This holiday season, retention marketing will be key to your brand’s success. But why should you prioritize it during a season that’s traditionally focused on acquisition?
First, consumers are spreading out their holiday purchases. Between rising inflation and two Prime Day shopping events, they don’t feel pressured to make their purchases all at once on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now, retention marketing doesn’t just mean making sure customers come back in the new year—it’s about keeping them engaged throughout a prolonged holiday shopping season.
Second, it’s a valuable growth mechanism. It’s much easier to convert a consumer who already trusts your brand. Returning customers also spend more than new customers. As a result, a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 95% increase in revenue.
Loyalty is no longer a program—it’s an overarching strategy that should touch every point of the shopping journey. We’re sharing five simple SMS touchpoints you can use to retain customers, from discovery to post-purchase.
Help shoppers in the discovery phase do their research by sharing helpful content related to their needs:
Give shoppers the VIP treatment with exclusive access to promotions and new products:
Providing value goes beyond monetary perks. It’s about delivering exclusive content that makes them feel appreciated (and helps them in their daily lives):
With conversational text messaging products like Two-Way Journeys™ and Attentive Concierge™, the following brands exceeded shopper expectations through interactive and engaging touchpoints.
Justice—a tween clothing and accessories retailer—launched their “Days of Deals” campaign in early November to get a head start on seasonal revenue. Using Two-Way Journeys™, the brand instantly added any subscriber who responded with “DEALS” to a custom segment.
Throughout the week, the brand continued to share cheerful daily deals with this VIP group. This strategy made sure Justice reached their most engaged subscribers—and avoided fatiguing those who weren’t interested in the promotion.
Multi-day deals drive repeat website visits and purchases by building excitement for each day’s offer. Try teasing some of the more unique seasonal offers in your announcement campaign to encourage keyword opt-ins.
To help subscribers treat their furry friends, Petmate used Two-Way Journeys to ask subscribers what type of pet they have. The brand then shared a link to the relevant gift guide based on their response, and teased some of their product recommendations.
Not only did this zero-party data help deliver a personalized shopping experience, but the brand could then use this information for any of their campaigns. The brand added custom attributes to subscriber profiles based on their responses, allowing them to reference this strategic information or add them to a pet-specific segment long after the holidays.
Outside of one-off campaigns, make sure you’re also collecting this info from new subscribers who join over the holidays. Adding Two-Way Journeys into your welcome flow can help you collect this data from the get-go, so you can use it in future campaigns.
Slowtide—a beach and bath towel retailer—understood that the holidays are a sensitive time for some. To honor this, they offered the option to opt out of seasonal campaigns and content. The brand prompted subscribers to reply “PAUSE” if they wanted to be excluded.
Slowtide created custom attributes for these subscribers, making sure they’d be excluded from any holiday-related messaging. This two-way flow helped Slowtide show they're committed to delivering the best and most comfortable experience for each subscriber.
While some subscribers won’t want to receive holiday messaging, they may still want to hear about product launches, discounts, and other initiatives throughout the holiday months. Try this approach of letting them opt out of holiday messages, so they don’t unsubscribe from your text messages altogether.
Hart Tools teased their Cyber Week deals to their engaged SMS audience. They built excitement with VIP messaging (“exclusive access”), and linked to their updated page of discounted—or rollback—products.
The brand gave subscribers the option to reply “NO” if they wanted to be excluded from promotional texts for two weeks. This let subscribers mute their inbox, rather than fully opt out of texts from the brand, which would likely happen if they were feeling fatigued. Offering this promotion opt-out was important for the brand, too, so they wouldn’t lose the subscriber altogether.
Consider building a customized Cyber Week experience by letting subscribers choose both their messaging cadence and the types of promotions they prefer—like exclusive deals, non-promotional inspiration, and product launches.
While consumers’ inboxes are full of holiday discounts, Starbird—a fast-casual chicken chain—stood out from the crowd by letting subscribers choose their own seasonal perk. With Two-Way Journeys, subscribers could easily respond with their favorite product category and immediately receive a relevant promo code.
Starbird also used this opportunity to cross-promote their mobile app as a way to redeem the exclusive offer. This engaging strategy took advantage of the conversational capabilities unique to SMS, and created a more personalized experience for subscribers that inspired them to take action.
