WOK Express – A Digital Marketing Strategy by Hasti Rachh

If you’re a fan of Chinese food, you’ve likely heard of WOK Express. The next ‘big’ thing in the food industry, its fast-service format ensures that it serves both kinds of customers, those in a hurry and those who want to eat leisurely. Its pocket-friendly menu makes it appealing to those on a budget, as well as those who are looking for an alternative to unhealthy fast food.

But what prompted this idea? How did WOK Express grow to be as big as it is today? And the ultimate question—can it grow any bigger? One of IIDE‘s student, Hasti Rachh, answers these essential questions in his digital marketing report of the company that we’ve included down below. Read on to find out more about WOK Express Digital Marketing Strategy!

About WOK Express

Founded by Ayush Agarawal in 2015, the idea for the restaurant was inspired by Wok To Walk, a New York café Agarwal encountered when there for a visit.

India was no stranger to Chinese food. But hygienic and standardised Chinese food … Now that was a true novelty. When Agarwal observed the fast-service format followed by the restaurant he visited in New York, he was definitely impressed.

And so started his love affair with experimenting with the Asian cuisine. He started the first WOK Express outlet in Pali Naka in Mumbai, and since then, WOK Express has grown a lot. Now, the brand is aiming to own more than 125 stores across country in the next 3 years.

In order to help them achieve that goal, our student, Hasti Shah, has designed a digital marketing strategy that she believes is perfect for them. In the words of their own founder, they rely mainly on online social media marketing along with word of mouth.

Social Media Marketing

One of the key factors towards the success of any business these days, especially those in the food industry, is of course social media. And in 3 years in the industry, WOK Express has certainly learned this.

WOK Express has a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Zomato, Burrrp, Dine Out, Swiggy, Foodpanda and Twitter. They have 133k likes on their Facebook page, 8.5k followers on Instagram and 1.6k followers on Twitter.

Since Facebook is WOK Express’ main social media platform, it is where they have their highest engagement rate. They often hold frequent contests here and post consistently. They don’t very often repost from other bloggers on their Facebook page.

In order to truly make their presence felt on the social media platform, WOK Express has adopted a few strategies, like making use of certain campaigns like #IndiaKaPyaar along with festival and contest posts. Their signature hashtag revolves around the concept of Indian festivals like Rakhi and Diwali, and how they can be enhanced by celebrating with the customer’s favourite Chinese meal. This unifies the unique cultures of two different countries, China and India.

At the same time, WOK Express’ Instagram page isn’t all that great. They post the same content they put up on their Facebook. Along with this, they often report bloggers’ posts and have very poor engagement. Their average number of likes on their Instagram page, which is 75, is quite poor.

On WOK Express’ Twitter, they mainly post about their discounts and other informative tweets. They are also able to manage their customer feedback by responding to complaints quickly and promptly. However, it is the social media site upon which they have the least amount of engagement.

#WokWithUs is a social media campaign that our student has suggested for WOK Express. It involves posting discount codes to encourage their Twitter followers to order from WOK Express using the code. #BeatUs is a campaign with a puzzle or a riddle that their followers must solve in order to win a free meal. This really does help with WOK Express’ engagement and brand awareness in general!

Competition

WOK Express’ main national competitor is Wok This Way and international competitor is Panda Express.

When comparing their social media following, Panda Express has 3 million followers on Facebook, whereas Wok This Way has 4.3k followers. On Instagram, Panda Express has 47k page likes, Wok This Way has 8.6k page likes. On Twitter, Panda Express 35k followers, and Wok This Way has 130 followers.

Panda Express uses several campaigns to maintain their social media pages, one of which is #WokSmart in which they post pictures of food cooking in the kitchens. Along with this, they often even have little fortune-cookie notes, as are often the culture in the Chinese cuisine.

There is no doubt about the fact that WOK Express has a great social media game and definitely capitalises on it. However, there are always ways to improve, especially when compared to their global competitor Panda Express. For this, Wok Express can follow our student’s suggested campaigns to be able to further fortify their social media strategy!

Target Audience

WOK Express caters mainly to people in urban areas between the ages of 18-40. Their target audience may vary from college goers, mall goers and working professionals. Their consumers are mainly health-conscious people who to eat fast food out of compulsion on a near-daily basis due to being away from home too often during mealtimes.

Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimisation refers to the usage of particular keywords in order to ensure the maximum amount of traffic on a brand’s website. These keywords are those that have the highest search rates on Google from their target customers. If a website is able to optimise itself based on the search engine’s keywords, then it is certain that they will be able to reach the maximum amount of relevant people.

Some of the most popular keywords for WOK Express are wok express and wok. This means that whenever someone searches for these terms online, WOK Express’ results are the first that pop up.

Often, brands bid on certain search terms to ensure that when users search these particular terms on the internet, the particular brand’s page pops up as one of the first results. This may be useful for WOK Express in reference to other words that it could really capitalise on if they were able to be one of the top results.

Some of the suggested bid words for WOK Express are order food online, Chinese food, Chinese restaurant, fast food, order food, online food delivery and restaurants in bandra. This ensures that when someone searches for the said terms online, they are bound to encounter WOK Express’ website as one of the first results. This makes the website more accessible to order Chinese food online, which is ultimately the group of people WOK Express’ wants most to reach out to. Developing an SEO Strategy has surely benefited WOK Express Digital Marketing Strategy!

Email Marketing

An email marketing system that strategically targets WOK Express’ prime customers is the need of the hour. Our student has come up with a strategy he feels would be of benefit. She has devised an email marketing system that includes:

 

  • Thank you email
    Steal the offers from us now!
  • 10% offer
    I will die on 23rd March 2017
  • Feedback
    Do you like me?
  • Reminder
    I tried, and I failed
  • Refer a friend
    Mom always taught ‘Sharing is caring!’

Online Reputation Management

A few online platforms that could be of use to WOK Express’ ORM could be Zomato, Food Panda, Quora and Trip Advisor. These Online Reputation Management platforms help the customers share their reviews of WOK Express’ food and therefore spread the word!

Platforms like Quora often include questions like ‘Which is the best Chinese restaurant in Mumbai?’ and other similar queries. It has to be made sure that WOK Express is mentioned in such answers! This increases the likelihood that, when someone searches stumbles across such questions, they have a positive impression of WOK Express.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing refers to collaborating with social media influencers to promote your brand. As influencers have a large following on social media, they are an excellent method of reaching your target audience and maximising your brand’s reach.

WOK Express could conduct influencer campaigns in which it approaches influencers to attend WOK Express’ events, review WOK Express on Zomato and write a post about the WOK Express WokBox of the day. For example, foodofmumbai on Instagram (152k follwers), beerbiceps on Instagram (32k followers) or Mumbai Foodie (240k followers on Instagram).

Blog Ideas

Another way to engage your customers and ensure that they stay on your brand’s website for a longer duration of time is to provide them with interesting blogs to browse through.

An example of listicles that WOK Express could post on their blog could be I bet you did not know this! Listicles are extremely entertaining and captivate the reader’s attention, and at the same time subtly encourage the reader to subscribe to WOK Express. In this case, the readers might want to buy from WOK Express to check out what’s new! This would greatly boost WOK Express Digital Marketing Strategy!

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