SMS Marketing for Your Takeaway Food Business

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SMS marketing is one of the best and most versatile marketing methods you can use for your business.

In the fast food and takeaway industry, using business text messaging is a great way to get right in front of your customers at the most important times.

Hundreds of food delivery businesses are already using an SMS provider in the UK to target their key audience in a specific geographical area and, more importantly, increase sales in quiet periods.

Most of us will have received one of these offers. It’s around 5pm on a Tuesday evening, you’re leaving work and wondering what you’re going to eat for dinner. Then your phone goes off and you find a buy-one-get-one-free offer for the local pizza place. It doesn’t take long for the decision to be made and with just one click, you can order your food before you even leave the office.

This example shows how one business uses online SMS to get their brand and offers right to their customers.

In the competitive world of food delivery, and with more and more businesses opening up all the time, getting ahead of your rivals has never been more important.

So read on and find out how you can use SMS marketing for your takeaway food business.

Gathering Data for Your Target Audience

You don’t have to worry about where you will get your mobile phone numbers from, or pay for bulk data from expensive companies, you will have all the information you need from the very first day your business is open.

Every time your customer calls in or orders online using a mobile phone, you can capture this information either by a computer system hooked up to your telephone, through an online form which asks for the number or even by recording it on a spreadsheet or piece of paper.

Most people will give a mobile number for placing an order or booking a table, so even within the first week of opening you should have a ready bank of numbers to input into your text message provider.

Is it Legal to Use a Customer's Number for Business Text Messaging?

The short answer is yes. If someone has given you their number for the purpose of selling them a takeaway meal, you are able to use that number to send them promotional text messages about deals or offers you may have.

If you are unsure, check the Information Commissioner’s Office, but usually you just have to make sure you clearly tell your customer who the text message is from, and include an opt-out option and a telephone number.

As above, if you have grown your list from previous and existing customers, you should have a lower opt-out rate. Put simply, if someone knows they have used your business in the past, they might be happy to do so again and recognise offers sent to them through business text messaging.

When Should I Send Out My SMS Marketing?

With food delivery, you’re trying to catch people when they’re hungry. If you’re a lunch spot, think about sending messages out around 11.30am to about 1.30pm and for dinner, around 4pm or 5pm usually works best. This is where customer intelligence comes in very handy, however. Look through the last month’s orders, what times are you the busiest? Do you get a huge rush at about 6pm or are you quiet until around 8pm? By looking at this data, you can pin down when your customers are most likely to place orders.

In order to catch them at the right time, consider sending your message about an hour or half an hour ahead of your busiest period. This might just help your potential customers choose you over a competitor if they are at home deciding what to eat that night.

Target Audience & Segmentation

You should have a good idea of who your target market is by looking at your previous delivery information. Do you get more orders from a specific area or age group? You might find this changes by day; for example, you may get more students and young people at 9pm on a Friday night but then big family orders at 6pm on a Saturday evening.

Knowing your audience is key here as is knowing what factors may influence their food choices. Is there a big television “event”? Studies show people are more likely to order takeaway to watch with a TV show such as a boxing match or football game. Be aware of these trends and you can make sure to tailor your business text messaging to hit the right times and people.

You might also want to segment your audience by how often they use your service.

Think about groups like regular customers (once or more a week), occasional customers (maybe only use your service every couple of months), late orders and early orders. By knowing these groups and their spending habits, you can make sure you tailor offers to suit their particular behaviours.

What Messages Work Well?

SMS marketing messages are an art and should be thought about carefully. Always include your phone number as well as a link straight through to the ordering section of your website. This makes it easier for people to make the order quickly, which is key when it comes to food delivery.

Keep your message very clear. If you’re doing “buy one, get one free”, just write that at the top. Your message should be way under the 160 character limit and ideally you should explain your offer in just one sentence – e.g. “Order a pizza and get free chicken wings tonight”.

Use a call to action before your number or website link; “tap this to order” or “call now” work well.

So if you haven’t started using SMS services for your takeaway food business, what’s stopping you? In this competitive market you could be missing out on thousands of orders by not getting your offers in front of your customers.

Easy to set up and use, SMS marketing is one of the best ways to increase sales in your food delivery business.

So get building your customer list and start marketing to thousands of potential customers today.

Get even more ideas from our FREE “SMS Guide for Restaurants & Takeaways“.

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