SMS marketing trends

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SMS Marketing: Successful Examples

The five companies that have successfully implemented SMS marketing in the United States are National Wholesale Liquidators, Jamba Juice, Seattle Sun Tan, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Kiehl’s.

1. National Wholesale Liquidators

  • National Wholesale Liquidators, the closeout discount chain based in New York, was able to build a huge subscriber database and achieve higher sales due to its successful SMS text marketing campaign.
  • Whenever a new customer joined its SMS marketing campaign, the company offered a $5 flat discount on any purchase over $25. Most importantly, National Wholesale Liquidators advertised this offer online, inside the shop-window, and also via print advertising. This campaign turned out to be more successful because the company advertised this mobile campaign for people to know it’s a service it offers.
  • National Wholesale Liquidators was able to acquire around 50,000 customers for its mobile campaign within one month. Further, the customers who received the promotional SMS text purchased 80% more on average as compared to those who didn’t receive the offer ($45 versus $25).

2. Jamba Juice

  • Jamba Juice Bakersfield, a company operating in central California that provides freshly blended whole fruit and juices, was able to increase its footfalls with a low budget and not-so-experienced employees in the field of marketing.
  • The company's aim was to attract local residents to visit Jamba Juice's stores using SMS marketing.
  • The company applied the following strategies:
    • The company created a keyword called “Jamba” for the customers to text it to 99000 to sign up
    • The company offered an incentive of “a free 16oz smoothie coupon” to the customers as soon as they sent the keyword. In addition, the customers could use this coupon immediately on their purchase.
    • Jamba Juice displayed large signs to promote its SMS marketing campaign at the point-of-purchase location which encouraged people to sign-up instantly in order to grab their free item.
    • The company had also sent regular offers via SMS with ‘BOGO free’ and ‘20% off’ campaigns.
  • Jamba Juice was able to increase its subscriber database by more than 1,000 contacts within two months. Additionally, the company witnessed an increase of 10% in “in-store traffic across all four stores.”

  • 3. Seattle Sun Tan

    • Seattle Sun Tan, “a 35-location tanning salon situated in Washington State”, was able to see a huge increase in sales and traffic with the help of promotional SMS marketing campaigns and advertisement of those campaigns.
    • Stewart Kelpe, the Vice President of Marketing at Seattle Sun Tan, said that they chose SMS text campaigns due to high customer adoption and its suitability “across all wireless carriers and operating platforms”.
    • The company made an attractive offer by rewarding customers with $20 off their next purchase if they signed up for the mobile campaign.
    • Seattle Sun Tan also took advantage of its pre-existing email database that included over 80,000 customers to advertise this SMS campaign and advertised this offer on its website and social media platforms.
    • Seattle Sun Tan‘s customers who redeemed this offer spent around 500% more when compared to the customers who did not receive this offer.
    • The company was able to generate almost $200,000 in revenue within one month after launching its SMS marketing campaign.

    4. Dunkin’ Donuts

    • Dunkin’ Donuts used the SMS marketing strategy to launch its “new 99 cent hot lattes in the Boston area” by targeting young adults and university students residing in the area.
    • Initially, the company sent about 7500 SMS texts with coupons to matching contacts from its pre-existing subscribers’ list. Every Thursday, this campaign was advertised by the radio DJs where people were invited to participate by texting to a short number. This was further promoted via internet ads on mobile encouraging people to sign-up for this SMS campaign.
    • Dunkin’ Donuts witnessed a 21% surge in in-store traffic due to SMS text promotion while around 17% of customers who participated in this mobile marketing campaign had forwarded or showed the message to their friends.
    • In addition, about 35% of customers who participated in this campaign said that they would prefer to purchase Dunkin’ Donuts’ lattes again.

    5. Kiehl’s

    • Kiehl’s, an American cosmetics brand, ran an SMS campaign for 6 months that used geofencing techniques to attract customers near 45 test stores of the brand.
    • When customers opted-in for this SMS service, “they were asked to agree to share their location with Kiehl’s.” And whenever “a customer was within a certain radius of one of their test stores”, the company would send three location-based SMS notifications per month.
    • After 6 months of running this SMS marketing campaign, the brand noted a fact that around 73% of its customers who opted in for the SMS notifications had purchased something from the stores.


    The two most common strategies used by the above five companies for making their SMS text marketing campaigns successful are — (1) offering promotional incentives for signing up and (2) advertising the SMS campaign on the website, radio, social media platforms, stores, and other such platforms.


    We are able to find a few lists of successful SMS marketing campaigns implemented by various companies. We chose the successful ones based on the impressive outcome of the SMS campaigns ran by each which includes an increase in sales, higher in-store footfalls, rise in subscriber databases, and higher purchases made by customers who received text SMS offer as compared to non-receivers. Secondly, the selected five companies were also mentioned repeatedly on various mobile analytics, mobile marketing, marketing agency, and other institutes’ websites such as Vision6, Ontarget Interactive, SimiCart, Textedly, and Tatango.

