Stuck in a rut and looking for creative ways to capture your subscribers’ attention? Here are 36 unique examples to energize your next SMS marketing campaign.
Creative SMS marketing campaigns can inspire, provoke thought, bring joy, induce awe, and bring up so many other emotions.
Embracing creativity in your SMS marketing campaigns can help you stand out among brand text messages, remain memorable after reading, and stay top of mind when your audience is ready to take action.
Here’s a list of 36 creative SMS marketing examples to inspire your next text marketing message:
Let’s dive into more detail. 👇
Cat litter brand PrettyLitter, as the name suggests, adds visual flair to their SMS marketing campaigns with images.
I love that this image shows not only the product but the company’s branding (and customer base) as well. It’s a good visual incentive to take advantage of the sale they’re advertising.
Texts like these work more often than not because texts with images generate a higher click-through rate (CTR).
It’s no surprise that popular retailer DragQueenMerch knows how to put on a show in their messages, including animated images.
Although it’s not obvious from the image above, the graphic dances back and forth, making it impossible to miss the main message of the text. It’s also just a fun message to look at, and—spoiler alert—it made me click the link.
The haircare experts at Vegamour do visually interesting SMS messages very well, even when the visuals are as simple as an emoji.
I personally love seeing brands use emojis in their messages to show a less formal, more fun tone (especially where shoppers in younger demographics are concerned). There’s also the added benefit, like the points above, of making your message a bit more eye-catching.
On that note, if your brand has a unique, fun voice, lean into it in your messages. Hair removal brand Nood is legendary for its sassy marketing, and it shows in every text.
Although their products are a bit high-budget for an impulse buy, I open every text just to see what they say.
More than the engagement rate, that friendly, highly individual tone makes me unshakably loyal to Nood as a brand.
There’s no better way to start off a texting relationship with your subscribers than a prompt, well-written welcome confirmation message.
This example from restaurant chain Papa John’s includes all the necessary compliance information along with the kinds of messages contacts can expect to receive.
Does it work? It absolutely does. A UK branch of Papa John’s increased their sales by 33% using SMS marketing.
Of course, if you want your subscribers to take advantage of your sales and discounts, they’re going to need to know that those sales are happening.
1-800 Contacts stands out among other brands that use SMS because they address a common pain point of glasses-wearers immediately before announcing their sale.
Holidays are a prime opportunity for SMS marketing strategies. Send out your best deals a few days ahead of the specific holiday (or more if it’s a big one like Christmas).
Vegamour ran a Mother’s Day special recently with a special code. Notice how this message highlights the benefits for both the buyer and their mom in just a few characters.
I may be biased, but I think FabFitFun is the epitome of excellent product marketing, and this example is one of many reasons.
FabFitFun thrives on deadlines in their marketing, and because of this fact, I (a devotee of the brand) rush to the website every time they mention a flash sale.
Bonus points for the fact that they detail some of the offerings in the flash sale.
On the same note, nothing motivates subscribers like a little FOMO.
Salomon is a sports equipment company that creates urgency by highlighting its sale deadlines to text subscribers. The thing that stands out to me about this example is that they explicitly point out the fact that products will be back to full price the next day.
Texts are the ideal way to announce your flash sale because they get seen faster (90% get read within 3 minutes) and more often than other forms like email.
Side note: While researching flash sale texts, I found one hilarious example of a man who received a sale notification from his favorite soap retailer and promptly bought nearly $60 of product on impulse so, anecdotally, flash sale texts work.
Tempt your text contacts to jump on sales or special occasions with a little extra incentive in the form of a free gift. Among the brands I personally subscribe to, apparel brand Aerie is king.
Aerie promotes its best deals to Real Rewards subscribers with the promise of a free, seasonally appropriate, gift. And that’s the best part about this example—Aerie doesn’t just offer a free gift, they offer a gift that buyers might be eager to have as winter comes on.
Studies actually show that free gift promotions both increase the likelihood of selling more of the “main” product after the promotion ends and reduce return rates, making them a solid long-term strategy for brands.
