7 posts categorized "Food and Drink"


Starbucks Launches Emoji Keyboard



If you’ve ever dreamed sending emoji of a unicorn drinking coffee to a friend or family member, that dream is now reality. Starbucks recently launched a keyboard app that’s all about entertainment as opposed to the coffee company’s main objective: selling food and beverages. The app allows you to send pictures of coffee, Frappuccinos, teas, and purple unicorns drinking caffeinated beverages to friends and family. 


Snaps Media Partnership

This keyboard app was not released under Starbucks on Apple or Google Play, rather it was created with the help of Snaps Media, a company that works with a variety of brands interested in launching keyboard apps and emojis. Brands working with Snaps Media don’t have the time or desire to craft related apps, which is why the company boasts a client list that includes Nickelodeon, VH1, TCM, MTV, BET, sports teams, and television shows such as Broad City, Deadpool, Portlandia, and Workaholics. Snaps Media also works with brands such as Dove, Sour Patch Kids, Coco-Cola, Pepsi, and Victoria’s Secret. 


App Developer Inspiration

Starbucks is undoubtedly a very popular brand, and one that has inspired more than a few app developers to use the famous name to promote their own App Store options. For example, searching for ‘Starbucks’ results in the pop-up of numerous “secret menu” apps, as well as coupon finders and “nearest store” locators. An emoji keyboard is subsequently not exactly a shocking new possibility related to the coffee juggernaut. 


First Time

The app is the first time Starbucks has introduced an emoji keyboard dedicated to mobile users. 

“Starbucks’ first emoji app features favorite Frappuccino blended beverages, iced tea, coffee, and even a purple unicorn sipface,” the company announced on its newsroom page, and promised new content is coming soon. 


Keyboard Quality

So what about the keyboard’s quality? According to initial reviews, it’s not great. Complaints about icon quality and the fact that emojis must be copied and pasted into messages are putting consumers off, however these problems are generally synonymous with emoji keyboards. This includes Kimoji, the most popular emoji app of the moment. 


Where It Works

The Starbucks emoji keyboard is the same as other popular third-party apps in that it’s available through SMS/iMessage, messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, and in email among other options. The release comes on the heels of Starbucks’ revitalized Rewards program and their “more personalized” mobile app. The new version of the company’s flagship app includes the new Rewards program as well as entertainment program options and mobile ordering improvements. 

The emoji keyboard app is free to download on both Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Starbucks has already led the way in terms of mobile app payments, so whether their keyboard app will become the most popular option of its kind should be interesting. Whatever the results, Starbucks’ foray into the mobile world demonstrates the company’s ambition in terms of mobile loyalty and related commerce. 

Besides, who doesn’t want to send an emoji of a purple unicorn drinking a cup ‘o joe? 


Capitalize on the Shopping Season with your Mobile Marketing Campaign



According to Adobe, 26 percent of the $3.07 billion spent on Cyber Monday involved purchases made via mobile. What’s more, 37 percent of the $1.7 billon in Thanksgiving sale purchases were also made via smartphone. While these numbers are certainly impressive on their own, the general growth of mobile success throughout the year foreshadows even greater success for mobile marketing in 2016. 


Significant Statistics  

According to a report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, mobile revenue increased almost 10 percent year over year in Q3. What’s more, the average revenue generated by iPhones increased by 46 percent year over year. 

And we’re just getting warmed up. Mobile accounted for 34 percent of Black Friday sales and drove an additional 53 percent of indoor shopping visits. 

Another significant report from IBM explains that online Black Friday sales increased by almost 15 percent this year compared to last.

The holidays are a great time to reinvent holiday marketing themes to push sales in the final quarter of the year. But that’s not the only time marketers or business owners should be thinking mobile. 

The reason so many reports have covered the growth of mobile is that this marketing trend has yet to reach its tipping point. The takeaway from 2015 is significant in that holiday mobile marketing is really just the tip of the iceberg. 


Mobile First in 2016 

Mobile marketing should become more integrated into every marketing endeavor, and not limited to seasonal or annual sales. Truth be told, it’s hard to predict the purchasing power of mobile just yet; but as more and more shoppers enter the web via mobile, businesses of every variety will have to realign their online shopping experiences to meet the needs of on-the-go consumers. 

