The home team just made it into the playoffs and you want your bar to be the place where everybody goes to watch the games. That hot, new up-and-coming band is in town and agreed to do a private performance in your VIP room. It’s a slow Tuesday night so you decide to extend your happy hour.
All of these unplanned yet potentially high profile marketing activities are great for attracting customers, but how do you draw in people on such short notice? Sure you can post messages on Facebook or Twitter, but there’s no guarantee people will see them in time or maybe you only want to reach a select few. In these scenarios, you know the best way to get the word out is through a text. But you don’t want to alienate your customers or give off that stalker vibe, right?
While we use text in our personal lives to keep friends and family updated, successfully using it as a marketing vehicle for your bar or nightclub is still new to a lot of proprietors. Wildly different from carrying on a text conversation with a friend, SMS Marketing is a way to engage interested customers and attract new ones by using targeted, compelling, and timely messages.
Knowing that 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery, there’s a tremendous opportunity to use SMS Marketing to engage your loyal patrons and attract new ones. So here’s how to get started with SMS Marketing and keep it going.
1. Ask permission. You must first get permission before you start texting your customers. When you’re asking for permission, be clear about what you plan to do with the customer’s contact information and tell them what’s in it for them when they opt-in to receive your messages. It's a really good idea to give your potential subscribers an idea as to frequency at this stage, as it makes them more likely to subscribe (especially if you promise it won't be very often). Example: We don't plan on ever sending more than one text to you per week (often it will be less), unless it's for something AMAZING!
2. Determine your marketing strategy. Before you send out your message, establish a single, specific goal and focus on achieving it.
3. Write succinct and enticing messages. While you’re limited to 160 characters, aim for much less than that and resist the temptation to string together multiple texts.
4. Be missed. Don’t overstay your welcome by reaching out too much. A good rule of thumb is no more than one text per week.
5. Test it out on coworkers first before sending it to your contacts. Ask them if it sounds specific, direct and enticing. Can any words be misconstrued? Also, are there any typos or abbreviations that are unclear?
6. Include a clear, call to action such as Text-2-Join or Text-to-Vote.
7. Segment your contact list based on interests. This way you can boost response rates through highly targeted messages.
8. Give customers an out. Make sure that your subscribers know how to easily opt out of receiving your messages and that you honor their requests immediately.
9. Start small. While there may be a temptation to reach out to everybody on your list at once, it’s best to start small with the regulars that you already know and then expand your reach.
10. Track your success. Recycle the types of campaigns that have been effective though refrain from exact duplicates. On the flip side, analyzing what hasn’t been successful is also beneficial as you plan future campaigns.
These tips should get you on your way as long as you remember that SMS Marketing is most effective when it’s part of your broader social media and email marketing activities.