SMS marketing is about more than making sales or seeing results. If you want your SMS strategy to make a sustainable, significant positive impact, you’re going to need to develop actual relationships with your contacts. One way to do that is to reach out with a personal “happy birthday” message.
Although it isn’t a retailer, The National Marrow Donor Program is a nonprofit that helps match bone marrow donors with patients who need marrow.
I loved this example because it’s one of the few times I’ve gotten a text from a major organization when they didn’t ask me for anything. They were genuinely just interested in checking in and wishing me a happy birthday.
That kind of goodwill will help your contacts build positive associations with your brand and boost your retention rates.
On the same note, take time to recognize and appreciate the time your customers have spent patronizing your business. This is yet another step to strong, lasting customer relationships.
My cleaning service, for example, sent me this text around the end of the first year using their services. Guess what? I continue to use them to this day. Enough said.
It’s always best practice to send out a purchase confirmation text when a customer completes their sale. Jewelry brand Mint & Lily sends one out every time I snag a new necklace (which is way too often).
I like this particular format because it includes everything I need to know to track my order if need be. Texts like these help keep your customers comfortable and informed about their order status.
Upsells are a great way to keep up the momentum from past purchases and generate more sales, but they’re much more successful when personalized.
In this example, Salomon used a purchase I’d already made to recommend a related product I’d be likely to buy.
Upselling and cross-selling can be incredibly valuable to your brand, increasing revenues by up to 43% and boosting customer retention rates. The personalization aspect increases the likelihood that the customer will engage with your message and also helps them feel valued.
Abandoned carts can be frustrating, but they don’t have to squash your sales. If you notice that a contact has left their items in the cart without finishing checkout, send them a friendly reminder to come back and snag their items.
Xero Shoes uses this strategy to recover abandoned carts, with the added bonus of creating some urgency with a reminder that the items won’t be held forever.
The numbers show that click-through rates on cart abandonment recovery texts hover around 36% as opposed to 3.2% for email, so it’s always worth following up to save the sale.
Like our earlier point about abandoned carts, texts are a good tool for reopening conversations that have lapsed.
I won’t lie to you, I became a Petco devotee recently, but as soon as I got this text from Happy Dogs I replied and set an appointment.
That’s partly because they took the time to reach out and partly because I knew I could get an appointment slot with them based on the text they sent.
This works mostly as a way to keep your brand at the front of your subscribers’ minds when your interactions with them may have dropped off.
Word of mouth is powerful, so after a purchase or service, ask your customers to recommend you to their people.
XFinity gently encourages referrals after customer service interactions. This is a good example because it’s gentle, rather than pushy.
If your customers are a fan of your brand, they’ll usually be happy to refer friends to you, but they generally won’t think of doing so unless you ask.
Reviews are a must-have for your business, literally. Data shows that reviews influence 90% of your customers more than sales pitches do.
Fargo Moorhead Chiropractic gathers its reviews with a short, sweet text asking for their contact’s opinion. Notice that they also added a convenient link to make engaging with the message easy.
If you happen to run a lifestyle brand or an organization that supports its audience’s mental, spiritual, or emotional health, you may decide to send out daily encouragements, devotionals, or ideas.
This example comes from Minda Zetlin, an Inc.com columnist who sends out her best advice, food for thought, and activities on the daily.
The daily format ensures that you stay top of mind for your contacts and, if daily engagement is important for your brand’s mission or the health of your clients, these texts go a long way toward reaching that goal.
It’s a short attention-spanned world out there, and statistically, you’ll see better results when texting out a short, sweet newsletter than if you sent a long email.
SimpleTexting user and social media coach Sydney McDonald texts out a daily roundup of TikTok trends for her clients. As you can see here, these texts are clear, digestible, and creatively formatted.
But does it work? Sydney would say yes. These texts bring her more than $4,000/month.
Want a packed house at your next event? Make sure the details don’t slip your invitees’ minds with an easy text reminder.
While this isn’t necessarily a real-life example from a brand, it’s still an ideal template for your upcoming event reminders.
Texts like these help draw attention to your event and encourage people to take action and attend.
If you want to know what your customers want to see from your brand, the best policy is simply to ask.
As in this example from LV USA, just let them know that you’d like their thoughts and give them an easy way to give you feedback.
