Beyond Discounts: Creative Ways to Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement

moody close up of a hand texting on a phone

Text marketing has become a proven customer engagement tool for restaurants, coffee shops, and hospitality businesses. It’s a direct line to your customers, offering incredible engagement potential. But let’s be honest: a constant barrage of discount offers can get repetitive, both for you and your customers. So how can you leverage text marketing to truly connect with your audience and stand out from the crowd?

At Olive + Leo, we love helping the hospitality businesses who use our platform find new and effective ways to build genuine connections with their audience. While discounts have their place, we’ve seen a variety of creative text marketing campaigns that spark genuine excitement and inspire customers to take action. 

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top text marketing strategies that go beyond the traditional discount. These ideas will help you spark excitement, foster loyalty, and ultimately, drive more customers through your doors.

7 Creative Ways Restaurants Can Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement

Here are a few creative text campaigns you can send through the Olive + Leo platform to entice customers: 

  1. New Menu Item Teasers

Instead of simply announcing a new dish, create a sense of anticipation. You could send a text with a mouthwatering photo and a description highlighting unique ingredients or preparation methods. Generate anticipation and excitement, making customers eager to try your latest creation.

Sample text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A close-up photo of a sizzling steak topped with chimichurri sauce.
  • Text: Calling all steak lovers! Our new Sizzling Chimichurri Steak is arriving soon!  Marinated in our signature blend and grilled to perfection, it’s guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Be the first to try it this Friday!
  1. Chef’s Special Recipes or Secret Tips

Who wouldn’t love to learn the secrets behind their favorite dishes? That’s why sharing exclusive recipes or tips directly from your chef is a great way to highlight your delicious food and encourage customers to recreate the magic at home.

Sample text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A photo of the chef holding a stack of fresh pasta sheets.
  • Text: Top secret alert! Chef [Name] is sharing his secret pasta dough recipe with our loyal texters!  Get the recipe and impress your friends at your next dinner party. [LINK]
  1. Behind-the-Scenes Content

Give your customers a glimpse into the heart and soul of your restaurant. Showcase your team’s passion, share fun kitchen moments, or tell the story behind your unique ingredients. This personalized content helps customers feel more connected to your brand.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A short GIF of the kitchen staff laughing and preparing food.
  • Text: Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at [Restaurant Name]? We’re giving you a sneak peek! Today, the team is whipping up our famous [dish name] with love and laughter. Come try it for yourself!
  1. Themed Dining Nights

Transform ordinary days into memorable experiences with themed dining nights. Highlight special menu features, entertainment, or decorations through text messages, encouraging customers to join the fun.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A vibrant GIF or image of a lively “Taco Tuesday” celebration.
  • Text:  Taco ’bout a fiesta! Join us for “Taco Tuesdays” with $2 tacos, margaritas, and live music! Get your fiesta fix every Tuesday night!
  1. Community Spotlight

Partner with local artists, musicians, or performers to host memorable themed dining experiences with live entertainment. You could announce the event with a text message to your loyalty program members, including a short bio of the collaborator and highlighting menu pairings. This attracts new customers seeking unique experiences and supports local talent.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A photo of a local musician performing in your restaurant.
  • Text:  Get ready for a night of soulful sounds and delicious eats! Join us as we welcome [local artist name] for a live music performance this Friday. Enjoy specially curated menu items inspired by their music!
  1. “Foodie” Photo Contest

This is a great way to integrate social media and leverage the power of user-generated content! Encourage customers to take photos of their food at your restaurant and share them on social media with a specific hashtag. Offer a prize for the most creative or mouthwatering photo. 

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform: 

  • Image: A collage of delicious-looking dishes from your restaurant.
  • Text:  Show us your food love!  Show us your love for our food by sharing your best pic and using #[RestaurantHashtag]. You could win a free meal! Don’t forget to tag us!
  1. Loyalty Program Surprises

Surprise your loyal customers with a secret word or phrase they can use to unlock a hidden menu item or special offer. This rewards engagement, encourages repeat visits, and makes your most valued customers feel appreciated.

Sample Text from the Olive + Leo platform:  

  • Image: A secret dish or a GIF of someone saying “shhhh”
  • Text: Shhh! It’s a secret! Mention the word “SPICY KABOBS” during check-in to get access to a secret new [spicy dish name]! Special runs through the weekend (or as long as supplies last)!

Explore the Possibilities with Olive + Leo

Remember, text marketing is about more than just pushing promotions. By injecting creativity and building genuine connections, you can transform your restaurant into a vibrant community and attract customers who are excited to be part of it.

