to learn. With SMS integration you will be able to literally plug SMS capabilities into your current software (e.g. CRM).

 

Should You Go Cloud-Based or Software-Based?

Cloud-Based is preferred for most businesses because software is limited in terms of:

  • Not being able to integrate into your existing communication eco-system
  • Relies on your computers resources and sending a large number of SMS can be resource hungry creating the potential for a crash – not desirable.
  • Chains you to only the device where the software is installed

What are the advantages of cloud-based SMS platforms?

 

Peace of Mind

Cloud-based SMS platforms run from a giant off-site computer that is designed to do one thing and that is, send bulk SMS messages – so there’s virtually zero chance of any crash happening during even the highest delivery task.

 

Freedom And Flexibility

Business owners and marketing teams also prefer the freedom of logging in to a bulk SMS portal anytime they wish, from any device and from any location in the world as long as there is an internet connection.

 

No Software To Install Or Learn

There’s no software to install and no IT team to wade through manuals learning about how to use it and fix it should the software run into problems.

 

Dedicated Support Teams – no need to troubleshoot on your own

Cloud-based platforms generally have dedicated customer support teams, if you run into a problem, call us up and we handle the rest for you!

 

Which Is The “Best Online Bulk SMS Service Provider?”

This is completely dependent on your goals.

But here are a few things you may want to keep an eye out for.

 

Dedicated Customer & Tech Support

Whenever you have a question or problem you want to be able to pick up the phone and get someone on to it immediately.

 

The Right Features

When it comes to deciding on the best SMS platform you want to make sure you have the right features.

For example:

Are you going to be running questionnaire poles, asking for feedback or engaging in dialogue then you’ll want 2-way SMS.

Do you want to be able to send and receive SMS from your email client? Then you’ll need Email To SMS capabilities.

Different SMS service providers will have different features, it’s important to know what you want so you can make the right decision –don’t just go with the cheapest provider.

Do you have customers internationally? If so, make sure your SMS service provider has an international SMS gateway that gives you overseas coverage.

 

Off-Site Server

You definitely do not want an SMS provider that houses their platform in their office – ideally you want your provider to be using an off-site server which is housed in a high-security, climate controlled environment.

This reduces the chances of the entire platform imploding in on itself.

 

Redundancy Measures

Does your SMS provider have ample redundancy measures in place? In other words, if something does go wrong do they have a backup service that will quickly take over?

 

How To Send A Bulk SMS Online

Send an SMS is incredibly easy.

  1. Log into your bulk SMS portal.
  2. Create a contact group and give it a relevant name.
  3. Upload your contacts to that SMS group either by spreadsheet, copying and pasting them in or adding them in manually.
  4. Select that group.
  5. Type out your SMS message.
  6. Do you want to send it out now or schedule it at a later date?
  7. To send it now click ‘send’ or to send at a later date, open the calendar select the date and time you’d like the message to go out and click ‘ok’.

Within a few seconds your contacts will have received your text messages.

 

Bulk SMS Rates and Prices

There are two basic pricing models:

  1. Monthly subscription (may or may not be contract based)
  2. Prepaid (pay for credits as you require them

 

Monthly Bulk SMS Packages

Monthly subscriptions are good if you know exactly how many text messages you’re going to be sending out – there’s no need to – it’s all automated for you.

If you do go over your allotted limit you will either be charged for additional SMS’s or moved up to the next plan ricing bracket for that month.

 

Prepaid Bulk SMS Packages

Prepaid is perfect for when you have variable SMS sending patterns and you also prefer more control over your account.

There are no monthly obligations or worrying about unused credits – you use the exact amount you need and if you need more you buy more.

Prepaid SMS services may however give you a time frame on when you can use those credits so you will want to find out if your credits expire and inside what timeframe.

 

SMSPapa is a Bulk SMS website and service provider that delivers an easy-to-use SMS platform for its clients.

If you would like to learn more about SMSPapa and our services please read our FAQ.

2018 Guide To SMS Marketing [UPDATED]

March 5th, 2018

 SMS Marketing Guide 2018

 

In this SMS Marketing Guide, you learn about why SMS marketing (also referred to as text message marketing) has been slowly picking up steam in recent years, largely due to the way in which it works.

It’s a direct marketing channel that allows you to reach anyone with a mobile phone (smart phone or feature phone).

Few, if any other marketing channels come close to the power of text messaging when it comes to getting the attention of your prospect and having them respond or take a desired action.

In this beginners guide you’ll learn:

  1. Quick Facts About SMS Marketing
  2. What Is SMS Marketing?
  3. What Makes SMS Marketing Different?
  4. SMS Marketing Benefits
  5. What Is Permission-Based Marketing? (and why is it important?)
  6. What are the downsides to text marketing?
  7. SMS features you should be familiar with
  8. SMS Marketing Fundamentals
  9. List Building Basics (how to collect mobile numbers for sms marketing)
  10. Where Do I Start?
  11. The Money Is In The List! – How To Start Building Lists With SMS
  12. 9 Offer Types To Get People To Join Your List
  13. How To Launch An Effective SMS Campaign
  14. A Few Quick Tips
  15. Sending Your SMS Campaign
  16. Measuring The Performance Of Your Campaigns
  17. Summary

 

Quick Facts About SMS

 

 

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS Marketing is a way for businesses and organisations to reach subscribers via their mobile phone message inbox to keep them updated on news or events or to send special offers, coupons, invites and new products.

Businesses love SMS because there is virtually no learning curve in terms of using the technology the only difference is that you’ll send an SMS from computer as ooposed to sending it from your mobile.

While the technical side of SMS marketing is fairly straightforward the marketing side requires a little more thought and is the goal of this guide, by reading this guide you’ll understand the why SMS is different from all other marketing, the fundamentals of SMS and the features you will be using.

 

What Makes SMS Marketing Different?

Imagine an advertising channel where:

  • Customers actually wanted you to send them offers – did you know 75 percent of consumers would like to have special offers sent to them via texting?
  • When it comes to SMS virtually every message you send gets read.
  • Customers not only open your marketing but respond to it within a few minutes. On average, it takes a person 90 minutes to respond to an email, but it only takes 90 seconds for them to respond to a text message.
  • No ad blockers, SPAM filters or algorithm updates that could slap you into oblivion to concern yourself with.

In addition, SMS is not reliant on the rules of the web for example you don’t need to worry about Google algorithm updates, ad blockers or wasting valuable time on ad creatives.

It’s beautifully simple.

SMS is a completely separate channel which is also why it is one of the most powerful.

 

SMS Marketing Benefits

SMS marketing provides an almost endless list of benefits and is becoming an increasingly valuable part of any marketing strategy especially as younger generations (who prefer SMS and social media messaging to phone calls) come into the picture.

  • Increase foot traffic to your business
  • SMS is permission-based, an incredibly important marketing advantage.
  • Increase brand and top-of-mind positioning inside the minds of your customers
  • Create a profitable SMS list which provides a reliable revenue stream
  • Create brand loyalists due to value-added communications
  • Generate bookings and revenue within minutes of sending out an SMS campaign
  • Integrate seamlessly into your existing technology
  • There’s less competition inside a mobile inbox compared to say your email inbox
  • SMS is an instant direct marketing channel that has fast response rates
  • All mobile phones are text-capable you can reach consumers on feature phones (non-smart phones that have the most basic functions)

 

What Is Permission-Based Marketing?

Permission-based marketing simply means that someone has given you explicit permission to communicate with them.

