Need creative ideas for mobile coupons

14 replies
I am looking for creative ideas for a restaurant prospect. He is very interested in the whole SMS texting idea but he absolutely refuses to offer discounts or give away free menu items. He feels he would only attract the wrong customer who would expect future giveaways.

I am looking for creative ideas that would be effective in drawing customers via SMS.

One thought I have is that, although he might not want to discount his brand, other complimentary businesses would welcome his endorsement. In other words, "Come dine with us and receive X% off at XYZ company when you show them your receipt." I would then structure partner deals with these other businesses.

There are other opportunities as he hosts live bands, charitable events, biker rides, etc. I am just looking for other enticing coupon opportunities without giving anything away.

I welcome any thoughts you may have.

Thanks!
#coupons #creative #ideas #mobile
  • Profile picture of the author S3Ware
    I hate to say it, but if he refuses to offer discounts or deals, any campaigns you do will flop. He needs an education on marketing ... offer a discount (that doesn't cost the owner much) to get people in the door and they will spend more on other things. I might consider walking away from this client if you can't convince him of the right way to do things. Otherwise, you may never make him happy.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Originally Posted by jayc470 View Post

    I am looking for creative ideas for a restaurant prospect. He is very interested in the whole SMS texting idea but he absolutely refuses to offer discounts or give away free menu items. He feels he would only attract the wrong customer who would expect future giveaways.
    Your client is very short-sighted.

    Here are a few stats you might want to share with your client:

    "A 5% Increase in Customer Retention Can Lead to a 75% Increase in Business Profits."

    "Repeat Customers Spend 33% More Than New Customers."

    "It Costs 7X More to Acquire a New Customer Than to Retain an Existing One."

    I want you to ask your client how much they spend on average to get a new customer in through their doors. How much do they spend on flyers, newspaper ads, menus, etc and how many customers result from those promotions? I will bet your client has absolutely no idea because he doesn't track it.

    Well let's say your client offered a 10% off meal promotion. If the total bill was $50 then that discount is worth only $5. Ask your client if he thinks he spends less than $5 to get every new client through the door. He will say he spends a lot more than that or he will lie to you and say it's less. I will guarantee you though he is spending more than $5 to get each new customer. Probably significantly more... and a new customer generally spends less than a repeat customer, as the stats above show.

    So it's much more profitable for a business to offer small coupons and offers to get their current customers coming back through the door more often (not to mention the free word of mouth advertising that results from repeat customers) than it is to keep spending a whole heap of money to always be trying to get new customers through the door.

    His argument is invalid because he is actually spending more money by not offering the coupons to his loyal customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author jayc470
      Thanks for taking the time to respond. All are valid points. Here is my challenge. He spends very little on advertising. He has built a loyal customer base organically through strong interaction with the community and word-of-mouth.

      He hosts weekly biker nights and has live bands frequently. He hosts events to support US military troops and does frequent charity events.

      I originally approached him as mobile will allow him to extend his reach in the community on a much broader and rapid scale. This seems to be his driving motivation.

      He will not discount so, more or less, we will be using mobile to promote upcoming events.

      Thanks again for your input and I continue to welcome your ideas!
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      • Profile picture of the author ppc4profit
        Why does a coupon have to relate to price?

        I suggest the goal is to offer a coupon that will give something that the customer values which does not cut the price of the meal.

        You mentioned that he has a loyal following from various groups so why not:-

        - offer a gift to US Military wives society / community group once x people have presented the coupon with their next meal

        - every coupon presented goes in a free draw for a motorcycle jacket / helmet

        - same but sponsor selected charity members for a day out
        etc
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      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by jayc470 View Post

        Thanks for taking the time to respond. All are valid points. Here is my challenge. He spends very little on advertising. He has built a loyal customer base organically through strong interaction with the community and word-of-mouth.

        He hosts weekly biker nights and has live bands frequently. He hosts events to support US military troops and does frequent charity events.

        I originally approached him as mobile will allow him to extend his reach in the community on a much broader and rapid scale. This seems to be his driving motivation.

        He will not discount so, more or less, we will be using mobile to promote upcoming events.

        Thanks again for your input and I continue to welcome your ideas!
        It sounds to me like his restaurant is already going great guns. You could definitely tie SMS in to promote his weekly events and the like.

        My honest advice though would be to just move on to another restaurant that is more in need of your services. There are so many restaurants out there that you may as well go after the ones that are struggling.
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        • Profile picture of the author jayc470
          Originally Posted by WillR View Post

          It sounds to me like his restaurant is already going great guns. You could definitely tie SMS in to promote his weekly events and the like.

          My honest advice though would be to just move on to another restaurant that is more in need of your services. There are so many restaurants out there that you may as well go after the ones that are struggling.
          Thanks again for the advice. I met with the owner yesterday and suggested there are multiple ways to engage his customers without discounting. Here are a few of the ideas I suggested for SMS:

          - updates of upcoming events including links to YouTube showcasing featured bands
          - weekly bike night events with link to Google Maps showing routes
          - offer full dining packages for two that is not a discounted price but a bundled price for multi-course meals (i.e. New Year's)
          - contests
          - I suggested that, although he may not like to discount, he could partner with many other businesses who would happily discount for his endorsement. (i.e. come in and dine with us, present your receipt to XYZ company and they will offer you X% discount on your purchase with them)
          - announce new menu items
          - surveys
          - fundraisers
          - bring a friend night

          I believe all of the above create value to his clients and will keep them engaged. He said he gets it and would like to digest the info but, you are probably right Will. He's not inclined to spend money and it might be time to move on.

