With 100 of the largest brands now running text message marketing campaigns, it’s no wonder that 24 of these brands sent SMS promotions to their customers in celebration of July 4th. It’s pretty common for brands such as Tommy Bahamas, JCPenney, Michaels, Simon Malls, and Payless Shoes to use holidays as a chance to promote some special offer, and this July 4th was no different.
Below is a roundup of the 24 brands, and the SMS promotions, that each brand sent their SMS subscribers to celebrate the 4th of July.
1. Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods, Inc. is an American sporting goods retail company with over 850 stores and 30,000 employees. Their messaging below sacrifices formatting and aesthetic comprehensibility for a great deal of information; they identify themselves, name the holiday, describe the deal and its terms, follows up with an external link and ends with a termination command. This lets them keep their message short, but full of information the consumer might care about—but potentially at the cost of legibility.
2. Ace Hardware
Ace Hardware Corporation is the world’s largest hardware retail cooperative, and the largest non-grocery American retail cooperative. Their messaging is clean, concise, and descriptive. Ace Hardware leads with a topical statement to target the consumer’s expectations towards a specific set of products; in this case, BBQ accessories and the outdoor decor to support it. The message ends with an external link to the deal and a termination command. This message is clean, contains all the relevant information, and gives consumers an obvious opt-out command.
3. Lord & Taylor
Lord & Taylor is a luxury department store in the United States, and the oldest department store in the country. Their messaging is focused entirely on information density, distinctly sacrificing legibility and aesthetic cleanliness in their messaging. While informative, this message conflicts with the elegant, luxury aesthetic and branding they otherwise present, which might confuse customers.
4. Things Remembered
Things Remembered is North America’s leading retailer of personalized gifts, including custom engravings and embroidery. Their message is clean, uncomplicated, and casual. They identify themselves, highlight the event, and direct the consumer to their website for summer deals. This message is almost the opposite of the previous one, sacrificing information in the name of legibility and accessibility.
5. Taco John’s
Taco John’s is an American fast-food restaurant featuring Mexican-inspired fast food. The chain was founded in 1969 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and now comprises over 400 restaurants in about 27 states. Their messaging is simplistic and straightforward, jumping directly into the event. Unlike the previous post, this message states what the deal on offer is, but does not provide specific information about pricing or other things, and there is no external link to a page containing that information.
6. Reebok Outlet Stores
Reebok International Limited is a footwear and apparel company that produces and distributes fitness, running, and CrossFit sportswear. Their messaging offers and describes the deal clearly, and provides an end date for the promotion. The statement “exclusions apply” would be better off paired with an external link to their website or promotional page, in order to give the recipient more information with which to make a decision. However, the promotion itself is not one that requires specific pricing or discount information, and so the message is effective and clear.
New York & Company, Inc. is an American wear-to-work retailer for women. The message sample shown below offers scant information about any kind of promotion or event, and seems to be primarily a standard solicitation message. Messages like these are designed to remind consumers of their previous experience with this brand, and encourage them to return again.
Michaels is North America’s largest provider of arts, crafts, framing, floral and wall décor, and merchandise for DIY artists and decorators. The two messages below display two different strategies that Michaels can use in its messaging: tempting and selling. The first message is a tempting message; they know that their main client base is artistic and creative, and so frame their messaging around new ideas and inspiration. They include an external link for more information, and a termination command.
The second message highlights a sale instead, appealing to the standard shopper’s mindset. It includes the same ending notes as the previous one. These two different messaging types are well designed and aimed at Michaels’ target customer base.
Macy’s is an American department store chain. Their sample, shown below, is highlighting a socio-cultural event that the brand is participating in, which is itself a large-scale marketing and exposure piece. This kind of marketing—about marketing—is a unique kind of strategy that only the larger brands and companies can pull off, and is unique in that regard.
10. Kwik Trip
Kwik Trip/Kwik Star is a chain of convenience stores. The messaging below covers the basics: the promotion, the key details, the promotional code, the expiration date, and the terms and conditions. It also includes the termination command at the end of the text, giving the consumer the easy command to unsubscribe.
Kohl’s is an American department store retail chain with over 1,100 locations. They tried to explicitly connect celebrating the holiday to shopping at their store with their initial statements, before launching into all of the necessary details of the promotion. The lack of “text speech” and limited use of non-standard abbreviations helps give this text message a clean, legible appearance while still being detailed.
12. Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice produces blended fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, and similar products. Their message doesn’t waste time with topical pleasantries; it immediately describes the promotion, the limitations of the promotion, and an external link containing more information. Quick, effective, well done.
Jack’s is a fast-food restaurant chain in the southern United States. They crafted their messaging around the culture of outdoor Independence Day parties, and the desire to not cook for people. Their promise is convenience, not savings, which is an entirely different appeal than most messaging uses, and it’s effective when paired with a holiday like July 4th.
14. Hometown Buffet
Home Town Buffet is America’s a buffet restaurant offering a variety of food items for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Their message is fairly standard, but is unique in that it does not include an identifying tag at the very beginning of their message. This can risk the consumer being confused or irritated by the message at first, despite the self-identification on the second line. It’s best practice to include an identifier tag at the beginning of the message.
15. Family Dollar
Family Dollar is an American variety store chain. Their messaging employs a longer hook than usual, using a casual reminder as a way to open the door for their promotional deals. Including both a “STOP” and “HELP” command is unique, and perhaps redundant; most consumers will only interact with SMS marketing in the form of external links or termination orders.
Caribou Coffee Company is an American coffee company and coffeehouse chain. Their message is nothing unique, aside from the formatting at the end of the message, which contains both the termination command and the standard disclaimer. The lack of external links could reduce the effectiveness of measuring the messaging, but the key information is still presented to the consumer.
17. Wet Seal
Wet Seal is an American fast-fashion retailer in California. They allow themselves more characters in their messaging, and also include an image for the promotion. As a result, this message is both informational, detailed, clean, professional, and effective.
18. Payless Shoes
Payless is an international discount footwear chain. Their messaging is entirely standard, and does not take any risks or make any changes to the established SMS marketing formula. It’s standard, and it works.
Dunham’s Sports is a regional sporting goods superstore chain specializing in athletic equipment, clothing, guns, and other sports-related items. Their message uses two external links, one to the primary promotion and one to a “bonus” promotion. Phrases and concepts like “bonus”, “complimentary”, or “free” always stand out to a consumer, so working them into a promotion or a message lead to higher conversion rates.
Belk is an American department store chain offering apparel, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, home furnishings, and wedding registry. Their message is somewhat compact, but offers clear information regarding their sale and provides a code and an external link. Ending the message with the termination command means that the recipient has everything they need right at their fingertips, making this an excellently designed message.
Aerie is an intimate apparel and lifestyle retailer owned by American Eagle. Much like Dunham’s, Aerie works “free” into the messaging, fully capitalized, to draw the excited eyes of the recipient. Everything else about the text is standard, with the promotional information leading into an external link to the online store.
As you can see above, brands take full advantage of holidays like Independence Day to message subscribers and generate revenue.