The benefits to permission based marketing are long but the point is, that it makes your job easier whether that be to generate leads, convert more sales or get buy-in on a particular idea.

The flip-side of this coin is what we call “interruption-based” marketing and means that not only do you not have the right to communicate with consumers but they often times don’t want to hear from you.

Because of this, interruption-based marketing suffers from:

  • High rejection rates – think of telemarketers and cold callers
  • Low conversion rates – because your marketing has to start from a “cold” position the chances of conversion drop dramatically.
  • Advertising blindness (your ad not only gets consciously ignored but there are areas inside the brain that will pull your ad away from a person’s consciousness so that they don’t even see it – like a blind spot.
  • High advertising costs – to combat advertising blindness businesses have to run ads dozens of times, there’s saying in marketing: “someone has to see your ad 7 times before it gets noticed” (it’s even more now) well, with SMS you get noticed on the first go.

Interruption style marketing when done right can be incredibly effective but for most it’s a tough, dirty game to play.

How can you turn interruption based marketing around?

Most interruption based marketing (PPC ads for example) fail because it is pushing for the “sale” immediately – just like cold calling it suffers from high rejection because the risk is higher for the potential customer.

Smart marketers find ways to lower the risk and will instead create a PPC ad that offers a piece of relevant, valuable content and then onto a lead capture system i.e. your SMS marketing list which moves you closer to getting the desired outcome – it’s a longer process but the ROI is much higher.

The difference between interruption and permission messaging is night and day.

 

What Are The Downsides To SMS Marketing?

The two main downsides to Text Message Marketing are:

  1. Frequency and;
  2. Reach

Frequency

Frequency is that number of times a person see’s your text message.

Due to the personal nature of mobile it’s tough to contact your subscribers as often as other channels e.g. social media, email marketing because mobile has an incredibly low tolerance for SPAM messaging and can quickly increase your unsubscribe rates.

That said there will be times where you will be able to push the boundaries and increase your frequency rate for example, if you have customers that are responding well to your SMS’s and buying frequently then it may make sense to follow that upward momentum – but be careful.

It’s tempting to hit up your list every time you have a new product, a special offer, new event etc. but you want to make sure that you’re perceived as great copywriting legend Dan Kennedy would say: “a welcomed guest rather than an annoying pest.”

Message customers when you have something great to offer them an you’ll be fine.

 

Reach (at least in the beginning)

The other downside to SMS marketing is that your reach is limited by the amount of people on your list.

If you only have 100 people on your mobile marketing list then, your reach is only 100.

The upside to this problem of reach is that the people on your contact list are highly responsive, you’ll find the ROI to be a lot higher and as you begin to grow that list through consistent promotion you’ll be building an incredibly profitable business asset.

 

What about the 160 character limit?

Some SMS marketers will say that the 160 character limited is a downside but I disagree, it forces advertisers to create short compelling messaging – the problem with email is that there are no character limits so you can fall into the trap of thinking that the reader has the time and attention span to read every word – not true – customers need you to get to the point quickly.

This focus on tight messaging pays off greatly in other areas of the selling and marketing your solutions as well.

 

SMS Features That You Should Be Familiar With

Bulk SMS

Bulk SMS allows you to send out a large number of SMS messages instantly which will be received by the recipients within minutes.

 

Keyword Opt-in

List building is the engine room for SMS marketing – often referred to as “contact lists” this allows you to not only build profitable subscriber lists but also segment them into meaningful groups. We’ll take a closer look at this shortly.

 

2-Way Messaging

2-Way messaging allows you to create a conversation with your contacts; our clients will use these for customer service feedback, polls, a confirmation etc.

 

Email To SMS

Email to SMS allows you to send SMS from any email platform whether it’s inside a CRM, cloud-based like Gmail or software based like Microsoft Outlook. Used with 2-Way messaging you can send and receive SMS through email.

 

SMS Integration

SMS integration (SMS API) simply means adding SMS capabilities to your existing software. For example, if you use a CRM then by using our API you can now send SMS from your CRM platform.

 

Concatenated SMS Messages

This allows you to send long SMS messages beyond 160 characters up to 450 in one message. This means that the recipient will receive one long message instead of 3 separate 160 character messages.

Keep in mind that this will use 3 credits instead of one (one credit = 1 x 160 character message)

 

2FA – Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication is mostly used by companies where security is a major area of importance like banks, companies with large customer databases etc.

2FA requires that a person enter their mobile number into a website, they are then sent a special one-time code, and they then enter that code into the website.

You’ve most likely gone through this process when sending money overseas through your online banking account.

 

Opt-Out

When people on your list have no need for what you offer or no longer wish to receive messages from you they can easily opt-out. Always have an opt-out option on every message for two main reasons:

  1. SMS SPAM laws
  2. Reduce costs: keep your lists lean with buyers this reduces costs and improves overall ROI.

 

Contact Groups

This can be one or multiple groups. It is highly advised that you create separate contact groups if you serve a market with different needs. If you sell different products then it may not be a good idea to send a bulk SMS out to the whole group instead you’d want to send a specific product offer to the group that is most likely to response and purchase.

 

Name Merging

By entering in a special short code like #name# our SMS system will insert the person’s name into the text message. This can only happen if you have the person’s name on the contact list.

 

Automated SMS

Automation is a great feature because it allows you to set up campaigns or reminders in advance and then let the system take care of the rest.

You can schedule by specific time, day of the week and date.

 

Customised Sender ID

This feature allows you to send text messages using your brand name instead of a mobile number.

 

SPAM Compliance

Never start an SMS campaign unless you’re clear around what you can and can’t do, here’s a reference guide.

 

SMS Template

Not a necessity however it does at least two things:

  1. Speeds up messaging
  2. Helps you create a collection of proven successful templates.

 

SMS Marketing Fundamentals

The success of SMS relies on your subscriber list.

The better your list is, the more results you can generate from it.

What does “better” mean exactly?

By this I mean that you have cleansegmented lists filled with targeted leads and customers.

 

What do I mean by “clean”?

Every time you send out an SMS campaign it costs money and the larger your lists grow the higher the spend and also the higher the amount of non-buyers.

To keep your costs lean it’s important to have a clear “opt-out” function so that people can easily remove themselves from your list if they no longer wish to receive messages from you.

 

Segmentation (contact group lists)

Segmentation is the key to blockbuster SMS campaigns.

The worst mistake you can make with SMS is placing all of your contacts inside one giant list.

There are two reasons for this:

1. It’s expensive. People join your list for different reasons and because of this they’re only interested in specific offers and updates. Sending out an offer to people who would never convert into a sale is a waste of money.

2. Sending irrelevant offers to people is considered spam and will likely increase your unsubscribe rate.

Instead you want to have multiple contact group lists which target specific interests, demographics, solution goals etc.

The reason for this is that when you create a targeted offer you’ll be able to send it to a group of people who are pre-interested, pre-motivated and predisposed to accepting that offer.

For example:

A fitness club has members who are interested in vastly different things so they may put together the following contact groups:

  1. Crossfit
  2. Body Building
  3. Runners
  4. Powerlifting
  5. Yoga
  6. Circuit
  7. Dance
  8. Leads for sales team

You can see how having all of these groups jammed into one giant list would be a problem right?

Sending an offer about cross-fit training would not do well if we sent it out to the entire list it would to unsubscribe city!

List segmentation is essential for improving conversion rates.