          I thought it would be fun (and lucrative) to support all his initiatives...c'est la vie!
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Will said a lot of what I came in this thread to say.

    What I will add is if he is unsure about giving special discounts maybe you have tie his SMS campaign in with his current specials.

    For example.
    On tues around here nearly every taco place has Taco Tues. While it is likely that all the customers know about it already, that doesn't mean that a text reminding them won't help. Maybe they have never come in on Tues. Maybe they were not sure what to have for lunch but the text helped them choose to eat there.

    So start with that and get him to mix in a few true exclusives for the text club. In time hopefully you can get him to see how it is benefitting him.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    Originally Posted by jayc470 View Post

    he absolutely refuses to offer discounts or give away free menu items. He feels he would only attract the wrong customer who would expect future giveaways.
    So, does your client imply that all the businesses who offer discounts/giveaways and boost their sales/customer base are doing a mistake?

    Anyway, here are some text marketing ideas from my bookmarks:

    Code:
    http://www.infusionblog.com/marketing-tips/marketing-monday-marketing-ideas-for-restaurant-owners/
    http://www.small-business-database-marketing.com/restaurant-marketing-ideas.html
    http://mysocialmediastrategy.com/restaurants/
    http://www.slideshare.net/billvetbuyshomeslassiter/text-message-marketing-tips-for-your-restaurant
    http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Any-Good-marketing-Ideas-For-Small-Restaurant-Do-Giveaways-Work-m640446.aspx
    and a previous discussion:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/mobile-m...ing-ideas.html
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    • Profile picture of the author BIG DEALS
      Does anyone know of a company that specializes in mobile coupon generators? I am looking for a good platform or script where I can customize coupons, track them and that can tie into social media.

      Thanks in advance.
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  • Profile picture of the author HAdrian1239
    here's some input from the mind of a consumer who eats out frequently...

    there is a national company that lists restaurants that I can dial up on my phone in order from anytime and have food delivered to me...

    they have incredible customer service, and you can get a coupon code anytime just by asking for one.

    my living situation right now does not have a kitchen so I'm forced to eat out everyday.

    I use a coupon code nearly every time that I order from them and they happily give it to me... the average size of the discount is anywhere from 2 to 4 dollars...

    but the fact that they give them out so frequently makes me a loyal customer... my average order size there is anywhere between 20 and 30 dollars... and I order about 4 times a week.

    about $120 a week in revenue they get for me.. and it really didn't cost them very much in the way of discounts.

    I'm far from the only customer who does this, as evidenced from their Facebook page...

    the point is, your business owner should be educated to be a giver and he will receive... the right kinds of discounts attract more customers and as long as he has a retention mechanism in place they will be back and spend more money with him... whether or not a discount is available.


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  • Profile picture of the author HAdrian1239
    as someone else was saying however, since he already has that will customer base you can expand upon it by using SMS in waves were you don't have to discount necessarily.

    you can use it as an event reminder service, or even as a table pager system... this is all about increase a customer engagement without having to worry about attracking the "wrong type" of customer.


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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Just make sure when he tries to negotiate price with you, tell him you DO NOT discount as it attracts the wrong type customer. hahah
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  • Profile picture of the author Lee M
    Originally Posted by jayc470 View Post

    I am looking for creative ideas that would be effective in drawing customers via SMS.
    One thing I can add that I don't think was mentioned in the thread is ... setting up a "Birthday Club" for the restaurant via SMS.

    I've done this before with the type of client you're talking about (doesn't want to discount, send coupons, etc.) Client seemed to grasp this idea ... and was surprisingly willing to offer a free meal to the birthday recipient. This strategy worked ... "People don't dine alone on their birthday."

    One other thing I did with same client is simply look at his posts on Facebook and then decide which should be sent as a text to INCREASE effectiveness. An example ... he posted ... "New menu item, Prime Rib. Available starting this Friday..." This went out as a text.

    This also went over well with client.

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    As Several others have also stated, your client does not understand marketing, if he has such little respect for customers, he is not going to be a good client for your business, I would just move on and find someone that understand how to service customers.

    The real secret to getting and keeping customers, is treating them right, when you provide the right kind of service, customers notice, the single biggest mistake you can make as a business person, is to categorize, customers, as good or bad or ugly.

    When you do that you loose from a business perspective, your client has already lost which means that all your efforts will also be lost in the end, its better to cut that bad client off before they become a problem.

    After all your the one spending time developing the advertising and the vehicle with which to attract consumers and if the business owner has a bad attitude or is unable to understand how to attract customers and most importantly keep customers, then your just wasting your time and money chasing after him or her.
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