Here’s how 10 brands are integrating SMS marketing into their businesses
The benefits of SMS marketing are clear, however as a marketer the tricky bit is figuring out how the logistics may work. Choosing a user-friendly platform is a must, ideally one with local support. Then from there, you need to find a way to seamlessly slip it into your brand - all while adding immense value to your loyal customers.
Since SMS is such a simple tool, it’s pretty difficult to market it in a wrong way to your customers. You should however keep in mind that the modern day customer is a very visual and impatient person. So with that being said, let’s get visual. It’s time to dive into what 10 big brands are doing at this very moment with SMS marketing.
Industry: Retail - Sports Apparel and Equipment Primary SMS use: Customer Service
The way Sportchek integrates this ad is very strategic. Their ad doesn’t always show. It only triggers itself after you have browsed a specific amount of pages. As a customer service app, this makes sense since you shouldn’t have any questions until after you’ve shopped around. They also have different placements for the same advertisement, matching the flow of their website, thus complimenting and enhancing their user experience.
You can also sign-up to their alerts within their general sign-up page. This allows them to double down their subscriptions for both mobile marketing with email marketing.
2) Pacific Centre
Industry: Retail - Upscale Mall Primary SMS use: Customer Service
Malls are massive. Once you arrive at the mall, you may also find yourself in an interesting predicament. Unless you’re a seasoned veteran at that specific location, you’ll probably find yourself waiting in a queue to look at a map. People generally take the most time, not necessarily shopping, but commuting from shop to shop. As an up-scale brand, Pacific Centre wanted to offer their visitors a better experience. They created an incredibly helpful SMS chat bot, programmed to answer all your shop-related questions.
On a strategic level, they placed ads for this new service in places that people spend the most time with no distractions. Here’s where they placed their ads:
- Directly beside their customer service stations
- Sticker ads - Placed on the mirror, directly above the bathroom taps.
- Bathroom ads - Placed behind the stall door in an enclosed space
- Stand-up ads - Placed within the food court
- Elevator ads
Surprisingly, I actually found myself reading and retaining what the sticker ad said the most. It was one of the smallest, and most subtle ads I’ve ever seen, but it worked very well. The placement was perfect, and wasn’t intrusive.
3) CVS Pharmacy
Industry: Health Care Primary SMS use: SMS Reminders
Clutter is everywhere these days. The funny thing is that technology makes it really easy for us to multi-task, but just because we’re doing more doesn’t mean we’re being more efficient. Some people need more than one reminder to do something important. When your health is on the line though, you should make sure you do everything in your power to make sure you remember. That’s why CVS Pharmacy allows its customers to opt-in to SMS reminders for prescription refills.
CVS does a great job here, by sticking with the basics. They used a modern minimalist design and paired it with a nice and round typeface. Their page has a friendly ambience to it, which makes you want to read it. They don’t use a form to collect your data either, since they want to you opt-in willingly. Taking your health seriously should be a life choice, and can’t be forced.
4) Sonic Drive-In
Industry: Restaurants - Fast Food Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing
I love how simple this page is, it’s refreshing to see a page that isn’t flooded with input boxes. Sonic however, is in an interesting position that many restaurants may also be in. They stick with their classic menu items and don’t launch new products that frequently. They also don’t need to say much, as their promotions are very simple. This means that something like promotional emails doesn’t work for them. Text messages work perfectly because they can help Sonic send quick promotions on their classic items within 160 characters.
Industry: Restaurants - Fast Food Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing and SMS Keywords
This is one of my favourite all-time campaigns. The design of the campaign is a bit more gimmicky than I would like, but it gets your attention - so it works. It’s currently active in Australia, so give it a try if you’re around and craving a slice. They use the pizza emoji as an SMS keyboard, which is linked to your last order for repeat customers. This is perfect for customers who always get the usual. If you haven’t seen our case study breakdown of how this works, click here to have a look.
6) Sherwin Williams
Industry: Building Materials - Paint Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing and SMS Keywords
Once again, I love how clean this looks. It’s not what you would expect coming out of a building materials company, so it’s very refreshing. This essentially is the ideal way that we recommend for you to display your offer. Sherwin Williams follows these textbook SMS rules:
- Make it clear and easy to understand
- Offer a great incentive
- Ask for only what you need (Note how there isn’t a chain of input boxes)
Although you won’t receive every piece of information on your wish list right away, allowing customers to do a simple keyword opt-in makes it easy for them to sign-up. This acts as an additional incentive for your prospective client to opt-in. Once they signed up, you can now prompt them for more information or just retrieve it after they make a purchase. You should ideally build a relationship with your customer, before asking for anything they deem intrusive. These are the starting blocks for building a long-term relationship.
7) Home Depot
Industry: Building Materials Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing
Here’s another big name building materials company making a splash in SMS marketing. Home Depot doubled down on their subscription page by gathering a phone number and an email at the same time. Although they are completely different brands (Sherwin Williams and Home Depot), they do when it comes to paint - sell the same products. That’s why I placed them right after each other so you can see the difference in their marketing approaches.
This page, although it’s very clean - has a very distinctive cold feel to it. The presence of input boxes along with how they’re asking for both your email and number changes your mood. This paired with a smaller offer, makes you think twice about whether or not this promotion is worth your contact details. That being said, this is Home Depot. It’s a big brand that people trust, so they’re able to get away with a little more than usual. They also don’t offer discounts very often, so this promotion is still effective. It could, however, be done better.
Industry: Sports - NBA Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing and SMS Alerts
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most iconic brands in sports. If you’re a fan of the NBA, you know that the season runs from October to June. In between those 8 months, it’s hard to keep track of all 82 games which are played at varying venues in different time zones. Games can also be delayed, and player lineups change frequently due to injuries or if they’re not performing. That’s why text messaging makes sense the for Lakers. They use SMS to send out the most up-to-date information, keeping die-hard fans happy.
Now fans can receive real-time information on:
- Ticket sales
- Gameday reminders
- Gameday delays or service outages
- Player injuries
- Player signings, trades, or new acquisitions
- Community partnerships and internal promotions
Industry: Retail - Gaming Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing
Here’s a great example of how you can leverage two different promotional channels at the same time, without having your campaign feel cold. Rather than doing something similar to what Home Depot did, you can use GameStop’s strategy by providing customers who opt-in to SMS marketing with an internal membership reward.
Even though this will ultimately lead to a sign-up page, on the surface level - this looks much more approachable from a customer standpoint. It’s these subtle adjustments that allow your campaign to be just that much more effective.
Industry: Entertainment - cinema Primary SMS Use: SMS Marketing
Cineplex is one of the largest cinema chains in North America. They are constantly on the lookout for new marketing channels to help push out their daily releases. As a key player in the entertainment industry, Cineplex has an arsenal of incentives that they can offer their customers. Text message alerts allow them to mix and match a variety of different incentives to make their offers more intriguing.
Here’s a list of flash incentives that Cineplex frequently offers:
- Free advanced screenings
- Free limited-edition merchandise
- Special themed merchandise
- Early-bird ticket sale access
- Seat upgrades
- Concession discounts
- Ticket discounts
- Additional points for their rewards program