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SMS marketing holiday ideas to outshine competitors

Alia Paavola
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For many B2C businesses, the festive shopping season contributes a large chunk of annual revenue, which means it’s crunch time for marketers.

With revenue on the line, marketers must find ways to stand out. Enter SMS marketing, a newer and highly effective strategy that delivers personalized messages directly to customers’ mobile phones. SMS marketing has become a powerful tool because of its ability to reach customers quickly and its high open and engagement rates. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the merry and bright world of SMS marketing for the holiday season. We share 19 SMS marketing holiday promotion ideas to make it a December to remember for your business.

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<h2 id="Interactive">5 interactive SMS marketing holiday campaigns</h2>

Interactive SMS marketing campaigns help brands engage in two-way conversations with customers. They invite customer responses to help create dialogue and memorable experiences. Let’s look at some interactive and festive campaigns that will help your customers get in the spirit.

Read more: 17 SMS marketing tips to set you up for success 

Festive emoji puzzle or riddle

Use a text message marketing campaign to send subscribers a holiday puzzle or riddle. This could be a series of emojis that describe a Christmas song or a riddle. Encourage customers to solve the puzzle and reply with the right answer to unlock a discount code. 

For example, you could send customers this riddle: What's the difference between the Christmas alphabet and the ordinary alphabet? Answer: The Christmas Alphabet has NO-EL.

Or, send a holiday-song emoji puzzle: 🎸 🔄 🎄(Answer: Rocking Around the Christmas Tree)

Text-to-win contest

Encourage customers to enter a contest to win a giveaway by texting a holiday-themed keyword to your phone number. You could offer customers who enter a chance to win a prize, free gift, or discount. This contest could help you gain more SMS subscribers and generate excitement from existing customers.

For example, at your checkout counter or on your website, you could have an ad that says: “Text SANTA to 55555 to subscribe to recurring marketing alerts and enter for a chance to win a $500 gift card.” 

An example of a text-to-win contest advertisement.
An example of a text-to-win contest advertisement.

Holiday recipe exchange

Another interactive SMS marketing campaign is to create a virtual recipe exchange. Simply ask your customers to text in their favorite holiday recipes. Tell recipients if they participate, they will get a list of all recipes submitted in an e-book format at the end of the month. This can give people new ideas for food to make around the holidays!

Holiday trivia challenge

Encourage your customers to interact with your company through daily trivia questions via text. Send holiday-themed trivia questions daily and enter the customers who answered correctly into a grand prize drawing. This could be a great interactive campaign for radio stations or a way for restaurants to promote trivia night.

Example of a holiday trivia contest via SMS.
Example of a holiday trivia contest via SMS.

Photo contest

Create a campaign to have SMS subscribers share holiday-themed photos through text. You can select a few of the best ones and encourage them to vote for their favorites. Here are a few photo contest ideas broken down by holiday:

Halloween photo contests:

  • Pumpkin carving
  • Costume contest
  • Makeup contest
  • Pet costume contest

Thanksgiving photo contests:

  • Pie crust creations
  • Thanksgiving centerpiece
  • Photos representing gratitude

Christmas photo contests:

  • Tree decorations
  • Cookie decoration
  • Outdoor decorations
  • Ugly sweater contest

<h2 id="Creative">10 creative SMS marketing holiday promotions</h2>

Throughout the holiday season, people are buying for family, friends, and colleagues. Capture the attention of prospective buyers and existing customers by using one of these creative SMS holiday promotions.

12 Days of Christmas

Take a page from the popular Christmas song and run a "12 Days of Christmas" SMS campaign for your subscribers. On each day leading up to Dec. 25, gift your customers a special offer, release a new product, or share a holiday tip. This keeps customers engaged throughout the 12-day span when customers are buying gifts. You can also run a 12-day promo earlier in the month if it makes sense for your business.

Look at two of the 12 product drops from Lovepop:

Lovepop runs a 12-days-of-Christmas-inspired SMS campaign.
Lovepop runs a 12-days-of-Christmas-inspired SMS campaign.

Personalized gift guides

Make holiday shopping easier for your SMS subscribers by sending them curated lists of gift ideas via SMS. You can create different gift guides for different audiences, such as gift ideas for your mom, dad, sister, friends, etc. For best results, include a link to a mobile-friendly landing page that showcases the products your company sells.

Text-exclusive flash sales

Text message marketing is a great way to promote flash sales and limited-time offers. That’s because texts are read almost instantaneously. Use this to your advantage during the holiday season to send flash sales via text on key shopping days. Make the discounts available to SMS subscribers briefly to create a sense of urgency. 

 A flash-sale SMS campaign from Crunchi.
A flash-sale SMS campaign from Crunchi.

Charitable campaign

Reinforce the spirit of giving during the holidays by running a campaign that gives back to the community. You could use a text campaign to inform customers that a percentage of proceeds made on a particular day will be donated to a charitable cause. This can encourage customers to purchase gifts on that particular day.

After-Christmas sale

Create a post-Christmas SMS campaign to help boost sales at the end of the year. Many companies use this strategy to avoid a post-holiday slump. You could brand the campaign as a countdown to New Year’s sale, end-of-the-year sale, or post-Christmas sale. 

See the following example from Nixon. The company promotes an enticing year-end sale offering up to 50 percent off.