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    SMS Marketing Trends

    The top SMS marketing trends in the US include — personalized messages, integrating SMS with other marketing media channels, and use of AI and Chatbots.


    • Personal data like birthday, favorites, anniversaries are being used to create long-lasting customer relationships.
    • The personal data is being employed to inform customers of nearby activities and special events.
    • Correct information and application utilization data are essential for SMS marketing to succeed; it has been shaping the industry, lately.
    • Subway's SMS campaign gathered a following of over 5 million subscribers with an 85% retention rate. The campaign resulted in 26% higher returns, 13% higher customer spending, and 15% higher purchases.


    • SMS marketing is more effective when it is used side by side other channels of marketing like email and mobile applications.
    • Successful integration of SMS marketing with other media channels has increased customer engagements for various big organizations.
    • Recently, Facebook revealed its plan to initiate SMS marketing to complement its messenger services.


    • AI and chatbot technology create an opportunity for instant reminders, replies, and query resolution. These include voice assistants with natural voices.
    • Chatbots use the latest innovations, including machine learning and advanced data collection that enables humanoid responses.
    • According to Tractica virtual assistants will be available on more than 3.3 billion devices by 2020.
    • An example of a company driving this is Facebook.


    • According to Forbes, 95% of text messages are read in 3 minutes.
    • It is found that about 75% of Americans are comfortable receiving offers via SMS. The response rate for SMS campaign is 45% while for email it is only 6%. This can also be attributed to the rising number of people using their phones instead of checking their emails.
    • Jack-in-the-box has reported that it's SMS marketing success is 3 – 5 times that of email.

    Research Strategy:

    To find the top trends in SMS marketing in the United States, we looked for articles, press releases, and blog posts by experts on SMS marketing. We defined the top trends as some of the most mentioned trends by industry experts and media reports.

    We started our search by looking for articles and press releases on the top trends of SMS marketing. We consulted reputable marketing, business, advertising, and financial database websites like Technavio, Balance Careers, Legal Trends Watch, PRNewswire, Deloitte, Forbes, and Business Insider, among others. Most of the information found were related to trends in global mobile marketing instead of SMS marketing specific to the US.

    Next, we consulted reputable blog posts, magazines, and credible portals by industry professionals like the New York Times, Digidaily, PR Daily News, among others. At first, we looked for articles, news, and posts on the top trends in the industry, but we discovered that most of the trends did not feature similar findings across various reports. Further, we looked for trends that are repeatedly mentioned by the news and expert articles, industry authorities, research, and surveys, among others. With this method, we were able to locate some vital findings.

    Finally, we expanded our search to include trends in mobile marketing that highlight relevant pieces of information about text or SMS marketing trends in the United States. Having found these trends as described by experts, we compared the trends and selected the ones that were relevant and mentioned the most among all the sources.

    From Part 02
    • "Personalization of Content Being an effective channel from all social platforms, bulk SMS marketing gives a chance to create a long-standing bond with your potential ones. "
    • "Integration with other media channels In the digitized world, integrating SMS with other marketing channels gives higher customer engagement."
    • "As most people avoid promotional emails so if you’re also lagging here, reach your customers easily through SMS marketing technique. "
    • "Personalization in SMSes In 2018, the data is being used to form a personal bond with the customer and encourage brand loyalty and sales. "
    • "Text Messaging Chatbots The AI enabled chatbots can effectively converse with customers through SMS - sending them instant replies, reminders and answering FAQs."
    • "These chatbots use latest advancements in the technology - like natural language processing and machine learning to learn from previous data, collect more data and effectively understand that data to respond to human queries in a natural way."
    • "SMS Marketing Is Winning Over Email Marketing According to Gartner, SMS response rate is 45% whereas Email’s is just 6%. "
    • "According to Digital Marketing Magazine, 75% people are willingly, even happy, to receive offers via SMS and over 65% marketers swear about the effectiveness of SMS Marketing."
    • "ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS A GROWING FORCE AI tools like chatbots, data analysis algorithms, personalized recommendation systems and predictive analytics are driving better content, which marketers can leverage for their mobile marketing campaigns. "
    • "Integrating with other marketing channels: SMS marketing performs even better upon integrating with other marketing channels like mobile apps and email marketing. "
    • "Often consumers un-install applications that are not used regularly. "
    • "SMS now is most consumer’s primary form of communication. Now that mass text marketing has opened the door for businesses to meet clients on their mobile phones instead of their email accounts, a whole new dynamic has emerged. "