This is why it’s so important to think mobile first in the beginning part of 2016. By focusing on the mobile experience consumers face searching or browsing for your company’s products or services, you can identify the areas that are performing smoothly and others that are leading customers astray. 

Mobile first is about a lot more than holiday shopping trends. It’s about rethinking the entire shopping experiences, including researching similar products, managing customer reviews, and communicating dynamic messages across multi channel campaigns. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but the general tone of mobile has been steadfast this year despite the season or celebration. According to several reports, next year will be an even bigger year for mobile; companies of all sizes should pay attention, less they get lost in the shuffle. 


How Can My Restaurant Use Mobile Marketing Tactics?


The classic ways to drive traffic to your restaurant are becoming a bit outdated. Consider the advancements in technology in the past five years – with all of this new tech, it’s easy to imagine traditional marketing strategies might fall short of the ROI you had in mind. Well, we’ve been examining the research, and there’s no more effective way to reach your customers than SMS text messages. Have a look at how your restaurant can use SMS mobile marketing tactics to improve your business and generate more sales.


To start out, develop a mobile database to promote your text message marketing program.

A mobile marketing database allows you to keep track of the customers who choose to opt-in to your program. Promote the program everywhere you can: on coasters, doors, signs, online, and in your print marketing materials.


Try offering a free entrée to customers who opt-in.

This will grow your database immediately. In one example, a chain called Texas Roadhouse offered a free appetizer to customers who chose to opt-in to their “TextUs Loyalty Club.” The campaign generated an average 17% redemption rate during the pilot. Latest reports show that 44% of customers are willing to provide personal info in exchange for a reward, coupon or deal.


Send out offers for discounts on future meals.

This method is extremely effective: Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, and many others have had great success with this tactic. Carl’s Jr sent a series of SMS text messages in 2013 for a half-priced $6 burger combo. The ROI turned out to be $14 in new sales for every dollar they spent on the campaign!


Consider extending your discounts for several weeks.

In the United Kingdom, Papa John’s Pizza ran a three-week campaign via text message, offering any pizza at any size for 7 pounds (9 pounds for delivery). In those short three weeks, the franchisees benefitted from an increase in sales of over 33%.


Carefully time your multimedia SMS text messages to maximize your number of covers.

You can actually drive traffic to your restaurant whenever you send out text messages to your customers, so time them carefully. You may want to bring in customers during peak meal times (since you have a full staff), or you could build your off-peak hours through promotions like Happy Hours and late night events.


Create separate lists for customers by area code and type, then utilize geofencing to enhance sales.

When you separate your lists, you can treat your customers more like individuals. Divide them by categories: new customers, regulars, and VIPs. Using area codes, you can easily geofence your locations. Pizza Hut in Britain set up geofencing locations within a half-mile of their 340 locations – customers entering within the geofence would receive an SMS text message promotion from the nearest Pizza Hut. In its fifteen month run, marketers found that the program was 142% more efficient in increasing sales than other marketing channels (4.4 times more effective than TV ads, and 2.6 times more effective than online ads).


Instead of using beepers, use SMS text messages to let customers know when their table is ready.

This one’s a no-brainer. Why spend money on an expensive paging system, when your customers already own the technology necessary to page them? Just take down their number when they arrive, and text them when their name comes up on the wait list. It’s that simple.


Reward customers who refer your business to friends via text message forwarding.

Dunkin’ Donuts tried this in the Boston region, and achieved great results. Not only did they give discounts to loyal customers, they offered a free donut to those who refer their friends to the program. The result was a 21% increase in store traffic, as well as a boom in the number of new subscribers to their loyalty program. 

The strategy is simple: Use SMS text message marketing to grow your sales. Build up a strong customer list, offer discounts & freebies, text them in the right time and place, and use referral programs. Also, try asking your customers for feedback via text as well. You will find that they have terrific advice, and you can use that information to improve their experience even further. SMS text message marketing campaigns are the wave of the future for the restaurateur – so don’t miss out on this inexpensive and effective means to boost your company’s sales!



Why Starbucks is Leading the Way for Mobile Marketing Tactics


Starbucks is easily one of the most popular brands in the U.S., and the company also happens to be an SMS marketing leader. One of the first companies to wholeheartedly embrace mobile applications, Starbucks went on to develop several highly-effective SMS marketing campaigns. 

