Think Black Friday isn’t for your business? Think again

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is the biggest shopping weekend of the year and the unofficial kick-off of the festive shopping season. The four-day retail event traditionally starts with an in-store bargain hunt, ending with an online ‘click frenzy.’ Despite the changes, restrictions and economic uncertainty, with the right strategy in place businesses can use the new  consumer behaviour to strength and secure growth for the future. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the retail landscape, and along with it the purchasing preferences, behaviours and habits of consumers. Whilst in-store visits took a nosedive, online traffic reached unfathomable heights, paving the way for a new customer-business relationship. Businesses who could communicate with email and SMS with their customers when they weren’t physically on premise fell on less shaky ground than those who couldn’t. 

Many hospitality businesses also embraced online stores for hampers, dinner boxes and even their famous condiments.  Why not build on this momentum and create special packages with a Black Friday theme.

This year, after all we have learnt, we are now looking at a magnificent opportunity to regain some lost ground in both retail and online hospitality. Let’s turn this busy period regardless if your business is a bricks and mortar store or online into your best one yet.

Here’s how….

Capture their details

Create members only discount offers – this will encourage new customers to sign up, join your contact list.  Building your contact list means you can promote offers, new products or get them back after their first visit or purchase. 

Welcome or onboard new customers

Great they have signed up, now what? Don’t wait 6 months when things get quiet and you think ‘oh maybe I should send an email to my contact list’… Set up an automated communication that welcomes them to your store, tell your story and maybe even dangle a little carrot to get them back? 10% discount on your next purchase? 

Your secret weapon

Here’s the clue: You use it every day to talk to friends and family. 

SMS is a powerful and often underutilized marketing tool.  SMS reaches more customers than any other marketing platform and most are opened within 90 seconds after being received. Targeting customers with the tools they use is the perfect way to get the attention of a busy and distracted customer. 

SMS could help remind your customers about you while promoting your Black Friday sales. SMS is great to re-engage with customers who may not respond to other forms of marketing. 

Here are a few tips for Sending an SMS to promote your Black Friday sales:

  1. Keep your SMS short and tactical. Have a call to action that will get results, such as a time sensitive discount. 
  1. Make it personal. Include a merge field such as first name to grab your reader’s attention. 
  1. Make it more than just an SMS. In TalkBox you can  include additional information or promote the best Black Friday offers with images and text by selecting ‘add promotion.’ This will take you to the email editor where you can create a branded flyer with links to your website or directions to your store. 

Customers expect to receive lots of marketing during this time so sending 1 SMS each day with a different special or deal, can help to increase engagement as they anticipate what the next offer could be. 

Want to build better relationships with your customers and set your business up for success? Talk to us today.

Secrets to successful communications

– 2020 Report –

Greater personalisation and data-driven targeting has helped businesses using TalkBox to stay connected with their customers and keep them coming back.

This clever use of customer information has contributed to a more engaged audience and higher open rates. Our analysis shows customers are listening and want to hear from your business. Generally, email open rates have declined but our report bucks that trend.

Download our 2020 Report here.

A key takeaway from our 2020 report: build a list of fans.

Create a list of customers who want to hear from you. Connecting your data sources such as guest WiFi, POS, or booking platform to TalkBox means you will be able to communicate with your most recent and engaged customers.

Customers who ‘opt-in’ to receive marketing communications through these streams will be a valuable audience, and your communications will be less likely to end up in their spam or junk folders.

Want to know more about connecting the data sources in your business? Talk to us today.

Read about how one franchise uses guest WiFi to drive loyalty here.

Would you like Fries with your WiFi?

Case Study – Lord of the Fries NZ

Lord Of The Fries opened their first New Zealand store in 2016, overthrowing the traditional model of ‘fast food’ serving up ethically and sustainably sourced meals and snacks. Contrary to the 1950s namesake novel, there is no ‘spilling of the blood.’ Lord of the Fries celebrates a menu comprised entirely of vegetarian and vegan options winning over the hearts and stomachs of even the toughest carnivorous customers.

