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 three minutes of being sent. That makes SMS advertising the most effective marketing channel currently available to businesses and marketers.
With such high open rates, successful SMS campaigns can catapult your business! But you might ask, what should my texting campaign contain? Or what have other successful companies done with their SMS campaigns? Here is some creative inspiration from 30 of the best SMS advertising campaigns covering restaurants, retailers, and many other industries. Let your creative juices flow!
30 Text Message Examples for SMS Promotions
Chili’s promotional SMS message details a meal deal for only $10. We love that they linked to 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 tailored to increase sales within a specific region.
Chili’s Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain.
2. Olive Garden
Olive Garden’s promotional messages vary from specific offers (like the Valentine’s Day special above) and their year-round company initiatives like Carside Pickup or online ordering. 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., headquartered in Orange County, Florida.
3. Kylie Cosmetics
Kylie Cosmetics sends text marketing messages that detail an overall offer like, “$10 off your entire order,” with an emphasis on when you should buy, for example, “TODAY.” Kylie Cosmetics also uses SMS marketing to communicate with customers about important information regarding their orders, such as shipping delays.
Kylie Cosmetics is an American cosmetics company founded by media personality, Kylie Jenner.
Bloomingdale’s uses promotional SMS messages in a variety of ways. Often Bloomingdale’s text 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 focused on a particular department or promote an end-of-season clearance event.
Bloomingdale’s Inc. is an American luxury department store chain 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 SMS text message, for example, “OMG!!!” The brand definitely takes advantage of every promotional SMS 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, with corporate operations located in the Mission Bay neighborhood of San Francisco, California.
6. Lord & Taylor
Lord and Taylor sends a specific type of SMS marketing messages to their customers. These promotional messages almost always focus on a certain percentage off. Sometimes the discount is storewide (regardless of the amount), and other times it’s specific to a brand. But their signature text message promotion encourages customers to spend $200 to receive 40% off, like the one pictured above. Regardless of the deal, a “Shop Now” link is always included in the message sent to its SMS subscribers’ mobile phone numbers, sometimes referred to as sender ID.
Lord & Taylor is a luxury department store in the United States and is the country’s oldest department store. 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 promotional SMS campaigns are focused on specific offers; for example, “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 Louisville suburb.
8. Festival Foods
Festival Foods’ 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 specific to a sale, and the items included, for example, “$10 dresses and cardigans.” In every New York & Co. text message push notification, we can see a logo preview in the provided hyperlink to their website, like in 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 its e-commerce site. In November 2018, the name was changed to RTW Retailwinds, Inc.
10. Dollar General
Dollar General uses promotional SMS messaging to send subscribers a call to action, for example, “click here to download our app.” This brand takes full advantage of its SMS marketing channel in its SMS marketing strategy to promote clearance events, marketing campaigns, seasonal offers, and a link to the weekly ad, and to let customers know when they’re 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 promotional SMS messaging to get subscribers to take immediate action, for example, “shop TODAY ONLY for 50% off clearance items.” Another common trait within text messages from Express is their multiple offers, for example, “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.
12. Pep Boys
Pep Boys focuses its SMS marketing campaign on getting people to order online with specific offers such as “order online today for 25% off.” The brand also uses its texting 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 aftermarket.
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 promotional SMS text messaging to encourage customers to use their specific coupon online. Additionally, they take advantage of this channel to notify customers of important store updates, such as “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 about the update.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. is an American chain of domestic merchandise retail stores operating in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Bed Bath & Beyond was founded in 1971. It’s 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 detailing specific offers, including a call to action, for example, “60% off entire site, click here to shop now.” This brand has a specific formula and layout for their text messages: the promotion goes first, then their brand name, and lastly, a hyperlink to shop. The Children’s Place spaces out all their messages like in 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 time-sensitive discounts and department-specific offers. Macy’s mobile 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.
17. Best Buy
Best Buy’s text messages are sent to communicate their company’s overall initiatives. Additionally, this brand uses texting to notify customers of convenient features, for example, “Curbside pickup or fast and free delivery.”