 

List Building Basics (How to collect mobile numbers for SMS marketing)

In order to start building lists you need:

  • Keyword
  • Shortcode
  • Contact group

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a short word that people will reply back to you with and will automatically add that person to a segmented contact group.

What is a shortcode?

A shortcode is simply a short phone number that people will text that keyword back to.

What is a contact group?

A contact group is the specific contact group that you wish to add new subscribers i.e. the people who texted the keyword back to you.

Text “crossfitwraps” to 12345 to get your free wrist wraps.

Anyone who is interested in crossfit will be added to the crossfit contact group.

 

How To Start Building Lists With SMS

Building a list in the SMS world is incredibly easy and straightforward.

The first step is to create a contact group to place our subscribers into.

All you need to do is create a contact group and give it a name that will help you easily identify that group.

 

Step 1: Create Your Offer

The strength of your offer will largely determine the amount of new leads or customers you will receive.

Don’t be timid with your offer, make it irresistible!

The job of the offer is not necessarily to make a profit on day one but to help you collect as many mobile numbers as you can so that you can sell to those people for months for even years ahead.

In terms of constructing an offer it can be anything as long as the people that you’re targeting will find it difficult to not give you their mobile number.

However I’ve outlined 9 offer structures to give you a jump start:

 

 1. Time Sensitive Offers

It is said that one of the greatest inventions man came up with was the deadline – I agree. Deadlines are great for getting people to take action and should be included into most of your offers – if not a time sensitive offer then a quantitty-based offer i.e. “limited stock”.

All items in store are 25% off until midnight tonight.

 

 2. Price Offers

Reduced price offers are another popular choice – this is good if you have a good upsell process in place.

Take 10% off when you use this coupon code at checkout.

 

 3. Product Offers

Target a specific product or range.

Take 20% off our menswear with this coupon code.

 

 4. Bundle Offers

Instead of selling a pair of pants offer a complete suite. Be sure to mention the savings if bought separately.

Men’s business suites 20% off with this coupon code.

 

 5. Geo-Based Offers

Target offers aimed at people in specific locations. If you’re selling higher end range of product then you may target subscribers who live in more affluent neighbourhoods first.

Use this coupon code to take 15% off your purchase at our Springfield branch.

 

 6. Pre-Sell Offers

Sometimes you want to test new products, but before you can directly “sell” to them you have to warm them up first with some content. If you’re a retail store but you’re looking at hiring stylists that can put your whole wardrobe together then you may try something like:

Learn how to buy a complete new wardrobe for only $150 see this exclusive training.

 

 7. Free Gift Offer

Use this to incentivize purchases.

Buy X and get Y Free valued at $99.

 

 8. Referral Offer

Great for growing your subscriber list.

Refer a friend and get 50% off.

 

 9. Piggy Back Offer

Use this only with businesses that you know have a golden reputation and that your list will actually appreciate. You always want to be a like an over-protective brother with your SMS marketing list.

Buy X and get 50% Off at company Y

 

Step 2: Create your contacts list

Once you have your contact group group created it’s now time think of the keyword that you wish to use and the short-code you want to assign it to, for example:

Text “gimme50” to 12345 to get 50% off your main course.

‘gimme50’ is the keyword and ‘12345’ is the short-code.

Now that you’ve got your keyword and short-code you assign it to your contact list.

Everything is set!

When someone keys in the keyword and sends it to the short-code they are then placed into the new contact group you created.

Now you can follow up with this person whenever you like.

 

Step 3: Promote: Where will you distribute this keyword opt-in offer

This step is important as you want to drive as many people into your list as possible which means getting as many eyes on your offer as you can.

Add this to your current marketing activities and channels:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Website
  • Point of purchase
  • Sandwich board
  • Pamphlets

You want to drive this promotion as hard as you can so you can get as many leads or customers onto your list.

Once you have the names on your list you will now be able to drive sales from them long after this promotion has ended.

NOTE: If you’re driving them to a landing page then make sure you have it built and tested for mobile use.

Make sure that your landing page is lightning fast, studies show that for every second a web page loads your conversions drop by 7%.

Slow page loading times in the mobile world are a killer.

 

How To Launch An Effective SMS Campaign

Now that you’re starting to build your list you’ll want to plan your first Online SMS campaign.

At this stage it’ll be quite simple since you only have one list but over time you’ll have many lists so it’s important to keep your messaging tight in terms of relevancy.

To give your campaign the highest chance of success you want to make sure that you’re sending the…

…Right offer to the right person.

Nothing will increase your unsubscribes faster than sending offers or information to people who have no interest in it.

Segmentation will help you in this area.

You can create contact list segments around things like:

  • Buying history
  • Opt-in offer
  • Location
  • Gender etc.

Segmentation helps you plan your campaigns more effectively.

 

A Few Quick Tips

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when launching a text campaign. We go deeper into this topic on our blog post 16 tips to set your SMS marketing on fire in 2018 but I’ll go over a few of them here.

 

 1. Set The Rules Of Engagement

How do you want the relationship to work?

When someone joins your list, send them an SMS that outlines what they can expect from you, it could be things like:

How often you’ll be communicating with them

What kinds of messages you will be sending (offers, updates etc)

 

letting them know how often you will be communicating with them and/or what to expect from you.

You don’t have to try and fit this into a single 160 character text, use the concatenated message feature up to 450 characters.

 

2. Lead with value

Don’t’ be a pest. Only contact them with something valuable so they’re always looking out for your SMS’s. This is where group segmentation  comes in handy – by sending only relevant information or offers to specific groups of people your messages will always be welcomed.

 

3. Personalize

It’s not always necessary to include the person’s name, I mean, do you message your friends beginning with their first name?

If you look at your message inbox the messages in there are really just a continuation of an ongoing conversation, right?

Think in the same terms – create an ongoing conversation.

I do recommend that early in the relationship that you use their name but then just assume the relationship.

 

4. Have A Clear Unsubscribe Option

Never be afraid to end the relationship, keep your list full with only buyers and qualified leads – lose the rest. Always make it easy for non-buyers to exit your list by telling them how they can opt-out for example:

“STOP” to op-out

 

5. Clear Call To Action

At the conclusion of your message…tell them exactly what you want them to do next.

 

6. Mobile Friendly Pages

Make sure your landing pages are mobile friendly and load fast (less than 3 seconds).

 

7. Urgency

Use urgency where necessary, the goal is to get the recipient to take an action so if it makes sense to apply pressure then do so.

 

8. Track Performance

You need to know what’s working so make sure you’re tracking the performance of each campaign.

 

9. Segment Your Lists

It’s worth mentioning again how important segmentation is – there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” in marketing, especially with SMS.

 

Sending Your SMS Campaign

 

Log in to your SMS portal:

Click on your “contacts”

Select your contact group

 

Select the recipients you want to send the SMS campaign to and click “put selected contacts as recipients”

 

Type out your message (or use a template)

Click “Send SMS” or if you want to schedule for later the click on the “please send my SMS another time” and it will open up a calendar for you to schedule your campaign.

Within the next few minutes everyone will receive your SMS message.

 

Measuring The Performance Of Your Campaigns

Now that your SMS marketing campaign has been sent it’s important to create good habits, that is, tracking your numbers.

This may not seem exciting but it is essential to growth.

By carefully tracking data, you’ll spot trends that you can use to generate more sales, reduce unsubscribes, grow your opt-ins etc.

