Starting more than 18 years ago, Matt Plapp — Messenger Marketing expert and agency trainer — has turned into an international phenomenon. He offers a profitable marketing program called the ROI Engine for all types of restaurants, from chains such as Rapid Fire Pizza to local mom-n-pop shops. With over 1,000 restaurants running the program, Matt reaches audiences from countries around the world.
The next phase for Matt’s agency is partnering with franchise brands, which brings a whole new set of challenges: Proving his worth to both investors and franchisees. In December 2018, he was approached by the owner of a brand with 100+ locations around the U.S. The owner was looking for a new way to drive awareness and sales for the entire brand. The company’s main goals included customer acquisition, higher return on ad spend, and increasing return visits.
Matt has always been in tune with his clients’ needs, so proving the value of his work was natural. He knew the brand’s audience was active on Messenger, so by getting awareness through Messenger ads, and building a database the franchise could potentially do two very important things: drive up more sales immediately and also s down the road.
He adds, “I always tell people that, as a marketer, it’s your job to spread awareness to drive business and put somebody in your client’s restaurant one time. It’s then the restaurant’s job to give them a great experience, great environment, and great food so that they want to come back.”
For this campaign, Matt faced two objections from franchisees and investors:
- They didn’t know if the ROI Engine was working after a first visit.
- The discount rate was 4-6% higher than any other store.
Here’s how Matt proved his worth to franchisees and investors.
Building a database of interested customers
Before the initial beta test, the brand relied on direct mail, billboards, cable, radio, and other traditional marketing tactics. These were useful, but the company struggled to measure the effects of its marketing. They would spend thousands on a billboard, track the number of impressions, and that was that. So they partnered with Matt to find a better way.
The team ran click-to-Messenger ads, highlighting the restaurant’s popular burritos and bowls to a targeted audience based on people’s location near each of the 16 store locations. The promotion offered a buy-one-get-one deal that brought people into a ManyChat bot. Inside the sequence, the restaurant asked people to enter their phone number and email address. This helped them build a database of customers and get contact info for further marketing.
After customers’ first visit, the restaurant continued to build relationships by using a combination of sponsored messages and retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram to provide relevant specials and promotions.
Now here’s the interesting part: On the front end, it looked like Matt’s program drove total discounts up between 4 – 8%. After some investigating, it turns out the chat-based campaign actually boosted the brands’ other marketing programs — such as coupons, direct mail, punch cards, and loyalty programs — by 22%.
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Creating closer ties with customers through SMS, email, and Messenger
The success of Matt’s program won over investors and franchisees. The highly-targeted and curated promotions hit home with the brand’s audience, not only reaching new customers but also bringing already engaged ones back into the restaurant.
Matt’s found that promoting in Messenger, email, and SMS can reinforce other marketing efforts. Collecting phone numbers for the restaurant gives them a continuous way to communicate with people and drive repeat business. By using Chat Marketing, they can maximize sales while keeping costs low.
Because of the clear lift in sales, corporate set a mandate for all 100-plus stores under the brand to run the new marketing program, free of cost to all their franchise owners.
Matt’s program, which still runs for the brand today, verified that the Messenger-driven campaigns significantly increased sales and brand awareness. Results included:
- 5.1% increase in year-over-year sales for stores in the program.
- 22% lift in promotion responses for other marketing efforts.
- 1 – 4% boost in marketing effectiveness for test stores.
- A corporate mandate for adding Chat Marketing programs to all 108 locations.