Ready to explore the possibilities? Olive + Leo offers the tools and expertise to help you craft unique and engaging text campaigns. Check out our flexible packages or sign up for a personalized demo to see how Olive + Leo can unleash your customer loyalty potential.

Texting and Social Media: The Winning Recipe for Multi-Channel Marketing

artsy angle of a computer, i-phone and succulent plan.

In today’s competitive landscape, restaurants and coffee shops need more than just mouthwatering menu items—they need a strategic marketing recipe to capture attention and inspire patrons to visit. Social media, once a novel way to connect with customers, has become table stakes. While it excels at visual storytelling and building communities, measuring its direct impact on sales can be tricky. Recently, text marketing has emerged as a rising star with a proven ability to drive engagement and action. But using these tools in isolation is like having half the recipe. The magic happens when you combine social media and text marketing, creating a multi-channel strategy that drives customers through your doors.

Olive + Leo understands the hospitality industry and the challenges of marketing a restaurant. That’s why we’ve created a platform that seamlessly integrates text marketing with proven social media strategies, eliminating the guesswork and empowering you to create a winning recipe for customer engagement and sales.

Combining Social Media and Text Marketing for Restaurant Success

Here are five reasons why combining social media posts with text marketing campaigns is a powerful communication strategy for restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other hospitality businesses:

  1. Reach Customers Across Different Channels

Think of social media as your visual storyteller, captivating audiences with mouthwatering photos and engaging narratives. Text marketing, on the other hand, delivers a personalized, direct message, like a secret ingredient whispered to your most loyal patrons. This cross-channel approach ensures you cater to different preferences, reaching customers wherever they crave connection. Imagine showcasing a new dish on social media and sending an exclusive SMS discount to customers who’ve opted in for your loyalty program through the Olive + Leo platform. 

  1. Amplify Engagement and Drive Action

Social media is great for whetting the appetite with exciting announcements and event teasers. Text marketing provides a tangible call to action, like a reservation link or online ordering prompt. For instance, tease a new menu launch on social media and then use the Olive + Leo platform to send a special discount and a link to order directly, turning anticipation into action.

  1. Personalize the Customer Experience

Social media allows for broad targeting based on demographics and interests. Texting lets you hyper-personalize messages based on individual preferences and purchase history. For example, imagine sending customers an automated text message with a special offer on your signature dish after their second “check-in” to your restaurant. With the Olive + Leo platform, you can send automated, segmented text messages based on your customer’s engagement level and purchase history. 

  1. Foster Two-Way Communication and Build Loyalty

Social media encourages comments, shares, and community-building. Texting enables real-time conversations for feedback, order tracking, and special requests. By using both, you create a dialogue and build stronger relationships. Restaurants should have a plan for responding to comments on social media and then offer 1×1 text messaging to capture in-house reviews or reservation confirmations with Olive + Leo.

  1. Track and Measure Results Effectively

Social media provides valuable insights into reach, engagement, and brand sentiment. Text marketing platforms such as Olive + Leo offer more detailed and measurable data, such as open rates, click-through rates, and redemption rates. This combined view gives you a holistic understanding of your marketing efforts to discover the type of content that resonates with your audience on social media and entices patrons to check in.

Social and Text Marketing Campaign Examples

Here are two delectable campaign ideas that put these insights into action: 

Idea #1: Sunday Funday FOMO

Social Media: Post mouthwatering brunch photos and videos on Instagram and Facebook, highlighting the fresh ingredients and vibrant atmosphere. Encourage users to tag their friends and use an engaging caption like “Start your week off right with our decadent waffles!”

Text Campaign: Send an exclusive SMS offer on Sunday morning, announcing a special discount on brunch for the next two hours. Include a link to your online reservations page and emphasize the limited-time nature of the offer.

Impact: The social media post generates buzz and desire, while the SMS campaign provides a direct incentive and drives foot traffic during a typically slower period.

Idea #2: Seasonal Cravings Satisfied

Social Media: As you head into fall, post enticing photos of your new pumpkin spice latte and harvest-inspired dishes on Facebook and Instagram. Encourage users to share their fall favorites by using a branded hashtag and mentioning your restaurant in their posts.

Text Campaign: When the new menu launches, send an SMS to subscribers showcasing the seasonal offerings and offering an exclusive “early bird” discount for those who dine in during the first week.

Impact: The social media post creates anticipation and leverages user-generated content, while the SMS campaign incentivizes early adoption of the new menu and drives foot traffic during the launch period.