Each subscriber response is an opportunity to gain valuable zero-party data that can help customize the SMS experience. Try sending a two-way message asking subscribers about their preferences. Then, save subscribers’ responses as custom attributes within their profiles, so you can target the most relevant audience for future text messages.
As the indulgent holiday traditions were coming to a close, snack brand HighKey anticipated their subscribers’ desire to kickstart new healthy habits. After subscribers entered the keyword to join, HighKey asked them what their top goal for the week was.
Based on their starting goal, the brand took subscribers through their “Live Sweeter Plan,” a triggered seven-day flow of educational blog posts, words of encouragement, and actionable health tips. The daily touchpoints for this challenge helped subscribers stay on track while driving site traffic for the brand.
These longer-tailed two-way series are a great way to build community and drive continual engagement throughout the season. Offer subscribers a separate opt-in to join these longer series to avoid fatiguing SMS subscribers who may not be interested.
Beauty brand ELEMIS recreated their in-store product discovery experience on their SMS channel with personalized gift guides. The skincare brand asked subscribers who they’re shopping for, infusing their friendly brand voice with cheeky names for their customer personas.
Using Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys, ELEMIS set up custom keywords to automatically send a relevant gift recommendation based on the subscriber’s response. This quick back-and-forth helped subscribers avoid the stress of finding the perfect gift, while driving online revenue for the brand.
Send this type of conversational marketing message to your subscribers who didn’t purchase during Cyber Week. The two-way flow will help guide the rest of their holiday shopping experience, encourage product discovery, and share relevant product recommendations.
Ergobaby—known for their ergonomic baby carriers—rewarded SMS subscribers with early access to their Black Friday sale. With Two-Way Journeys, subscribers simply responded with “VIP” to be added to the early access customer segment.
These engaged subscribers didn’t have to wait to start accessing their holiday perks. In the two-way flow, Ergobaby sent the “VIP” subscribers a percent-off discount. This conversational strategy drove immediate revenue and built anticipation for Black Friday.
Since shoppers have become familiar with shipping delays, they’re planning to shop earlier than Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Position your early access deals as peace of mind that they can shop first and get their purchases delivered on time.
Mattress brand Helix Sleep uses Attentive Concierge to deliver personalized experiences with human-powered text messaging. After making a purchase, this subscriber reached out for more information on the item and asked for complementary product suggestions.
The live agent confirmed that the product is water-resistant, but listed out the benefits of still getting a mattress protector. The personalized response, which even referenced the subscriber’s daughter, showed that the agent was committed to listening and quickly resolving the customer’s question.
When the shopping pressure is on, your subscribers want to feel confident in their online gift orders. Let them know they can text you any time for product questions, gift recommendations, order status updates, and more.
It’s no secret that consumers have formed new hybrid shopping habits. They’ve combined their favorite parts of online and in-person shopping with an eye towards convenience. Almost 90% of shoppers say they do some form of hybrid shopping at least part of the time.
A recent report from IBM found that consumers don’t see e-commerce and in-store shopping as separate experiences. Instead, they’d like their online and offline behaviors to be integrated. Think about your own experiences. Depending on your day or needs, you’ll do what’s easiest for you—combining a few in-store and online shopping habits along the way.
No matter where or how you’re shopping, chances are your phone is with you. That’s why mobile (and especially SMS) is the ultimate throughline for hybrid shopping. Here are five easy ways to deliver cohesive and convenient hybrid experiences that will set you up for success this holiday season and beyond.
Establishing a direct line of communication with shoppers will help you drive online sales and foot traffic during peak periods. Plus, you’ll keep them engaged after the holidays.
Promote your SMS program throughout your store with signage featuring QR codes or Text-to-Join information. You should tailor these sign-up promotions based on what’s top-of-mind for your customers at each step.
Memorable in-store interactions are key to customer retention. 84% of consumers say a good in-person shopping experience makes them more likely to come back.
Focus on what consumers want most—convenience.
One of the reasons in-store shopping is so convenient is because you can touch and test items, and get recommendations from store associates. Gamification adds a layer of delight to those core in-store experiences, keeping shoppers coming back.
Complement your sales floor with the best of your digital experiences. Your shoppers will feel more engaged, and you’ll be able to collect valuable first- and zero-party data you’d otherwise miss out on.
