SMS Marketing Case Study: How Large Brands Use SMS Marketing

A robust SMS campaign has the potential to drive new business and subscribers to your brand. Large companies who have implemented promotions and other incentives via SMS have seen a wide range of positive responses as a result.

In case studies of some well-known brands, SMS campaigns appear to be met with mostly wild successes. Today, we’re going to look at some of techniques that these brands used to generate excitement and buy-in for SMS participation.

Then we’ll look at ways that these concepts can be broken down to help your business succeed in reaching customers through SMS so that you can achieve success in an SMS campaign of your own.

Techniques for SMS buy-in

There are a few ways to get customers to hand over their digits for contact from a company. Many consumers won’t blindly fill out a request for information and, why should they?

Incentivizing SMS buy-in generally drives the number of customers who are willing to participate. If customers feel like they’re getting something out of the deal, they’re more likely to part with their coveted information.

Taco Bell, for example, ran a promotion for a free Frutista Freeze with the purchase of any other food item in exchange for a mobile phone number. This campaign was wildly successful, with almost 30,000 coupons sent and many customers still on the SMS list after a 5-week period.

Other companies, too, have seen success with giving away an add-on item or offering a reduced price exclusive to text subscribers. Avenue offered a $5 coupon for customers who signed up for text reminders and saw a 6,600% return-on-investment for their promotion. Similarly, RedBox offered a deal from 10-cents to over a dollar off a future rental and generated over 1.5million SMS messages in just 10 days.


Some companies don’t want to offer a discount or have a product or service that is difficult to discount through an SMS coupon. To help get customers engaged over a mobile platform, companies may use a geofencing strategy to attract SMS loyalty.

Geofencing works by drawing a virtual perimeter with GPS around a company’s headquarters and/or franchise locations. The range may be something like a few hundred yards or half a mile wide. Once customers enter that range, they are notified via SMS of the presence of the company and/or one of its locations.

Geofencing works to attract SMS users who want to stay close to the companies that they love. It’s particularly effective for companies with multiple locations over a large geographic spread, though local companies can benefit by offering specific one-time deals for customers who enter their geofences on a particular day.

Expert advice

Another SMS tactic you may want to borrow from the big guys is the text-ready advice guru, who can help out when requested or send periodic updates. Large brands have done this effectively by having customers either come to them or by offering an opt-in program that provides special benefit for mobile users.

Ford ran a newspaper ad that offered interested customers the opportunity to text a number with their interest in purchasing a new Ford. Through a series of texted forms, they gathered customer information and were able to offer customized recommendations for the Ford vehicle that would best suit each participant. This kind of personalized service can absolutely drive customers in the front door.

On the other end of the spectrum, Tide has set itself apart as an expert on clothes cleaning and general laundry expertise. To promote its HE laundry detergent, the brand developed an SMS campaign that allowed customers to sign up for a laundry guru via text. Periodically, Tide sends laundry advice, stain solutions, and other helpful info to its group of mobile users.

Implementing SMS marketing for small business

If you’re inspired by these case studies, consider implementing an SMS marketing campaign of your own. Setup is not overly complicated, and you have plenty of options to choose from when contemplating what kind of exchange will make your customers excited to sign up.

Offer a coupon for a free side with the next purchase of an entree, for example. Or give a 20% discount off of a client’s next oil change. Whatever you specialize in, provide a small incentive in exchange for your customers’ phone numbers.

Consider geofencing to let customers walking by know that you’re there. Or position yourself as an expert in your market and give customers who opt-in exclusive information about caring for their pets’ grooming needs or pro tips for decorating their homes for the holidays.

You can run a successful SMS marketing campaign, and perQify can help! Let us know what you want your customers to get out of signing up for mobile updates. Learn more at

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