Here are 10 metrics that you may want to track:

  1. List growth rate (subscription rate): How many people are joining your lists daily, weekly, monthly, annually?
  2. Unsubscribe Rate: How many unsubscribes do you get daily, weekly, monthly, annually? Know what your base line numbers are here so you can see how different campaigns affect those numbers.
  3. Join/Unsubscribe Ratio: Ratios are a great way to see what is happening at a glance. During the month of January how many people joined X list vs. how many people unsubscribed?
  4. Attribution: What marketing channels are contributing to your list growth? Also, if possible, uncover which marketing channels are delivering you the best quality opt-ins.
  5. List Size: Is your list size growing, shrinking or staying the same?
  6. List value: Knowing what your list is worth to your company is essential, it could be an invaluable asset worth $1,000’s or $10,000’s per year or more.
  7. Revenue Per Subscriber: Another good metric to be aware of is your revenue per subscriber. If the revenue value of each subscriber is dropping then it could mean you have too many unresponsive subscribers on your list and that you need to do some house cleaning (removing people who are unresponsive to your SMS’s)
  8. Conversion rate: Always a good metric to know. Of the people who responded to your SMS message how many of them converted into a sale?
  9. Response rate: How many people are responding to your offers?
  10. SMS Lifecycle: How long do people stay on your list before unsubscribing? Is it worth finding ways to extend the offer? If you sell baby products, do you then find ‘toddler’ products or services to sell (e.g. affiliate sales for another company who sells to that age group?) and create a list around that?

 

Summary

When it comes to SMS marketing there are 4 main areas that you need to master:

  1. List Building: The money is in the list
  2. Revenue Generation: Send irresistible offers to build lists quickly
  3. Housekeeping: Keep your list clean from non-buyers to increase ROI
  4. Metrics: Track your numbers for continuous growth

Want to see more tips on SMS marketing? Read our “16 Pro Tips For SMS Marketing” article.

 

 

 

7 Ways Schools Can Use SMS Services

February 2nd, 2018

How schools benefit from SMS services.

In my parents day, they would listen in to school updates on their favourite local radio station (weather conditions, buses running etc.), in my day it was paper newsletters and later email, and now…mobile SMS services is the communication medium of choice.

Now if there’s an important update, the school admin person can easily type up a message, select the appropriate list of contacts and send an SMS from their computer and within seconds everyone can read the update!

SMS is a preferred method of communication because it offers these main benefits:

  1. Reach: you can send a single SMS or a thousand.
  2. Open rate: people open their text messages.
  3. Speed: from the moment a text is sent to that message being delivered is literally seconds.

SMS has also become a lot more advanced making it similar to email but more powerful because of how it’s delivered to the recipient.

Below are 7 ways schools can use the power SMS services to optimise their communication channels:1. Weather and emergency alerts

1. Weather and emergency alerts

SMS weather alerts are especially good in climates where the roads can ice or snow over leading to cancellations or a change in transportation times tables. Fast communication is essential in an emergency and SMS plays a critical role here too.

2. Parent-teacher meetings

Letters and email are often times too slow a medium to updates parents or teachers on a change of time. SMS not only allows a faster response time it can also be scheduled to a specific time and date to remind parents of the meeting – this automation also, frees the teacher up to focus on other activities.

3. Exam reminders and updates

Exam information can easily be sent to students updating them on location, date, time and extra course materials needed for that day.

4. New student recruitment

SMS can be an effective enrolment tool to help students quickly orientate themselves into their new surroundings.

Using the scheduling and automation features you can send pre-programmed pieces of information letting them know the location of important areas, where to find information on classes, who is teaching those classes, extra materials, transportation to and from school etc.

5. Urgent updates and messages

Whenever there is an urgent update or emergency SMS really shines because it’s the most efficient and effective way to update an almost unlimited number of people simultaneously.

6. Staff updates

Internal communications benefit greatly with SMS it’s easy for teachers to stay in the loop with updates regarding student absenteeism, changes in class materials or recent events that may require internal process change.

Begin a Free Trial and see how easy it is!

 

How Restaurants Can Create Customers On Demand With SMS Marketing

February 1st, 2018

Empty Restaurant?

The competition among restaurants is incredibly high, not just between each other but with the consumer as well.

After a long day at work most people just want to get home, switch on some bad reality TV show and heat up last nights dinner.

When I was learning about marketing I was told to never underestimate how hard it is to get people to travel outside their cave.

In this post I’m going to share how SMS can be used to (quite literally) generate customers on demand.

 

Seizing the attention of the customer

Before you can get a customer, you must first capture their attention.

How do most restaurants go about capturing attention?

 

Facebook

In a recent post by Digiday they had a headline that read:

‘Organic reach on Facebook is dead’:
Advertisers expect price hikes after Facebook’s feed purge

That’s grim.

They went on to say that Facebook organic reach has been as low as 2%!

That means when you throw up a post on FB to 1,000 followers 20 people will see it.

For that strategy to start making sense, you’ll need to get 5k to 10k followers to allow for 98% of your followers to completely miss your post.

 

Sandwich board

I like sandwich boards but the problem is you have to rely on customers remembering your message during their busy and stressful work day.

 

Website

In order for a website to work you have to bank on your potential customer to:

  1. Decide that they want to eat out
  2. Decide on what cuisine they feel like
  3. See you on the first page of Google search
  4. See what the other 9 guys on that page have got
  5. Hopefully you’ve got good reviews
  6. Call in to book
  7. Sit in traffic
  8. Drive around looking for a park

Have you ever thought about the tortured process a person must go through before they sit down at a restaurant? Well they think about it.

Later on in this post I mention how important it is to put together an irresistible offer not just to remove the competitive threat but to move the customer to want to come and see you.

 

Why SMS is a power tool for restaurant owners

Imagine being able to talk to people who have either:

  1. Already eaten at your restaurant
  2. Have shown an interest in eating at your restaurant

Sound good?

  • Unlike Facebook you will reach every single person on your list.
  • Unlike sandwich boards you will be able to remind them of your offer at any point in the day.
  • Unlike your website you use a preemptive strategy, that is you don’t wait for them to start searching, you reach out to them first!

 

SMS Marketing For Restaurants

First thing is first you have to build a list of customers – much you may have done with building a Facebook following.

Some people think that this is hassle but that’s only because they miss the bigger picture which is, you’re not “building a following” you’re building a business asset that will drive revenue straight into your restaurant whenever you need.

Step 1: Choose a reliable SMS provider.

Step 2: Decide on an irresistible offer that people will love!

Step 3: Choose a special keyword (you may want to tie it to the offer) and short code (ask your provider for both of these things) for example:

Text “gimme20” (this is your special keyword)
to 12345 (this is your short code)
and receive 20% of your total bill.

Step 4: Create a contact group (acts exactly like a contact group on your mobile phone) to place these people into.

Now that you have these elements in place, whenever someone texts your special code to your short code number they will automatically be added to your contact list for you to text later!

 

Aggressive Promotion

This part is crucial.

It’s time to promote your SMS list everywhere you can so that you can quickly fill up your list with potential customers, for example:

  • Facebook & other social media channels
  • Website
  • Sandwich board
  • Flyers
  • POS
  • Customers who are already in your restaurant etc.

Everywhere you can you’ll want to promote this channel.

As your list grows you will be able to send more customers your way.

 

Customers Respond Fast To SMS

Due to the nature of SMS when someone receives a text message they tend to look at who texted them very quickly and people will often respond to SMS messages rather quickly, 90 seconds.

What this means is that you can expect to start receiving table bookings not long after the recipient has read your message.