Human-to-human interactions naturally make shopping more convenient—whether it’s getting answers to your questions or recommendations based on your needs.
Using Attentive Concierge™, you can translate those helpful in-person interactions into digital ones.
Want to take Attentive Concierge for a spin? Experience conversational SMS on Attentive Goods, our merch store.
Interactive events help shoppers get to know you and your products better, building long-term loyalty.
It comes down to marrying the best parts of online and in-person events—thoughtful details that make shoppers feel appreciated and human-to-human interactions that aim to educate.
Every holiday season, shoppers’ inboxes are full of flash sales and one-size-fits-all discounts. Explore these unique SMS marketing examples for inspiration on how you can mix up your campaign and triggered text message strategies to give subscribers what they really want.
Fitlife Foods—a healthy meal delivery service—knew that their SMS community of nutrition enthusiasts were looking for ways to stay healthy before the indulgent holidays. So a week before Black Friday, they tapped into that demand by offering $60 off their meal delivery.
They included a graphic that highlighted a real customer review and some of the delicious meals subscribers could order. Instead of sharing a code the subscriber would have to enter manually, Fitlife Foods included a dynamic link that would automatically apply the discount at checkout.
Outside of the Black Friday shopping frenzy, consider the less common moments around the holidays where you can connect with your SMS community. Think travel inspiration and decorating tips early in the season, or resources to prep for resolutions in the new year.
Skincare brand Aloe Attiva invited subscribers to cross off their shopping list while winning prizes at their holiday pop-up event. They geo-targeted this message to subscribers in the New England area, knowing they may be planning to visit Boston for the popular Seaport Holiday Stroll.
They announced their highest-value raffle items while keeping the “free gift with purchase” a mystery. This limited-time experience drove foot traffic throughout the holiday stroll, helping diversify the brand’s touchpoints and build authentic customer relationships.
For Small Business Saturday, try working with local brands that align with your brand values. By collaborating on a giveaway or offering cross-company discounts with every purchase, you can grow brand awareness in the holiday spirit of supporting others.
Claire’s—a go-to stop for playful accessories—promoted their best-selling SquishmallowsTM with a festive twist. The brand’s timely messaging and adorable product image drove subscribers to shop the items first.Claire’s included a unique URL within the text messages that linked subscribers to the product page, allowing the brand to track the web traffic generated from this message. These analytics could help the brand see the impact of these limited-edition campaigns, and start planning their future strategies.
While the holiday season is full of major sales, don’t forget about your limited-edition items. Try promoting your specialty items to your most engaged SMS audience to take advantage of seasonal demand while clearing out end-of-year inventory.
Online apparel brand Fresh Hoods rewarded their most engaged SMS subscriber segment with a clever “glitch” sale. They shared this with customers who had purchased two or more times in the last year, making these loyal subscribers (“only 3000 lucky people”) feel special.
Fresh Hoods then excluded this segment from their main Cyber Monday promotion, which had more restrictive order limits and lower percent-off deals.
If your brand doesn’t have an existing loyalty program, you can identify your top subscribers using dynamic segmentation. Whether you’re sorting by clicks, number of purchases, or annual spend, Attentive’s segment builder can help you find and reward your VIPs.
Mavi Jeans sent personalized texts to each of their Mavi Rewards members, sharing early access to their Black Friday sale. They created custom segments for all three tiers of their rewards program which are based on annual spend.
The brand used Attentive’s Shopify integration to customize each message with the subscriber’s first name. This personalized touch delivered an elevated experience, and made these top tier loyalty members feel extra special.
Stagger your holiday announcements this year to reward your most loyal subscribers first. Even if it’s just an hour earlier, this engaged segment is likely to act quickly on the offer.
Natural food brand Bob’s Red Mill shared a delicious hot chocolate recipe with their SMS subscribers to help them stay cozy during winter. The text message linked to the recipe on the brand’s website, where shoppers could easily add some of the ingredients to their online cart if they didn’t already have them at home.
The brand only sent this message to subscribers who’d clicked on a message in the last 60 days, knowing this engaged segment is likely to appreciate the non-promotional content. Instead of sharing a discount or other type of offer for the holidays, Bob’s Red Mill opted for a delightful brand awareness play.
