It wasn’t long ago that we were all enamored with the chime of a text message or the blast of a new ringtone. That was before we fell down the slippery slope of automatic updates and notifications. Today’s consumers want to get fresh information as it hits, and pizzerias like yours need to reach customers quickly and effectively. With so many communication options, it’s hard to know what’s worth your time and money.
Social media works really well because users view it as a recreational activity. They’ve opted in to your feed alongside the feeds of their favorite celebrities, sports teams and friends. That positions you nicely to soft sell your audience. Social lets your brand personality take center stage in a way that can indirectly translate into sales. The issue is that there are so many platforms and each has its own format so it’s best to customize content for each one instead of blasting the exact same thing across them all. The platforms may be free, but they’re sophisticated enough that it might be worth bringing in a professional social media manager to make sure you reach maximum potential.
As much as I appreciate social media, it’s definitely not the only way to run a sales strategy. Facebook and Twitter have algorithms that favor some posts over others and YouTube is notoriously attuned to feeding content based on what they think will keep them staring at their screen the longest. You don’t actually own your social media audience, the platforms do. At any moment, they can change their tech and destroy your entire communication structure. As a friend in marketing once put it, “Spending all your time building a social media following is like building on rented ground.” The key is to collect an audience on social media and convert them to a format that gives you some control.
That brings me to e-mail. Having a newsletter list might seem like an ancient method of communication but it consistently outperforms all other channels in terms of getting good return on investment. You own the list so you stay in the driver’s seat. Success rates are easy to measure with e-mail marketing whereas they are not so simple on social media. You can also segment your audience so the right people get the right message. That’s pretty powerful especially if you have multiple locations and want to tailor a message to people in one neighborhood or another.
As a consumer, I don’t mind getting a few marketing e-mails. Even when I delete them, I’m still reading your name and thinking about your business. Even the worst-case scenario of a customer unsubscribing isn’t even that bad because it refines your audience. Maintaining an e-mail list is how you transform a third-party delivery app customer to a direct customer. Just offer a discount that requires redemption via e-mail so you can loop them in on your marketing blasts. Small price to pay for saving on future third-party app fees.
The last format I want to mention is SMS. I’ve never been a fan because text messages feel more like my personal space than my e-mail inbox. I get a bit annoyed when a marketing text pops up on my phone but they’re easy enough to delete or unsubscribe. As reluctant as I may be about SMS, the stats are heavily in its favor. I recently read that 75 percent of consumers are OK with receiving SMS messages after opting in; SMS messages have a 98-percent open rate; coupon redemption is 10 times higher than other discount methods; and SMS response rate is 209-percent higher than e-mail, phone or social media. You just can’t ignore those numbers!
These days it’s extra important to communicate with your customers so consider all the options and choose what’s right for your business.
SCOTT WIENER is the founder of Scott’s Pizza Tours in New York City and SliceOutHunger.org Instagram: @scottspizzatours