Check out three lessons to learn from the coffee giant: 

SMS Increases Brand Loyalty

SMS is an excellent way to increase brand loyalty. Connecting SMS marketing with mobile apps, exclusive deals, and loyalty memberships provides customers with more reasons to choose your brand...and stick with it. 

Starbucks’ SMS marketing effort resulted in a 75% increase in mobile sales over the last year. The company also discovered two times as many customers were utilizing their mobile app payment option--10 million people, to be exact. The campaign resulted in customers being that much more integrated with the brand, and therefore more likely to return. 


SMS is the Perfect Social Media Partner 

Superb social media integration is another reason Starbucks’ SMS campaigns are successful, as the company uses its online presence to drive SMS traffic, and vice versa. For example, many opt-in forms posted by Starbucks featured promises of gifts, coupons, and other discounts, while social media posts included funny images, such as those of dogs on the beach with their coffee. Such relevant, humorous content demanded attention.  

Starbucks also used social media to send messages relevant to their summer campaign, which were shared, commented on, and favorited. Tight, relevant marketing messages were yet another way the company engaged customers enough to have an effect on mobile sales and app signups. 


SMS Helps Brands Remain Relevant 

Staying relevant is one of the hardest challenges, as marketing campaigns are often outdated before they even launch. SMS is instant, and Starbucks took advantage of this by creating an iced coffee campaign for summer. This included coupons, “happy hours,” and other discounts throughout the summer. Starbucks also infused the campaign with humorous touches, such as pictures of kitties in space. 

Starbucks’ 12 Days of Christmas promotion was another success, and included offering a different gift for sale each week, such as refillable coffee mugs for use throughout January. This ability to drive the brand as a Christmas gift source and then provide incentives to gift recipients the following month went very, very well.

Learn from Starbucks’ mobile marketing campaigns and implement similar strategies into your own marketing projects. 



Crafting the Perfect Text in 3 Steps


SMS messaging isn’t just the most popular form of communication between individuals, it’s an increasingly common marketing tool, favored by any business wanting to reach more people, more quickly, for less money and effort than virtually any other ad platform. Text marketing is undoubtedly effective, but only if you create the right sort of message. 

If you’re new to mobile marketing, it’s not immediately obvious what constitutes a good text message. Well guess what, we’ve made it obvious with our three-point guide: 

1) Lead with the offer. The first sentence should state clearly and concisely what you are offering. Bury it at the bottom of the message and some people won’t even get that far. Remember, for all your advertising fireworks and brand promotion, people just want the deal. Be upfront about what your offer is and then you can pull out the bells and whistles.

2) Make sure the offer is of value to the customer. Don’t issue a text blast every time you have a new product line or a redesigned website. People don’t care about that – they only care about discounts and other special offers. To optimize the value of your offer, make sure it’s only redeemable inside a tight, finite time frame: exclusivity and urgency make consumers likelier to pounce.

3) Include a direct call to action. Again, concision and clarity are the watchwords here. Close your text message with a direct call to action that lets recipients know exactly what they have to do to retrieve the offer. It might be in the form of a link to your website – a good method of ensuring your company name is also included.

Follow these rules and you have a foolproof message. To wit, an example of the ideal text message for a mid-market chain restaurant: 

“Buy 1 entrée, get 1 free. Only open to Mobile Members tomorrow night. Show this text to take advantage, and visit pizzaplace.com to see our full menu!”

As you can see, the offer is announced in plain, simple language, right at the start of the message. A sense of exclusivity is engendered by the reference to Mobile Members being the only patrons who can take advantage of the deal; restricting the offer further still by limiting it to the following evening, the text also parlays an air of urgency. The call to action is clear, imploring recipients to show the text to staff to take advantage of the deal and the name of the restaurant is communicated along with a link to the website (killing both those birds with one stone obviously only works where a domain name is identical to the restaurant name… which frankly, SEO marketers will tell you, it should be!). 

So, next time you come to devise a bulk text for your business, cross-reference your message with our guide to make sure you’ve included all the important information. 


5 SMS Marketing Campaigns for Restaurants


SMS marketing is well-suited to the restaurant industry, where the peaks and lulls are hard to predict. With SMS, restaurateurs can announce special offers at short notice and be sure customers will receive the text. Throw geo-location technology into the mix and they can alert only those people in the vicinity. If there’s a quiet afternoon, SMS messaging can turn things around within minutes. 

