30 SMS Advertising Examples
SMS advertising is incredibly effective because, while emails can sit unopened in an inbox for hours — or worse, sent directly to the trash or spam folder — 90% of SMS advertising is read within just 3 minutes of being sent. That makes SMS advertising the most effective marketing channel currently available to businesses.
With such high open rates and accessibility to SMS campaigns, we know that successful SMS campaigns can catapult your business! But, it’s this potential of your company’s success, that can make it challenging to create the perfect campaign. You might ask, what should my campaign contain? Or what have other successful companies done? Well, here is some creative inspiration from 30 of the best SMS advertising campaigns covering industries in restaurant, retail, and many others. Let the creative juices flow!
Chili’s messages detail a meal deal for only $10. We love that they linked a mouth-watering photo to entice action. Chili’s often utilizes the SMS marketing channel to promote its to-go take-out service, with exclusive deals that are tailored to increase sales within that specific area.
Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain.
2. Olive Garden
Olive Garden’s messages vary from specific offers (like the “Valentine’s Day” special above) and their year-round company initiatives like “Carside Pickup” or “order online”. Olive Garden has a broad approach to its SMS marketing, using it to promote specific dishes, limited-edition items, holiday specials, and a to-go dining option.
Olive Garden is an American casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian-American cuisine. It is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, Inc., which is headquartered in Orange County, Florida.
3. Kylie Cosmetics
Kylie Cosmetics sends SMS messages that detail an overall offer like, “$10 off your entire order” with an emphasis on when you should buy, e.g., “TODAY”. Kylie cosmetics also uses SMS marketing as a way to communicate with customers about important updates that may delay orders or shipping.
Kylie Cosmetics is an American cosmetics company founded by media personality Kylie Jenner.
Bloomingdale’s uses the SMS marketing channel in a variety of ways. Often Bloomingdale’s SMS messages are focused on the exact offer and when you should buy the item(s). There is no emphasis on item restrictions like, “t-shirts” or “dresses”. Other times, Bloomingdale’s will send an offer that is focused on a particular department or to promote an end of the season clearance event.
Bloomingdale’s Inc. is an American luxury department store chain; it was founded by Joseph B. and Lyman G. Bloomingdale in 1861. It became a division of the Cincinnati-based “Federated Department Stores” in 1930. In 1994 the Macy’s department store chain joined the “Federated Department Stores” holding company.
5. Old Navy
Old Navy’s message focuses on an exact offer like “active bottoms”, with a conversational voice (that sounds similar to a normal text message), e.g., “OMG!!!”. The brand definitely takes advantage of every text message, often including multiple links and a CTA to let customers know that the newest Old Navy looks can be found on Instagram.
Old Navy is an American clothing and accessories retailing company owned by American multinational corporation Gap Inc. It has corporate operations in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
6. Lord & Taylor
Lord and Taylor has a specific type of SMS marketing messages they send their customers. The messages are almost always focused on a certain percentage off. Sometimes the discount is storewide (regardless of the amount) and other times it is specific to a brand. But their signature text message is one that encourages customers to spend $200 to receive 40% off, like the one pictured above. Regardless of the deal, a link to “Shop Now” is always included.
Lord & Taylor is a luxury department store in the United States, and the oldest department store in the country. Headquartered in New York City, it has been a subsidiary of Le Tote since November 2019. As of January 2012, there were 46 stores in operation.
7. Papa John’s
Papa John’s SMS campaigns are focused on specific offers, e.g., “2 large pizzas” or “large 2-topping pizzas”. Pictured above is the famous Valentine’s Day special, where the pizza is shaped like a heart. A photo of this festive and delicious pizza is always included in the text message to entice the customer to place an order. Every Papa John’s text message has one thing in common, it almost always features a special promo code.
Papa John’s is an American pizza restaurant franchise. It’s the fourth largest pizza delivery restaurant chain in the United States, with headquarters in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville.
8. Festival Foods
Festival Food’s messages vary from specific offers, like, “$2.99lb Dad’s Chicken Breasts” to company initiatives like “our new hours of operation”. This brand is creative with their text messages; in some they include an entire dinner menu of savings, and in others they entice their customers with mouth-watering photos.
Festival Foods is a family- and employee-owned grocery company operating stores throughout Wisconsin. It was founded as Skogen’s IGA by Paul and Jane Skogen in 1946 in Onalaska, Wisconsin, and is still owned by the Skogen family.
9. New York & Co
New York & Co. text message marketing features a wide range of offers that are very specific to a sale and the items included, e.g., “$10 dresses and cardigans”. In every New York & Co. text message, we can see a logo preview in the provided hyperlink to their website, like the example pictured above.
