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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Adding a Little Western Flair to Your Text Messages with Texas Roadhouse

The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How a smart SMS campaign gave Texas Roadhouse a legion of hungry, loyal SMS followers.

If you’re a fan of this mobile marketing case study series, you know we’ve covered some pretty tasty success stories. From juicy hamburgers served with a side of smart SMS tactics, to fresh out of the oven pizzas topped with a little email marketing crossover, it’s obvious that great food and reaching out to customers goes hand in hand. However, the latest restaurant that’s stepping into the mobile marketing spotlight – Texas Roundhouse – has a story that proves that everything, from flame broiled steaks to great text message campaigns, really are bigger in Texas.

Setting the Stage for Major SMS Results

To start, let’s look at a little bit of background on Texas Roadhouse and how the SMS campaign began to come together. With 400 locations across the United States, this western-themed restaurant definitely had a major spot on the food industry map. However, simply resting on your laurels won’t get you far, especially when customers have so many other options for lunch and dinner that are just as accessible. With this in mind, Texas Roadhouse decided to pull out all the stops with a great SMS campaign that helped keep its brand on the minds of hungry patrons. Known as the “TextUs Loyalty Club”, this contact list started off as a pilot program at 20 Roadhouse locations, before expanding out to more territories.

A Powerful Sales Pitch

While a solid SMS campaign that gets a brand’s name out to the masses is nice, Texas Roadhouse knew that if they wanted to see customers come streaming through the front doors at its 400 locations, these texts would really need to kick it up a notch. As we’ve seen with past case studies, there’s no better way to make a bold impression on your target audience than by simply giving them something free for their time. As Texas Roundhouse found out, going this route generated enough interest for 44 percent of customers to share personal information with the company as part of the promotion. At the center of the TextUs Loyalty Club, first time members were able to snack on a free appetizer simply for signing up. After this introductory event, the deal and discounts would pop up in text messages from time to time, just like any other well run mobile marketing campaign.

Digging into the Main Course

So once dinner was over and customers could head home, what was the final verdict on this campaign? To start, over the six month period Texas Roadhouse saw a 17 percent redemption rate on the sign-up offer, making it one of the most successful SMS initiatives in recent memory. Coming as no surprise to those of us that love food, the core of this positive response was the free appetizer. At this point, you’re probably thinking that most people signed up for the free deal, chowed down, and then opted out as soon as they had a foot out the door.

While you’re not alone with that train of thought, the real response turned out to be quite different indeed. With opt outs sitting at around 2.3 percent for the campaign, most satisfied patrons kept their membership in the loyalty club so that they could be a part of the next big offer. Of everything you can take from this case study, this message might be the most important – if you make it worth their time, your customers will reward you for your hard work and effort by sticking around to see what’s next on the SMS menu.

Making an Delicious SMS Recipe of Your Own

Looking back, it’s clear to see that Texas Roadhouse pulled off a big time mobile marketing hit with its TextUs Loyalty Club. If you want to follow in this brand’s footsteps, you don’t necessarily have to be in the food service industry to make it work. What you will need is the ability to reach out to your customers with deals that convince them to make a trip to your shop and not just drive by the next time they’re nearby.  Whether it’s a free appetizer, 15 percent off the next purchase or some other great incentive, once you show your audience you’re serious about SMS marketing, you can really start to grow these deals into a lasting relationship.

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