Below are a few tips on how to get the most from SMS marketing, if you want to see a more in depth guide then read our 2018 Guide To SMS Marketing or our 16 Power SMS Marketing Tips post

 

5 SMS Marketing Tips For Restaurants

1. Use your restaurant name in the SMS message.

Do not leave this out.

Lead with your offer; tell them who you are and how to redeem and where to find you.

Better yet use your brand name instead of your phone number so you don’t use up valuable character space inside your message.

 

2. Strong offer

Don’t come with something weak like 10% off your main – that’s boring and will get ignored.

Your customer receives offers from all angles all day long from other businesses.

If you’re going to make an offer – make ’em an offer they can’t refuse.

If it is dinner time roll out the red carpet and give them a starter + main + dessert or cheeseboard for 30% off or make one of those dishes free.

The offer must be good to snap them out of their daily fog.

In marketing circles, this is often referred to as a “lead magnet”.

The goal of the lead magnet is to get people into your sales funnel (in this case your restaurant) so you can convert and upsell.

 

3. Urgency

If you’ve got the right target audience and the right offer, urgency will motivate them to pick up the phone to book a table.

Place a strict limit on availability, or specials etc.

Next…

 

4. Make the customer the hero (and collect more mobile numbers)

People rarely eat alone, if you’re putting on an amazing special they’re going to want to bring at least one other person or maybe a battalion of eager foodies.

Why?

• People love to socialise over food, and;
• They also enjoy a little kudos from their peers for selecting a good restaurant.

The next step is where most amateur restauranteurs drop the ball.

Your service must be excellent.

You’ve invested money to get them into your establishment so you must create an environment that is conducive to making sales.

When people are treated well and are having a good time they will spend more.

Not only that but if you ask them for a small favour, whether it be to leave a review or share with friends on social media they will be more likely to comply with those requests.

Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence” called this the law of reciprocity.

When you do a good deed for someone, they will return the favour often times by multiples of what you initially gave them.

You already gave the table a strong discount and treated them with excellent service.

Now you want to ask them for their mobile numbers so you can place them on your VIP members list.

If asking makes you uncomfortable, have a table piece that promotes your mobile only VIP member offer.

The reason you sent out the offer wasn’t just to fill up tables, it was to get more people onto your mobile list.

If each person brings in 2 other people on average you have an opportunity to double to triple your list.

 

5. The ‘Thank You’ SMS

Send your customer a simple “thank you” text and include another offer if you like.

 

Final Takeaways

  • The money is in the list! By having a list of interested potentials and existing customers you don’t need to rely on hope and pray style marketing to drive business – all you need to do is write a message and send it out, within a few minutes to an hour you’ll start filling up those empty tables.
  • SMS is an incredibly direct advertising medium as it goes right to the intended person but it also has an incredibly high open and read rate.
  • Sending out offers on Facebook? Facebook has recently changed its approach making Facebook more family-friendly and less business-friendly before only 1% of people would see your posts who knows what that will be now.
  • Send out offers via email? That’s good too but with an open rate of 20% to 30%, and a click-through rate of 3-7% you’re still leaving an enormous amount of opportunity on the table.
  • SMS has a whopping 98% open rate and around 37% click-through rate making it (currently) the strongest advertising platform.
  • Treat these customers with excellent service to reduce unsubscribes and to drive more people onto your SMS list.

 

160.com.au can help your restaurant drive new customers by letting you grow your own V.I.P SMS list with our feature-packed SMS solutions.

• Create custom lists (i.e. fine dining, corporate, cooking classes, special events etc.)

• Use special sign-up codes to automate customer segments: E.g. a person interested in a wine tasting event texts 888 to ‘winetaste’ and is automatically added to the wine tasting SMS list. When the event comes around you send out your SMS to that list only.

• Schedule SMS’s to go out based on special promotions – schedule your SMS’s and watch the bookings come in!

• Cloud-based service. No need to install software, just log in to our website using any device type out your message, select the group that will receive your SMS and hit send.

• Get replies from customers with 2-Way SMS.

• Send SMS’s from your email software or any business software that has email capabilities.

• Built-in opt-out feature for those who want to unsubscribe from your list.

Plus more…

Want to see how it all works?

Begin your Free Trial and have a go at sending SMS messages.

Is SMS Marketing The New Email Marketing?

January 4th, 2018

Is email marketing dead?

And is SMS marketing going to take its place?

Let’s face it.

Email campaigns are a headache to put together.

I remember when I was an EDM specialist in retail sending out emails would require a shed-load of effort not just from myself, but also the team.

Here is a short list of what goes into preparing an email broadcast:

1. Select the product you want to promote or if it’s a newsletter, decide which subject matters to cover.
2. Write your first draft
3. Get those drafts proofed by the editorial team (this could go back and forth a few times)
4. Get designers and photographers involved to produce the right product shots or if it’s a newsletter go and find stock images that don’t look like stock images.5. Write the new version with everyone’s feedback
6. Check links and landing pages are working
7. Make sure your subject line is compelling
8. Send a test version out to select people in your company for a final green light
9. Once approved you can now select the segment of people to send the email to
10. Schedule and hot the go button

Here are some other issues with email:

Spam detectors – it’s like your email is travelling internationally and has to go through a border security check and if it gets flagged, your email is instantly jailed without a fair hearing.

 

Getting opened – if you email gets to the recipient will it even get opened after all of that work? People receive so many emails so you need to work harder to get it opened.

Platform friendly – Will your email stay together once it is opened on the other side? You have to check to make sure that you email looks great across all email clients.

Sender Reputation – your email performance is being closely monitored by your email service provider – earn a bad sender reputation and watch your emails go straight to spam and even get completely blocked by your ESP.

There are seemingly endless things to consider when constructing an email campaign including obstacles and hurdles to overcome.

And even if you manage to deal with all of this, you can expect to see results like these:

• 10% – 30% open rate (40% if you have a highly responsive list)
• 6%-7% click-through rate

What!?

Let’s take a quick look at SMS marketing.

Here’s the process:

1. Decide on an offer
2. Type out the offer
3. Select the list segment you want to send the offer to
4. Prepare landing page on website (if necessary)
5. Hit send.

No email border security checks to worry about.

No need to worry about open rates because people almost always click on their SMS messages AND there’s next to no competition in their SMS inbox.

No need to worry about your text message being ‘platform compliant’.

It’s beautifully simple.

And for this you can expect the following results:

• 98%+ open rates
• 36%+ click-through rate
• 83% opened within the first 3 minutes

SMS goes straight to its intended target like a guided missile; nothing stops it apart from the phone being off or the person being out of range.

A lot of us are ‘addicted’ to our mobile devices and always have them close by.

When people want information they turn to their mobile device.

When people are bored they pick up their device.

This presents a magical opportunity for businesses that are thinking about using SMS marketing.

I’ve found few strategies quite as effective as SMS when it comes to getting the phone to ring with customers or driving people to an offer.

It just works.

It’s cheap too, for pennies per SMS you’re getting maximum engagement.

Is email marketing dead?

No.

Email is still a strong channel and will not go anywhere soon but here’s how I like to think of email vs SMS:

Email is like general mail, it gets delivered to the customer’s home or office in amongst dozens of other envelopes.

Your customer (or their assistant) starts sorting through that pile of mail throwing out the ones that don’t immediately get their attention straight into the bin.

SMS is like a Priority Courier package.

When you get a courier package what is your first reaction?

Generally excitement and curiosity.

You want to see what’s inside.

