Resources & Blog


12 of the best SMS marketing campaigns in 2020

Resources & Blog

12 of the best SMS marketing campaigns in 2020

SMS success in 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, we figured that it would be a great time to look back on some of the most interesting and creative ways that SMS has been used by businesses this year. From dad jokes to a McDonald's craze, we've seen plenty of campaigns that have inspired us in unique ways.

One of the great things about SMS is that it's a channel. Whether you're sending a bulk promotional message to thousands of customers or chatting one-to-one with a vulnerable person, it is equally effective. Increasing brand awareness, educating customers, providing sensitive information, and sending promotional offers are just some ways that brands can engage with stakeholders via text.

We hope that the campaigns below will inspire your future campaigns and encourage you to consider including SMS in your marketing strategy during 2021 and beyond. As you'll find out, it is a channel that can be used in almost all business settings for both promotional and informative gains.

And, if you're aiming to take your marketing to the next level but don't have the time or resources, then a great platform to use is Traktion. The matchmaking platform helps companies to discover and connect with verified digital marketers that can help you with both short or long-term projects.

1. McDonald's started a Twitter craze

Back in April 2020, a Twitter user discovered that you can send texts to your local McDonald's branch. Sure, the conversation didn't make much sense but his tweet racked up 197,000 likes and had 18,000 people talking in the comments. Who knew that something as simple as offering SMS functionality would start a Twitter craze and get people talking.

2. Text From Dad Delivers Daily Dad Jokes

This quirky subscription delivers one dad joke per day to everyone who signs up for their service. The daily jokes are taken from a compilation list that is taken from the Text From Dad website which allows dads from all around the world to upload their favourite jokes. The non-profit service showed us that SMS can be used in a lighthearted and fun way and certainly cheered up many people this year.

3. WHO, ITU turned to SMS to bridge the Covid gap

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), announced plans to use SMS to contact billions of people with vital information on the Covid-19 disease. Both agencies noted Covid-19 as the first pandemic in human history where technology and social media have been used on a global scale to keep people safe. Since texting is a very personal channel that has unmatched open rates, it made sense that it was used to provide key updates.

4. #TextForHumanity allows people to send positive texts to strangers

Mental Health America, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illnesses, launched #TextForHumanity this year. The SMS service was set up to enable strangers from around the globe to send and receive up to five daily messages of positivity a day. It has been developed in response to recent studies regarding poor mental health and social isolation, affecting people of all ages.

5. Peace Out Skincare drives holiday sales through SMS

Peace Out Skincare first integrated SMS into their marketing strategy in July 2020 and have seen tremendous results. During the months from August to October, SMS accounted for 18-34% of the company's entire monthly sales revenue with over $150,000 in revenue. Website users are encouraged to opt-in to receive SMS offers via their homepage, with a 15% discount for new members. Peace Out Skincare then sends approximately 2-3 messages per week which includes new products, promotional offers, and educational content.

6. Chipotle leads the way in cross-promoting SMS services

Using SMS to engage with customers isn't a new trend for Chipotle. Over the last ten years, they've launched many successful campaigns that use text messaging. This year, their Boorito Event became an all-digital event. During the Halloween event, fans had to find special keywords on their social media posts and then text them to 888-222 to be in with a chance of winning one of 500,000 free burrito codes. We think this is a great example of how brands can cross-promote SMS marketing with other channels.

7. Judy is helping people to prepare for emergencies

Judy is a direct-to-consumer company that helps people to prepare for emergencies and disasters. Launching this year, their text message service provides critical updates on emergencies and also aims to educate consumers on what they can do when dealing with a crisis. Judy also incorporates user location so that they can give updates on hurricanes, landslides, power outages, winter storms, and more. Smart thinking by using SMS to keep people safe.

8. The Covid-19 text service for vulnerable people

Clear communication has been a priority this year, especially for healthcare and government updates. As a result, NHS England identified that SMS would be a suitable channel to provide personal updates and reminders to the most vulnerable people in the UK. From 2020, daily text messages have been sent to millions of people who are either vulnerable, need to self-isolate, or may have been exposed to COVID-19.

9. Pür pivots text messaging strategy in 2020

Pür, an Atlanta-based makeup company, switched up its marketing communications this year. They pivoted their SMS strategy to become less promotional and instead focus on the quality and benefits of their products. As a result, they saw a 20% increase in new subscriber opt-ins over six weeks and will continue to take this new approach in the long-term.

10. Visit California sends loving 'texts' to consumers

Visit California launched the "See You Soon" campaign this year to bring The Golden State to life. The campaign sent text messages to people that told them how much it was missing them during the pandemic. With travel on hold this year, it made a lot of sense for Visit California to send positive vibes and get people thinking about their future travel plans when it becomes safe.

11. Knix hosted a warehouse sale and promoted it via SMS

Interestingly, Knix decided to skip Black Friday this year. Instead, the U.S brand hosted a warehouse sale on November 10th that was live for only two hours. The event was, of course, promoted via SMS marketing (and email too) and specifically targeted existing customers. We think it's pretty cool that the event was held over a short period and that fans were given personal invitations via text message, making the event feel exclusive.

12. Draper James launches DJElf via SMS

Fashion brand Draper James has been experimenting with SMS marketing over the last year, with a strong drive in revenue growth since the start of the pandemic. To celebrate the holidays, they have launched a new feature that allows fans to interact with their brand. The new DJElf allows customers to text in and get guidance on finding the perfect gift for loved ones. The gift concierge allows customers to converse back-and-forth with store associates at the brand's Nashville store. Draper James opted for SMS because of its high engagement compared with other channels.

Cutomer Account manager
by Liam Quinn | Marketing Executive

Hi, I'm Liam, Marketing Executive at Reach Interactive. I have a background in international marketing and love branding, social media and seeing how companies communicate with their customers.

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