New York & Company, Inc. is an American wear-to-work retailer for women. New York & Company apparel and accessories are sold through a nationwide network of retail stores, New York & Company Outlet Stores and through its e-commerce site. In November 2018, its name was changed to RTW Retailwinds, Inc.
10. Dollar General
Dollar General uses SMS messaging to send subscribers a call to action. e.g., “click here to download our app”. This brand takes full advantage of its SMS marketing channel to promote clearance events, seasonal offers, a link to the weekly ad, and to let customers know that they are hiring.
Dollar General Corporation is an American chain of variety stores headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As of July 2018, Dollar General operates 15,000 stores in the continental United States.
Express uses SMS messaging to get subscribers to take an immediate action. e.g., “shop TODAY ONLY for 50% off clearance items”. Another common trait within Express’s text messages is multiple offers. e.g., “40-60% off everything AND members who spend $100 get a $5 Bonus” or “Score BOGO $19.90 everything + 50% off dresses”.
Express, Inc. is an American fashion retailer that caters mainly to young men and women. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Express operates 631 stores in the United States, and Puerto Rico, and formerly in Canada.
12. Pep Boys
Pep Boys focuses their SMS messages on getting people to order online with specific offers. e.g., “order online today for 25% off”. The brand also uses its SMS marketing channel to update customers on new enhancements and offerings, like their touchless drop-off and mobile payment option.
The Pep Boys: Manny, Moe & Jack is an American automotive aftermarket retail and service chain. They are referred to as the “founders of the automotive after market.”
13. Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice focuses its text coupons on company initiatives plus an offer. The brand sends a combination of both SMS and MMS messages. Pictured above is an example of an MMS message, which allows Jamba Juice to use more characters within a single message.
Jamba, formerly known as Jamba Juice, is a company that produces blended fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and similar products.
14. Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond uses SMS messaging to encourage customers to use their specific coupon online. Additionally, they take advantage of this channel to notify customers of important store updates. e.g., “We’ve temporarily closed some stores and modified hours” or “New! Contactless curbside pickup at select stores in WA”. These updates are always paired with a hyperlink that includes all the details of the update.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is an American chain of domestic merchandise retail stores. Bed Bath & Beyond operates many stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971. It is currently part of the S&P 500 and Global 1200 Indices.
15. The Children’s Place
The Children’s Place sends text messages to subscribers to detail a specific offer, including a call to action. e.g., “60% off entire site, click here to shop now”. This brand has a specific formula and layout for their SMS messages; the promotion goes first, then they mention their brand name, and lastly, the hyperlink to shop is included. The Children’s Place spaces out all of their messages like the example above, so the message is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.
The Children’s Place Inc. is an American specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories. The company also markets apparel under the Children’s Place, Place, Baby Place, and Gymboree brand names.
Macy’s text messages focus on discounts that are urgent and department focused. Macy’s SMS marketing messages are short, to the point, and always provide a hyperlink for easy access to the offer.
Macy’s is an American department store chain founded in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy. It was originally named after Macy Stevenson who was the daughter of Mr. Stevenson.
17. Best Buy
Best Buy’s SMS messages are sent to communicate their company’s overall initiatives. Additionally, this brand uses SMS marketing to notify customers of convenient features. e.g., “Curbside pickup or fast and free delivery”.
Best Buy Co., Inc. is an American multinational consumer electronics retailer headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. It was originally founded by Richard M. Schulze and James Wheeler in 1966 as an audio specialty store called Sound of Music.
18. Jack In The Box
Jack in the Box focuses their messages on specific offers. e.g., “25% off your order”. Like other fast-food companies, Jack in the Box will often include an appetizing photo in the SMS message to entice customers to place an order. Learn more about adding hyperlink images in SMS messages.
Jack in the Box is an American fast-food restaurant chain founded February 21, 1951, by Robert O. Peterson in San Diego, California, where it is headquartered. The chain has 2,200 locations, primarily serving the West Coast of the United States.
Sonic focuses their SMS campaigns on specific offers that feature a new menu item, a limited-edition item, or a time-sensitive promotion. e.g., “Tonight and every Tuesday at Sonic, enjoy 1/2 price Cheeseburgers after 5 pm”. Sonic also uses the SMS marketing channel to promote its mobile app by sending surprise promos that can only be found in the app.
Sonic Corp., more commonly known as Sonic, is the operator of an American drive-in fast-food restaurant chain that is owned by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. As of August 27, 2018, 3,606 Sonic restaurants are located in 46 U.S. states.
20. Edible Arrangements
Edible Arrangements sends seasonal offers that allow the customer to click and receive the offer right from their phone. This brand also uses SMS marketing to notify customers of their quick delivery options. e.g., “Staying in tonight? Get free delivery on orders placed before 3 pm”.
