It’s one thing to read and learn about SMS marketing; it’s another entirely to see some automated text message examples. That’s why we’ve put together this blog post to highlight some of the best examples of text message marketing and SMS automation. This list includes text message examples from top restaurants, retailers, hotels, casinos, news outlets, nonprofits, and many other industries. But first, you may be wondering…
What Is SMS Marketing?
Have you ever received a text message from your favorite brands, such as Auto Zone, Best Buy, Boston Market, or Chili’s? If so, you’ve received an SMS marketing message. These SMS messages could be SMS reminders, support texts, text surveys, auto-reply texts, or any other form of business texting. SMS marketing also includes autoresponders or automatic conversation software for support texting and customer feedback.
SMS marketing is used by businesses to send text messages in bulk to customers. In most cases, mass text messaging will include some sort of coupon or promotion. SMS marketing campaigns are sent out using auto-dialer software, which allows brands to send mass texts to extensive customer lists. Many of these are keyword campaigns, where the brand asks interested consumers to use their mobile phones to send a designated keyword to the given short code phone number. This can be done through any SMS text messaging platform.
It’s important to note that businesses can’t just send text marketing messages to anyone. In the United States, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) clearly states that businesses can only text message consumers if they have the consumer’s permission. This protects consumers from text message spam from businesses. These rules are also great for businesses because these rules are the reason why SMS marketing has a 99% open rate.
For more SMS marketing examples, see SMS Archives: Search Engine for SMS Marketing Examples.
So without further adieu, here are 50 examples of brands using SMS marketing.
50 Automated Text Message Examples
This intimate apparel and lifestyle retailer leverages SMS marketing towards sale promotion and website redirection. Their texting is short and sweet, designed to funnel customer interest onto their website. customers can get a huge deal from Aerie’s text coupons, such as 40% off.
A well-known clothing retailer, Aeropostale utilizes automated SMS messaging in a very similar fashion to Aerie. The primary difference is that Aeropostale’s text messaging utilizes a trendy hashtag—doubtlessly paired with a deal on social media—and more details about the 20% sale itself in the message.
Albee Baby is a baby product retailer that deals in strollers, clothing, and bedding (among other things). Considering their target customer base, their texting does not spend time being trendy or relatable, opting instead to jump right into the sale and a website link. Parents and babysitters don’t have time for trends—they need those products cheaply and quickly, and Albee Baby delivers!
American Eagle Outfitters is a popular clothing retail store at malls all over the country. Their messaging is, as you might expect, sale-oriented. American Eagle Outfitters provides just enough detail to entice the customer—with a 50% deal no less—and then provides an external link to shop. They also include a time constraint—two days only—making their deal even more actionable.
Auto Zone is one of the most well known and trusted automotive retailers. Auto Zone’s text messaging is the first on this list to feature clearly displayed STOP and HELP text message reminders telling the customer how to unsubscribe or learn more. If a customer were to reply to this text, they would receive an auto-reply message confirming their unsubscription or pointing them in the direction of more help. This auto-reply functionality helps customers always know where to turn. In addition, Auto Zone text coupon offers $10 off a $50 purchase, saving customers 20% off their order.
Bed Bath & Beyond is an American chain of domestic retail stores selling bedding, bathroom apparel, appliances, and some clothing. Their text messaging is concise, displaying a coupon and a website link, and ending with an unsubscription command. This message could be improved by shortening the URL of the website link with one of the varied shortening tools online, which would save space and improve the formatting.
Best Buy is the technology and office retailer that is a household name across America. Their texting does not inundate the consumer with capital letters, symbols, or numbers; it’s a simple encouragement to shop online, with a shortened link to keep the message concise.
Bloomingdale’s is an American luxury department chain. In the SMS example above, they take the time to identify themselves—many consumers might just leave their conversations with a brand marked with the short code, which can leave some confusion when a new message comes in. In addition to that, this message clearly describes the deal, how to access it, and how long it lasts, capping off with an unsubscription command and web link. This message is concise, effective, and respectful of the consumer’s time.
