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15 real-life SMS marketing case studies and examples to inspire you

Fatima Puri
7
minute read
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SMS is one of the most popular communication channels in the world. As such companies understand the significance of having a good SMS marketing strategy. A strong SMS presence can help a company increase its brand awareness, acquire new leads, and retain customers for repeat business.

But each business has its unique set of goals with SMS marketing. Our SMS marketing case studies and examples will showcase the variety and depth of business texting to inspire your next SMS marketing campaign. Plus, we share best practices to ensure your company uses SMS to its fullest potential.

15 SMS marketing case studies and examples

1. Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn is a respected brand in the home furnishing industry. The company uses business texting to communicate the latest deals with customers while sharing delivery updates and other exciting in-store and online events. 

Sending promotional offers is one of the most effective ways to collect an opt-in from customers, and it’s common for most companies. 

Below is an example of Pottery Barn collecting an opt-in from customers to send them marketing messages. Collecting opt-ins is a must for businesses that want to send marketing messages. 

An SMS marketing example from Pottery Barn
An SMS marketing example from Pottery Barn.

2. Nordstrom

Nordstrom is one of the leaders in the SMS business game. Nordstrom has centered the majority of its experience around text messaging. For example, Nordstrom cardmembers can access their account information and pay with their credit card via SMS. Nordstrom stylists also use SMS and MMS to build customer relationships by sending personalized style recommendations. 

By using SMS to connect the gap between their in-store and online experience, Nordstrom is making it easier for customers to have a seamless experience no matter how they shop. You can see how Nordstrom uses this SMS strategy in the example below.

An SMS marketing example from Nordstrom.
An SMS marketing example from Nordstrom.

Nordstrom said that its SMS program was better able to reach customers where they are, as more than a third of its customers prefer using text messaging to get photos and deals.

3. Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness is a boutique group fitness studio with numerous locations across the country. Orangetheory turned to SMS marketing as a way to encourage new customers to sign up for a monthly membership. In this example, Orangetheory sent a potential customer an invite to a free VIP Class at a studio to encourage the customer to sign up for a membership.

The member ended up signing up for the free class. This gives Orangetheory an opportunity to sell a monthly membership in person.

 

A text message marketing example from Orangetheory.
A promotional SMS marketing example from Orangetheory.

4. Wayfair

Have you ever gone shopping and wanted an item that was out of stock? Companies like Wayfair allow customers to sign up for alerts on items back in stock to ensure they get what their heart desires. Brands like Wayfair also send delivery updates through text messages and share limited-time offers or sales, similar to other examples.

A shipping and order update SMS example from Wayfair.
A shipping and order update SMS example from Wayfair.

5. Wag!

Wag! offers pet-sitting and walking services to customers throughout the U.S. The company understands that finding a pet sitter can be stressful and expensive. As a result, Wag! provides frequent discounts to mobile customers to provide ease of mind financially and mentally. In the following example, the business offered a discount for a holiday where many Americans travel. This showcases the importance of sending relevant discounts at the right time to your customers. 

A promotional text example from Wag!
A promotional text example from Wag!

6. Fit Athletic

Fit Athletic is another business in the fitness industry that uses text messaging to engage with its members. Fit Athletic uses SMS to alert members to special offers, promotions, and other gym updates tailored to their preferences. 

In the following example, you see Fit Athletic sends customers an opt-in message for promotional offers.

An SMS marketing opt-in example from Fit Athletic.
An SMS marketing opt-in example from Fit Athletic.

7. Umbra

Umbra is a modern home decor and hardware store that utilizes SMS to share current sales and offers. One unique feature of Umbra is that they share a virtual contact file, also known as a VCF, with customers. A VCF makes it easy for customers to save a brand’s contact details on their phone, so companies can start to develop a text relationship with their customers.

A welcome SMS marketing example from Umbra.
A welcome SMS marketing example from Umbra.

8. Nominal

Nominal is a millennial and Gen-Z brand that found its niche in the Arabic and Islamic jewelry category. Nominal is known for its frequent hot deals and messages from company owners Lena Sarsour and Akram Abdallah. The owners often share their thanks or other important announcements, which you’ll see in the SMS marketing example below.

A flash sale SMS marketing example from Nominal.
A flash sale SMS marketing example from Nominal.

9. Poly & Bark

Poly & Bark is another home furnishing brand that operates online only. Branding themselves as the “internet’s favorite sofa,” Poly & Bark relies heavily on SMS to drive customers to its site. 

Without a retail store, businesses like Poly & Bark need to make the most of their communication channels to ensure customers have the best experience. It’s especially crucial when selling big-ticket items like furniture since customers invest in an article they’ll likely keep for years.

Below you will see several limited-time offer deals from Poly & Bark. These work because it convinces customers to act now, or miss out.

An SMS example announcing a new sale from Poly & Bark.
An SMS example announcing a new sale from Poly & Bark.

10. Savage x Fenty

The singer-turned-entrepreneur Rihanna knows what she’s doing with any number of her businesses. In this case, her lingerie brand Savage x Fenty understands the importance of SMS to share sales and exclusive offers to its SMS subscribers. 

Savage x Fenty is known for its all-inclusive range of lingerie and loungewear.

Due to its marketing strategies, including influencer marketing, email marketing, and SMS, Savage X Fenty has seen a revenue annual growth rate of 150 percent each year since its founding.