This text is particularly useful because it ties into the time of year, hammering home the idea that there’s a purpose to the text itself (which will boost engagement).
Text to vote is an even easier, even shorter way to get opinions on everything from your next product drop to the event you just ran and beyond.
In a text-to-vote format, you’ll send out a question and a series of multiple-choice answers. All contacts will have to do is reply with the letter corresponding to their answer.
It’s a win for everyone. You get valuable customer opinions to guide you, and your customers get to feel a sense of control over their relationship with your brand.
Who doesn’t like to win stuff? Run contests entirely through SMS to drum up interest in your brand and products and incentivize customers to get more involved.
Xero Shoes recently ran a contest of their own. Note the way they’ve phrased this. In order to get your chance to win, you have to go to the website where you’ll be shown the other products on offer.
That’s a great way to get products in front of customers’ eyes while giving them a strong reason to stay tuned to your texts.
If helping customers get to know your brand or deepening their knowledge of a specific topic is your goal, an AMA session is a great idea.
Instead of posting their questions to a social media board or webpage, encourage your audience to text in their questions and send your answers back to them directly.
This will help your audience connect to you as a brand and a person, making them more invested and more likely to stick around.
Despite the fact that SMS marketing campaigns are usually mass texts that aren’t meant for just one person, the best SMS marketers put some of their focus on fostering great individual interactions.
My local Petco, for instance, got right back to me when my car broke down on short notice.
The empathy really comes across here, and the fact that they were gracious and prompt helped bring me back the next time the dogs needed a bath.
We talked a little about personalization before, and texts like the ones below are an excellent start to customer segmentation based on preferences and activities.
Salomon asked the contact to list their favorite hobby and, armed with that information, they can now send out offers related to each subscriber’s interests rather than generic content.
I particularly love the fact that Salomon was clear about how they’ll be using that information in the future.
In the name of fostering good customer relationships, don’t forget to just send a sweet thank-you text every so often (and a coupon, if the mood strikes).
Clothing company CHNGE sent me this sweet note a week or so back, and while I didn’t buy myself anything, I absolutely did follow the link to go and browse for a while.
Customer appreciation texts are a high-value, low-effort way to keep customers invested in and connected to your brand.
Got extra perks for longtime customers? Sending members their discounts and extras through text ensures that they can easily access them.
This is the approach Aerie takes, which means I’m never far from my discounts whenever I want them.
Consumers spend 67% more when they’re part of a loyalty program, so send the perks of your program straight to their text inbox for a little added exclusivity.
Following the same logic line, keep the exclusive factor of your text list high by making it your primary channel for VIP member perks.
This is something DragQueenMerch does very well. They make it clear that text subscribers get unique, tempting perks not available to their other customers.
And given that 78% of consumers report that loyalty programs help motivate them to do business with a specific brand, it pays to offer those few extra discounts, gifts, or opportunities.
Here are six bonus creative SMS marketing campaign examples. These go beyond the actual text messages themselves and explore bigger picture elements of the campaigns.
Arby’s turned texting into an awareness tool by partnering with the No Kid Hungry Campaign. The chain used SMS to let subscribers know about No Kid Hungry’s nationwide drive to solve childhood hunger.
They encouraged their audience to text the keyword “Food” to their number. Those who did received a confirmation message thanking them for participating and prompting them to enter an address, city, state, or zip code to locate a free meal in their area.
More than 2,000+ locations participated nationwide, and Arby’s helped thousands of children who rely on school meals as their primary food source.
❤️ Why we love this campaign: The feel-good reason? Arby’s used its platform to raise awareness for a cause they support. The business reason? They used a helpful resource as a way to bring people into their text club, which combined making a difference with building up a strong pool of contacts for future deals. An approach that brand loyalty dreams are made of.
Billions of people love Amazon for giving us the ability to search, click, and order without getting up from the couch. So, if people are going to leave their houses to shop for something from Amazon, it has to be a pretty neat experience.
Enter, the Amazon Treasure Truck. Originating in Seattle back in 2016, the Treasure Truck quickly became a cult favorite. Though retired today, the truck drove through select cities offering a limited number of special daily deal items such as cooking supplies, games, and toys. The catch? The only way to snag the deal is to subscribe to texts!
