Drive results with SMS marketing during the shopping season 

Dave Hitchins

For retailers big and small Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the flurry of shopping activity in the lead up to the holiday season offers a once-a-year opportunity to boost sales.

But what is the best way for small businesses to reach people that are in the mood to shop when they don’t have the enviable marketing and promotional budgets of the big brands?

The answer is messaging campaigns that are quick and easy to set up and give you direct access to customers past and present. That’s right – we are talking about SMS.

In this blog we cover the Do’s and Don’t of SMS marketing, share some ideas for effective SMS campaigns and provide some promotional and Black Friday SMS samples that will help your messages stand out and drive sales.

Why SMS is the best channel for shopping season campaigns

Here a just a handful of reasons why SMS marketing is such an effective tool for small businesses. During the sale season but also whenever you want to make direct contact with customers who have opted-in to receive your messages.

Easy personalization and engagement

Countless studies have proved that customers spend more with brands that treat them as individuals, respect their preferences, and don’t target them with irrelevant offers and products.

This is even more important during the sale season when stock is shifting quickly, prices are changing day to day, and customers are on the lookout for a bargain.

  • The immediacy of SMS makes it the ideal channel for keeping customers informed of the latest deals on the products they are interested in, stock availability, and then the status of orders and expected delivery time when they do make a purchase.
  • SMS is cheap but it isn’t free. Achieve maximum ROI by targeting people that are most likely to convert. Send personalized offers by SMS based on the products or services that customers have recently viewed on your website as well as covering cart abandonment, cross-sell, and review request use cases.

Reliable connections

People travel more in the run up to and during the holiday season than at any time of the year. Usual routines are disrupted, and they may be away from their workplaces and reliable Wi-Fi connections for long periods of time.

This means they won’t be getting physical mail, and access to email and chat apps may be intermittent. SMS is the most reliable way of keeping in touch with your customers, no matter where in the world they are.

Happy (customer) relationships

The holiday season can be a stressful time for couples and divorce rates unfortunately seem to peak right afterwards. The key to successful romantic relationships and customer relationships is communication, trust, and loyalty. And SMS can play a key role:

  • As a 2-way messaging channel SMS can cover the conversational marketing and commerce use cases that increase brand trust and encourage long term loyalty.
  • Customers display this loyalty by opting-in to receive messages from you and showing interest in your products and promotions. Use SMS to reward this loyalty with early access to discounts and specials during the sale season.
Personalized campaigns wit SMS marketing.

6 key SMS use cases for the sale season

1. Promotions and offers

This is the big one that you need to get right if you want to maximize sales. You are looking to get your customers’ attention in the moment and show them an offer that they will be interested in. Use whatever means – past purchases, website browsing history, or behavioral and geographic segmentation.

If you are sending coupons or discount codes, then SMS is the best channel to avoid them getting lost in the email spam folder.

2. Drive website traffic

For eCommerce businesses the website is the hub of their operations. All the vital information about their business in one place. Detailed product information and availability, store locations, holiday season opening hours, and the latest announcements and offers can all be kept up to date.

Use SMS to let customers know about new sale lines, when products they want to buy are back in stock, and when there is new content that they might be interested in. Blog posts, product videos and reviews are all compelling reasons for a customer to visit your website.

3. Re-engagement campaigns

As marketers we all know that it is far easier and cheaper to retain a customer than win a new one. Sometimes people need a little encouragement and SMS is the best channel for these gentle prods.

Encourage cart abandoners to complete their purchases, reach out to customers that have shopped with you before but not for a while. All it might take is a gentle reminder of positive past experiences with your brand to get them back on board.

Use SMS marketing to re-engage with customers

4. Using SMS for remarketing

Remarketing is the process of contacting people that have shown an interest in your products or service but not yet made a purchase. They may have registered on your website and viewed a particular item, ordered a catalogue, joined your loyalty scheme or even added items to their basket without actually checking out.

Adding these people to SMS remarketing campaigns allows you to have a second chance at winning their business by offering discounts or using personalization to present products in a more compelling way.

Even if they have made a purchase, SMS remarketing can be used to extend the value of the sale through follow up offers and cross-sells.

5. Location-based offers

If you have physical stores, then a powerful tactic is to reach out to people that are nearby via the geo-location capability of their smart phones. Send a discount code or just say ‘Hi, we would love to welcome you in our store’. What may have been a little creepy a few years ago is now a widely accepted tactic as long as you aren’t too pushy or bombard people with too many messages.

If you exhibit at tradeshows or conferences, then this tactic can be an extremely successful way of getting already motivated customers to visit your stand.

6. Encourage reviews

Customer reviews were already an important source of sales leads before the pandemic, but they are now vital. Without the ability to visit physical stores and interact with products, people relied on the reviews of other customers to guide their decision.

This makes a solid set of reviews one of the cheapest and most compelling source of promotion available to small businesses throughout the year. SMS is the most direct way of requesting reviews after a sale – check out our recent blog where we outline successful tactics for encouraging customers to leave reviews.

Rules and regulations for SMS marketing

If you are in the enviable position of having an international client base you need to be aware that different countries will have different rules and regulations when it comes to SMS marketing. Even countries in the EU will have their own take on what you can and can’t do. For example, in France businesses can’t send any promotional SMS messages on a Sunday – even to customers that have opted in!

Check out our handy Guide to Global SMS Compliance Laws which covers everything you need to be aware of when planning an SMS campaign that crosses borders, and our SMS coverage page which details regulations for every country in the world.

Get started with a text message campaign

If you want to try out your SMS marketing use case for free without any commitment, you can register for a free trial at

All you need is a valid email address and mobile number, and you can get registered and authenticated in just a couple of minutes – with 100 free SMS messages to experiment with.

In addition to SMS, your free trial includes email, WhatsApp and Viber messages, and you can even build a chatbot for any messaging channel. We have a detailed blog on how to build one for WhatsApp without needing to write any code.

Black Friday SMS templates

If you are looking for inspiration, here are some sample SMS messages that you can use in your own Black Friday SMS campaigns.

Remember though – the key to standing out in recipients’ inboxes is much more than catchy copy. People are far more likely to convert if messages are personalized and offer something that they are genuinely interested in.

Here are some examples that include personalization, reward loyalty and build anticipation:

Hi [Name]. Have you still got your eye on [product]? It’s now on sale! Visit our site and enter coupon code [code] on checkout to get a further 5% discount. (156 chars)

Hi [Name]. Now is the time to stock up on your favorite products before the holiday season starts! Prices have never been lower. Shop now and save! (149 chars)

Dear [Name]. As a valued customer we are offering you FIRST ACCESS to our Black Friday sale. This link will be live at 6pm EST on Thursday! (139 chars)

We reserve our best deals for LOYAL CUSTOMERS! Log into your account to access exclusive deals and discounts curated just for you! (131 chars)

Our Black Friday Sale starts in [x] days and [x] hours. Are you ready to snag a bargain? Tap here for the live count down! (124 chars)

Just 3 more days until our HUGE Black Friday sale! PRO TIP – reserve products by adding them to your basket and they will be automatically discounted! Act now! (159 chars)

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Oct 13th, 2022
7 min read

Dave Hitchins