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Oct 21, 2022

8 SMS Campaigns to Run for the Holidays

Explore the campaigns your retail brand should be launching this holiday season and why they should be part of every holiday marketing strategy.

By Robert Woo, Writer @ Endear

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It’s spooky season! And no, not just because of all the Halloween decor you see in your local convenience store, but for retail brands, it means we’re into fall and the holiday shopping season is nearly here. If you’re like most businesses, you’re wondering where the time went to prepare your retail marketing blitz so your Black Friday profits don’t end up being truly frightening.

Not to worry, we’re here to help. Namely by giving you ideas for the SMS campaigns you should be running right now to set your brand up for a successful holiday season.

SMS marketing has grown to be one of the most effective channels for driving sales in retail. Because of the personal nature of the communication – texting evokes an intimate conversation between two people – retail teams can elevate their level of clienteling by offering personalized service, suggestions, and experiences. Because of this, not only is the open rate for SMS nearly 100%, but the click-through rate of SMS is nearly 19%, which is 4% higher than email.

This means that retail brands looking for quick wins and higher ROI for their efforts should focus on launching the right SMS campaigns to reach their customers. This goes doubly for brands where audiences skew younger as research shows that Gen-Z and younger millennials prefer to engage in text conversations with brands over email.

So let’s look at the SMS campaigns your retail brand should be launching yesterday.

SMS Campaigns to Collect Phone Numbers & New Customers

You can’t do any SMS marketing if you don’t have any cell phone numbers to send them to, so if you haven’t already built up your database, now’s the time to start. And since there is a strict opt-in policy for US businesses, it’s important for your team to make sure your customers are explicitly making the choice to receive SMS from your brand.

Text-to-Enter Promos

You can’t do any SMS marketing if you don’t have any cell phone numbers to send them to, so if you haven’t already built up your database, now’s the time to start. And since there is a strict opt-in policy for US businesses, it’s important for your team to make sure your customers are explicitly making the choice to receive SMS from your brand.

Example of an opt-in to SMS campaign

An example of a text-to-enter SMS campaign from shoe retailer, Payless

One of the most effective ways to collect numbers is to offer a “can’t miss” discount and display it everywhere you can. An ad like the one above can stand in your physical stores, or show up on social media channels, display ads, in newsletters, and more.

The value of an opt-in number can often be enough that retailers will promote loss-leaders just to collect phone numbers. Your business may not have to go quite that far, but the better the promotion, the more digits you’ll collect.

New Customer Bonus Promo

New Customer Bonus Promo sent with Endear SMS

A new customer bonus promo from BuyVia

If you are specifically looking for new customer numbers, making that clear can help entice new visitors to your website. A popup like the one above caters to new customers and makes them feel like they would be missing out on a one-time-only offer.

Of course, if you read the fine print you’ll see that the promo also includes existing customers as well; a great way to have them opt into SMS marketing if they haven’t already.

Extra Points in Loyalty Program

For both existing loyalty program members as well as new sign-ups, make sure they are being awarded a big bonus for opting into SMS communications. Brands with good loyalty programs already have a strong relationship with their customers, so it’s usually a small ask to have them opt-in if they already haven’t - and a great incentive for newcomers to join as well.

Ask at Checkout

Especially for smaller retailers, sometimes there is nothing more powerful than asking your customer to join your SMS list when they are checking out at your store. The best way to do this is for your sales associates to treat this as a value-add:

“Thank you for shopping with us, Claire! Also, I can let you know by text when we have that red dress you liked back in stock in your size, so you’re the first to know before we even stock it in-store. Want to opt-in so I can message you?”

This is how Jenette Bras provides the best service to their customers that keeps them coming back, and a perfect use-case for why SMS can be a value-add for them. Of course, make sure there is a quick, simple way for your customers or your rep to collect the phone number as well.

Holiday Raffle Campaign

Holiday raffle example from The Great Northern Raffle

Holiday raffle campaign example

A holiday-themed raffle can be an irresistible way for you to collect phone numbers from new and old customers, especially since the bar is so low to enter. Put together a great bundle of products and run raffles every week to keep new numbers coming in.

SMS Campaigns for the Holidays

Now that you’ve kicked off campaigns to collect phone numbers for the holidays, let’s dive into the SMS promotions your brand can run to make the most of this upcoming shopping season.

The “12 Days of Holiday Deals” SMS Campaign

Take advantage of the 12 days of Christmas trope by launching a campaign that spans two weeks leading up to Black Friday. At the same time each day, your team should send out two text messages with a new exploding promotion that’s only good until the next day’s deal.

12 Days of Deals SMS campaign from Endear example

A sample 12 Days of Deals SMS campaign from Endear

The two messages each day should be the deal itself, and a reminder of the exploding offer as well. Because your customers are primed by the very idea of “12 days of deals,” they won’t be bothered by the additional texts, and the conversion rates on deals can be great especially if you take the time to personalize and target each SMS deal to each customer.

Weekly Holiday Gift Guide Campaign

Gift guides can be a time saver, if not a life saver, for busy shoppers who need creative ideas to wow their friends and family. Your team can put together weekly guides and send them out as targeted campaigns to entice shoppers.

This is where your CRM data can really make the difference. Knowing which of your customers are married, has an anniversary coming up, has children, their age range, previous shopping history, etc can help curate a holiday guide that’s specific to their needs.

For example, you can segment your audience by grouping anyone who has purchased outdoorsy products in the last 6 months and sending out a gift guide for the outdoor adventurers in their lives. And not just a text message with a few static pictures either, but a gift guide that really shows off these products:

Shoppable Stories are a visually dynamic curated lookbook that helps increase conversions. Sending out a weekly gift guide in this format is a great way to not just showcase your products, but help your shoppers find the right items for the special people in their lives.

In-Store Holiday Event Campaigns

If your store puts a lot of thought and care into your holiday decorations and curations, it would be a shame if your customers only made online orders. And studies show that people tend to spend more when shopping in-store than online. Incentivize coming in with an SMS campaign that promotes your in-store-only deals.

holiday promotion example with Endear clienteling software

Holiday SMS promotion example with Endear

Again, your team can leverage your CRM data to send a personalized offer that is much more likely to get customers into your stores, compared to a generic promotion that may only cater to a few recipients. Tailoring this promotion to each person’s shopping history is a great way to increase this campaign’s success rate.

Boost your holiday revenue with SMS

Endear can help you curate, automate, and execute SMS campaigns that convert, for your holiday shoppers and beyond.