These are just a few examples. The possibilities are endless, depending on your restaurant’s unique offerings and target audience. 

Ready to Craft Your Winning Recipe?

With Olive + Leo, the possibilities are endless, allowing you to create a multi-channel marketing experience that leaves your customers craving more. Don’t just serve up social media or text marketing alone. Instead, combine them for a winning recipe that guarantees both online buzz and real-world results.

Ready to start cooking? Explore our plans and packages to discover our wide range of effective, affordable customer engagement tools. You can choose between DIY and fully managed marketing campaigns based on your capacity and needs.

Hospitality Content Marketing that Drives Business

close up of colorful post its pinned to the wall

Content marketing has become a proven way to reach ​​customers, earn trust, and impact the bottom line. The challenge for many is identifying the right tactics and channels that work for their business and within their budget. It seems like everyone is competing for attention or popular keywords, and artificial intelligence is changing content creation. Text marketing remains a fantastic way to bring in new business for restaurants and hospitality businesses. In this article, we’ll explain how you can use content marketing to move the needle on profit and attract new customers. 

1. Take time to truly understand your audience. 

The first step in developing an effective content marketing strategy is to understand your target audience. If you want your content to resonate with potential customers, you need to know who they are and what they’re looking for. This ensures you develop content that addresses their specific needs and interests rather than simply guessing. 

2. Make sure your content is aligned with your overall business goals.

What are you hoping to achieve this year? Are you launching a new menu item or hoping to increase your customer base? If so, you should incorporate those goals as you develop your content strategy. One key factor in this approach is giving yourself plenty of runway to educate and inspire your audience to take action. As the old saying goes, the moment you’re tired of talking about it is likely the time your customers are starting to hear the message. Give your top-of-the-funnel content marketing plenty of time to work before you start expecting results. 

3. Be strategic as you diversify your content. 

In addition to creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience, it’s important to diversify the format in which you share it. Today’s digital landscape offers a variety of channels that allow you to get more out of your content marketing. Text marketing, social media, and email newsletters are all ways of connecting with your customers. As you explore ways to diversify your content, remember which formats your audience prefers. The good news is that diversifying your content allows you to meet the different preferences and consumption habits of your target audience.

4. Don’t forget to promote your content.

Ensure your content reaches your content audience by promoting it through a variety of channels. This includes strategically thinking about how to promote content on social media, email marketing, or through paid advertising and influencer marketing. Promoting your content is essential for amplifying your reach and increasing the ROI of your content marketing efforts. 

5. Let data inform your decisions. 

Measuring the effectiveness of your efforts is an essential part of marketing. But often, evaluating content marketing becomes anecdotal and causes you to question how to adapt your strategy. This is why evaluating the data and adopting a more agile approach to content marketing is key. Which content pieces are most popular with your audience? What promotional tactics were most effective? How can you use these insights to plan your content marketing and areas such as product development or customer solutions? These are all helpful questions that provide valuable insights for your business. 

Need Help with Content Marketing?

At Olive + Leo, we’ve used these principles to help dozens of businesses develop a content marketing strategy that creates a pipeline for business development. ​Explore our plans and packages to discover our wide range of effective, affordable customer engagement tools. You can choose between DIY options and fully managed marketing campaigns based on your capacity and needs.

Sleighing Social Media: How to Keep the Spirit Alive During the Holidays

someone tying a bow on a green present that has a red christmas tree on the wrapping paper.

The holiday season is a time when social media comes alive with festive cheer. Businesses are vying for attention while also trying to capture the holiday spirit. If done well, holiday marketing on social media can be some of the most valuable content you produce. 

We’re here to guide you through some simple yet highly effective ways to enhance your social media efforts during the holidays. Read on for some tips to capture the festive spirit and give your brand a competitive edge in your social media posts. 

Create a Holiday-Themed Content Calendar

Planning is key to successful holiday marketing. Create a holiday-themed content calendar for the days, weeks, or months you want to focus on and plan a number of posts to celebrate the season. Not only does a content calendar help you stay organized and consistent, but it’s particularly helpful in planning ahead during a season when many of your employees may be taking time off. 

Drop the Hard Sell Approach

We know the holiday season is an opportunity for many businesses to boost sales, but there’s more to it than just pushing products. Take a step back to think about how you can soft-sell your product during this season. Here are a few ideas:

  • Share user-generated content 
  • Share stories about your team members or any holiday traditions at your company
  • Share customer stories, testimonials, and reviews
  • Take a conversational approach

By focusing on meaningful non-sales content, you can make an impact and build a deeper connection with your audience, giving your brand greater resonance even after the holidays.