Boston Market is a chain of American restaurants headquartered in Colorado. Their brand identity is casual, and their texting takes a similar approach; known acronyms let Boston Market save space in the text message without sacrificing the message itself. Boston Market is clear with the deal—buy one get one free—and provides a shortened web link for the consumer’s convenience.
Champs Sports is an American sports retail store that sells apparel, equipment, footwear, and sports accessories. Their messaging is the most descriptive of the messages we’ve seen so far, with smooth language trying to prompt interest in the products—a stark contrast to the boldly presented deals and sale numbers in the other messages. Considering the social aspect of the sporting community, this is likely a better approach for the brand, as it’s more about keeping consumers trendy and up-to-date.
Chili’s Bar and Grill is an American casual dining restaurant chain. Their texting is consistent: one sale or product deal at a time. Describe the meal, describe the savings, and show the consumer a picture of the food. Nothing is more likely to get consumers into a restaurant than having them open a message and see good food on their screen.
Cold Stone Creamery is an American ice-cream parlor chain, where premium ice cream is made-to-order. They have a rewards system in place, which gives them another avenue of promotion beyond simple sales and deals that other locations might be limited by. The example above shows how a rewards points system can encourage consumers to buy the brand’s product, without limiting their choices. For modern consumer bases, points systems can feel like a game as well—and nobody ever turns down double points, especially for ice cream!
Cratejoy is the monthly hobby-box subscription service that lets people experience a curated set of surprises. Their SMS messages normally consists of single-topic sales on boxes, but the message above is attempting to leverage social distancing and social pressures towards product purchases. We like how they also include a photo that links directly to their website so consumers can shop from the text message itself.
Dollar General is an American variety-store chain, and their text messages are either about a sale or about encouraging usage of their mobile or messaging apps. Their bright image draws attention, and we love how they use the space to show consumers what the app experience is like, with a large “Explore Coupons” headline.
Dressbarn is an online women’s retailer, and their texting is more or less the same as other retailers, but with one notable feature: the “SMS Exclusive Flash Sale.” Consumers are already receptive to sales and discounts—the fear of missing out on a good deal is a significant factor. Adding exclusivity to that package simultaneously makes the consumer feel special and increases that pressure, which can be the difference between a consumer purchasing or not.
Edible Arrangements is a U.S. franchise that puts together and delivers fresh fruit arrangements. Their text messaging highlights deals and limited-time offers, using a short link for ultimate shopability. Consumers can use the text notification to place an order today and have it delivered for free tomorrow—a great deal for a delivery service.
Express is an American fashion retailer targeting young men and women. Their messaging is all about appealing to the youth; casual grammar, acronym usage, and symbols all save time, and the provided links give easy access to the website. Express text coupons enable subscribers to buy one item and get one free, or even save 50% off clothing.
Festival Foods is a Wisconsin-based grocery store. Their messaging is longer than most, but that’s because they weren’t willing to sacrifice quality for page space. As a result, their messaging is significantly longer, but the grammar is solid, the deals are clearly described, a link is provided for convenience, and it’s generally easily read and absorbed.
Foot Locker is an American sportswear and footwear retailer, and their texting follows much of the same standard pattern: deal, deal code, website link. Foot Locker is somewhat unique in that they don’t bother with any social lead-in or cues, they jump immediately into the deals at hand. They also offer subscribers a solid deal: a full 25% off their next order with the text coupon provide. That makes subscribing to Foot Locker’s text notification coupons a no-brainer for footwear lovers.
Gymboree is a children’s specialty retail store, and their messaging is—as you might expect—aimed at parents. They feature short, simple sections for busy parents, with limited information spread out to avoid clutter. We love how they make the most of an upcoming holiday and also include an enticing “Reveal” command, where subscribers can click to see their deal.
The Home Depot is one of the most well-known American home improvement and hardware stores. Their automated message clearly displays the deal of the day, the runtime of the deal, and a link to the deal itself. Home Depot text coupons are as utilitarian and effective as the products and lifestyle they cater to.