The fast-food industry is temperamental to trends, knowing this Lord Of The Fries implemented a clever customer retention strategy using Loyalty Automations Package by Impact Data to drive loyalty. Capturing customers’ contact details as they sign up for Guest WiFi and integrating TalkBox with their POS system IdealPOS means they can connect with customers when they are not in store, by sending clever targeted communications.

Lord Of The Fries has seen significant growth in its database since connecting their Guest WiFi to TalkBox, with an average monthly database growth of 24%. Guest WiFi offers immense benefit to both parties; customers get to access and scroll their favourite apps while they wait for their meals, and Lord Of The Fries gains behavioural data and opportunities to promote their products to their customers.

In this industry, new customers are especially vulnerable to competitors. Lord Of The Fries uses TalkBox to secure a second visit with an automated welcome communication. Shortly after a customer visits a Lord Of The Fries store and logs on to Guest WiFi for the first time, they receive a communication that thanks them for visiting and invites them back with the offer of a free small fries to enjoy next time. The offer worked to entice 8% of customers back within two weeks and 25% back within six months.

The key to beating the competition, and a longstanding rule of marketing – stay top of mind. Lord Of The Fries sends regular updates on new menu items, blog posts or special offers to keep customers engaged, and it works. Their open rates are 38%, above the industry averages as customers are keen to see if a communication holds a surprise, delight or reward.

Talk to us today about using Guest WiFi to drive your customer loyalty.

Navigating Lockdown 2.0 is hitting the UK and Europe hard; is your hospitality business ready?

Our 5 point plan can help

The time that we all dreaded is upon us where whole or parts of countries are going into lockdown, again.  Regardless of how well you fared the first time around, you can still drive revenue with the right strategy in place.  We have put together the best tips that we learned including those from our colleagues in Australia who have successfully navigated the easing of restrictions and the beginning of the resurrection of their hospitality businesses.

Customers are the lifeblood of your business and the key is to keep them engaged, regardless of whether your business is open for trade.  Connect with them across all of your platforms: email, SMS and socials.  Keep your messages authentic, use images of your business, staff and food to remind them why they love what you do and to help stay top of mind.

There is a lot to think about, so we have curated our top tips to stay connected with your customers to give your business the best chance of navigating the lockdown and beyond:

  1. Connect all your customer data
    If like many hospitality businesses you have data locked away in your loyalty program, Guest WiFi, restaurant or accommodation booking platform, now is the time to extract it and add it to your email platform. 

Some other places to think about where customer contacts might be stored include; sign up forms on your website, function bookings and online orders. If you used a tool like to collect customers for track and trace, you might find a number have opted in for marketing. Learn how to connect your TalkBox and VisitSafe Accounts here. 

Now is the time to gather all these customers into your digital marketing platform so you can start talking to customers.

  1. Let customers know whether you are open in any capacity.  If you are completely closed let them know via email or SMS and make sure you place a notice on your website.  You might also update your Google listing.  Remember customers are going to be staying close to home so if you know your locals from your visitors then give them priority in your communications.  

    If you have decided to add online delivery or take away options but didn’t last time then that’s a critical message to get out. You might want to consider a weekly message to let customers know of your specials.

    Even if your business is only taking orders from one of the aggregators like Uber Eats, then you still want your customers to know where to find you.
  1. Generating business in lockdown.
    One of the most successful pivots we saw in Australia was that went from a start-up selling at home packs to selling $1.5m of pre-packaged meals from some of Melbourne’s top 50 restaurants each week.

    Some other ideas include selling gift vouchers (consider adding value eg $120 face value for only $100), selling your sauces or jams that you make for the business as add ons to take away meals or as gifts in hampers, 

    If you are famous for your wine list why not create food and wine pairing dinners that can be pre-purchased and even include a link to a video where your sommelier explains the pairings.