Diversify your holiday campaigns with non-promotional messages. Tap into your brand values to share content—like recipes, party hosting tips, and decorating guides—and position your brand as a helpful holiday resource.
Leading up to Black Friday, personal care brand Brio greeted new subscribers with a triggered welcome flow customized for the busy holiday. They built anticipation for the sale’s “early access,” and encouraged subscribers to build a wishlist before the sale.
Brio followed up with their contact card so subscribers could save them in their phone. The VIP messaging ("exclusive updates”) excited subscribers for the SMS perks to come. This simple step cements the customer relationship, positioning the brand as an accessible resource right in their SMS inbox.
In the flurry of holiday shopping, consumers may forget to check back on their favorite website for seasonal deals. If you’re offering early access or other exclusive deals this year, assure subscribers they’ll be notified with a direct link to shop ASAP.
As people were shopping around on Cyber Monday for the perfect furniture to deck their halls, Apt2B—a modern furniture retailer—sent a triggered browse abandonment reminder to re-engage potential customers.
Apt2B paired this message with their Cyber Monday sale, incentivizing these high-intent subscribers without offering additional discounts. With the personalized link, subscribers could pick up where they left off—on the exact product page they were browsing—to continue shopping.
This type of seasonal twist on a triggered message is a win-win strategy. Not only does it capture otherwise lost revenue, but it also helps subscribers feel more connected to the brand at important moments in the buying process.
As part of their “12 days of UVé” campaign, UVé Beauty promoted their daily deals with a gamified “Holiday Digital Scavenger Hunt.” The makeup tool brand infused their friendly voice and personalized the invitation with the subscriber’s first name.
Once live, subscribers would need to be the first to find and use one of the 10 mystery promo codes hidden across their website and social media accounts. This interactive game helped subscribers learn more about the brand’s digital channels, and encouraged them to follow their social accounts for more engaging experiences in the future.
Amplify your digital channels this season by taking your subscribers on an interactive, cross-channel journey. Try using Two-Way Journeys™ to quiz subscribers on your brand’s About Page or current Instagram Story.
Baked by Melissa launched their new gifting feature to their SMS audience just in time for holiday shopping. They shared a simple description of how to add multiple addresses, positioning themselves as a one-stop-cupcake-shop where subscribers could cross off their entire shopping list.
The jolly GIF showcased their mouthwatering seasonal flavors, and enticed subscribers to quickly claim the limited-edition options. With the direct link to the brand’s holiday collection page, subscribers could easily try out the new gifting feature…and treat themselves while they’re at it.
If you’re launching a new feature or product this holiday season, give your highly engaged SMS subscribers early access to try it first and reward any feedback.
Tea Collection—a children’s apparel brand—texted subscribers on Giving Tuesday, a movement that takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to promote charitable giving. They announced that they would donate an outfit to a child in need for each purchase made that day.
The brand reiterated their efforts with a simple graphic and community-building hashtag (#TeaGivesBack). Once subscribers clicked the link, they could shop the brand and support the cause.
‘Tis the season of giving back. Share the organizations and causes your brand supports, and let subscribers know how they can help—such as purchasing items from a charitable collaboration or donating directly to a partner organization.
Spector Sports Art—an art and canvas company—encouraged some healthy competition from their audience of sports fans by inviting them to participate in their holiday photo contest. The brand described how to submit their gifting moments, including tagging the brand on social to help spread brand awareness.
They included a GIF with some of these happy gifting moments, hoping to inspire their engaged audience’s submissions. The “FREE” gift for the first place winner caught subscribers’ eyes, while the discount for all participants drove engagement and strengthened their customer community.
This type of contest is a great opportunity to crowdsource customer reviews in a creative format. Encouraging subscribers to engage with your brand across all channels can spread word-of-mouth brand awareness and help make your audience feel more connected to your brand.
We’re probably not the first ones to tell you that Google is phasing out third-party cookies. Or that Apple continues to make privacy updates that are great for the consumer, but make it harder for marketers to reach them.
Chances are, you’ve spent quite a bit of time this past year thinking about how your marketing goals will be impacted, and what you can do to get ahead of the changes. This post will give you actionable ideas for how to collect the first- and zero-party data (and how to use it) to build a shopper identity strategy during the busiest e-commerce time of year.
