Looking for creative ways to liven up your business text messaging campaigns to make them more engaging and likely to achieve significant results?

Prepare to be inspired as we take you through a range of creative SMS marketing campaigns and provide tips on using them across different business sectors.

How to construct creative text messages

Follow these guidelines to make your creative SMS marketing campaigns as powerful as possible:

  • Provide exciting or fun content – customers will engage with your SMS message if it's interesting. So focus on making your content compelling, so your audience feels like they're missing out if they don't take the desired action. Use power words to add some rocket fuel to your message.

  • Personalise your text message – tailor the content to speak to the individual. Address the customer by name and ensure the topic is highly relevant to them.

  • Create a sense of urgency with your call-to-action (CTA) – whatever action you want customers to take, direct them to do it 'asap'. Use wording like, 'now', 'today', 'ends soon', 'don't miss out', 'don't wait' and 'hurry'.

  • Ensure SMS marketing compliance – before you send out SMS marketing campaigns, be sure you've obtained your customers' express written consent to be contacted in this way. And also that your promotional messages adhere to the necessary text marketing rules and regulations. (Such as the TCPA, CTIA and GDPR, which are specific to certain countries.)

Creative spa marketing text

Examples of creative SMS marketing campaigns

You might already be carrying out some text messaging activity, such as flash sale notifications, giveaways and competitions and review requests. And while they might be working well for you, perhaps there's an opportunity to take your campaigns to another level.

Take a look at what these brands have done to maximise engagement and strengthen customer relationships. Perhaps a similar SMS strategy could work for your business:

1. HBO

When Game of Thrones (GoT) came to the end of season five, HBO tapped into SMS marketing to keep fans of the show engaged through the summer hiatus, ready for season six.

SMS subscribers received GoT content by text message, including a link to a temporary video where they could watch sneak previews of the upcoming season. 70,000 subscribers signed up within the first two months of launching the service.

Similar strategy:

An SMS teaser campaign like this is useful to build excitement and momentum when you already have an in-demand product or service and are planning new ranges, developments or updates.

2. Starbucks

The coffee house chain, Starbucks, cleverly used SMS/MMS to engage and surprise customers. First, they sent subscribers a trivia contest text message, offering a chance to win a prize and sign up for summer alerts.

Then Starbucks determined the type of device users had and followed up where possible with an MMS video message about an in-store special offer.

Similar strategy:

Engage and amaze your customers with a two-part SMS campaign, using the first text message as an interesting hook and the second one as a reward. Most people love nice surprises!

3. Orange

Back in the day, Orange (now known as EE) found SMS to be a very powerful tool, as they offered two for one cinema tickets every Wednesday with their campaign 'Orange Wednesdays'. Customers simply text the word 'film' to the number 241.

The campaign lasted for ten years and only ended when customer viewing habits changed. There's no doubt this iconic promotion was one of the most successful SMS campaigns of all time.

The success of this text messaging campaign was down to its customer loyalty programme and the shrewd marketers at Orange.

Not only did they identify a reward that would please a good proportion of the company's customer base, but they also opened up the offer to non-Orange customers, hence increasing brand awareness among this group. (Non-Orange customers could use one of the tickets included in the offer, as long as the other cinemagoer was an Orange customer).

Similar strategy:

Devise an SMS loyalty programme that not only benefits your direct customers but also opens up your customer base.

For example, gym owners could offer members a free day pass for friends. Or beauty salons could provide a free treatment after four consecutive bookings and also offer a discount for a friend of the regular customer.

4. Chipotle

Chipotle is a U.S. restaurant brand that often utilises SMS to build customer relationships. One example campaign is where Chipotle gave out free burritos worth $1 million during the NBA Finals.

Upon hearing one of the on-air announcers say the word 'free', Chipotle would post a code on Twitter. Fans could then text a number with that code to get details on how to redeem their free burrito. A smart strategy that not only increased Chipotle's Twitter followers but also attracted new SMS opt-ins.

Similar strategy:

Increase your subscriber list across multiple channels by offering a discount code on social media and then encouraging people to redeem the code by texting a shortcode number you've set up (remember to get permission to send future SMS marketing campaigns). It's an ideal strategy for food chains, restaurant businesses, bars, pubs and clubs.

5. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This museum, also known as SFMOMA, had an amazing idea designed to make their collection more accessible.

Subscribers could receive a text displaying an artwork that matched their mood simply by texting the words 'send me' followed by a relevant keyword or emoji to a shortcode number.

The campaign went viral with 12,000 text messages received within the first four days, and by the time the campaign ended in 2020, the services had received more than 6 million text messages.

Similar strategy:

You may be able to set up a text subscription service like this if your business can provide unique or sought-after content. (Note that the content must be valuable to get good engagement levels).

Think really useful product tips, hacks and takeaways or educational nuggets. For example, a training course provider might offer a series of free SMS tips to encourage clients to sign up for a more in-depth (chargeable) course.

Creative text example

Further ideas for creative SMS marketing campaigns

Aside from the example SMS marketing campaigns you've read about above, you might want to check out these resources for more case studies on SMS campaigns that have delivered incredible results:

  • How IKEA used SMS to engage customers with sweepstakes and contests.

  • How Bloomingdale's used SMS to get customers to vote for their favourite window display.

  • How Kmart used marketing texts to send out mobile coupons and offers to drive sales and increase app downloads.

It's also worth inspecting your own SMS inbox to analyse the types of text messages you receive from other brands and businesses.

Are there any that make you sit up and take notice? If so, what is it about them that stands out for you? Consider the topic of the text, tone of voice, personalisation and the effectiveness of the call-to-action.

Get started with your first creative SMS marketing campaign

SMS offers advantages over other forms of communication. It's a fast, reliable channel that enables you to get directly in front of your audience, wherever they're based. As well as using text messages for marketing purposes, you can also send out transactional communications like order updates, appointment reminders and 2FA SMS.

When it comes to marketing though, there are plenty of unique ways to leverage this channel that go beyond sending out a special offer or weekly newsletter update. Hopefully, the case studies mentioned here will inspire you as you form your strategy.

To send out text marketing messages, you'll need to use an SMS provider. Learn how Messente can help – register for an account today and try our service for free.