Be Inclusive of All Holidays 

There are billions of people on social media, all with different beliefs, traditions, and customs. By showcasing your awareness of this fact, you can appeal to a much larger audience and show current and potential customers that you’re an inclusive company. Add all of the upcoming holidays to your content calendar, and embrace the spirit of the season through the beauty of diversity and inclusivity!

Design Gift Guides and Highlight Gift Ideas

Instagram is a popular social media platform for holiday marketing because of its visual nature. You can enhance the visibility of your best deals, promos, and events by showcasing them in your bio links and highlighting them in shoppable posts. Create content that focuses on gift ideas or holiday shopping guides relevant to your products or services. 

Showcase a Charity or Nonprofit Organization

Share the love this holiday season and showcase a cause you and your audience care about. Shine the spotlight on the nonprofits you support by sharing photos and videos of your team volunteering and infographics about the organization’s impact. Don’t forget to tag the nonprofit on all platforms for additional organic reach! 

Engage Your Audience

Social media platforms offer a variety of engagement features you can use to help show your brand’s personality. Organize fun and engaging contests or giveaways, or schedule holiday-themed polls, questions, and quizzes on your stories to encourage user participation. Infuse a little joy, playfulness, and holiday spirit into your content, and your audience will respond positively. 

Share User Generated Content

User-generated content is a great tool to boost interaction and build an authentic connection with your audience. It also doesn’t take much legwork. Repost or retweet user-generated content that showcases your product or service being used during the holidays. If you don’t have much user-generated content to choose from, ask followers to share their holiday stories, photos, or ideas related to your product or service. It’s an effective way to build a library of content that you can use all year long! 

Collaborate with Influencers

Incorporating influencers in a planned holiday campaign could help you reach a wider or even untapped audience. Influencer marketing is a proven and reliable method for generating brand awareness year-round. According to a Q3 Sprout pulse survey, 89% of marketers agree influencer marketing impacts their brand awareness. The authentic content micro-influencers (influencers with 10,000–100,000 followers) are known to produce is just one benefit of working with them.  

Analyze and Adjust 

Take a step back and look at the analytics. Your data from the previous holiday season can equip you with meaningful insights that guide your future content. Understand what performed best and adjust your strategy accordingly. A thorough analysis can help you plan for seasonal content for next year and beyond. 

Let Us Help You Reach Your Goals

At Olive + Leo, we help our hospitality and restaurant clients build effective campaigns for the holiday season and all year round. If you need some guidance to start bringing in more customers, we can help you reach them. Explore our plans and packages to discover our wide range of effective, affordable customer engagement tools. You can choose between DIY options and fully managed marketing campaigns based on your capacity and needs.

Contact us anytime to start the conversation!

3 Action Items to Include in Your Holiday Marketing Plan

close up of a planner with a pen and some greenery draped over top

As the weather is slowly cooling down, the holiday season is quickly approaching. It always kind of sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? This year, your company can take advantage of the seasonal magic in the air and start designing your holiday marketing plan early. We’ve shared a few ways that you and your team can stay ahead of your competition by incorporating a few new elements into your marketing plan.

Curate Email Campaigns

Email marketing is one of the best ways to keep a potential customer engaged. Email is also one of the most influential ways to drive business and earn ROI (especially with Millennials). Plan and strategize your email content including specific promotions, engaging graphics, and a timeline for emails to be distributed. Be sure to create a sense of urgency to encourage customers to act quickly.

Design Festive Freebies

Whether content is available to current clients or is an incentive for new subscribers, free resources are always appreciated. Who doesn’t love free, valuable information? Add some holiday cheer to the mix to make it even more captivating. Think about your goods or services and customize some themed content that will help your customers solve a pain point. 

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
  • Shareable “good to know” information
  • Holiday checklists 
  • Interactive illustrations
  • Expert advice for the season
Show Your Appreciation 

There’s nothing quite like receiving a corporate token of appreciation—you feel like your business truly matters. Spend the time to learn what your customers would genuinely value and invest in the relationship.   

The holiday season is also an incredible time to give back to your community or international nonprofits that your organization admires and supports. Utilize social media to raise awareness for the causes that your business believes in, and encourage your audience to help support nonprofits and give back to others. 

Ready to Implement?

Feel like your marketing plan involves details you’re not sure how to implement? Contact us today to schedule a consultation and give your customers what they want this holiday season.