A post-holiday SMS marketing campaign from Nixon.
A post-holiday SMS marketing campaign from Nixon.

Promote gift cards

Encourage subscribers to purchase gift cards in an SMS campaign. You can even offer to send the digital gift card to your customers’ desired recipient via text after purchase. Gift cards are a good last-minute gift option as they can be delivered electronically. 

In the following example from Nixon, the accessories retailer encourages customers to buy gift cards with an incentive. 

A gift card holiday SMS marketing text from Nixon.
A gift card holiday SMS marketing text from Nixon.

Early access to a sale

Offer SMS subscribers early access to a holiday sale. This can help generate goodwill and encourage customers to shop early and before shipping deadlines approach. In the following example from Lovepop, you see that the company offers subscribers advance access to Black Friday deals. 

An early sale access SMS campaign from Lovepop.
An early sale access SMS campaign from Lovepop.

Promote last-minute gift ideas 

The reality is many people shop for gifts last minute. Use an SMS campaign to suggest buying products or encourage customers to stop in your store. A campaign promoting last-minute gifts can end up improving sales for your business.

In the following holiday SMS campaign from Nixon, the retailer encourages last-minute shoppers to stop into a local store to find watches and accessories.

Read more: SMS marketing for retail

A last-minute gift promotion text from Nixon.
A last-minute gift promotion text from Nixon.

Shipping deadline alert

For any ecommerce business, run an SMS campaign letting customers know when the shipping deadline is for getting gifts by Christmas. Let them know a few days ahead to encourage them to buy products before it’s too late. You’ll see in the following example that Lovepop lets customers know they have just one day left to get free shipping and delivery by Christmas.

An SMS shipping deadline reminder from Lovepop.
An SMS shipping deadline reminder from Lovepop.

Share new holiday products

Use a text message campaign to launch or promote new products over the holiday season. This campaign lets customers know about your new products or holiday-themed items. For example, you could promote holiday-themed products like scented candles, Christmas cookies, and more.

A holiday product launch text example. 
A holiday product launch text example. 

🖤 Need inspiration for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday text marketing campaigns? Check out these templates. 🖤

<h2 id="Engaging">4 engaging SMS holiday campaigns</h2>

Use one of these festive campaign ideas to engage with your customers outside of sending promotions. These help foster relationships with them by offering helpful guidance or tips.

Holiday recipe sharing

If you sell cookware, ingredients, or subscriptions to recipes, create a series where you share special holiday dishes via text. You could share a text every week in December with top holiday desserts or share a link to a recipe e-book with top-rated Thanksgiving side dishes a few weeks before the big day. Ensure you include a CTA to encourage customers to shop at your store for the ingredients or get the perfect pan to bake the dish in. 

A recipe-sharing SMS campaign example from a bakery.
A recipe-sharing SMS campaign example from a bakery.

Gift wrapping tips

Use SMS to share gift-wrapping tips, guides, or how-tos with your subscribers. You could embed short GIFs, videos, or a link to a blog with step-by-step instructions. This series can help subscribers make their presents stand out. 

New Year's resolution support

Run an SMS campaign to help support your customers’ New Year’s resolutions. You could send them tips, share encouraging messages, or offer relevant products to help them achieve their goals. For example, a fitness app could offer a discounted subscription offering or a wellness brand could offer mediation tips. 

In the following example from Starbucks, the coffee giant asks subscribers what word they want to define their New Year, and then send relevant questions and topics to help set them on the right foot.

An engaging SMS campaign from Starbucks.
An engaging SMS campaign from Starbucks.

Suggest DIY crafts

Whether decorating gingerbread houses or creating ornaments for a Christmas tree, people often craft around the holidays. With that said, create a series of SMS messages with do-it-yourself craft ideas, step-by-step instructions, or where to buy supplies. You could also encourage subscribers to share their creations using a specific hashtag or texting a photo back to your brand. 

This type of campaign is especially effective for companies that offer crafting supplies.

Read more: 100 customizable text message templates 

<h2 id="Emojis">Festive emojis for your SMS marketing holiday campaigns</h2>

Emojis can add sparkle or pizzazz to your holiday messages. Here’s a list of the most-used holiday emojis that will work well in text marketing campaigns.

🎄 — Christmas tree

🎁 — Wrapped gift

🎅 — Santa Claus

🤶 — Mrs. Claus

☃️ — Snowman

❄️ — Snowflake

🌟 — Glowing star

🥂 — Champagne toast

🎊 — Celebration ball

🔔 — Bell

🎶 — Musical notes

✝️ — Christian Cross

🕎 — Jewish Menorah 

🦃 — Turkey

🥧 — Pie

🎃 — Carved pumpkin

🕸️ — Spider web

🦇 — Bat

👻 — Ghost

🧛 — Vampire

🧙 — Witch

🛍️ — Shopping bag

🍂 — Autumn leaves

🧣— Wintery scarf

Read more: Emojis: How, when, and where to use them 

Deliver your holiday SMS campaigns with Santa’s helper, Textline

If you’re looking for a reliable and secure SMS marketing platform to send holiday text campaigns, look no further than Textline. Our top-rated SMS marketing platform helps companies scale customer communication and text message marketing with ease. With features like mass texting, marketing automation, and metrics, we have the tools your business needs to cut through the noise and get results.

Ready to sleigh the competition with holiday SMS marketing? Give Textline a try free for two weeks.

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