Consumers have become more aware of their privacy online, and not all of them are comfortable sharing information with brands without knowing how it'll be used. Yet, consumers still have high expectations for personalization. 66% of shoppers expect brands to know what they’re looking for (and why), and then personalize their experiences to meet their needs.
Luckily, consumers are willing to share their preferences directly with brands if they know what they’re getting in return. That’s where first- and zero-party data comes in. 86% of consumers say they’ll give brands their personal and preference data if they get early or exclusive access to something in return. And 55% of consumers will trade their data if it means they’ll feel more a part of a brand’s community.
If you’re trying to grasp the nuances between first- and zero-party data, it all comes down to how you collect it:
A “necessity” that you collect in the background (think: what actions a shopper takes on your website, or how they engage with an email or text message).
Consumers explicitly tell you their personal information and preferences to get something in return (like taking a product finder quiz to get a personalized recommendation).
Collecting both types of data will give you the fullest picture possible of who your customers are. For example, a shopper may browse earrings on your website (that’s first-party data).
Then, they take a product-finder quiz and tell you they prefer gold jewelry over silver (that’s zero-party data). By combining this information, you’ll be able to send them hyper-relevant messages in the future. They’ll appreciate the effort you’re putting in to personalize the marketing they receive. And since it’s more tailored to them, it’ll increase the likelihood they’ll convert.
You can start collecting both types of data as soon as a shopper begins interacting with your brand.
Make sure you’re using your shoppers’ data across all the channels they’re subscribed to. Tailoring your experiences based on a full set of data will help improve the interactions they have with your brand. It also helps you avoid sending the same content on all of your channels (saving you time and money).
But keep in mind you should understand what you want to achieve with the data, based on your goals. Over-collecting data without knowing how to use it can lead to massive amounts of information that you don’t know what to do with.
Not sure where to start? Sending a conversational text message is a simple way to directly ask your shoppers about their preferences. Here are six two-way SMS opportunities you can take advantage of throughout the customer journey this holiday season:
Send new subscribers a welcome message asking them how frequently they’d like to hear from you so you can meet their expectations from the start.
You can also ask them who they’re shopping for. For example, if a shopper is looking for a gift for their friend, you may not want to send them recommendations in the New Year based on their browsing history during peak shopping periods.
Once a shopper shares their preferences, you can immediately put them into action. For example, you can build segments based on subscribers’ preferred frequency so they receive messages at the cadence they asked for.
To understand their intent, ask subscribers:
Then, send them a personalized recommendation based on their needs to help them find the perfect item.
Create segments based on their responses to tailor future campaign messages. Let’s say you’re launching a new product. If a subscriber has expressed interest in that item’s category or price point, they’re more likely to be excited to shop that item. You’ll show them you’re paying attention to their preferences, and you’ll increase your conversion rate—it’s a win-win.
Ask subscribers what prevented them from buying. It’s a valuable data point that'll help you address the issue, and provides insights into your overall shopping experience.
This data will also help you target future messages. For example, you can add subscribers who were looking for a discount or were concerned about price to a segment. When your brand runs a promotion, you can send that segment a message highlighting the value of the offer or building urgency around limited-time sales.
Ask subscribers to rate their shopping experience. You can build a keyword journey that automatically sends a personalized message back based on their response:
Send them a text asking them to refer a friend, join your loyalty program, and more. Add them to your brand loyalist segment so you can share special perks in the future.
Ask follow-up questions to learn how you can improve their experience next time.
Ask subscribers if they’d like to be reminded to make another purchase once their supply is running low. You can set up an triggered text messaging flow based on an item’s frequency so you can send a perfectly timed reminder.
Send lapsed subscribers a two-way messaging quiz to help them discover new products. Once they’ve completed the quiz, send them a recommendation and a link to shop.
Create segments based on subscribers’ responses so you can tailor future campaign messages to their preferences. For instance, if a shopper is looking for a light-coverage foundation, you can later promote new “no makeup makeup” products.
With the busy marketing season ahead, try a low-lift list growth strategy—like promoting an existing holiday offer or simply changing the sign-up unit background to a seasonal product image. Or, try a dash of VIP messaging and a teaser for what’s to come to boost your SMS list growth throughout the shopping season.