    If you or other local businesses are doing delivery, why not join forces and create an experience that showcases a few businesses in your suburb eg dinner from the local restaurant, wine from the off-license, chocolates or dessert from another cafe and even a few books from the local book store.  These packs could also work as great Christmas gifts.
  2. Staying in touch with your customers is perhaps even more important if you are not trading at all.  Some great ways to do this include:
  • Telling your story – how did you decide on the name, develop the famous burger that everyone loves etc.  Old photos of your business will help bring this to life
  • Profile your team – talk about their passions, favourite coffee or cocktail and why they got into hospitality
  • Showcase your suppliers – are you famous for plant-based ingredients or locally sourced product?  Customers love to know the origin of their food
  • Create at-home recipes for some of your dishes 
  • Ask for reviews.  Not only will this help you create new content for your website and socials, but it can also improve rankings on search and more importantly it can help remind your customers why they love coming to your business.

5. Build your reopening plan. Most hospitality business owners are time poor.  Use this time to look at your business from top to bottom and really analyse what’s working and what needs improvement. This journey can also be communicated to customers; let them know about new menu items you are creating, get them to vote to keep favourites on the menu and changes you are making to the layout or renovations you are planning.  

As your business moves closer to re-opening, let customers know how you are preparing. Setting expectations around how you will manage capacity, showing off the theatre of your COVID clean and letting customers know of changes are critical to providing reassurance and safety about coming back on premise.

Experience has shown that businesses who stayed connected to their customers during crisis bounceback faster and stronger.  It takes considerably more time, effort and resources to attract a new customer than to stay in touch with your current ones. Consider your customer database a key asset for your business, give it attention and respect now and let it help your business now and when things return to normal.

Impact Data are here to help. Talk to us today about how we can help you connect with your customers and drive business.

When to use SMS

SMS is an excellent tool to re-engage with customers who may have forgotten about your offer or not visited in a significant period of time. SMS commands attention, it can reach customers who may not respond to other forms of marketing.

Including SMS in your automated communication strategy is a great way to get maximum reach and get your message read.

Here are just 2 examples:

1. SMS a voucher reminder
Humans by nature are forgetful. You customer may have had every intention to claim their free drink or discount on their next visit but life got in the way.

When creating a voucher you have the option to send a ‘Voucher reminder’. Sending a voucher reminder via SMS can help maximise redemptions and bring customers in.

2. Re-engage with lost customers
Do you know that over 50% of your customers don’t return for a second visit? SMS has a far deeper reach than any other marketing tool, which makes it the perfect tool to re-engage with customers who may not have visited your business for a while.

Want to know more? Watch our short video and see how easy it is to create and send SMS with TalkBox here.

Talk to us today about how you can use TalkBox to get your customers back in and drive business.

Locked down again?

Here’s what you can do to keep business moving.

Keep your customers informed and update them on your business operations. Staying top of mind benefits your business now, and when you reopen. Regular email and SMS communications can help keep customers engaged and your business moving.

  • Provide reassurance of COVID-19 safety measures
    Highlight what your business is doing to keep customers safe. This might seem obvious, but if you don’t tell customers what you’re doing they may go elsewhere.
  • Opening and closing times
    If your opening hours have changed due to restrictions, let your customers know and do it quickly. You don’t want customers to feel disappointed if they visit you and you are closed. An SMS will help your message reach every customer.
  • Menu update
    Do you have a great selection of heat-and-eat meals designed to enjoy at home? Promote your new menu and include a promotion to entice customers to try it. Send an SMS just before dinner time to get their attention.
  • Promote takeaway and delivery
    Remind your customers regularly about your takeaway and delivery offering with SMS. Include a promotion with limited validity to entice customers to respond to your call to action. Read how successful this strategy was for Italian eatery, Amore.
  • Booking tables
    Social distancing may mean you have reduced capacity. Remind your customers to book a table to avoid disappointment. Connect your booking platform with TalkBox so you can stay connected after their visit and invite them back.

Have you signed up for VisitSafe?
VisitSafe is a free contactless tool to record customer visits for Covid-19 contact tracing. Sign up here.

Happy hour vouchers in TalkBox to help boost sales

Vouchers have proved to be an excellent way to give your customers another reason to visit you. In TalkBox, you can limit the validity of your vouchers to certain days to ensure you don’t give away anything when you don’t need to.

Create a voucher with limited validity to:

  • Promote your in-house happy hours
  • Boost sales during slow periods
  • Bring in customers before the big game
  • Reward your best customers with special limited-time discounts or vouchers.

