Archive | November 2009

How – and Why – to Add Mobile to your Restaurant’s Marketing

Let’s start with some quick statistics: 88% of Americans carry mobile phones (virtually all of which are text message compatible) and 99% of text messages sent are opened.  So if you are not employing mobile marketing to drive customers to your restaurant, you should.  It is one of the most personal forms of advertising available and generates among the highest response rates.

  To achieve high response at low cost, your best bet is to employ a company dedicated to mobile marketing. Mobile is an evolving media and there is no way you want to run your business and stay on top of the mobile wave at the same time.  You are an expert in restaurants, they are expert in mobile.  If you decide to try undertake it on your own, here are the necessary pieces:

The Expense
The minimum infrastructure for mobile is:

  • A short code – basically your phone number for text message (SMS) sending and receiving
  • A messaging gateway – these aggregators route your message through various operators to your end users
  • Messaging software

Short code: Costs vary slightly, but generally a short code  will cost between $1,500 and $2,500 to secure and then  $750 to $1,250/month to maintain, paid in three month increments.
Messaging Gateway: Tier 1 aggregators will cost you a minimum of $2,500/month plus per/message fees (based on volume range from $.02-$.10/message).
Messaging software: These software programs allow you to create and send bulk messages as well as receive replies on a web-based platform.  I strongly suggest that you select a program that includes a reporting feature.  You also need to create a mobile web site which is typically a slimmed down version of your desktop web site that has the ability to format optimally for any of the many different mobile screen sizes out there. Most importantly, you will need to have dedicated staff to initiate, support and manage such an effort.

If you cannot undertake a full program at this time, there are other means to launch a mobile marketing program. One option is Twitter, though this also requires dedicated staff time.  Likewise, some companies may develop or participate in mobile applications for iPhone, Blackberry, Palm or Android.  Other companies take pains to be featured on the many local business reference sites like Citysearch, InfoUSA and others like Yelp and to optimize their presence on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

Those are all valuable and mostly inexpensive means of making sure your business is “on the map” when a customer is searching.  Where these tools fall short for a local restaurant is that they are all “search” related. Just like a Yellow Pages ad, you have to hope the customer finds you, is induced to learn more, and then, most importantly, chooses to spend their hard-earned discretionary income with you.

But there is more you can do.  With a new tool from InSequent called Biz411, which costs just $10/month all inclusive, you can add a powerful mobile feature to your marketing which will pay for itself with just one or two new customers a month.

The premise is simple.  You subscribe to a keyword for your restaurant (Lucy’s Cantina chooses its keyword: LUCYS). When a customer texts that keyword to Biz411 (41411) they instantly receive a text message with your phone number and a link to an auto-configured mobile web site containing all your General Info (hours, type of cuisine, address, pics), Menu, Events, Reviews and Deals. The customer also receives a follow-up message from you (auto generated) five minutes later with a thank you and maybe a special offer (free draft beer or dessert) to call them to action (i.e., come to your place!)

You then promote your keyword in all your existing marketing – print ads, radio spots, coupons, flyers – inviting customers to “text LUCYS” for the latest info and specials.  Meanwhile, Biz411 also promotes your restaurant throughout its extensive partner network No special app is required on the consumer’s phone, and no search needed.  You can even place a sticker in the window to engage sidewalk traffic. Instead of looking in your window or calling your hostess, customers can quickly access the exact information they want, and could make the difference between them going to your place, or the one next door.

Perhaps the greatest benefit is that once a customer is “opted-in” you can send them future offers as you see fit. Text messages are read 99% of the time and response rates often reach high double digits.  Email is not even close.  So if you are having a slow evening, you have a quick remedy.

For $10/month this is an easy to add program which ups the odds that those out there with a mobile phone (that’s pretty much everyone) can engage with you. That will translate into more guests, more word of mouth and more revenue.

See How it Works  here or contact InSequent for more information on getting started.


Optimizing Your Business Website for Mobile Visitors

Excerpted from American Express Open Forum by Christina Warren

Nov 27, 2009 – Mobile web usage is exploding. As smartphone ownership surges, more and more consumers are using devices like the iPhone to find information and access the web. More and more consumers buy products and do research from their phones than ever before. A great way to stand out from the crowd is to have a website that is fast, accessible and easy to use from a mobile phone.

Read the rest of the article here.

There are also turnkey services like Biz411 which both create a mobile website for you as well as give you the platform by which to deliver that information to consumers – on request.

Mary Meeker: Economy Is Recovering, Mobile Is Exploding, And The iPhone Is Awesome.

MaryMeeker   Mary Meeker, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley, was often cited as one of the bubble insiders/cheerleaders back when Internet stocks crashed in the early 2000’s. She talked about the growth of companies like Amazon and how the world was changing its purchasing behavior. When stocks crashed, everyone turned up their nose. But it turns out that she was right. The stock prices are another story.

