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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: Carl’s Jr. and the Secret to Mouthwatering Text Messages

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 savory SMS marketing campaign turned a good burger deal into a great one for Carl’s Jr. restaurants across the U.S.

In a world of fine dining and dishes that have ingredients you’ve most likely never heard of, sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and bite into a hot and juicy hamburger. While most of the time that sentence alone is probably good enough, the guy’s over at Carl’s Jr. knew that they needed to really go the extra mile in order to keep sales up and help turn a steady trickle of customers into a veritable flood of hungry patrons. However, standing above all the other quick service restaurant (QSR) chains during the sizzling summer month of May isn’t exactly the easiest marketing goal to pull off.

Setting the Stage for SMS Success

So what was the best way to step out of the QSR crowd? If you’re familiar with this case study series, you know that the answer is a great SMS marketing campaign. By reaching out to customers on their phones, Carl’s Jr. tapped into a new way of getting in touch that not only kept their brand on the minds of these hungry shoppers, but also provided a new way to share some unbeatable deals. While it sounds simple at first, to really dig into Carl’s Jr. recipe for success, we’ll need to check this menu headliner out piece by piece.

Breaking down This Tasty Strategy

Let’s start with the basics. As part of any sound SMS campaign, Carl’s Jr. decided to come up with a great offer that clearly gave shoppers a reason to drop by their local restaurant. In this case, the big pitch was a $6 burger combo for only $2.99. To grab the limited time offer, customers on the SMS messaging list only needed to bring in a simple short code found in the text to any of the 1,369 locations. After this, taking a big sip from an ice cold drink and digging to a tasty burger and fries was all that was left on the agenda. Considering how convoluted some marketing techniques and sales pitches can be, it’s hardly a surprise that customers enjoyed such a simple and straightforward deal that came with real savings and mouthwatering food.

Gauging the Customer Response

It’s easy to say that Carl’s Jr. knocked this one out of the park, but chances are you want some real numbers to show just how great a well planned SMS campaign can really be. To start, 19 percent of the message list members decided to take part in the summer promo. That on its own is pretty impressive. However, the stat that really sets this case study apart from the others focuses on what’s going on at the register. For every $1 that Carl’s Jr. spent texting customers via this promotional, the QSR chain generated a whopping $14 in new sales. Even if you’re more of a chicken kind of person, it’s hard to deny that once the customers got the message and came through the doorway, they couldn’t get enough of this grilled to perfection deal.

What Makes Carl’s Jr. SMS Recipe so Enticing?

So all you need to make a great campaign like Carl’s Jr. is a top-notch product – a tasty hamburger for instance – and the ability to send off texts, right? Unfortunately, there’s still one more secret ingredient that really gets this recipe cooking. Instead of just shooting off a standard “come try our burgers” text, Carl’s Jr. tapped into a very powerful marketing fact that too many brands overlook; customers love pricing based offers. By showing the potential savings in a quick little text message, the burger chain made it pretty hard for hungry customers who love a good deal to keep driving past their local Carl’s Jr.

Cooking up Some Success of Your Own

While all of this is definitely a lot to take in, you can boil down the secret to Carl’s Jr.’s success to a few key points and plug them into your next SMS campaign. First, make the offer worth your customer’s time. Simply sending out messages that talk about how good your products are won’t get the job done. From here, limited time offers that put an emphasis on pricing and savings are some of the strongest motivators you can have on your side. Even if you’re not in the business of great food, these basic principles should be enough to get you on the path to following Carl’s Jr.’s lead and raking in some serious sales numbers.

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