In this episode we interview Brian Hipsher, CMO of Charley’s Philly Steaks. What I really enjoyed in this interview was learning more how Marketing and Ops interact. Also, Brian has a great war story.
This blog post is by our guest blogger, Ken Rhie, CEO of Trumpia. It’s a great article on using digital coupons to build customer loyalty and boost sales.
How Mobile Text Coupons Improve Customer Loyalty and Boosts Sales
More and more companies are realizing that sending coupons to your customer’s mobile phones is a game changer. Digital coupons are easier to create and a lot simpler for customers to remember than traditional printed coupons. Clipping coupons is quickly becoming a thing of the past, as mobile coupons are redeemed 10x more often than print, and they can be generated instantly.
Here are 5 reasons that texting customer mobile coupons will see help drive sales and increase your bottom line:
Higher Redemption Rates
Of course, the point of your coupons is to boost sales. Text coupons are more likely to get opened and clicked than emails. Mobile coupons were 14% more likely to be opened and 34% more likely to generate click-throughs to websites. People prefer immediate offers and want coupons that are personalized for their shopping habits. Because of their high open rate, text messages lead to more sales.
Digital ads and text coupons are great because they require very little from you. While you might want to have a professional design a graphic for your coupon, you don’t have to worry about printing or paper costs. You can save on a lot of time, effort and material expenses by shifting over to mobile text coupons. They can be generated and sent instantly, so if your store is having a slow day you can send out a coupon for 10% off a product you are promoting.
If you schedule your coupons in advance, then those posts can even be made in advanced. You do not need to be available when you want to engage your audience. Better yet, you can plan ahead and create coupons that coincide with important events or holidays that impact your brand or your customers. Planning ahead means less chaos in formatting and sending out those messages the day of your big sales.
Paper coupons are almost impossible to track – leaving holes in your analytics and no contact information for future content. Text messages are opened 98% of the time and read within 3 seconds. Once a customer has seen your coupon, you can follow up with them and see if they want to offer you more information so that you can give them more personalized deals. For example, if you send them a coupon for a meat lovers pizza and they redeem it, you can then follow up and see if they would be interested in future meaty pizzas! The more information you have on a customer, the better you can keep them satisfied and coming back for more.
Tracking isn’t just good for your strategy efforts, it increases the value your brand can offer the customer. Mobile Marketing Watch found that 26% of their mobile users increased the amount of items in their carts when coupons targeted their favorite products. And, 65% of their audience redeemed their targeted coupons within 5 minutes. People are willing to spend more time and even shift to mobile payment methods if they see that their favorite products are featured in coupons. In a world where comparable competitor products are literally a click away, savings and convenience matter.
Mobile coupons should be part of your mobile strategy. For more information on how to improve your customer satisfaction, loyalty and conversion rates with a good mobile coupon texting campaign, click here!
Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.
Too many restaurant operators mistake marketing problems for operations problems. They look at falling or stagnant sales, and they think I’ve got to increase marketing spend to get my sales back up. How do you know if your falling sales are a marketing problem or operations problem? Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself to help you determine the cause.
- Have I recently changed my marketing spend?
- Have I recently changed how I’m marketing?
- How are my online reviews? Are they getting better or worse?
- Have I recently increased my prices?
- Is there a new competitor in your area that is affecting your business?
- Be careful in just blaming competition, it is very rare that a competitor can put you out of business overnight; people want to blame outside forces vs. taking responsibility for their issues.
- Having said that if a newer better mall or dining area opens up and you are in the old one, that can be an issue, and you may need to consider moving, opening a second location, or asking for some rent relief.
- If it is a competitor, then you have to focus on beating them in the marketplace with service and value.
- Have you recently lost a key team member?
- Are my comps going up?
- Are my complaints going up?
- Does your food taste as good as it did six months ago?
- Am I experiencing higher than normal staff turnover?
- What was your most recent health inspection score; was it higher or lower than your previous score?
If you have made major changes to your marketing program, that may be the cause of your sales stagnation. If you have recently stopped couponing or changed/stopped advertising then you may truly have a marketing problem. The easiest solution, if you made a change, is to go back to the old way of doing things if that was working for you.
If you can’t go back to what was working before than solving a marketing problem takes patience, and it takes a plan. Don’t just spend money to spend money that doesn’t work. You may need to make a change in your marketing channel, change in ad’s, or an increase in marketing spend. You should always be looking for an ROI in every dollar that you spend on marketing. In theory, marketing should pay for itself so increasing effective marketing spend should pay for itself with sales increases.
If you have determined that your issue isn’t marketing, then you may have an operations problem. Operations problems are good and bad. The good part of an operations problems is that running better operations are completely within your control. The bad part of operations problems is that fixing them can be hard and take patience and consistency.
The first thing you need to do is figure out who or what is the cause of your issues. In restaurant’s most of your operations problems come from a team member(s) who is either doing something wrong or who has a bad attitude. It’s not like there is a restaurant machine and it can go on the fritz, we are a people business, and almost everything that we do involves people.
If it’s a training issue, that is easy to fix with a little training. If it’s a people issue, those are harder to deal with quickly. I’m not an hr expert, but I can tell you this. You need to decisively, and legally, deal with any people issues quickly. One bad team member can wreck an entire operation, they are like little cancers and must be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Start a 3 step process of coaching them up, if they resist or don’t change, then they need to go before they do more damage to your business.
Every bad guest review on Yelp can cost your restaurant 30, potential customers. In my experience, I have coached several employees back from the brink but the 80/20 rule is in full effect and for every two employees that I coached up, eight employees ended up firing themselves. There is something about people when they make up their mind, and either consciously or unconsciously they fire themselves.
Ultimately when you identify that you have an operational problem, you need to get back to basics and fix it as quickly as possible. Once it is fixed, it can be a long slog to get back to growing sales. It goes back to being an experience by experience battle. Every good experience earns you back a little goodwill, and every bad one erodes it.
One of the best ways to drive operational consistency is to put in systems and hold your team accountable to following them every shift. Management by checklists with follow-up is one of the fastest, cheapest, and easiest systems to implement. Checklists drive consistency shift-to-shift and better operations.
To see a list of the checklists that every restaurant should be doing, I invite you to check out this other blog post.
If you are interested in seeing OpsAnalitica in action, click here to watch a recorded demo video.