Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The food and beverage industry is on the precipice of a revolution in advertising – marketing to mobile users. Smartphones and tablets have become a standard in American culture, and the ubiquity of mobile marketing will continue to grow. As such, businesses in the food industry should continue to focus their advertising energies on reaching mobile consumers. With social media, viral marketing, geofencing and geolocation – as well as apps that promote loyalty and customer experience – you can bet that consumers are ready to interact more deeply with companies and brands they trust using their mobile devices. Here are some excellent suggestions to improve your mobile marketing efforts for the food and beverage industry.

Create synergistic benefits for your customers.

The two main avenues for fostering mutual benefits are through mobile coupons and loyalty programs. Mobile coupons are ten times more likely to be utilized than printed ones, and they are a fraction of the cost as well. Common coupon ideas are: buy one get one free, free side item with entrée purchase, a discount based on percentage or minimum purchase. Loyalty programs function like old-fashioned punch cards. Most customers are delighted to give personal information – or download a branded app – provided that the perks they receive are a reflection of their value to the business.

Develop ads that showcase your cuisine while reflecting your company’s mission.

By showcasing the entrees at your restaurant, you entice customers to visit and share these mouthwatering images on social media. People love taking pictures of their meals and this is an excellent way to promote your business through word of mouth. Furthermore, you can highlight your company’s unique mission through such ads to promote awareness and like-mindedness. In 2013, Chipotle made an internet ad with a scarecrow learning the truth about pesticides and animal treatment. Not only did the ad go viral, its mission was laid out in the process and the company gained droves of patrons.

Make your mobile campaign an open line of communication with consumers.

When you market to patrons, make sure to leave room for comments (and complaints). Customers love to know that someone on the other end is listening. You can create polls for website visitors, surveys sent via text messaging, and contests for the name of the newest item on your menu. This allows for customer interaction with your brand, giving guests a sense of ownership. And it doesn’t hurt to give the participants a coupon for their efforts.

Timing is everything when it comes to mobile marketing.

The main feature of mobile marketing for the restaurant industry is drawing in people on the go. Consider the use of geofencing and geolocation to reach nearby customers with a discount or to let them know about your upcoming “Happy Hour.” Provide QR codes in your storefront window to give more information to afterhours visitors and passersby. Finally, time your text marketing and emails to coincide with key times to increase your response rate. The best times to reach out to consumers are between 11 am and noon, as well as 4 pm and 5 pm (at lunch and before dinner, respectively).

Marketing food via mobile isn’t rocket science. It only requires a clever mind and the knowledge of what your customers really want. Look for opportunities to take advantage of these relatively new ways to market and watch your guest list grow!