It costs a few cents to deliver, but this buys you a first class ticket past all of the envelopes getting thrown into the bin and lands directly to the recipient where they feel compelled to tear the package open to see what’s inside.

When a person receives an SMS their attention shifts immediately to their phone.

Getting instant attention and getting your message opened and read is
what makes SMS marketing so powerful.

That maximum reach and engagement come with a caveat.

You can’t treat SMS like email – unfortunately, most people make this mistake.

A person’s mobile device is incredibly personal and for this reason, needs to be treated delicately.

SMS is not a brute force marketing channel (like email) where you can send out messages every day until your customers plead for mercy.

Use it intelligently.

Want a few tips on how to use SMS correctly?

16 Tips That’ll Set Your SMS Marketing On Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Pro Tips For SMS Marketing [UPDATED]

December 28th, 2017

SMS Marketing or SMS broadcasting uses an is an old technology (nearly 30 years) but it is fast-becoming the communication medium of choice for businesses looking to improve their ROI.

In this article you’ll learn 16 SMS marketing best practices that will have you creating high-performance marketing campaigns.

Why is SMS only now becoming so popular if it has been with us for nearly 3 decades already?

One word: Mobile.

Mobile is driving this planet and every day that passes we are integrating more and more of our lives into these devices.

 

What is SMS Marketing and why is it so important today?

The benefits of SMS marketing are great in fact, The U.S. has 237 million smartphone users (2018), Australia has nearly 100% smartphone penetration with currently 88% of the country (2018) owning a smartphone device, New Zealand is already at 100% penetration with more mobile phones than people making the mobile phone the new sheep.

Ok, so a lot of humans are using this device, but what else makes bulk SMS marketing so special?

Reach

Reach is incredibly important when dealing with potential customers and the fact that you can send out a message to a customer and have at least 82% read it with up to 45% responding to that message presents an amazing opportunity to help customers and/or drive business revenue.

Personal

A mobile phone is now our most personal possession. It allows us to connect with friends and family, manage finances, watch, read and share media, help us make better health decisions etc. our lives are literally tied up in this device! When you’re sending messages via mobile you communicating with them on their most personal channel.

Instant

Mobile is a fast channel with 90% of recipients reading your message within 3 minutes (180 seconds) of receiving it!

 

Here is what Smart Insights had to say about the power of SMS:

Over 97% of text messages are read within the first four minutes.
• 19% of people will click a link in a SMS campaign rather than just 4.2% for emails.
• SMS campaigns receive average response rates of 30%, compared to 4% for emails.

With such high open, click-through and response rates, SMS presents a great opportunity to drive new leads, customers and revenue.

 

16 SMS Marketing Tips & Best Practices:

1: Always Get Permission – (Never Buy Mobile Number Lists)

The big advantage text message marketing has over a lot of other channels is that it is permission-based.

This means that a person has given you explicit permission to send marketing messages to them.

Wile you could just buy a big ole’ list of mobile phone numbers and push out a bulk SMS marketing message campaign (which would deliver results) the legal hellfire that could land squarely on your lap makes this “strategy” not even worth the risk.

The best marketers grow their subscriber lists naturally because it ensures they build quality lists that generate long-term sales revenue.

For extra points:

Set expectations and let new subscribers know how things will roll – kind of like when you recite your vows before marriage (however in an SMS relationship you best not break them).

For example…

When someone subscribes to your SMS list, send them a confirmation SMS along with how the relationship will work.

This may include things like:

• How often you’ll be texting them
• The time of day you will contact them (example: if you own a restaurant and have weekly lunch specials)
• Content type: The type of texts they can expect to from you i.e. receive offers, updates, reminders etc.
• How to opt out from your list

All good relationships start off with an understanding of how it will all work.

 

2: Appeal To Self-Interest

In John Caples’ Book “Tested Advertising Methods” (which was based on thousands of scientifically-based advertising tests) he discovered that the most successful ads were focused on the customer’s self-interest.

That book was published in 1961 and what marketers have come to learn is…nothing has changed.

We humans are (and always will be) motivated to act in a way that meets our own needs first.

Appealing to a person’s self-interest is necessary to not only grab their attention but to ultimately guide them towards the action we want them to take.

This is especially critical in the initial stages of the relationship.

You want your subscriber to look forward to your SMS messages.

Quick story:

A few years back I received an SMS from Vodafone, my instant thought was a negative one,

Why?

They had never messaged me before, I couldn’t even remember signing up with them…

And…

It annoyed me.

Not a great start Vodafone.

But what came next seriously shocked me!

It was a voucher for $250 dollars that I could use for any mobile phone!

No strings.

No weird catch like “only available on phones over $1,000 dollars”

Guess what my instant reaction was when Vodafone sent me an SMS from that point on?

A good one.

This is what I call “positive expectancy”.

Like when a good friend comes around.

That said. Value comes in all forms, not just discounts and offers.

Timely SMS’s that walk you through a specific challenge or important updates, for example:

When my daughter travels internationally the airlines send me a text message at every port letting me know exactly when she landed and when she is boarding the next flight – this gives me peace of mind.

Be person who always delivers something useful.

Contact your subscribers only when you have something great to share with them and you’ll create positive expectancy, own top position in their mind strengthen your brand goodwill and if you sell products or services this becomes a lot easier.

 

3: Be Concise

You’re only dealing with 160 characters which most will say isn’t a lot.

Personally, I think it’s plenty, if there is a situation where you need to explain something that requires more than 160 characters then simply use the SMS message as a teaser to entice the reader to go to a web page where you can fully explain what you have to offer.

You don’t need to use up every single character, if you’ve got a special offer: Kelly! 50% off. Online only. Ends midnight, Jim.

 

Here are a few other tips:

1. Lose the jargon

Lose the industry talk – use your readers words where possible.

2. Bring them to your place

You’re only working with a few characters, sometimes it’s not helpful to hang on the phone, instead take the reader to another location so you can expand on what you want to say – typically your website.

3. Lead with your best stuff

Lead the message with your big benefit, curiosity phrase or offer. Before a person opens a text they can get a glimpse of what the message is about so make it count – you could think of this as the headline for an ad or the subject line for an email designed to tempt them to open the message.

 

4: Write 1-to-1 And Make It Personal

Personalisation works. Period.

There are different ways to achieve this but here a few ideas:

Talking to them like you’re there

One tactic in copy writing is to write one-to-one, that is, speaking directly to them as if you’re there – one person talking to another.

It helps to think of your subscriber while you write the text message to help you make it more personal.

 

Use the subscribers name

Some SMS marketers will say that you should always include the person’s first name but I don’t think this is necessary.

Before you text a friend do you start the message with their name?

This depends on the relationship you have with your subscribers but just know that it’s not a hard rule to follow.

 

Use your name

Hey Jennie, I see that you added the Cleveland boots to your cart but didn’t end up buying. Get 10% off for the next 24 hours. Jessica. To opt-out, reply STOP.

 

Communicate to subscribers based on location

If you move around a bit then you can send SMS messages to people in specific locations “Hey Tammie, the Gourmet Food Truck is in Fernwood tonight! Click here to see the Fernwood Menu…”

 

Targeting an offer specifically for that person

This would most likely be used for triggered event for example an ecommerce store where shoppers who added an item to their shopping cart but didn’t end up buying.

I know this really annoys ecom marketers!

As soon as some abandons their cart, an SMS alert is sent out to the shopper to remind them that they still have an item in their cart and that they can continue shopping by following the link in the SMS.

