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Lessons From Two E-commerce Holiday SMS Campaigns

See how two e-commerce marketers increased holiday sales with text messaging, and learn tactics you can use in your own BFCM campaigns.

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Just before the 2022 Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend, I spoke with some online retailers about their plans to drive more sales with SMS.

I learned about how their text message campaigns’ performance in 2021 and how those results influenced their upcoming holiday strategy.

After the holiday season, I reached out to Ryan Turner, founder of Ecommerce Intelligence, and Jeff Moriarty, marketing manager at Moriarty’s Gem Art to hear how their campaigns fared in 2022 and what insights they uncovered for this year’s BFCM weekend.

Ryan Turner on How to Generate Holiday Sales With VIP Discounts and Text-only Messages

screenshot of VIP discount text message holiday campaign

How did your clients’ SMS holiday campaigns perform? Did they meet your expectations?

Overall, SMS was a great channel for our brands during the holiday season. 

This year, we were working with much bigger SMS lists than in previous years, as we’d put more effort into growing them. So, that definitely paid off.

We encouraged people to sign up for texts in the weeks leading up to BFCM, so they’d get notifications as soon as deals were live. That was a big driver of list growth. 

In terms of our overall strategy, we always focus on pushing early access to deals via both email marketing and SMS, as that’s always highly effective. This year was no different, and the VIP segments were a huge success. 

Outside of that, we essentially mirrored our email marketing strategy on the SMS channel over the BFCM week, but didn’t send quite as many texts as we did emails. 

What, if anything, would you change for the next holiday season?

One thing I would change next time is focusing more on text-only SMS campaigns, rather than using MMS campaigns with images and GIFs. 

Carriers can struggle with deliverability for media messages during the busiest sending times, but that doesn’t happen as much if you’re using all text. 

Some clients were adamant about including graphics, but I think next time we’ll try and encourage them not to. 

That’s an interesting insight about MMS and deliverability during the holidays. Are there ways retailers can encourage more click-throughs without using images?

Just include a short and to-the-point message with a clear CTA, really. If you’re pushing a strong offer, people don’t need any more information. 

The strength of the offer is enough, so don’t distract people with other messaging — just focus on getting the click. This can be done very successfully without using any images at all.

Jeff Moriarty on Encouraging Contact Opt-ins and Nurturing Them All Year Long

screenshot of online jewelry store text message holiday campaign

How did your clients’ SMS holiday campaigns perform? Did they meet your expectations?
This year, we increased our spend on SMS from pre-Black Friday through Dec 20th. Total spend was close to $600. Our sales were a little over $10,000 directly from SMS. 

How did you advertise/encourage SMS contact sign-ups?

We have an opt-in to our list on the checkout page, in a post-purchase email, and in a pop-up on our website. We also push people to sign up during our live online shows.

Do you have any plans to nurture the contacts who signed up for the holiday sales throughout the year?

We plan on sending marketing messages to that list for monthly sales and our live shows — one to two messages per month. Then, when the holidays hit again, we will increase it to one to two messages per week.

More Holiday SMS Inspiration

It’s one thing to read about text message marketing concepts, and it’s another to see real-world campaigns and their results. Get your fix of year-round SMS inspiration with our collection of success stories

Looking for more holiday SMS tips and strategies? Check out these guides:

Dani Henion
Dani Henion

Dani Henion is the content team lead at SimpleTexting and is continuously looking for ways to make text messaging strategies and tips more accessible to SMBs. When she's not writing or planning new SMS content, you'll find her decorating elaborate sugar cookies or thrifting in Atlanta.

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