SMS Marketing Best Practices

What SMS Marketers Can Learn From McDonald’s

McDonalds SMS Campaign

One of the most important strategies for SMS marketers is building your text message marketing subscriber list. There is a symbiotic relationship between the number of subscribers and an increase in sales; basically, the more people who have opted in to your subscriber list, the more people have the potential of redeeming offers, subsequently increasing your profits.

The key is to grow your list first, before any other SMS marketing initiatives. To do this, the technique is pretty simple: incentivize customers to opt-in. This retailer did just that, increasing its SMS database by 300,000 new subscribers in only three days! Moreover, this study found that brands that incentivized customers to opt-in to their SMS marketing programs through a reward, coupon, or deal, saw a 520% increase in new SMS subscribers.

Once you have increased your subscriber lists, it’s helpful to figure out which SMS promotions you should include in your SMS marketing campaigns. We advise that you choose the option that best compels subscribers to redeem the offer communicated in your SMS campaigns. According to this research, these are the most impactful SMS promotions that would likely result in purchases:

  • Pricing-based offers: 66%
  • Time-sensitive offers: 52%
  • Location-based offers: 50%
  • Product-based offers: 47%
  • Similar product-based offers: 45%
  • A very general offer: 31%


McDonald’s SMS Marketing Secret

Now that you know how to grow your SMS subscribers, and are aware of which types of SMS promotions consumers want, it’s time to look at the secrets that some of the biggest companies use to increase sales, like McDonald’s. We broke down the essentials secrets that McDonald’s uses in their successful SMS campaigns—and that now you can, too.

Take a look at how McDonald’s advertised their promotions in the image below.

McDonalds Advertising Example

There is something similar in all of the promotions being advertised (above). Were you able to spot them? Take a look at another promotion (below) detailing the same promotional technique from McDonald’s:

McDonalds Ad Example

Know what it is yet? Try one more example; even other fast-food chains have taken advantage of the same promotional secret McDonald’s uses. Look below and see if you can determine the similarity in McDonald’s offer compared to Arby’s offer:

Burger Kind COupon Example

As you may have guessed, McDonald’s and many other fast-food restaurants have figured out to create the most effective promotion, is promote a “deal” and “deal qualifier”.

Increasing SMS Campaign Redemption Rates

A “deal” is any promotion from a company and a “deal qualifier” is defined as anything that is required in order to redeem the aforementioned deal. In the example above, Arby’s “deal” is “Free! BBQ Bacon Cheddar Roast Burger”. The “deal qualifier” is “this promotion is only valid with any soft drink purchase”.

It’s well known McDonald’s (and other fast-food chains) use a combination of  “deal” and “deal qualifier” often, as it increases the redemption rate of specific SMS campaigns. But, there is a secret to exceptionally high redemption rates; the placement of the “deal” and “deal qualifier”.  Because cell phones usually only show the first line or two of an offer, it’s critical that you show customers the “deal” first and not the “deal qualifier”.

Deal First, Deal Qualifier Second

Let’s analyze the differences between two promotions.

Starts with Deal:
“McDonald’s: Get one FREE double cheeseburger when you purchase any…”

Ends with Deal:
“Mcdonald’s: Purchase any large soft drink after 5PM on Friday and get one…”

Even though the content of both SMS promotions above are identical, the promotion that included the “deal” first will have a much higher redemption rate than the promotion starting with the “deal qualifier”, as that is more compelling for the customer.

Now you know the McDonald’s SMS marketing secret! Use this method and you could easily increase the redemption rates on your next SMS promotion.


More Restaurant SMS Examples

Want to see how other fast-food chains and restaurants have boosted their SMS marketing redemption rates? Check out the following articles:


Boosting Your SMS Marketing Redemption Rates

Looking for more strategies to increase SMS redemption rates?

Download the guide to creating SMS promotions here, or sit back and watch our recorded webinar on creating SMS promotions here.

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