While mobile marketing is effective for many industries, quick-service restaurants are really winning when it comes to leveraging mobile-based loyalty programs.
Not only do digital loyalty programs beat out old-school paper programs (where you stamp a card every time a customer makes a purchase), but also they provide rich data that can help you better understand your customer and deliver more personalized offers.
Here are a few proven ways you can incorporate mobile marketing into your restaurant’s strategy.
1. Make It Interactive
While there certainly is value in offering promotions and discounts to your audience, taking it one step further and encouraging them to get involved with your app or a marketing campaign can really strengthen the bond you have with customers.
For Domino’s “Piece of the Pie Rewards” loyalty program, not only can customers earn rewards for their Domino’s purchases, but they can also earn points when they take a photo of a pizza—any pizza—and use the hashtag #PointsForPies on social media.
You can also make your loyalty program interactive through contests: ask customers to take a photo of themselves eating your food and share on Instagram with your hashtag to win. If you have a mobile app, let customers order food online and save their favorites, the way Panera does with its MyPanera rewards program. You could also offer a scratch-to-win coupon sent via the app or MMS.
2. Keep it Convenient
Already, being able to access loyalty account information from their phones is a step in the right direction. Customers no longer need to carry plastic loyalty cards, keep track of points, or collect coupons: it’s all baked into their mobile wallet, where they have their loyalty profile with your brand set up.
But there are other ways you can make your loyalty program even more convenient: send a push notification when the customer is approaching a reward to encourage her to make a purchase or let her know via push that she’s got a freebie waiting for her.
3. Personalize the Offers and Rewards
As I said at the start of this article, one of the benefits to digital loyalty programs is how much detail you can get about which offers your customers redeem and what they buy. This data lets you customize future offers and rewards.
Let’s say you have a customer who only ever buys a chicken burrito at your quick-serve Mexican restaurant. What good would it do to offer her a reward for a free taco if that’s not what she wants? You have the data; use it to show her that you’re paying attention to her preferences.
4. Make the Offers Visually Engaging
There are so many mobile channels you can use with your restaurant’s loyalty program, and MMS really steps up the visually-appealing quotient and sees higher conversion rates than SMS. Because you can send images, videos, GIFs, and stickers, you can really engage your audience and get them to click to a link for a coupon or special offer.
You could send a photo of a new dish with a special deal on it, an image of your menu, or a short video of two glasses clinking to get the subscriber interested in your Happy Hour deals.
5. Leverage Location-Based Push Notifications
People don’t always plan where they’re going to eat out, so a simple location-based notification could be enough to drive them to your restaurant.
You could set your mobile marketing service to send a special BOGO offer to anyone within one mile of your restaurant...or even in the proximity of your biggest competitor. Create offers for slow times of the day to drive sales then.
These are just a few ways that quick-service restaurants can leverage mobile marketing to support a digital loyalty program, but really, there’s no limit to how you can connect with customers using mobile!