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National Restaurant Association - Six steps for mobile marketing success

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Six steps for mobile marketing success How mobile marketing can boost audience engagement

Fishbowl - Group of people enjoying mobile marketing

More than 75 percent of Americans own a smart-phone, up from 35 percent in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Clearly, mobile marketing offers a wide-reaching opportunity to engage with today’s consumers—particularly adults 18-29 (with 94 percent smart-phone ownership) and those in their 30s and 40s (89 percent ownership). Here are six smart ways to connect with mobile consumers.

1. Construct a “geofence” around target areas. When fast-casual Pieology Pizzeria opened a unit in North Charleston, South Carolina, it spread the news to locals by targeting mobile ads to those within a 3-mile radius of the store. Pieology constructed a virtual “geofence” around it’s target area. Smart-phone users within that area were served up banner ads publicizing the grand opening.

You can build a geofence wherever you want to target potential customers, say, around the local convention center to attract business travelers, says Bill Reynolds, president of Element 502 digital-marketing firm. Some restaurants even construct a geofence around their own location, capture guests’ device codes and then target them for repeat business.

2. Get an Uber for your food. Millennials, who are already hooked on Uber to get around, have shown a healthy appetite for the newer Uber Eats app that helps customers place restaurant delivery orders with a few simple taps. Launched in 2016 with service in five cities, Uber Eats now serves 293 cities across 35 countries. The service is rapidly expanding—more than doubling the markets it serves in the past year.

Fast-casual Wow Bao teams up with Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub and a few other delivery apps/sites.  “It’s all about what’s convenient for the customer,” says Geoff Alexander, president of Wow Bao, which has 10 locations, mostly in the Chicago area. While third-party services charge hefty commissions, “it’s part of the cost of doing business,” says Alexander. “You have to spend money to market your restaurant.”   

3. Facilitate reservations-on-the-go. By teaming up with a reservations app like OpenTable, you can use the latest technology to promote your restaurant to consumers on the go. “Today, everyone wants everything on-demand, and deciding where to dine out is no exception,” says Joseph Essas, OpenTable’s chief technology officer. “We reviewed data from diner reservations and saw a dramatic rise in people looking to dine immediately.” OpenTable updated its app this year to help consumers dine-on-demand. The updated app highlights nearby restaurants with immediate availability, showcasing the sites on an interactive map.

Even if your restaurant is not affiliated with a reservations app, you can still take some steps to make reservations more mobile-friendly. For starters, make your phone number and address clickable on your website, so guests-on-the-go can call with ease and can access directions.

4. Build your database strategically. Find creative ways to encourage guests to share their cell numbers and email addresses for marketing purposes. Use signage at sporting events, festivals or shopping areas to offer guests a freebie or discount if they text your restaurant at an advertised number and opt-in to receiving text messages.  Starbucks asks guests to enter their email address to access free Wi-Fi within their cafes. At Wow Bao, sales transactions made through a kiosk or the restaurant’s mobile app  prompt guests to provide their email address for a receipt. Make sure to follow proper data protection policies.

5. Make an app for that. When guests download a restaurant app, they’re installing an ad on the device that’s often by their side 24/7.  Mobile apps can facilitate online ordering, engage customers in a loyalty program, promote specials and more. Consider giving guests a freebie or discount as an incentive for downloading your app.

6. Don’t forget the obvious. Give consumers quick access to the information they want on the go on your mobile site, like your phone number, hours, directions, and an easily readable menu. Make sure your website uses a responsive design that adjusts to the size of the device on which its being viewed. This prevents potential guests from having to strain their eyes or to pinch and drag the content around to find the pertinent information. Likewise, optimize email design for mobile devices.

Claim your restaurant on “Google My Business” to increase your chances of being found online. In business since 1887, Faidley Seafood in Baltimore now relies on its Google My Business listing to compete in today’s digital society. “Fifty percent of our business is tourists,” says fourth-generation family member Damye Hahn. “Tourists can’t find us without Google. They’re not bringing a map or a brochure from their hotel anymore. They’re using their phones.”

This content was provided by National Restaurant Association partner Fishbowl.







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