Why Restaurants Should Drop the App and Focus on MMS

June 4, 2019 Vibes Marketing

Why Restaurants Should Drop the App and Focus on MMS

While, initially, mobile marketing for restaurants meant building their own mobile app to attract repeat business, that’s no longer the only—or best— way to engage customers. MMS, or multimedia messaging service, provides a cost-effective and engaging way to drive customers to your restaurant. No app needed. 

Restaurant Apps Are Less Effective These Days 

We’ve reached app saturation, including in the restaurant industry: only 27% of US smartphone users are at all likely to download a restaurant app, which means that for brands that invest the time and money to build one, they’re not making a very big splash with it. 

And of the few that do download a restaurant app, how many actually use it on a regular basis? 

What’s more important for restaurants to focus on when it comes to mobile marketing is discoverability. If a customer doesn’t know you exist, why would she download your app? That’s where having a smart mobile SEO strategy and using effective mobile marketing tools like MMS can really move the needle. 

Where MMS Excels 

MMS is a better form of communication and engagement for customer experience than mobile apps for many reasons. 

High Clickthrough Rates Mean More Offer Redemption 

First, MMS has an incredible average clickthrough rate of 15%. Compare that to an average of 1.25% for email and you can see the potential to really engage through mobile. 

If you’re sending personalized offers via MMS, you’re going to see a high redemption rate from them. 

It’s Immediate and Visually Appealing 

Get this: 90% of texts are opened within 3 seconds. This gives you an unparalleled ability to get your offer in front of mobile subscribers fast. Creating a sense of urgency with the offer (“this deal expires in 48 hours!”) can help you get quick turnaround on offer redemption. 

And because MMS supports images, emojis, and GIFs, you can engage your audience visually, giving them something new to see every time. After all, nothing drives someone to your restaurant more than an image of what they’re craving! Pay attention to open rates for each type of visual so you can better understand what your audience prefers. 

MMS and Video Play Together Nicely 

Another way to engage your MMS subscribers is through video. Because MMS supports videos up to 40 seconds long, this provides you with the opportunity to highlight a new dish, go behind the scenes at your restaurant, or announce a new contest in a video. 

Most People Have MMS Capability 

Though 81% of Americans own a smartphone, that still leaves 19% that either own a cell phone that isn’t smart or who have no phone at all. So you can’t reach quite everyone with a mobile app for your restaurant. However, because MMS is so ubiquitous, you stand to reach a much larger swath of your audience through mobile marketing. 

Customized Offers Can Compel People to Choose You 

The more attention you pay to what your audience wants, and the more personalized you make the offers you send via MMS, the more revenue you’ll bring in. In fact, 45% of consumers say that mobile customized offers influence which restaurant they choose to dine at. So, all things being equal, if a diner is trying to decide which Mexican restaurant to have dinner at and she gets a MMS coupon for you for a free margarita with dinner purchase, there’s a great chance that you’ll end up with her business tonight. 

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a restaurant app for your business, but if you are on the fence about building one, try using MMS marketing instead and see if you can get repeat and new business as a result. We’re willing to bet you can. 

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Steven Mastandrea, Senior Director of Architecture on All Things Mobile Marketing
Steven Mastandrea, Senior Director of Architecture on All Things Mobile Marketing

Steven Mastandrea, Senior Director of Architecture, has been with Vibes for over 11 years and has seen the ...

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