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5 Creative Ways To Kick Off The Holiday Season With SMS Marketing


Reading Time: 5 minutes

We’re feeling very merry around here. It’s the kickoff to the holiday season and we’re ready to sleigh all day with some amazing SMS strategies targeting holiday shoppers.

It’s the first week of November so if you haven’t already flipped the switch in your store to go full holiday, it’s time to deck the halls. There are studies that prove early holiday decorating can actually make spirits bright, so we’re confident that it’s never too soon to send a holiday text. 

Here are some ideas to kick off the holiday season.

Ask Subscribers If They Want Holiday Messages

Merchants send a lot of texts during November. During BFCM 2020, $3.6 billion came from shopping via mobile commerce, increasing by over 25% over the previous year. Last year shopping on smartphones made up 40% of total online spending on Black Friday which makes it quick and easy to convert customers via SMS. When mobile shoppers start pulling out their wallets on Black Friday, getting even a small portion of the pie will be a big boost to your store’s revenue. 

But not all your subscribers will want to opt-in to promotions. And sending the same message to every subscriber isn’t as important as sending the right messages to the right customers. 

Send out a campaign to your full list and ask subscribers to respond with a keyword if they don’t want to receive holiday marketing messages. Create a ‘Non-Holiday Promotions’ segment and make sure to exclude that segment with all your holiday promotions. 

Have fun with this and let the opt-in message convey your brand voice.

We’ll be sending out holiday flash sales all month long. If you’d like to pass on these messages, just let us know by responding with the keyword ‘NAUGHTY’ and we’ll add you to that list. 

Our holiday gift guides are about to go live, along with a month of flash sales. Want to opt out of these messages? Simply respond with GRINCH and we’ll leave you alone until Christmas. 

You could also be empathetic, acknowledging that the holiday season isn’t holly jolly for everyone.

We know that for some people, the holidays are hard. If you’d like to opt out of our holiday campaigns, we completely understand. Simply respond with the keyword PAUSE and we’ll be back in touch in the new year. Sending you lots of love either way!

Or simply send a straightforward message like Woolx’s approach:

Launch a Gift Guide

We love a gift guide. Every holiday shopper has that person on their list that leaves them scratching their head. Gift guides are fun, informative and they’re a great opportunity to show off your brand’s personality.

This approach will need to be specifically tailored to your own brand. Let’s look at some examples on how this can be achieved.

Spread out a campaign over the week to target a different consumer personality. Keep it simple and create a “Gifts for Dad’, ‘Gifts for Mom’, ‘Gifts for Grandpa’ type of collection if that makes sense.

Get more creative and make guides based on personalities like “Gifts for the Foodie”, “Gifts for the Bookworm”, “Gifts for the Musician” – all of these can be curated based on your brand’s audience and your product offerings.

Consumers also love to shop by price and this is also a smart way to target customers. Send a “Splurge – Gifts Over $100” campaign to a segment of your customers that have spent the most at your store. Send a “Stocking Stuffers Under $20” to a full list since everyone is looking for ideas beyond candy and pieces of coal.

Or go completely rogue and make up your own categories based on your existing customers. Perhaps it’s “Gift Ideas for the Friend Who Has Everything and Simply Can’t Be Pleased” or “Gifts for Your Handsome Bearded Husband That Loves Collecting Records and Always Leaves the Seat Up”. 

Here’s a great example from Fly By Jing on using your brand personality to get in the spirit.

Gift guides are meant to inspire joy and shopping, so have fun with these!

Create Your Own Black Friday Event

There’s no doubt that consumers are excited to wake up the morning after Thanksgiving to see what deals await during the biggest shopping event of the year.

Some brands like to stand out among the competition and host their biggest sale earlier on in the season.

Consider letting subscribers know that your biggest deals are dropping before Thanksgiving weekend. Tease out the sale and offer a sneak peek into the offerings. Or simply give them a countdown to your biggest sale of the season by using a campaign flow.

The beginning of November is also a great time to host flash sales. Build urgency by letting subscribers know that the sale has a time limit, whether it’s a 24-hour sale or a coupon code that expires within 48 hours. Subscribers are used to receiving marketing messages like this throughout the holiday season and flash sales are a great way to get a strong ROI on a single campaign.

Turn Your Customer Service Team into Elves

Using SMS as a touchpoint to help your customers during the holidays is helpful and crucial. But when you combine a great customer service experience with your brand during a stressful shopping season, you can also turn a one-time customer into a loyal one.

First, be sure you take advantage of all our help desk integrations to arm your elves with an easy way to converse with customers.

Consider letting your CS team become personal shoppers during the holiday season. Remind subscribers that they can text with any questions about shipping, gift wrap, gift cards – you name it.

Personalize the experience and ask customers to reach out to your team of elves if they need any help with holiday shopping. 

Have you met Elsa the Elf yet? Elsa loves candy canes, sleigh rides, and pointed shoes. She also can’t be stumped when it comes to gift ideas. Send Elsa a text requesting some ideas for someone that is notoriously hard to shop for and she’ll get back to you within 24 hours with some personal recommendations. 

The holiday season is a great time to roll out the red carpet with truly personalized customer service interactions that will build loyalty long after the holidays are over.

Recognize All Holidays

Inclusivity is important to us and it’s likely important to your customers too. 

Ask customers what holiday messages they’d like to receive by responding with a keyword based on the holidays that matter to them, whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or New Year’s, and segment them based on their responses. 

By doing this you can deliver super personalized messages to both acknowledge their traditions and celebrations and provide a better text experience for subscribers.

We hope you’ll continue to check back on the blog all month long for recommendations on how to make this your best holiday season ever. Don’t forget to sign up for our office hours where you can chat with SMS experts on all things BFCM and more.

Special thanks to our friends at Postscript for their insights on this topic.
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