At the Web 2.0 Summit recently in San Francisco, Mary gave a presentation which covered the mobile web extensively. Excerpted from Crunchbase.

Overall, she notes that Morgan Stanley sees many good signs that the economy is recovering. She notes that stock markets usually are a leading indicator of recovery, and certainly we’ve been seeing that recovery in the tech sector (see: Apple). That’s good news because the tech industry is now the most highly capitalized market, it’s no longer the financial industry.

Meeker thinks we’re in a new computing cycle with the mobile web. Meeker believes Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch are leading the way here, big time. She thinks the mobile web will be 10 times as big as the more traditional desktop Internet, and that it will grow much faster.

She also notes that the technologies around it are exploding: Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G, Bluetooth, etc. And all of this is exploding in a recession, she notes.

Other key points:

  • Location-based services are the “secret sauce” of what makes the mobile web interesting.
  • The iPhone/iPod touch is the fastest growing piece of hardware the world has ever seen.
  • And usage share versus market share of the iPhone is incredible, meaning it will only grow.
  • Facebook is becoming the multimedia repository, and it will allow you to do so much.
  • Companies absolutely need to be on board with the mobile web. They have some time, but they need to act.
Information provided by CrunchBase via

For full article, including slide presentation, click here.

Deloitte | Forget Rudolph, Consumers Looking To Digital To Guide Their Holiday Shopping

A recent report by Deloitte predicted mobile will play an important role in the holiday shopping season. The following was excerpted from the article online.

NEW YORK, November 11, 2009 — Digital advancements continue to drive a new approach to shopping, with social media and mobile phones emerging as key influencers this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s 24th Annual Holiday Survey of retail spending and trends.

Consumers in all age groups plan to embrace social media over the holidays. While more than half (52 percent) of those who expect to use social media during the shopping process are in the 18-29 years old age group, one-third (33 percent) are in the 30-44 years old age group and one in 10 (12 percent) are in the 45-60 years old age group.

The mobile phone is another emerging digital tool for the holidays and is expected to be used by nearly one in five consumers (19 percent) to assist with their holiday shopping. Those consumers plan to find store locations (55 percent), research prices (45 percent), find product information (40 percent), get discounts and coupons (32 percent) and read reviews (31 percent). One in four (25 percent) even expect to make a holiday purchase with their phone.

“Consumers are turning to mobile, online and social media during their entire holiday shopping experience,” said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and Deloitte’s U.S. Retail leader. “Retailers should consider harnessing this activity to turn browsers into buyers with one-click access to coupons, promotions and purchasing tools. This year’s leaner in-store inventories may also open the door for retailers to lure customers to their online channels where it is easier to access inventory, no matter where it is located.”

You can read the entire report here. Balanced meals in NYC for $10 or less.

Sure, you can grab a hot dog or slice of pizza in New York for cheap, but a balanced meal for $10 or less? In Manhattan? That’s the idea behind the new site

InSequent launches Biz411, announces new customers

InSequent Launches Biz411, Signs Prestigious NY, Miami Restaurant Group
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ — InSequent announced version 1.0 of it’s mobile platform for local business – Biz411 – and its first customer, New York-based LDV Hospitality.

Biz411 provides local businesses the ability to instantly add a mobile component to their overall marketing efforts. With one click a consumer on the go can request, and instantly receive, detailed information on a restaurant or other business just by texting that keyword to Biz411.

Biz411 is being deployed immediately at all of LDV’s properties. LDV is the owner of several leading restaurants including Lugo Caffe, Local Cafe, Lucy’s Cantina Royale, Scarpetta in both NY and at Miami’s famed Fontainebleau Hotel, the 55 Yolato frozen yogurt outlets in NY and NJ, and 12 Lenny’s ultimate sandwich locations.

InSequent CEO Mark Porter said, “We are very pleased to have LDV on board. Their restaurants are standouts in arguably the restaurant capital of the world – New York. No better place to start.”

Marc Merryfield, Managing Partner at LDV added, “When they came to us with this product we were blown away. This not only adds a boost to our existing marketing but gives us a new channel to reach our existing and new clientele.”

Mr. Merryfield has also joined InSequent’s Advisory Board to provide expertise in the Hospitality vertical.

About InSequent, Inc.
San Francisco, CA based InSequent is the publisher of Biz411, a mobile marketing platform for local business.

About LDV Hospitality
New York City based LDV Hospitality is the realization of an ambition to bring the dream of La Dolce Vita to life. The charming concept of ‘the good life’ can mean something different to everyone, however it represents quality, value, and satisfaction to all.

LDV Hospitality is a platform to create services, experiences, and products to bring our customers the good life. LDV Hospitality is composed of two divisions that work together to achieve our mission: LDV Brands and LDV Management.

19 blogs according to Inc. Magazine

These are the 19 blogs Inc. Magazine thinks you should read.

I agree, they are all good. Another good site to check out is this one.