NOTE: On the 1st tip I mentioned how important it is to get permission to send text messages to people – in this instance you will be fine sending this out to them (because it’s positioned as a helpful service) but you will NOT have permission to send marketing offers unless they ticked a box saying that it was ok to do so.

 

Targeting specific interests

This is incredibly powerful and is only possible if you have segmented your lists.

When you have segmented lists (contact groups that have people with similar interests inside them) you can send highly targeted offers and messaging which will often result in higher open and response rates.

For example:

If you run a pet store you might create a “Pug” contact group which allows you to send pug related tips, reminders and offers that pug owners would benefit from.

Mobile is very much a one-to-one channel so look to use personalisation often.

Customer Avatars are incredibly powerful for going deep into personalising your messaging.

 

5: Mobile Friendly Landing Pages

Are you sending people from their phone to your site?

You better make sure that when they arrive at your ‘home’ everything is tidy.

Make sure that your page:

1. Loads quickly
2. Looks great on a mobile screen
3. Uses the same words from your SMS on the landing page
4. Makes it easy to find what they’re looking for is easy to find
5. Has no or very few distractions
6. Carries on the conversation from the SMS message (seamless communication)
7. Has clear calls to action (make it easy to move them through your funnel)
8. Is designed to lead them to the single action you want them to take.

 

6: Frequency and Timing

How often do you plan to contact the people on your SMS list?

If the frequency is too high, they’ll unsubscribe.

If the frequency is too low, and they may forget subscribing to your list and unsubscribe.

This needs a bit of forethought and can be covered in your pre-framing SMS or opt-in page from ‘Tip 1’

How often you text will largely depend on the type of relationship you have.

• If you’re a personal trainer then clients will welcome daily reminders and updates.
• If you’re an eCommerce or physical store and you want to send offers then once a week may be perfect.
• If you’re launching a product then slow to more rapid SMS messaging as the launch gets closer will be required.

Either way, let your list know how often you’ll be contacting them.

 

7: Show Them Where The ‘Break Up’ Button Is

Place an unsubscribe option on every SMS.

This gives your subscriber or customer peace of mind knowing that they can opt-out whenever they want – kind of like a 30-day money back guarantee.

If you’re doing a good job at SMS then you won’t have to worry about a mass exodus from your list.

SMS marketing laws are different in every country so it is advised that you read through your country’s spam laws so you avoid legal headaches.

 

8: Drive Action With Urgency

It is often said that ‘deadlines’ were man’s greatest invention.

The thought of an impending deadline where a person can lose something is often times enough to push a person forward.

If you care about subscribers taking action then urgency should be a common theme.
“Sale ends at midnight tonight” creates urgency.

If you send them through to a web page with a countdown timer mercilessly counting down every second, minute and hour to midnight this reinforces that sense of urgency.

Never underestimate how hard it is to get a person to take action, whether that be to:

• Click on a link in your SMS
• Go to your website
• Find the product
• Read all of the information (description, money back guarantee etc.)
• Go through the cart process (entering information into all of those fields if they aren’t a member of your site)
• Entering in their credit card details (the BIG one)

The bigger the action you want the person to take the more effort you will need to get them to complete the action.

 

9: Smooth Out Resistance Points

Remember that scene in “The Aviator” with Leonardo DiCaprio where he was inspecting his new plane which included running his fingers across the rivets to ensure none of them stuck out.

He understood that even rivets would create drag and resistance which could mean failing to break the record for the world’s fastest plane.

Whenever you want an action from a customer, there is often resistance from the customer that precedes that action.

If you’re surprised at no one buying your product even though you have a lot of people clicking on your link it could mean the the landing page is not mobile friendly, the offer is different, the cart is broken etc.

Step through the process from start to finish as a customer, ask yourself at each step whether you are creating friction-points and if so, how can you smooth it out?

 

10: Use SMS To Boost The Performance Of Other Channels

Got an event coming up that is important to lead generation or direct sales?

Then how could you be using SMS to make sure that you’re squeezing the most from that moment?

Boost webinar attendance rates with a quick SMS: “Hi Jack, don’t forget our webinar is on in 5 minutes – here’s the link > http://www.webinar.com. See you there!” watch your attendance rate go up.

Increase open rates on emails. Smart Insights said that sending out an SMS right after an email improved email open rates by 20-30% – that’s a huge uplift in response.

According to a 2017 study from Deloitte Australia:

“Thirty-five percent of us check our phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning, with 70 percent using phones during mealtimes with family and friends.”

People don’t check their emails every 10 minutes, but they will be checking their phones.

 

11: Leverage Exclusivity

Clubs are popular because it means exclusion.

A great way to increase value (and perhaps reduce unsubscribes) is to make offers that exist only inside the SMS channel which are not accessible elsewhere.

• Early or Alpha Access to a product before the rest of the world knows about it
• Special bonuses just for VIP SMS clients
• Free vouchers
• Faster shipping times

 

12: Track Performance

If you don’t track then it is almost impossible to improve so like any other of your marketing activities make sure you’re able to determine the impact of each  SMS campaign.

Track your CTR and conversions, inbound calls, unsubscribes etc.

 

13: Segmentation

Not all customers are the same and not all prospects are the same but they do share common traits (needs, wants, desires and outcomes) and it’s important to separate these needs into different groups.

Paper Style used to use a blast & pray approach to email marketing but when they switched to segmentation they increased their open rates by 244% and increased their click-through-rate by 161%.

Once you have segmented lists, it’s far easier to create targeted offers and improve conversions.

 

14: Increase Sales

An easy way to increase sales that most businesses overlook is simply helping customers complete their purchase.

A typical strategy used by online retailers is to send out an SMS to buyers who added products to their cart but failed to complete the order – called an abandoned cart SMS reminder.

When someone adds a product to cart, that is a strong buying indicator so using a direct messaging method like SMS to let them know that they have left items in their cart is a great way to recover potentially lost purchases.

Another way to help customers complete a purchase is to give them a way to contact you during the decision making process.

Bohemian Guitars increase their sales by 98% in a single month just by giving customers a chance to interact with them via SMS. When customers are close to a buying decision they may have one or two specific questions that are not available on your site – this simple little tactic will help you increase sales.

Another simple way is to use bundled offers, a popular version of this is the “spend this, get that” style campaign that eCommerce stores use to increase their AOV (Average Order Value) goals.

You can offer: free shipping, a free complimentary product or more of the same for a discount.

There are countless ways to increase sales using SMS.

 

15: Consistency

It is generally good practice to maintain a schedule when it comes to broadcast style SMS messages since most humans are conditioned for routine TV shows being a good example.

Determine how often you will contact your list and stick to it.

 

16: ABT (Always Be Testing)

It’s tough to improve if you never adapt and the marketplace is always moving and shifting gears.

Testing allows you to flip over rocks and uncover mysteries that would otherwise be hidden.

The businesses that lead the way are able to do this because they test constantly and are able to discover new ‘wins’ leaving their competitors to always follow behind.

1. Come up with a hypothesis
2. Test that hypothesis with real customers and prospects
3. Record your findings
4. Endlessly Repeat

It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that.

• Test time of day
• Test offer A with offer B
• Test different parts of the buying process
• Test offer in message vs teaser copy with offer on landing page
• Test males vs. females
• Segments (some will be more profitable than others)

Want to learn more about SMS Marketing see our SMS Marketing Guide.

 

Ready To Try SMS marketing?

Click here to learn more about 160.com.au SMS marketing services.