The Humane Society uses their automated SMS messaging in the same way they use their TV commercials: as total tearjerkers. It’s nearly impossible not to feel moved or impacted by an image of a sad puppy, or kitten, or another baby animal, which results in donations for their worthy cause. This is our first example in the list of a non-profit organization using SMS marketing to spread their cause, although you can read about others here.
Jack in the Box is a well-known fast-food chain, and their text messaging is clean and simple. Instead of inserting a shorter web link into one message, they opted to send a branded link. This makes for a cleaner appearance, with a bright red logo that catches attention and makes consumers want to shop the 25% off deal.
Jamba Juice is a beloved smoothie and juice bar found all over America. Their messaging takes a leaf from Jack In the Box’s book with a text message and image link, but Jamba Juice also takes the time to write in a more conversational tone, designed to build this feeling of humanity and connection. Specifically, affirming phrases like “you earned it” sway people’s mood in a positive direction, which makes them more generous and therefore willing to spend.
Jos. A. Bank is a high-end professional clothing retailer, and its messaging highlights deals almost exclusively. Suits are expensive, and a 25% off sale could be a savings of $50-$75 or more depending on the set—these are deals that people will pay attention to and subscribe for.
Kmart is an American big-box department store chain. Like most retailers, Kmart keeps their text coupons short and concise, opting to highlight the existence of a deal and divert attention to the website instead of describing one specific deal in particular.
Kohl’s is the largest department store chain in the United States as of 2013. Their messaging is entirely based on sales and coupon deals. Subscribers of Kohl’s text coupons can get $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent. We love how Kohl’s also gives a time limit because that gets customers to click the link or head to the store to shop and save.
Kylie Cosmetics takes a text-heavy approach to SMS messaging, using complete sentences to describe the offering and event. This keeps the text generally uncluttered and easy to read. Kyle Cosmetics gives text subscribers a $10 off coupon and even promises to donate a portion of proceeds to a worthy cause. This takes advantage of a holiday, a time-sensitive promotion, and a great text coupon for subscribers, all in one text message.
Lands’ End is an American clothing and home decor retailer. Their SMS messaging is deal-focused, but they offer both a promo code and a PIN code, giving consumers more information and identification in the process. Subscribers of Lands’ End text coupons can get a great deal of up to 75% off all outerwear.
Lane Bryant is a United States retail women’s clothing store chain focusing on plus-size clothing. They don’t bother identifying themselves in the message as their name appears in their contact token, but their deal is easily described. The use of a single emoji stands out, as it provides a small splash of color, which can let these messages stand out in the crowd. Lane Bryant offers a solid text coupon of 50% off to all subscribers.
Lord & Taylor is an American luxury department store chain, and the oldest department store in the United States. They offer text subscribers up to 40% off when they spend $200 or more, a massive 20% savings. Lord & Taylor also provides a clear call-to-action—”Shop Now”—and a short link for subscribers to shop with ease.
New York & Company, Inc. is an American wear-to-work retailer for women. New York & Company alerts their text subscribers about a five-hour sale where subscribers can save $150, with everything 30 to 60% off. As an added bonus, all orders ship free. New York & Company also uses the extra real estate in their link title to summarize their message, making it even easier for consumers to shop.
Office Depot is the go-to office supply retailer in the U.S. This Office Depot text coupon offers consumers 20% off posters, banners, and flyers. Office Depot provides a clear call-to-action—”Shop now”—and a custom short link that makes shopping (and saving) a no-brainer.
Get Started with Automated Text Message Marketing
We hope you enjoyed these examples of brands using SMS marketing, business text messaging, and automated text messaging to empower your salesforce, enhance your SMS marketing strategy, grow your phone numbers, reach your customers at every stage of the customer journey, and get even more ROI out of your SMS campaigns. For help designing and promoting your own text reminders, automated text messages, or complete text message marketing campaigns, contact us at Tatango here.