Why is SMS marketing so successful in the food industry?

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In such a competitive industry as the food market, with some seriously big-hitters involved, it can be difficult for smaller brands to gain a foothold. But one technique that often tends to yield successful results is SMS marketing, particularly when it comes to fast food and takeaways. Why so?

Food is Special

People have always shared special moments to eat. Whether it’s couples getting engaged over a romantic evening meal; a wedding feast; old friends meeting up at their favourite restaurant, or just invaluable family time around the breakfast table, the relationships we have with each other are often forged around food, and this naturally creates diverse opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences. With providers such as Global SMS, and the fact that most people will have their phones with them most of the day, they have a wealth of messages to choose from, and an easy way of getting those messages across.

Easy Data Collection

To market successfully, a company needs to have good data in order to target messages appropriately. That’s simplified when it comes to SMS marketing. Many text marketing platforms will supply you with performance charts and graphs showing the percentage of texts that have bounced and the number of texts engaged with by certain demographics. This is the best way to find out what is working for your campaign and what is not.

Why is data collection important? Think about when you order a takeaway, or book a table at a restaurant. You’ll be asked for a contact number. In the vast majority of cases people give over their mobile phone numbers, perhaps because many of them don’t have a fixed handset, using their landline only for the internet. That’s a vast amount of useful customer data coming in every evening that, if used effectively and in accordance with regulations, can yield great campaigns. For instance, you could combine sending out a text message with a link to a customer satisfaction survey or customer experience survey. You can look at this website to find a useful free survey maker tool.


There’s more data out there than ever before, and more ways to segment it. Brands can collect and study information such as what types of food their customers are ordering, and what time of day or night. They can then partition that data. For instance, into people who prefer to eat early or late, people who tend to order side-dishes, or people who live within easy walking distance of an outlet. Combined with the mobile numbers already taken, the potential to use SMS to send out instant, relevant content such as discounts for early birds, is incredible.


By and large, people keep regular mealtimes – in the UK, between 12pm and 2pm most of us will eat lunch, and between 6pm and 9pm we’ll eat dinner. Because the vast majority of text messages are opened within a few minutes of being sent, it means it’s easy for SMS marketers to know when best to send a batch of promotional texts – one or two hours beforehand perhaps, when people are just starting to think about what to eat. An enticing deal sent at the right moment can be very powerful, and with the prevalence of smartphones, brands can send a link direct to the order page.


There are few things people are more loyal about than the places they eat. Most of us will have a favourite fast-food brand, or takeaway shop in our area. That loyalty is advantageous in SMS marketing, where an Opt-In to accept future marketing messages is always required. If someone is a regular customer of ‘Joe’s Chicken’ then chances are he’ll be happy to get the odd message from them about discounts and special offers.

The usefulness of SMS marketing has been somewhat neglected in recent years, often unjustifiably – it’s a medium with massive scope as around 93% of people in the UK own a mobile phone. While retail brands have been focused on digital marketing, the potential of SMS for the food industry cannot be ignored.

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