Whether you're a quick-service, grocery, or delivery brand—or anything in between—personalized text messaging can help you build loyalty and drive repeat orders.
Consumers are hungry to engage with their favorite brands via text messaging. In fact, 90% say they’d be open to signing up to receive text messages from businesses—and 55% have already done so. And there’s a big opportunity for food and beverage brands to stay top-of-mind and build customer loyalty through relevant, two-way conversations.
“If you’re used to visiting a physical location, you love that feeling of the brand experience, and you have a close bond with the brand,” said Brittany Attride, Digital Marketing Manager at Baked by Melissa. “We really wanted to have that same feeling online for our customers who aren’t used to placing their orders online.”
Here are four ways your brand can send personalized text messages to build connections with consumers, drive loyalty, and increase order frequency:
1. Sending location-specific offers
Geo-targeting allows you to send location-specific offers and updates to your subscribers who live in a specific area. Letting subscribers know about deals or new items they can order from their nearest location removes friction, helping you drive more conversions.
Quick service restaurant Jack in the Box uses geo-targeting to send SMS subscribers special offers, such as free shipping through food delivery services like DoorDash. Jack in the Box further personalizes these messages by sending them around area-specific events, like rainy days and NFL games.
We’ve overlaid our delivery service provider (DSP) coverage zones against our text messaging subscriber sign-ups. By doing so, we’re able to send highly targeted offers and communications.
- Shannon Murphy, Sr. CRM Manager, Jack in the Box
EatStreet, a food delivery service, segments their messages to connect their subscribers with their favorite local restaurants. The brand personalizes each message with a custom link that directs subscribers to Eatstreet’s site, filtered to show their nearest dining locations so they can place their order immediately. To drive engagement, EatStreet times each campaign just before mealtimes, so subscribers can satisfy their cravings just as they’re starting. The immediacy of text messaging makes it a powerful channel to drive instant orders.
2. Engaging subscribers with holiday-specific offers and limited-time deals
Personalized text messaging is an effective way for you to stay top of mind during events and holidays. Because food is a major part of any celebration, your subscribers will appreciate the reminder to place their order ahead of time.
Baked by Melissa helps their customers celebrate life’s moments—including personal celebrations like birthdays and holidays like Mother’s Day—with playful miniature cupcakes, themed for each major holiday. Knowing their SMS subscribers are some of their most engaged customers, the brand gives them exclusive first access to these holiday-specific products.
Each of Baked by Melissa’s messages include a GIF or image of the featured treats. The brand’s multimedia strategy helps induce cravings and catch subscribers’ eyes as they scan messages.
Baked by Melissa also knows that their customers are last-minute shoppers, so they send shipping deadline reminders ahead of holidays. These helpful nudges create a sense of urgency—driving more online orders—and help customers rest assured that their items will arrive ahead of their celebrations.
A lot of our customers place orders about three days before the shipping deadline. And we see some customers place orders just hours before the shipping deadline. We use text messaging to send them helpful shipping deadline reminders to drive last-minute orders just before the holidays.
- Brittany Attride, Digital Marketing Manager, Baked by Melissa
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit sends SMS campaigns to promote some of their established special offers—such as “More for Monday” (which features a $4 Classic Pulled Pork Sandwich) and “Wild Westerner Wednesday” (which highlights its “Wild Westerner” sandwiches for a special, one-day-only price). Dickey’s Barbecue Pit also introduced new limited-time deals to subscribers, such as “2 for $24,” offering two meal plates for a special price, and the popular “Kids Eat Free.”
We see that a lot of our customers prefer to talk to us through text. And with SMS, not only are folks more responsive, but we’re able to get our messages in front of them in a timely fashion.
– Sommer White, Director of Brand, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc
3. Building diner loyalty
The instantaneous, personal nature of text messaging makes it a powerful channel for building loyalty—and driving repeat orders. Make subscribers feel like VIPs by sharing exclusive offers, first-looks at new menu items, or invites to your brand’s loyalty program.
Casual dining restaurant TGI Fridays knows that their SMS subscribers are highly engaged, so they use their text messaging channel to grow their loyalty program. To drive loyalty opt-ins, the brand sends subscribers a text message explaining all the ways they can earn rewards points. TGI Fridays includes a celebratory GIF and a link for subscribers to sign up immediately.
Promoting our loyalty program via personalized text messaging has been a powerful strategy to drive sign-ups and build diner loyalty.
– Jasmine Hajjari, Email Loyalty Analyst at TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays also builds diner loyalty through segmentation, a strategy that increases their ROI. The brand rewards subscribers who have ordered at least once in the past 60 days with exclusive deals and perks, including a free dessert with their order of an entree. Giving frequent purchasers the VIP treatment helps the brand increase order frequency while building loyalty.
“Sending offers to subscribers who have recently placed an order helps guarantee a higher ROI,” Hajjari said. “We know these diners are engaged, so sharing an exclusive incentive will make them even more likely to place another order.”
4. Promoting mobile app downloads
Your diners are using their mobile devices to shop online more than ever: 56.7% of consumers primarily use mobile to shop online, and 36.7% use an equal mix of mobile and desktop. Consumers don’t rely on just one channel, and neither should your brand. Text messaging is a complementary channel that boosts your digital marketing initiatives, from email performance to app downloads.
To reduce friction and increase order frequency, many food and beverage brands use text messaging to drive app downloads and engagement. Because SMS subscribers are likely some of your most loyal customers, they may be interested in downloading your app, too.
EatStreet knows their mobile app users have a high lifetime value, so they send their loyal SMS subscribers invitations to download their app. The delivery service times these invitations around events and holidays, including the March Madness tournament.
Driving app downloads through their SMS channel helps EatStreet stay top-of-mind by sending their audience a mix of SMS and push notifications. It also creates a seamless mobile experience for their customers, increasing order frequency.
By encouraging subscribers to download our app, we were able to help them create a seamless mobile experience. Being on their phone helps us stay top-of-mind and increases lifetime value.
- Phill Glapa, Digital Marketing Coordinator, EatStreet
Jack in the Box also promotes their mobile app to SMS subscribers by highlighting its benefits, including contactless ordering and payment experiences in-store. To further incentivize downloads, the quick-service chain offers subscribers 25% off their first order within the app.
Text messaging helps food and beverage brands bridge the gap between mobile site traffic and online and in-store orders by converting browsers into paying customers. If one of your goals is to engage diners throughout the customer lifecycle, consider integrating this powerful performance marketing channel into your mobile marketing strategy.
Interested in how food and beverage brands are using SMS marketing to engage diners? Explore Texts We Love to browse real-life text messaging examples from innovative brands.