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IHOP Integrates SMS to Increase Traffic and Sales

Posted on the 29 May 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
  • May 29, 2014
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IHOP Integrates SMS to Increase Traffic and Sales

As you might imagine, weekend mornings at IHOP are pretty busy for the restaurant chain. But midweek, not so much. So in an effort to boost customer traffic during slow days of the week, IHOP launched an integrated marketing campaign using mobile SMS marketing, direct mail and outreach, as reported by McKay Allen in Business 2 Community.


IHOP sought to increase customer loyalty and traffic for a local franchisee during slow days of the week. In addition, the company wanted to create an SMS text list for future promotional efforts.

The marketing strategy integrated a variety of media vehicles. Consumers were encouraged through direct mail and other mediums to opt-in and receive a text-message coupon good for a free short stack of pancakes on designated days.


A variety of marketing vehicles were used, beginning with Money Mailer. The direct mail piece asked readers to text “IHOPFREE” to a number so they could get a free short stack of pancakes. The offer was also promoted via radio and print ads.

When consumers responded by sending a text message, they not only received the coupon for free pancakes, but also were placed on an SMS list allowing them to get future coupons and updates from IHOP.

The local IHOP franchisee now sends its list two monthly text messages with coupons and specific offers to build up its midweek business.


Traffic on slow, midweek days has risen dramatically. IHOP reports that about 105 of the coupons were redeemed in 30 days.

The restaurant has also noticed massive “upsells” — consumers with a coupon for a free short stack are also purchasing breakfast for their entire family.

Bottom line: mobile coupons achieved a 10 percent redemption rate, restaurant traffic increased and revenue rose. What’s more, the text-message list opt-out rate was only 10 percent.

Integrate Channels to Increase Effectiveness

For integrated marketers, IHOP’s SMS campaign offers a classic example of how to combine traditional media with mobile marketing to generate greater traffic and interest.

For more tips on how to integrate text-message marketing into your next marketing campaign, check out some of our previous posts, including “For Results-Oriented Marketers, Text Message Marketing is What’s Next,” “Six Big Mistakes to Avoid in SMS Marketing” and “Five Tips for Enhancing Mobile Engagement.”

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