SMS is one of the most valuable first- and zero-party data sources your brand can invest in. It’s tied to a strong identity marker (our phone number), and it naturally lends itself to sharing preferences and recommendations.
By strategically and proactively collecting first- and zero-party data this holiday season, you’ll deliver personalized shopping experiences that drive conversions. And that data will be the gift that keeps on giving, acting as the foundation of your shoppers’ identities in the new year.
As consumers are checking off their gift lists, Cyber Week is the perfect time to reach new shoppers and grow your SMS subscriber list.
Get inspired by these brands' stand-out list growth strategies that consider the full welcome experience: the digital channels to launch them on, the sign-up incentive and CTA, and the new subscriber’s first text messages with the brand.
Function of Beauty, a personalized beauty brand, drew in new subscribers with a Holiday Bundle giveaway. After entering both their email and phone number, subscribers were instantly entered to win the high-value (“worth $39.99 or MORE”) product.
With Attentive’s integrations, these new email subscribers are automatically ingested into the brand’s ESP, so they can start sending them emails, too.
The chance to win a best-selling item is sure to delight your mobile audience. And it’s good for your bottom line, too. This free bundle offer in particular can encourage product discovery—especially while shoppers are looking for extra items to gift.
Big Blanket Co—a direct-to-consumer blanket brand—captured customer data using a Preference Collection form in their SMS opt-in strategy. This pop-up greeted new visitors with a festive background image and emphasized the dollar-off discount. With a quick click, new subscribers can indicate if they’re shopping for themselves or someone else.
The brand could then create custom segments based on their subscriber’s shopping goals, and send relevant campaigns throughout the holiday season.
Since the holidays bring loads of new shoppers to your website, this is a great opportunity to collect valuable zero-party data. Add a preference collection option to your seasonal sign-up unit so you can personalize their future SMS experiences.
Fitnesswear brand VIRUS prepared for the holiday shopping season by growing both their SMS and email lists. Once subscribers entered their information, they were granted early access to the brand’s Black Friday sale.
While the 10% off discount drove immediate online revenue, the early access to shop the seasonal sale added another layer of value for subscribers.
Granting early access to existing sales is a great welcome incentive for your seasonal strategy. And the VIP experience teases the SMS channel perks to come for the holidays and beyond.
Clove made sure their “Treasured Trio” collection launch stood out during the holidays with a gamified sign-up strategy. They promoted the treasure hunt and “precious prize” in an Instagram Story, which directed followers to the SMS sign-up landing page. After opting in for SMS, new subscribers were led through a quiz via Two-Way Journeys™.
The questions took subscribers on a journey through Clove’s “Our Story” page and Instagram profile. After completing the treasure hunt, subscribers received $10 off the new collection.
Consumers can get lost in the sea of seasonal offers they receive from different brands during the holidays. Try adding two-way text messaging to your strategy to build a more personalized and memorable experience.
Apparel retailer PacSun’s multi-step sign-up flow helped them learn more about their new subscribers, creating a zero-party data wonderland. With Attentive’s Spin-to-Win feature, mobile site visitors could try their chance at winning up to 15% off their order after signing up for SMS.
The next step used a Preference Collection form that asked potential subscribers what type of items they’re shopping for—Kids, Women, Men, or Unisex. This simple question let the brand save these preferences as custom attributes on each subscriber’s profile, so they could send them relevant messaging throughout the customer journey.
Combine data-collecting strategies with gamified moments—like Attentive’s Spin-to-Win sign-up units—to create a win-win for you and your subscribers.
Skincare brand Colorescience caught the eye of holiday shoppers by offering a giveaway in their Black Friday sign-up unit. This unique perk was tied to their rewards program, delivering the prize in the form of loyalty points. They noted that winners would get more points by shopping in-store, encouraging new subscribers to look into their locations.
Colorescience sent a celebratory text message to the winner, guiding them to become a loyalty member and claim their prize just in time for the holidays.
While holiday shoppers are on the lookout for the best deals, this is a prime time to drive sign-ups for your loyalty program. Offering timely and exclusive offers to rewards members now will help boost retention all year long.
Farmacy Beauty—a beauty and skincare brand—teased their upcoming Cyber Week deals with a holiday SMS sign-up unit on their mobile website. With just two taps, shoppers could join the SMS list and get exclusive holiday deals directly to their phone.
