11 Best SMS Marketing Case Studies

What is the Purpose of SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing can be used for a variety of objectives, including promotional, communicative, and transactional. SMS is a highly powerful marketing channel when used correctly, with a text message open rate of up to 98 percent.

SMS campaigns make an excellent supplement to email for when messaging needs to be:

  • Timely — Many people check their email only once or twice a day, whereas the average person checks their phone over 80 times a day.
  • Interactive - Customers are 134 percent more likely to respond to an SMS than they are to an email.
  • Personal – When compared to email, customers are more likely to think of messages as customized.


We've collected a list of case studies that show how SMS marketing may benefit startups, entrepreneurs, small businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, financial organizations, law companies, and other businesses.


#1: Viking Cooking School

The Viking Cooking School in 2010 was seeking to:

  • - Increase the number of students in each class.
  • - Maintain a dialogue with current and former clients to keep them interested.


Actions: They provided a link to an opt-in web widget to their email marketing list, as well as an option to join the list by texting VIKING to the shortcode 313131. Customers were enticed to join by the promise of weekly cooking tips and discounts on classes.




Result: Viking has amassed a list of nearly 300 subscribers in just four months. An early test campaign was successful in filling eight seats in a class that was nearly full. The class revenue grew by $632 as a result of the campaign, which cost only $15 to create and mail.


#2: Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut desired a more effective strategy for individual stores to communicate with local customers in order to:

  • - Provide discounts that are particular to each store.
  • - Customers should be notified about charitable events.
  • - Customers should be encouraged to pick up pizza for local activities.


Actions: Customers could get a free big pizza by texting FREEPIZZA to their shortcode and following a series of simple directions, according to Pizza Hut. They planned a six-day ad spend and a limit of 100,000 free pizza tickets for the campaign, which they publicized on social media.



Results: The social media campaign went viral, and the 100,000 coupons were all used up in less than a day. The corporation permitted the campaign to run until 160,000 people had signed up for it. Because the vouchers could only be redeemed online, Pizza Hut was able to collect email addresses as well, allowing them to expand its SMS and email marketing lists.


#3: Averages from Game of Thrones Each episode has an average of 18.6 million viewers.

HBO sought to provide a more immersive experience for Game of Thrones (GOT) viewers than standard TV advertising and Facebook posts could provide. Through a campaign nicknamed the Three-Eyed Raven, they harnessed the power of SMS to send customised text messages.

Subscribed fans received text-based reminders, hints, and links that teased out upcoming episodes. Within the first two months of its launch, The Three-Eyed Raven had 70,000 subscribers, helping to create record-breaking anticipation for each Game of Thrones episode of the season.

Find out more about the Three-Eyed Raven here.


#4: Longmont Climbing Gym Encourages Participation Through SMS Updates

Longmont Climbing Collective rewards members with points for coming to the gym, referring friends, sharing the gym's social media posts, and more. Members can use their points to get free guest tickets, shoe rentals, retail discounts, and even an hour of listening to the gym's Pandora radio channel.

However, without a pleasant reminder, most members forget about these benefits. The gym sends out SMS alerts when you earn enough points to unlock a new benefit to keep it fresh in everyone's mind. It's a fun method to get members involved, and it also encourages them to introduce their friends and patronize the retail business


#5: Salesforce Collects 19,000 Survey Responses in Seconds

You know it's going to be a big party when Salesforce hosts one. Dreamforce 2009 drew over 19,000 people to San Francisco's Moscone Convention Center. Salesforce didn't want to name the "Best Partner App" on their own; instead, they wanted the audience to decide.

Salesforce used API to integrate SMS messaging into an easy-to-use app that guests could use to vote for their favorite apps by text message. More than 19,000 people voted through SMS, giving the event a fun, real-time element.


#6: Delta Sonic Car Wash

Goals: The amount of business a car wash receives is heavily influenced by the time of year and the weather. Delta Sonic needed a means to move traffic during off-peak hours.