In the text example below, Savage X Fenty shares alerts about new products and deals to encourage customers to buy. 

A slew of SMS marketing texts from Savage x Fenty.
A slew of SMS marketing texts from Savage x Fenty.

11. West elm

West elm specializes in helping customers design their dream home, and the business uses texting to help fulfill that promise. By signing up for SMS, west elm customers can receive the latest style tips and guides. Plus, they can receive alerts to massive sales in various categories, like lighting, wall decor, or more expensive furniture items. The company also does a great job only sending marketing messages a few times a month, making sure customers don’t unsubscribe.

In the example below, you can see how west elm shares appointment reminders with its customers. 

A marketing reminder text example from West Elm.
A marketing reminder text example from West Elm.

12. Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond is famous for the frequent in-store and online coupons they send customers. One way Bed Bath & Beyond alerts customers to a new coupon or one expiring soon is via SMS. 

Customers feel more inclined to shop with a business if they know they have a discount or feel pressured to use a coupon if it's expiring. 

A coupon sent to customers via SMS from Bed Bath & Beyond.
A coupon sent to customers via SMS from Bed Bath & Beyond.

13. Shopify (Shop Pay)

Shopify users can sign up to receive an access code to automatically enter their information to websites that operate on the Shopify platform. By doing so, Shopify makes it easier for customers to check out since there is less friction in the process.

Shopify said this SMS strategy has made a huge difference as it increases checkout speed by four times. Plus, checkouts that use Shop Pay have a higher checkout-to-order rate than its typical checkout. 

Below is an example of the Shop Pay SMS in action.

An example of Shop Pay in action.
An SMS example from Shop Pay that speeds checkout times.

14. T-Mobile

T-Mobile users can opt-in to receive notifications about their accounts via SMS. But another way T-Mobile uses SMS is to alert customers about their data usage or package plans when traveling internationally.

For example, in some countries, like Canada, T-Mobile users can continue operating on the same plan with no added fee. Or, they can update customers on how much data is left in their package.

In this example, T-Mobile encourages customers to buy another pass via SMS. This is a great way to use SMS marketing to upsell customers. 

An upsell SMS opportunity from T-Mobile.
An upsell SMS opportunity from T-Mobile.

15. CVS Pharmacy

Pharmacies like CVS can use text messaging to encourage patients to get their vaccines at their local store. This is a great SMS marketing use case during flu season. This reminder is a great way to encourage customers to come into a physical CVS stores. This can increase foot traffic and lead to more vaccine reimbursements from insurers. Both of which can increase revenue. 

In addition to the examples we shared above, many other brands use SMS marketing to send promotional birthday messages, abandoned cart reminders, and XXX. To see how businesses can phrase these promotional templates, read our blog with 150+ SMS templates here. 

5 SMS marketing best practices

1. Collect opt-ins and provide opt-outs 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, requires businesses to collect an opt-in from their contacts before sending messages to them. Failure to obtain an opt-in can result in fines of up to $500 per violation. Similarly, businesses must also provide a way for customers to opt out of receiving text messages. 

There are numerous ways to collect phone numbers. For example, businesses can ask customers for one in person, over the phone, or through the initial text to a customer. For opt-outs, you should let customers know that they can opt out by replying STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE to any text you send them.

While it may seem difficult to obtain opt-ins, research shows that many customers will opt into texts from companies they like. For example, 46 percent of customers say they would opt for texts from e-commerce or retail businesses.

2. Introduce your company in each message

Customers likely will not have your contact information saved on their phones, so you should introduce yourself in every text interaction you have with them. You can send a virtual contact file (VCF) to make it easier for customers to save your information on their phones, similar to the Umbra example we gave earlier.

3. Be mindful of the character limit 

Brands are limited to 160 characters or less when sending text messages to customers. You want to make the most of each word, which is why less is more when crafting messages to your contacts. 

One way to work around the character limit is to use links. For example, companies can link to a landing page or other information where customers can learn more about your message.

Alternatively, companies can also use MMS to send images or PDFs to customers. For example, a company could send a  coupon with a barcode that works in stores to make applying the discount easy.

4. Share exclusive SMS offers

Customers sign up for SMS marketing messages primarily to receive offers and discounts. One study suggests that 75 percent of customers want to be sent discounts via text. 

Offering a discount for signing up for SMS marketing can help you entice customers to opt-in. In addition, you can advertise a welcome offer on your website, social media pages, or in-stores near the checkout register to encourage more sign-ups.

You can take your SMS offers further by personalizing them for each customer. For example, if your customer has an abandoned cart, you can send them a coupon to encourage them to finish the purchase. 

SMS offers can boost traffic to drive sales for your business.

5. Respond to text message replies

Remember, business texting is a two-way communication platform. If you send bulk customer messages, ensure you respond to their texts. 

Suppose you don’t have the staff available to reply to messages promptly. In that case, you can automate a text asking customers to call or email your business any time you receive a reply to mass texting.

Read our article “10 SMS marketing best practices to grow your subscriber base” for more SMS best practices. 

The bottom line: SMS is more than a one-trick pony

The fun of SMS is that it has more than one purpose. Whether you’re looking to send customers important information like shipping details or engage them with two-way communication, SMS can help you accomplish your goals. The best part is that you can create multiple SMS workflows to achieve different results. 

Want to start using business texting? Sign up for a free Textline trial or demo today!

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