While Farmacy Beauty had the attention of this new audience, they welcomed new subscribers with a “Black Friday Prep Checklist.” The simple list promoted the brand’s loyalty program (“The Hive”) and TikTok account. They also encouraged subscribers to start adding items to their cart, so they could check out as soon as the deals dropped.
With the busy marketing season ahead, try a low-lift list growth strategy—like promoting an existing holiday offer or simply changing the sign-up unit background to a seasonal product image. Or, try a dash of VIP messaging and a teaser for what’s to come to boost your SMS list growth throughout the shopping season.
Hard kombucha brand JuneShine grew their SMS list leading up to Black Friday by teasing their exclusive holiday promotions in a seasonal sign-up unit. They specified the sale dates, creating a sense of urgency that encouraged users to sign-up for the channels and stay tuned.
JuneShine checked that potential subscribers were over 21 by asking for their birthday before they could sign up for texts.
Try collecting birthdays in your seasonal sign-up unit. Then, you can offer timely birthday perks or share gift recommendations based on each subscriber’s birth month.
Natural dog food brand Bully Bunches launched a Cyber Monday sign-up unit on their mobile site to simultaneously grow their SMS and email subscriber lists. The adorable background image and generous 40% off discount enticed shoppers to sign-up and learn more.
This all-in-one strategy also grew the brand’s rewards program. The double “Bully Bucks” incentive was a great way to reward existing members, while encouraging new subscribers to sign up for the loyalty program and take advantage of double points.
Mobile shoppers who are interested in the exclusive perks of SMS are also a great audience to promote your rewards program to. Try using loyalty rewards as an incentive in your sign-up unit to do more with less during the busy season.
Dae, a haircare line inspired by sunny Arizona, aims to inspire their community through positivity. Lifecycle Marketing Manager Brianna Zukoski shares the inside scoop on effective retention strategies, sustainability, and Dae’s new loyalty program, the Daedreamers Club.
Brianna: At Dae, we’re all about community and fostering engagement among our customers. That’s why we’ll be hosting more live shopping events with our founder, Amber Fillerup Clark, this holiday season. Shoppers can chat with us and learn more about our brand, product offerings, gift guides, and more in a fun and interactive way.
Brianna: We’ll use SMS to increase revenue and drive repeat purchases. We’ve set some really aggressive goals to achieve this. We’re hoping to grow our SMS and email lists by 20% over the holidays. Our goal is to see SMS bring in 35% of total e-commerce revenue. On top of these two metrics-driven goals, we also want to increase our customers’ brand loyalty.
Brianna: We believe haircare doesn’t have to be complicated, so our products are simple, yet effective. We want our customers to know that Dae Hair can fit into their everyday hair care routine seamlessly. We’ve found that using SMS to let our customers know when a product is back in stock has been extremely effective.
I think a lot of times it's just about understanding what your customers want, and letting them know you have what they’re looking for. SMS is such an effective channel for communicating that to them. And it’s helping us reach our goal of building relationships with our customers, and we want to foster and grow that.
Brianna: We place a lot of emphasis on educating our customers about what we’re doing as a brand to be more sustainable and conscious of the planet we share. We’re constantly working behind the scenes on initiatives to become more sustainable.
For example, we’re incorporating more PCR (post-consumer recycled materials) and bioresin into our packaging. Our Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Cream’s tube is made from 100% bioresin—AKA sugarcane—making it 100% recyclable.
Brianna: We’re very excited about our new loyalty program, the Daedreamers Club. We’ve incorporated SMS into our loyalty program by offering points for subscribing to our SMS list. We’ll also be using SMS to help market the program to subscribers and drive more loyalty sign-ups. When we launched our program, we announced it on SMS to encourage subscribers to join.
Brianna: SMS is just such an immediate and conversational channel, which is really effective for increasing engagement. Almost everyone has a smartphone. And let’s be honest, as soon as a text message comes through, you’re looking at it to see who it’s from. I think my go-to tip would be to just start if you haven’t already! We’ve seen a lot of success with SMS at Dae Hair.