Send Texts From Email With Email To SMS

December 13th, 2017

Combining the ease of email and the speed of SMS, Email To SMS gives you another smart way to engage customers on their mobile phones.

The email to SMS feature is great for:

  • Customer announcements & broadcasts
  • Updates to teams
  • Sales & Marketing activities

You can send one-way messages, 2-way messages (where customers can reply) and also use your brand name instead of your mobile number so people can instantly recognise you and respond if need be.

How do you send SMS from your email address?

Make sure you have an account with 160.com.au (if you don’t yet have one you can get started at the bottom of this article)

Enter the mobile number of the person you wish to contact in the ‘To’ field followed by our gateway “160.com.au”.

Next, include your phone number including the country code (in this case Australia’s ‘61’ code) followed by your password which is assigned to your account.

Type in your message and click ‘send’.

This is how it would look:

To: 0412345678@160.com.au
Subject: 61412345678@secret123
Message: Your delivery will arrive at 2pm today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Replies Sent Back To Your Email Address

If you would like replies sent back to email enter “!” on the subject line.

To: 0412345678@160.com.au
Subject: !61412345678@secret123
Message: Your delivery will arrive at 2pm today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use Your Business Name Instead Of Your Phone Number

To do this using our Email2SMS service insert a Sender ID that is less than 11 characters in brackets after your phone number in the subject.

For example:

To: 0412345678@160.com.au
Subject: 61412345678(A1 Car Repair)@secret123
Message: Your delivery will arrive at 2pm today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Email to SMS is a great tool when you’re on the move, no need to log into our web platform, just open up your email client, type out your message and send.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use The ‘3R’ Method To Improve Your SMS Marketing In 2018

December 5th, 2017

SMS MarketingWith open rates as high as 700%, click-through rates up to 36% and higher and the fact that people are always on their phones this should improve your marketing results, right?

Often times I’ll hear my mates complain about receiving SMS marketing quickly texting back ‘STOP’ ‘OPT OUT’ and ‘Remove my number!!!’

Before you say “hey, nobody likes receiving marketing” let me spin this around so that we’re addressing the core problem.

People don’t hate marketing.

People hate marketing (or anything) that is unwelcome.

Direct response copywriter Dan Kennedy likens most marketing to being an unwelcome pest.

Let me explain…

The Unwelcome Pest

If a plumber called you out of the blue during dinner time while your favourite show was on asking to see if you require any plumbing you would not be interested and even annoyed that he had the nerve to call!

The Welcome Guest

But let’s imagine for a moment that you’re having dinner, watching your favourite show and all of a sudden water starting pouring from the ceiling all over your wooden floorboards due to a burst pipe and that same plumber called, your reaction would be a lot different, I’m sure he would be welcomed with open arms “when can you get here!”

What changed?

  1. You instantly became the perfect candidate for plumbing services
  2. The timing was perfect
  3. The offer was spot on

I’m going to share with you a simple 3-stage framework to help you go from an unwelcome pest to welcomed guest.

Introducing the 3 R’s

When aiming for high ROI on your SMS marketing make sure that you target the right person at the right time and with the right offer.

The Right Person

The reason this sits at the top of the 3 R’s is that it is the most important when it comes to marketing in general not just SMS marketing.

To make sure you target the right person you must be using segmentation.

Sending email campaigns without segmentation guarantees higher unsubscribes, lower open rates and reduced conversions.

What is segmentation?

Think of segmentation as common traits shared by various groups of people.
Each group may share a specific language (as it relates to their needs), tastes, worldview, buying habits etc.
Segmentation allows you to group people together in meaningful ways so that when you send an offer or message out to them it feels like you wrote it specifically for them.

If I’m selling wine, at the very least, I want to know who:

1. Drinks red wine
2. Drinks white wine

Ideally, I would want to drill down deeper and know who have shown interest either by opting into my list OR even better purchasing:

• Chardonnay
• Pinot Gris
• Sauvignon Blanc etc.

This means when I plan my Chardonnay offer only my Chardonnay list will receive it.

You can drill down as far as you like: Chardonnay drinkers who wear pink gumboots on Tuesday’s.

If you haven’t segmented your list yet, an easy place to start is grouping customers together into themes like in the example above.

With 160.com.au you can not only create specific segments but you can automate it so that when people see one of your advertisements and they can respond to it they can be automatically added to a specific segment for you to market to later.

The Right Timing

Often times getting a sale, generating a lead, getting your list to take a specific action comes down to timing.

Your customers and clients are always shifting between moments.

Things that influence these shifts could be:

1. Trends
2. News – When Donald trump called North Korea’s President “Rocket Man” this kicked off a popular range of rocket man t-shirts.
3. Seasons – Christmas etc.
4. Personal events – Pregnancy, divorce etc.
5. Awareness shift – Meat eaters are now switching to veganism due to viral information spread about the dangers of animal-based foods.
6. Recency – The best person to send an SMS offer to is a buyer, an even better person to send an SMS to is a buyer who bought from you recently.

The path to purchase is a critical timing factor.

When a person is looking to buy your solution, they will start researching, then reassess their needs, reduce options down to 1 or 2, get social feedback/reviews and finally make a decision.

Whatever business you’re in it helps to know what specific events have an impact on your customer’s world or what stage of the buying process your prospect is currently living in.

Each stage of this process represents an opportunity to guide them towards your solution.
Understanding what’s going on with your list is useful and sending out well-timed SMS messages will have large payoffs.

The Right Offer

Now that you’ve got the right person…and you’re sending your SMS offer at the right time, your campaign will be more welcomed.

In terms of creating an offer, make it compelling and constantly test as most offers bomb.

Unless you’re getting 100% conversion with your offers you should always be looking to improve them.

The 3 R’s stack on top of one another in order of importance for example: 70% off hearing aids (great offer) to a person that has perfect hearing (wrong person) = fail.

Always think of the right person first and then craft the compelling offer.

Side note: an “offer” doesn’t need to be a special discount, and offer just needs to target the specific desire of the person you’re trying to convert.

If you run a weight loss clinic and your prospective buyer needs to lose 10 kilos your offer could simply be enrolling them into your “lose 10 kilos in 10 weeks system”. No special discount, but the offer speaks to the exact need of the prospect.

160.com.au is a cloud-based SMS messaging platform which helps businesses and agencies reach new and existing customers.

• Build segmented lists of people interested in your product or service
• Create 2-way conversations
• Send SMS via your favourite email platform
• Get replies sent to your email inbox
• Automate SMS marketing to go out on specific dates and times
• Easy to use platform

Want To See How Our SMS Solution Works?
Click Here To Start Free Trial

 

 

 

 

 

Switching to Bulk SMS Service in order Reach larger Mobile Audiences

May 5th, 2016

More people around the world may be ditching their feature phones and upgrading to smartphones. However, most people are still using basic feature phones.

In the past month, many companies have started using text messages to reach the larger percentage of the global population that has access to text message technology.

A marketing company has polled a group of people in the suburban community and realized that only 5% of the community had access to the internet.

Therefore emails were not getting to their audience fast enough. By switching to text messages they are now able to reach 98% members in the community.

Another association made the switched to text messages in order to make communication easier, according to the company; texting is easier for people to voice their thoughts instead of speaking over the phone. More than 75% of the entire population in the world has access to a mobile phone.

For these companies and many others, the easiest way to reach a larger global audience was by using an accessible mobile technology.

Visit: www.160.com.au – The best value online bulk SMS messaging service in Australia!