Edible Arrangements is a U.S.-based franchising business that specializes in fresh fruit arrangements, combining the concept of a fruit basket with designs inspired by flower arrangement.
Dressbarn’s text messages are specific to a line of clothing and a specific offer. The brand also uses the channel to send subscribers specific flash sales that are time-sensitive and provide a unique promo code.
Ascena Retail Group, Inc. is an American retailer of women’s clothing. Ascena also owns Justice, Lane Bryant, and Catherines clothing store brands, and is the parent company of Ann Inc., operator of Ann Taylor and Loft stores. Chairman Elliot Jaffe and his wife and co-founder, Roslyn own about 25% of Ascena.
22. Home Depot
Home Depot’s text messages have a specific discount and items included in the offer. Like many other retailers, Home Depot takes advantage of high SMS open rates and notifies customers of important store updates like closures and hours of operation changes.
The Home Depot, Inc. is the largest home improvement retailer in the United States, supplying tools, construction products, and services. The company is headquartered at the Atlanta Store Support Center at 2455 Paces Ferry Road NW; Atlanta, GA, 30339 in unincorporated Cobb County, Georgia.
23. Office Depot
Office Depot focuses its messages on seasonal (holiday) items with an offer. The brand also uses SMS messages to notify customers of their convenient shopping options, which allow consumers to shop online and do curbside pickup.
Office Depot, Inc. is an American office supply retailing company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, United States. The company has combined annual sales of approximately $11 billion, and employs about 38,000 associates with businesses in the United States.
24. Auto Zone
Auto Zone SMS messages are sent to communicate company initiatives to subscribers. A feature that is unique to the marketing tactics of Auto Zone is that they target their offers to specific stores, or stores within a specific city.
Auto Zone, Inc. is an American retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories, the largest in the United States. Founded in 1979, Auto Zone has over 6,300 stores across the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. The company is based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Subway focuses their SMS campaigns on specific offers and a call to action. e.g., “click here to order”. And when offers are so delicious that you can’t pass them up, they include a photo that helps illustrate the deal and to entice customers to place an order.
Subway is an American privately held restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads. It is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world and, as of October 2019, had 41,512 locations in more than 100 countries. More than half its locations are in the United States.
26. Papa Murphy’s
Papa Murphy’s sends text messages to subscribers detailing specific offers and with urgency (containing an expiration date). This brand does a great job notifying customers of convenient purchasing options. e.g., “Order online, call ahead, or delivery available at select locations”.
Papa Murphy’s is a take-and-bake pizza company based in Vancouver, Washington. It began in 1995 as the merger of two local take-and-bake pizza companies: Papa Aldo’s Pizza and Murphy’s Pizza. The company and its franchisees operate more than 1,300 outlets in the United States and Canada.
Kmart’s SMS messages focus on generic deals within the store. This department store also uses SMS marketing to grow its mobile application downloads by enticing customers with cash-back offers through the app. e.g., “Get the APP & earn”.
Kmart Corporation, is an American big box department store chain headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States. The company was incorporated in 1899 as S. S. Kresge Corporation and renamed Kmart Corporation in 1977. The first store with the Kmart name opened in 1962.
28. Lowe’s Home Improvement
Lowe’s text messages are centered around communicating offers and how to purchase those items. Lowe’s also takes advantage of text message marketing to send a hyperlink that leads to the weekly ad and feature time-sensitive deals.
Lowe’s Companies, Inc., doing business as Lowe’s, is an American retail company specializing in home improvement. Headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, the company operates a chain of retail stores in the United States and Canada.
29. Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery focuses their messages on their rewards program which are typically time-sensitive to urge the customer to make a purchase. The ice cream parlor also uses text message marketing to send out promos that are focused around holidays, like Mother’s Day.
Cold Stone Creamery is an American ice cream parlor chain. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, the company is owned and operated by Kahala Brands. The company’s main product is premium ice cream made with approximately 12–14% butterfat, made on location and customized for patrons at time of order.
30. Sherwin Williams
Sherwin-Williams sends SMS campaigns to communicate specific offers and urgency. e.g., “30% off paints, this offer ends March 23rd”. This brand also uses SMS marketing to promote convenient services, like bringing paint samples directly to their customer’s homes.
Sherwin-Williams Company is an American Fortune 500 company in the general building materials industry.
We hope you enjoyed these SMS marketing examples and that you’ve gotten some ideas for your own campaigns. For more ideas on getting set up with SMS marketing, talk to one of our text message marketing experts our check out our SMS marketing resources library.