I recently suffered through a trying time, I am on the other end of it now but I was lost, confused and felt isolated from the outside world. I was running around town without a functioning smartphone and I did not like it one bit. My iPhone literally took a bath and I was without the use of my mobile for what felt like an eternity, in actuality it only lasted a little over a day.
At first, I was embarrased about my relience on my iPhone. Then I realized why should I be ashamed that I use technology to make my life easier by staying in-touch with the world and my social circles. I’ll admit to being guilty of feeling the urge to stay connected and secure in knowing all my contacts are in the palm of my hand.
Do you like the idea of staying better connected with your customer?
Have you ever noticed how when you go without something for a period of time it feels like everyone around you is experiencing a break through? Such as taking a break from carbs while the entire city is buzzing about the newest bakery or sandwich shop. While I was sans mobile, I had three close friends all get an iPhone. And, of course they were asking for suggestions on apps. I was happy for their excitement, they were now holding the power of unlimited connectivity in the palm of their hands. But what do you do with that power?
Is anyone else lost in the increasingly popular world of mobile marketing?
What is a Smartphone? Smartphones are mobile phones that us an operating system allowing a mobile to work like a personal computer. Tablets are just basically giant smartphones.
Are Brands confident in how to incorporate mobile? As a brand consultant who helps companies build their digital presence I often preach about the increased use and popularity of mobile, tablets and Smartphone devices. What this means for restaurants is at the very least make sure that when you are creating content that it is mobile friendly, such as your website. I also recommend having a mobile strategy just like you have one for social media and traditional advertising.
Looking for some stats to reinforce mobile popularity.
- Smartphone sales are on the rise, 72% more were sold in 2010 as compared to 2009
- Between 2010 and 2011 488.5 millions units were sold, that is a 63.1% increase (stat via CultureLabel.com)
- 87% of smartphone owners use their phone to access the web
- 75% of on-line consumers use social media sites regularly
- 80% of people will look for peer reviews on social media platforms or visit a restaurant website prior to a first time visit
So How Are Mobile Phones Used?
81% Browse (social networks, surfing)
77% Search (seeking information primarily using search engines)
SocialMediaToday.com shared CultureLabel.com’s “Global Mobile Trends” InfoGraphic, which organizes the above statistics and more…
What About SMS?
You know, Text messages. Check out this post from Beneath the Brand – The Best Marketing Tool is Also One of the Least Used. According to a recent infographic on mobile marketing by YouGov, 65% of people like getting offers via text messages with 75% of smartphone users preferring SMS offers over other channels like email and social media channels. What a convenient way to take a reservation or a cool way to let a waiting party know that their table is now ready.
What does all this mean for my restaurant? If your audience has smartphones and are using mobile to search, share, shop, etc it would be wise to get involved in the game. Be active, share content, create mobile interaction via gaming, check-ins, tagging or something different that is relevant to your brand and your audience.
What are some mobile apps and how can they help engagement with my restaurant customers?
Location based apps and check-ins:
My personal favorite is Foursquare - I use foursquare for peer recommendation, sharing tips and to check-in so that my social circle knows where I am dining. What a wonderful endorsement wouldn’t you say? If you need help getting started take a peek at a recent post I wrote: Getting Your Restaurant Started With Social Media
Tip: Offer rewards for 1st time check-ins and don’t forget about the Mayor.
Bonus: Foursquare check-ins are now displayed on Facebook timelines.
Urbanspoon and Yelp are two other apps that can help drive traffic and awareness for your restaurant. In particular what I like about each of these apps is that it helps me to decide where to go and tells me what to expect once I get there.
Does your audience include families with kids?
If you offer a kids menu or want to target families with young kids you need to know about Out To Eat With Kids. Does your restaurant offer healthy or economical kid’s meals? Out to Eat with Kids is the only online mobile app where families can search for healthy & economical kids meals. They highlight over 15,000 accurate, stand alone kid specials across the United States. Also, featuring Gluten-Free restaurants as well as restaurants that participate in the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell Program.
Are you a Parents or guardian? Below are two apps that I use with my kids at home and while dining out:
iRewardChart - iRewardChart is an app that brings the traditional reward chart onto your mobile device with a customizable, interactive interface. iRewardChart looks to help parents keep track of their child’s good behavior, and reward them appropriately. Highly customizable. Every kid is different, so you can standardize a reward chart for all kids. How about charting good behavior while dining out?
Hooray For Today - Sometimes parents just need a little ‘kick start’ to get their creative juices flowing. Hooray For Today is a daily creative activity to jump start an interaction with your child. Hooray For Today is based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. And by the way, it can also give you some insight into how your child learns. It’s a great activity to do with your kids, while you are waiting for food to be served.
Can I take advantage of mobile use by my customer while they are in my restaurant?
Yes. Ask your staff to stay alert and notice mobile/smartphone activity. If you have an app, suggest they downloaded it. Ask if they have checked-in, if so see if they have left a tip. Or just plain thank them for their implied recommendation. Let them know you have free wifi and suggest that they take advantage of its free access. How about asking them if they’d like to be reached on their mobile device. Why not ask them to like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter? Go ahead and connect with them by way of the one thing that is rarely left behind. Doesn’t that sound like smart mobile marketing?
Are you looking for ways to add a mobile strategy to your current marketing plan? Have you tried text programs? How do you feel about mobile marketing? Please leave a comment and share your success or failure with mobile marketing.