Guide: Holiday SMS marketing for the retail industry

Guide: Holiday SMS marketing for the retail industry

In this guide, we’re going to show you how you can drive traffic to your store, improve your customer experience, and boost the bottom line with text messaging.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. What makes SMS marketing so effective
  2. SMS marketing campaign best practices
  3. Uses cases and SMS templates
  4. How to grow your SMS list
  5. Workflow automation with Zapier SMS integrations

What makes SMS marketing so effective

You can reach your customers almost anywhere

All mobile phones send and receive SMS right out of the box, making it the most ubiquitous messaging tool on the market.

Your customers can receive your SMS campaigns as long as they have mobile reception, and they don’t need Wi-Fi or data.

Commands phenomenal attention rates

We always believe that email and SMS are complementary services, but the stats don’t lie. SMS has a 98% open rate, with up to 90% of messages being read within three minutes.

When people are in their daily smog of social and digital media, you can cut through with text messaging. When a person receives a text, they stop what they are doing and read it.

Shoppers use their mobile phones to research and make purchases

More and more people are turning to their handy devices to buy. Last year, over 57% of traffic and 35% of revenue and purchases came directly from a smartphone.

It takes less than 10 minutes to send an SMS marketing campaign

We asked some of our clients recently about their experiences and how long it takes them to set up SMS, Google Adwords, and Facebook Ads campaigns.

Over 50% of respondents mentioned that SMS campaigns take under 10 minutes to create. When it comes to Google Adwords or Facebook Ads though, it takes much longer (upwards to an hour).

Based on what we typically see, many SMS marketing campaigns are under 160 characters long, so it’s easy to see why they’re so quick.

SMS is very affordable

A single text message only costs a few cents to send. If you compare that to cost-per-click (CPC) advertising, the results may surprise you.

SMS has a higher click-through rate than CPC advertising, which means that you get your customer’s attention at a fraction of the cost.

SMS marketing campaign best practices

A text message is typically short and sweet, but there are some essential best practices to keep in mind to help you create campaigns that your customers will love.

  • Keep your messages under 160 characters Humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish at a mere 8 seconds, so make sure your offer and call to action are clear.
  • Identify yourself Build trust and brand recognition by clearly stating who you are in the Sender ID or the body of the text message.
  • Send campaigns at the right time Avoid sending text messages when they can’t take action, like during work hours.
  • Have an opt-out Nothing is more frustrating than receiving messages that you don’t want.
  • Include a branded tracked link (optional) If you plan to drive traffic to your website, we suggest a branded tracked link. We also recommend that you add UTM parameters to your URL to help you track your campaign’s performance.
  • Personalise your campaigns (optional) Use their first name, recent purchase history, or anything relevant to them.

Use cases and SMS templates

From promotions and competitions to shipment notifications and customer service, SMS can do it all. Here are some use cases and examples to help you get started quickly.

Feel free to copy, paste, and adjust to your liking.

Sales and Promotions:

Customer Loyalty and Gratitude:

Order Confirmations:

Shipment Confirmations:

Delivery Confirmations:

Feedback and Satisfaction:

Abandoned Carts:

There’s more from where that came from. Check out our catalogue of SMS templates.

How to grow your SMS list

Wallets open up during this time of the year, but that doesn’t mean that shoppers don’t want a good deal. The holidays are a great time to start or add to your mobile database. Here’s how.

Step 1. Create an irresistible offer

First things are first. Catch your customers' attention with an irresistible offer like a giveaway or discount that’s time-sensitive. An expiration date creates a sense of urgency, so it encourages your customers to take action immediately.

Step 2. Let them opt-in via text

Allow your customers to opt-in via text message. All they need to do is text a keyword to your virtual mobile number, and they’ll automatically be added to a list of your choice.

For example, when your customers' text in “coffee” to your virtual mobile number (e.g. +61459333444), our online SMS service adds them to a list and automatically sends a response with their gift.

Here are some additional examples:

  • “Get 25% off your first purchase when you sign up for SMS alerts! Text ‘JOIN’ to +61459333444 to sign up”
  • “For exciting weekly deals, coupons, and offers, text ‘DEALS’ to 12345. Opt-out any time.”
  • “Be the first to know about our Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales! Text ‘BFCM’ to +61459333444 to join.”

Step 3. Promote your offer

You can promote your offer anywhere:

  • Social media
  • Email newsletters
  • Websites (Coupon sites like RetailMeNot)
  • Digital Ads (Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Traditional media (newspapers, television)
  • Billboards, public transportation
  • In-store signage
  • On your receipts

Workflow automation with our Zapier SMS integrations

Combine the speed of text messaging with the efficiency of marketing automation, allowing your retail business to reach customers without you being there.

In just a few clicks, you can automatically send your customer text messages for things like order and shipment notifications without any prior coding experience.

Burst SMS can easily integrate with these eCommerce tools (and 1,500 more apps) with Zapier:

  • Amazon
  • Big Cartel
  • BigCommerce
  • Kajabi
  • Magento
  • PayPal
  • ShipStation
  • Shopify
  • Square
  • Squarespace
  • Stripe
  • WooCommerce

Check out our full list of Zapier SMS integrations.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SMS marketing, but we hope you found the inspiration you were looking for. If you’re not a Burst SMS customer, check us out with a 14-day trial.