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5 ways to use SMS with your holiday promotions this year

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This holiday season will be busier than ever before, with customers who are more accustomed to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores moving online for their purchases. As inboxes become more crowded, retailers need to be ready with engaging holiday campaigns to catch the attention of newcomers and existing customers alike.

This is where SMS will become a major differentiator for brands this holiday season. With the majority of SMS messages read within 3 minutes of receipt it is the perfect tool to cut through the inbox noise and increase sales.

If you want to maximize your sales this holiday season you need to include SMS into your marketing strategy—and here’s how.

Collect phone numbers for holiday SMS promotions

If you don’t have an SMS program quite yet, don’t worry—it’s not too late. The first step is to grow your subscriber list. As you don’t have much time left before the holiday season, look to the most efficient and effective ways to grow your SMS list quickly:

  • Collect phone numbers through immediate or exit-intent pop-up forms. Update your existing on-site sign-up forms and add an extra field for the phone number. You might also want to consider including incentives to increase the sign-up rate of new visitors. See how Love Fitness Apparel collects its contacts below:
holiday sms marketing popup idea
  • Promote SMS sign-up on social channels. Launch the campaign with a CTA leading to the landing page that asks for a phone number. To increase sign-up rate, promote the exclusivity of your SMS program by promoting text-only deals, early access, exclusive bundles, etc. The example of the Brooklinen landing page is below:
holiday sms marketing idea to promote sms as a channel for company communication
  • Let your existing customer know about your SMS program. Send the campaign to your current customers and ask them to sign up for your text program, as seen in this Misen example.
Example of promoting secret product launch only for subscribers

5 ways to use SMS with your holiday promotions

The sky’s the limit when it comes to ways on how to incorporate SMS into your marketing strategy. Let’s cover the most relevant holiday-related ways to use SMS to increase sales during this busy period:

1. Send SMS with time-sensitive messages:

  • Flash sales
  • Coupon code or sale expiration reminders
  • Sale extension notifications

These types of messages are most often sent during the holiday season. When announcing a flash sale, you might want to send a bold MMS message with bright colors and a sexy discount offer, but remember that reminders and sale extension notifications don’t have to be so special. A simple text-based SMS can definitely be enough. Here’s how your messages could look:

A time-sensitive holiday SMS promotion
A time-sensitive holiday SMS promotion

2. Send early sale access and SMS-only offers

This kind of SMS message will help you make your SMS subscribers feel special.

For the initial announcement, you can send MMS, but for follow-up messages, a simple text with a link to your store will work just fine. How many messages included in this campaign depends on you. But sending a reminder or two before the end can significantly increase your overall campaign performance.

An example of SMS only promotion

3. Use SMS to drive people to email

There are certain emails you want your subscribers to see. SMS can help. Here’s how it works.

Send a holiday text message saying that a special offer is waiting for the customer in their inbox. If it is a time-sensitive email, tell them to check it out now because the offer is time-limited. This is your opportunity to have more touchpoints with your customers, increase email open rates, drive traffic to your site, and improve email deliverability.

Having launched their SMS program, Silver Street Jewellers sent a similar SMS message, saying: “Hey, check your email. Just sent you some awesome coupons!” As a result, the following email campaign brought a nearly 25% click-through-open rate. This helped them to re-engage with customers, generate online awareness, and drive sales.

4. Use SMS in workflows

  • Welcome Series
  • Browse/Product/Cart Abandonment

Text messages for your marketing can be a powerful add-on to your existing automated workflows, so be sure to incorporate them into your welcome and abandonment workflows. Here are some suggestions.

If your welcome series consists of three emails that offer a discount for the first order, consider adding a reminder of that via SMS shortly after the initial welcome email. During the holiday sales rush, customers don’t wait for days or even weeks to make a purchase. So be more visible and persistent – send a more personal reminder of a coupon code that a customer can redeem right away.

Sms could be used in automation workflows
Welcome series with short gaps between messages and the SMS reminder

Revise your browse, product, and cart abandonment workflows. While accounting only for a few percent of all emails sent, these workflows generate from 20 to 60 percent of revenue from the entire email program. These messages may be powerful, but SMS can make them even better
Here a few examples:

  • If the abandoned cart is of high value (you choose how high it should be), send a text, and offer a unique value-add, such as special customer service, gift wrapping, and an additional discount.
  • Extend your abandoned cart series via SMS
  • For browse or product abandonment, send a text reminding them that products tend to sell out fast. If they have an incentive, remind them about the expiration date.
Sms and email used in automation workflows
An automated cart abandonment workflow with SMS and short gaps between messages

Note: For the holiday period, consider incentivizing customers more than usual, because this year they will be price-sensitive as never before. Also, revise your discount policy and make your coupon validation time shorter than usual. It will help customers make a decision faster.

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5. Use SMS for order and shipping confirmation messages

Transactional messages tend to receive the biggest customer engagement because they contain critical information about the purchase. Send these through SMS can make them faster and easier to see—something your customers will appreciate.

Also, consider using confirmation SMS messages to:

  • Send a powerful thank-you message
  • Offer a limited-time incentive for the next purchase
  • Up-sell and cross-sell the customer
  • Promote other benefits of yours
SMS with shipping confirmation
An order confirmation SMS

Wrap up

There are a plethora of things that you can do to get ready for the holiday season. However, don’t get distracted by the bullsh%#t. Focus on implementing only the most critical things that will generate the biggest ROI.

Arming your holiday communication with SMS and MMS will do exactly that.

Tweak your marketing automation workflows, add time-sensitive SMS offers to your email campaigns, and avoid the holiday madness–instead, enjoy your sales and maybe even do a little shopping yourself.

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Article by
Karolina Petraškienė

Karolina is a writer, content marketer, and email enthusiast at Omnisend. When she's not curating articles, you can find her in the woods challenging herself in hiking boots or off-roading her bike.

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