A recent Cellit study found the average Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) has 791 text subscribers per location. That’s a heck of a lot of business. To get the creative juices flowing for your next mobile marketing campaign, check out some of the very best SMS messaging strategies used by some of the biggest brands around:


Taco Bell

Taco Bell leverages the power of SMS to stay in touch with their customers, but like all good mobile marketing campaigns, text forms just one part of an overarching, cohesive strategy. Their Frutista Freeze campaign is a case in point. First they encouraged users to text a number by plastering it across radio, television and print ads. Then they made brilliant use of time-limitations by applying expiration dates a few days after subscription. The result? 13,000 new subscribers inside 5 weeks. 


Cause marketing via SMS was used to great effect by Arby’s recently. The Arby’s Foundation spread awareness about childhood hunger by partnering with Share Our Strengths No Kid Hungry campaign.


In New York, a 16-store Subway franchise launched a major mobile marketing campaign to increase repeat business with existing customers. The ‘My Subway Mobile SMS’ program averaged a 9% redemption rate – significantly higher than the 1% returned by earlier direct mail campaigns.


By offering diners a chance to win a trip to a destination of their choice, Hooters not only built positive brand awareness, they encouraged new opt-ins by the thousand, growing their mobile database during the campaign itself. It was all down to an incentive-driven SMS strategy that encompassed in-store advertising and social networking.

Texas Roadhouse

By piloting a six month mobile marketing strategy in 20 of their 400 locations, Texas Roadhouse generated an average redemption rate of 17%. Billed as a loyalty club, the campaign offered free appetizers to new sign ups.




5 Ways to Connect with Consumers this Thanksgiving


This year's Christmas commercial chaos began before the jack-o-lanterns got cold. On November 1st, retailers started knocking huge figures off their products and gave every ad a seasonal spin. As soon as Black Friday hits, the whole thing steps up another gear, and we’re on the home straight until December 25th. Then the New Year sales begin… but that’s another story.

Until then, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on the season by running Thanksgiving promotions, Black Friday giveaways and Cyber Monday discounts. Themed competitions, surveys, special offers – this is the time to pull out the big guns and win some new brand ambassadors to help you through the January slump. Here are a few suggestions to get you going:


1) Mobile Coupons

Give your mobile strategy a shot in the arm by advertising mobile-only coupons on social media. If customers sign up to receive text alerts, give them an irresistible freebie. Remember, more than 90% of text messages are opened and read within minutes, so the more users you engage via SMS, the better.


2) Do Something Good

The giving season is the ideal time to demonstrate your company’s caring side. Donate a percentage of profits to a worthy local organization, or set up a charity drive with a fun, seasonal activity attached. Whatever you do, avoid cynically exploiting your good deed for marketing purposes. The fact you’re giving rather than receiving will speak volumes on its own. Tell people about it, sure (after all, you want as many people to get involved as possible), just don’t labor the point. The more humility in your humanity, the better it will reflect on your brand.


3) Run a Sweepstakes

The ultimate way to build your database of contacts, a Thanksgiving-themed sweepstakes can be disseminated via social media and SMS messaging. Whether it’s a new dinner set or simply dinner, the same rules apply: people like freebies. Partner with a local grocery store or hardware outlet to offer something special to the mutual benefit of both your businesses. The bigger the prize, the more interest you’ll attract, so try to offer something worth at least a three-figure sum.


4) Seasonal Cards

Sending a Thanksgiving card to your most loyal clients is a great way to stay in touch with them during the holiday season. Not every business will be able to do this, but if you can demonstrate your graphic design and content skills in a fun, humorous way, whilst thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s well worth the expense. If you want to show off your green credentials by eschewing traditional paper cards, design an e-card or a festive gif to send via text message.


Warm yer cockles wi' a wee hot toddy.

5) Mix it Up

Every year there seems to be a new addition to the Thanksgiving season. First it was Black Friday. Then came Cyber Monday. Marketers love to conceive new themed days around this time of year – and sometimes they really take off. This year, why not try focusing on November 30th, which is St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland (and not much talked-about anywhere else). Rebrand it Hot Toddy Day, or Kilt Day – anything with potential for strong visuals. The more different you are from the competition, the more likely your marketing campaign is to get noticed.