By subscribing, you received a few deals a month texted directly to you. Each deal came with a unique link out to the secret Treasure Truck page where you could select your pickup location.
Once you completed your purchase on the Amazon App, you simply drive to the drop site at your designated time slot and return home with your “prize” that same day!
❤️ Why we love this campaign: The Treasure Truck is a great example of how an e-commerce company can use SMS to generate exciting offline experiences!
In 2019, the much anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened in Disneyland and Disney World. The grand opening was met with thousands of eager fans flooding the new park to experience all the attractions.
One of the most popular spots was a replica of Oga’s Cantina where guests can enjoy intergalactic treats.
With Disney being the name in customer service, they anticipated the high demand for this attraction. They decided to use texting as a way to manage the crowds and give everyone a chance to experience the space!
Guests who wished to enter the Cantina could text in their name and the number of people in their party to hold a virtual spot in line. While they waited, they could explore the park and, when it was their turn to enter, they received a text directing them to head back to the attraction!
❤️ Why we love this campaign: 69% of people would rather wait in a virtual line than a physical one (and if you’ve ever been to Disney, one line can feel like a lifetime). This example shows how texts can create a better customer experience: They don’t have to be promotional.
Text-to-win contests are a great way to grow your contact list. The clothing brand Abercrombie took a unique twist by using a tiered reward which sweetened the deal even more.
They created the keyword “Surprise” and invited folks to text it in to their designated short code. In return, customers automatically received either a $5, $10, $25, or $500 gift card/coupon! Everyone was a winner (and incentivized to make a purchase) but the potential of the $500 prize made it even more tempting to join Abercrombie’s list.
❤️Why we love this campaign: Growing your contact list is one of the trickiest parts of text marketing. Abercrombie found the perfect approach with this campaign. Not only do they draw contacts in with a big-ticket giveaway, but they offer an incentive to everyone who joins. This immediate gratification creates a solid foundation for your company-contact relationship.
Many nonprofits have the resources to help, but they struggle to get them into the hands of those who need them. The National Cancer Institute found that texting was their universal barrier breaker, specifically when communicating with youth.
In a large-scale effort to help teens and young adults quit smoking, the NCI set up an ongoing text-based program to help them wean off the products. All the teens have to do to get help is text QUIT to their short code number. From there, a series of follow-up questions regarding their age, smoking habits, and zip code were used to get a better idea of the resources they may need.
The campaign has staggered, auto-scheduled texts from there that support youths as they start their journey to quit, complete with triggers for when they need extra encouragement or relapse.
❤️Why we love this campaign: The National Cancer Institute shows nonprofits how to use texting as an easy and discreet resource for communicating with people in need. Initiatives like this are a great way to get people connected with your resources without loads of effort or steps on the receiver’s end. Life-saving help can be delivered literally one text at a time.
Snapple became a household name back in the 1970s when their fun facts printed under each cap surprised and delighted customers around the world. In fact, these fun facts are probably the most memorable aspect of Snapple despite having over 34 different flavors of tea and juice.
As the decades passed and the world went digital, so too did the beloved Snapple facts tradition. Now, you can have a Snapple fact texted right to your phone!
Not only is this SMS marketing campaign creative, it also does a good job of planting the seed of craving for one of their drinks at the top of your mind!
You’re almost ready to start sending. Check out these common questions and answers to set you off on the right foot.
You can create a marketing campaign for SMS easily and efficiently within an online SMS platform.
As you create your SMS marketing campaign, keep the following in mind.
Once you know those things, you can start working on the actual content of your message(s).
SMS campaigns are very successful for multiple reasons, but the biggest of them comes down to accessibility and demand.
78% of SimpleTexting survey respondents say that checking, answering, and sending texts is the most frequent activity they do on their phones, so you have an audience that’s already watching out for your messages.
Not to mention, your customers want to text you. 71% of consumers have agreed to receive texts from businesses in 2023. All you have to do is fill that demand.
While there are a lot of answers we could give you, these are the most important elements to include in your SMS marketing.