Email marketing was effective, but it couldn't reach people quickly enough to offset weather-related standstill.

Actions: Delta Sonic promoted its text message club using signs across their locations, a web sign-up form, social media posts, and signage at sponsored local events. They offered new subscribers a free bottle of water or a slushie as an opt-in inducement.




Results: Delta Sonic have built their SMS list to over 50,000 users in just two years. They were able to attract over 1,000 clients to their sites on a wet day by offering internal cleanings. They would have made a fraction of those sales if they hadn't used text message marketing, and their workforce would have been largely idle.


#7: Hydroflask Shows You the Goods Using MMS Marketinghydroflask

The Hydroflask brand is recognized for its brightly colored steel water bottles, yet it's difficult to portray the company's true spirit solely through text. As a result, Hydroflask uses MMS marketing to feature vibrant photographs of its products. (Are you unfamiliar with MMS? Here's a quick rundown.)

The brand sends out marketing text messages a few times a month to promote its new bottles and themes. They successfully strike a precise balance between show and tell while without overburdening consumers with marketing messaging.


#8: Sun Tan Goals in Seattle

Sun Tan in Seattle wanted to incorporate SMS into their marketing strategy. Seattle Sun Tan did not have a database of their customers' cell phone numbers, despite having 80,000 email subscribers and 37,000 social media followers.

Actions: Customers might join their mailing list by texting TANS to a shortcode given by Seattle Sun Tan. They boosted awareness by informing their email list and social media subscribers about the enrollment procedure, as well as advertising in their stores.

They provided new SMS users a $20 promo code to use on their next purchase to encourage opt-ins. The code included a five-day expiration date, creating a sense of urgency.




Results: Seattle Sun Tan grew their SMS list to 4,774 subscribers in just 30 days. Their promo code was used 57 percent of the time, and those who used it spent 500 percent more than those who didn't. In the first month of the promotion, they generated $196,101.87 in new sales.


#9: Airbnb Simplifies the Renting Process for 60 Million Travelers Worldwide

Airbnb allows people from all around the world to book accommodations. When a guest submits a reservation request, the host has only 32 hours to accept or decline the reservation. Hosts aren't constantly at their computers, therefore they required a mechanism to react to queries quickly and reliably.

To move the dialogue between hosts and guests from the desktop to the mobile device, Airbnb turned to SMS. If a host doesn't react to a request, Airbnb will send them an automatic SMS message with all the information they need, along with the option to accept or reject the request.




"We have hosts all over the world, and they're always on their phones," says Naomi Arnold, Airbnb's customer support manager. "By allowing them to accept requests by SMS, we were able to increase the percentage of successful bookings while also saving countless hours of manual dialing."


#10: Ross and Pines Law Firm

Goals: Ross and Pines, a law practice, wanted to improve the efficiency and client-friendliness of their interactions. They were particularly concerned about clients who did not utilize email on a regular basis.

Actions: Ross and Pines established SMS capabilities and publicized them on the firm's website. They identified the following use cases for text messages:

  • - Reminding people of their appointments.
  • - Providing directions to their office or the court for clients.
  • - Reminding clients of upcoming court appearances.
  • - Photos of accidents and injuries are being sent.
  • - Getting information on the case.
  • - Responding to client inquiries.




Results: Ross and Pines saved a lot of time by using SMS marketing because they didn't have to make as many phone calls. Cases moved forward faster as a result of increased communication, and the ability to monitor client chat history resulted in less duplication of effort.


#11: Dell Uses Text Message Alerts to Keep Customers Informed

Dell is one of the world's largest PC and monitor manufacturers, but keeping up with demand is difficult. They used text message marketing to keep track of order confirmations and consumer alerts.

Customers would receive text updates on their orders, as well as notices of credit card holds. Customers were able to swiftly return to the site to submit a new mode of payment or contact their credit card issuer to rectify the issue thanks to the real-time notifications. Dell was able to keep customers informed by having 98 percent of SMS messages read within 4-6 minutes of delivery (compared to 22 percent for email).

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