Best Buy Co., Inc. is an American multinational consumer electronics retailer headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. Richard M. Schulze and James Wheeler founded it 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 such as “25% off your order.” Like other fast-food companies, Jack in the Box will often include an appetizing photo in the text message to entice customers to place an order. Learn more about adding hyperlink images in text messages.
Jack in the Box is an American fast-food restaurant chain founded in 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 its bulk SMS campaigns on specific offers that feature a new menu item, a limited-edition item, or a time-sensitive SMS promotion, for example, “Tonight and every Tuesday at Sonic, enjoy 1/2 price Cheeseburgers after 5 pm.” Sonic also uses the texting 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. It’s owned by Inspire Brands, the parent company of Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings. As of August 2018, 3,606 Sonic has restaurants in 46 states across the US.
20. Edible Arrangements
Edible Arrangements sends promotional text messages containing seasonal offers that allow customers to click and receive the offer right from their phone. The brand also uses texting to notify customers of their quick delivery options, for example, “Staying in tonight? Get free delivery on orders placed before 3 pm.”
Edible Arrangements is a US-based franchising business specializing in fresh fruit arrangements that combine the concept of a fruit basket with designs inspired by floral arrangements.
Dressbarn’s text messages focus on a specific line of clothing and include a specific offer. The brand also uses the channel to send subscribers time-sensitive flash sales 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 Catherine’s 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 announce 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 in Atlanta, Georgia.
23. Office Depot
Office Depot focuses its text marketing messages on seasonal and holiday items with an offer. The brand also uses text messages to notify customers of convenient shopping options so consumers can shop online and use curbside pickup.
Office Depot, Inc. is an American office supply retailing company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida. 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 text messages are sent to communicate company initiatives to subscribers. A feature unique to the marketing automation strategy of Auto Zone is that they target their offers to specific stores or stores within a specific city.
Auto Zone, Inc. is the largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories in the United States. Founded in 1979 and based in Memphis, Tennessee, Auto Zone has over 6,300 stores across the US, Mexico, and Brazil.
Subway focuses its text messaging campaigns on specific offers and a call to action, for example, “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’s one of the fastest-growing franchises globally and, as of October 2019, had 41,512 locations in more than 100 countries. More than half of its locations are in the United States.
26. Papa Murphy’s
Papa Murphy’s sends text messages to subscribers detailing specific offers with urgency (containing an expiration date). This brand does a great job of notifying customers about convenient purchasing options, for example, “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 text messages focus on general deals within the store. This department store also uses SMS marketing to grow its mobile app downloads by enticing customers with cash-back offers through the app; for example, “Get the APP & earn.”
Kmart Corporation is an American big-box department store chain headquartered in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. 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 messaging to send a hyperlink that leads to the weekly ad or social media 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 US and Canada.
29. Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery focuses their SMS service efforts on their rewards program, typically time-sensitive, to urge the customer to make a purchase. The ice cream parlor also uses text message marketing to send out promos 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 the time of order.
30. Sherwin Williams
Sherwin-Williams uses text messaging campaigns to communicate specific offers and urgency; for example, “30% off paints, this offer ends March 23rd.” This brand also uses its SMS marketing service to promote convenient services, like bringing paint samples directly to its customers’ homes.
Sherwin-Williams Company is an American Fortune 500 company in the general building materials industry.
It’s important to note that these examples are short code marketing messages, not to be confused with long code transactional SMS or transactional messages. Transactional messaging consists of appointment reminders, shipping notifications, and such. More info here.
We hope you enjoyed these SMS marketing examples and that you’ve gotten some ideas for your own text message marketing campaigns. For more ideas on getting set up with SMS marketing software or a short code, talk to one of our text message marketing experts or check out our SMS marketing resources library.
See More Promotion SMS Text Examples
Still want more? Check out more SMS advertising examples. Or, if you want a complete breakdown of restaurant SMS marketing, please check out our comprehensive master post on the subject. If looking for more info about an SMS marketing solution for your organization, contact us today.