Create, send and redeem your happy hour voucher entirely within TalkBox. Why not try and recover some customers who you haven’t see in a while with SMS. Sending a happy hour voucher close to the time it is valid can help drive customers back in to take advantage of the offer. ​ You can add a voucher when creating the SMS in TalkBox.

No voucher scanners? No problem!

The TalkBox voucher scanning app is downloadable from Apple App Store or Google Play. Simply download the app to any internet-enabled smartphone and scan TalkBox vouchers direct from a customer’s smartphone making the entire process contactless.

Why use SMS marketing?

Did you know that the average person checks their phone approximately 86 times a day? Using SMS marketing to promote your business offers a huge opportunity to get direct and instant contact with your customers.   

Customers don’t apply the same level of filtering to SMS than they do to other forms of marketing, with a significantly higher level of engagement compared to social media. The short and direct nature of SMS marketing makes it the perfect way to get the attention of distracted customers with busy lives who might be thinking about lunch or dinner just as they receive your SMS. 

Here are just a few reasons to use SMS:

  • Remind customers about your business –  When they aren’t in your business, it’s likely they are not thinking about you and can easily be attracted to a competitor. SMS regular reminders and include a link to your menu or opening hours to bring them back.
  • Get a second visit – Send an SMS with an irresistible promotion to customers who haven’t visited your business in a while.
  • Boost a quiet period – Are Tuesdays a bit slow? Sending an SMS at the right time, such as just before lunch, can help drive sales. Include a voucher for a discount to entice customers even further.  

Need some inspiration?

Visit our SMS example library here. 

Bring back more customers with TalkBox vouchers

Did your customers take advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme? You might have noticed how much your customers love a discount or promotion. Why not reward them and keep business moving by sending an SMS or email with a TalkBox voucher.

A voucher can be inserted into an email with the drag and drop editor or added to an SMS by selecting ‘add promotion’ in the SMS editor.

TalkBox vouchers can help to:
Boost business during a quiet period such as mid-week lunch.
Bring back lost customers with a free drink voucher.
Introduce new customers to your business with 2-4-1 vouchers.
Promote happy hours with limited validity vouchers.

No Voucher scanners? No Problem!
The TalkBox voucher scanning app is downloadable from Apple App Store or Google Play. Simply download the app to any internet-enabled smartphone and scan TalkBox vouchers direct from a customer’s smartphone making the entire process contactless.

Make every customer count

Restrictions are finally beginning to ease and we can start to welcome patrons back into our venues.  With limitations on capacity and adhering to strict social distancing rules, your business may not be at full speed for some time. However, when the time comes and business is back to usual a few simple changes now will set you up for success. Impact Data has put together some tips to help you re-open. 

Make every customer count
Re-opening with limited capacity might mean you have to work smarter to ensure you make the most out of every customer. Capturing their contact details now means you can re-market to them and get them back in using clever communications sent inTalkBox via email or SMS.

  • reservation system will enable you to obtain contact details and control your sitting numbers.  If you have a booking platform such as Now Book ItQuandoo or The Fork, contact us so that we can connect it to your TalkBox account.  Capturing their contact information will enable you to use that valuable information to encourage another visit and gather customer feedback and reviews.
  • Guest WiFi is an easy way to capture the details of your customers that may have not made a booking. Use their visitation data to get them back in and turn them into loyal customers. Want to know more?  Check out our Impact Data Partner chat with WiFi expert Troy Coker.

Making the most of your space

Now that you have the means to capture customer details here’s how can you use TalkBox to help drive your revenue.

  • Let your customers know you are open for business.  If you haven’t added new customers from your Takeaway or online ordering partner to TalkBox, talk to us about how we might be able to help.
  • Prioritise your best customers – send them an SMS message to make them feel special and invite them to make a booking or be added to your priority list for when re-open.
  • Send all new customers a welcome email, maybe include a voucher to use on their next visit? Read about how to make a great first impression here.
  • Still offering takeaway? Send an SMS during usually quiet periods to give your sales a boost.