November 3, 2008

This Week: Crispy Pork Belly (and SMS Marketing)

by

Lesson: When using SMS to market a product, it’s best that you use it to engage rather than infuriate. Keep it fresh, short, useful and original.

I recently received this SMS from a restaurant I visited 3 weeks ago:

EL CERDO:

This Week: Crispy Pork Belly with grilled green Asparagus and Butter Herb Sauce, best regards, from Werner! Oink, Oink! T: 03 – 21450511

It’s smart for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s fresh (and inviting) because it’s the first time I’ve received a message since my last visit 3 weeks ago – it doesn’t come across as spam. Now, imagine if I received this message a day after visiting the restaurant (too soon, bad pig!)
  • It’s short because it’s written in less than 160 characters, and fits nicely on a single screen without the need to scroll
  • It’s useful because it has a single call to action, in this case the phone number to make a reservation
  • It’s original because it talks to me in its lingo (Oink, Oink!)
  • It’s identifiable because the sender appeared as El Cerdo rather than an obscure foreign mobile number

El Cerdo’s SMS marketing campaign would have been even smarter with the following tactics:

  • Maximise on the time of day: why not send the SMS a couple of hours before dinner time? Hungry people tend to struggle when it comes to picking a restaurant. Sending it between 5-6pm on a weekday would create a surge of positive traffic
  • Offer an exclusive deal: you don’t have to spend money on freebies to make it exclusive. Just imagine if the SMS said: “Only 20 dishes will be prepared tonight”. Find ways to make scarcity work to your advantage

Now, here’s another thought, especially if you’re in the F&B business:

  • Make use of inbound callers: convert all those contact numbers on your reservation list into an active marketing database – it’s an immediate captive audience, irrespective whether they show up for dinner =)

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