Brianna: It’s so hard to choose! I think my favorite Dae products would have to be our new Hibiscus Wave Spray and our Monsoon Moisture Mask. I have naturally wavy hair, so our wave spray enhances my natural texture and gives me soft, touchable waves. And the Monsoon Moisture Mask smells like a dream and is perfect for a self-care night. It leaves my hair feeling so soft and silky smooth, I can’t stop touching it after I get out of the shower.
GUESS, an iconic retailer, delivers on their audience’s expectations of seamless hybrid experiences. E-Commerce Operations Project Manager, Cindy Roath, dishes on omnichannel list growth strategies, conversational SMS, and the testing results that surprised her.
Cindy: This holiday season will be our one year anniversary of working with Attentive. We've already built a strong foundation. Now, we're excited to take full advantage of SMS alongside our email and push notification programs.
We're exploring new ways to grow our SMS subscriber list. We're also testing different ways to engage our customers, including conversational text messaging. Finally, as our channel has grown, we're starting to differentiate content across SMS, email, and push notifications. For example, we’ve been sending SMS-exclusive offers to see if they drive more engagement.
Cindy: I think it comes down to communicating clearly with the customer through a channel they'll pay attention to. SMS gives our audience another option to engage with us, and it's already paying off. Giving them the ability to choose has ultimately driven more engagement.
Cindy: We want to reach customers and drive SMS sign-ups wherever they're shopping. Our team is adding signage to our stores to drive sign-ups. We're also looking at direct lead generation from Google, so shoppers can sign up and claim an offer before they get to our site.
To build excitement and urgency, we’ll update our sign-up units with new offers throughout the holiday season. For example, we'll invite customers to sign up to be the first to know about product launches and collaborations. And during major sales, like Cyber Week, we’ll update the sign-up offer to match our site-wide promotions.
Cindy: My biggest piece of advice is to test different ways of speaking with your subscribers. You can test how they respond to images vs. videos, or different two-way conversation prompts. Testing will help you learn a lot about what your customers are looking for on this channel. We’ve actually had some surprise results…
Cindy: It turns out our subscribers really love our campaign video content. Our video messages ultimately drive a lot of engagement. It’s also something that I haven’t seen from a lot of other brands. I feel like we’re delivering something new and exciting to our audience.
Cindy: You can never go wrong with activewear. Whether it's leggings, sweats, or a hoodie, people love something that's comfortable. My second go-to is a handbag. I think shoulder bags or mini satchels make great gifts.
Founded by makeup artist Bobbi Brown, Jones Road Beauty believes in clean, high-grade makeup formulas that work for everyone. Joanne Coffey, Assistant Manager of Retention Marketing, spills her secrets on personalizing SMS interactions with zero-party data, and shares her hot take on why you shouldn’t always include a CTA in your brand’s texts.
Joanne: We’re focused on using SMS to create personalized experiences. Ahead of the holidays, we’ll gather zero-party data from our SMS subscribers using Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys™. We’ll ask questions like, “What’s your skin type?”, “What are you interested in shopping for?”, and “Do you prefer neutral or bold colors?”
By capturing this data before BFCM, we’ll be able to use it during the holiday season (and after) to send super relevant text messages to our subscribers.
Joanne: A challenge for any brand during BFCM is breaking through the clutter. One way we plan to stand out is by making our text messages feel and sound like Jones Road Beauty is texting their best friend. We want our voice to sound personal, relatable, and recognizable.
Joanne: While it may not be the most popular opinion, I’d like to send text messages to our subscribers that don’t include a CTA. You wouldn’t text your friends asking them to do something each time, right? So I plan to test sending our subscribers a motivational quote, an affirmation, or a link to a funny, on-brand TikTok. Plus, it’s an extension of our voice. We want to be friendly and relatable. I’m curious what kind of engagement this approach could bring.
Joanne: Jones Road is a pretty young brand, founded in October 2020. We’re constantly refining the brand voice, testing, and innovating to understand what people want to see from us.
So A/B testing within our SMS channel has been very insightful for us. Not only are we testing the basics (such as send time, SMS vs. MMS, and segmentation), but we’re also testing educational content vs. more promotional, addressing pain points vs. hopes and dreams, and sharing press hits vs. reviews.
Our founder, Bobbi Brown, is out there every day inspiring women and makeup artists to embrace their imperfections, and use products that enhance their features vs. hiding them. I use her best practices and tips in our SMS campaigns and post-purchase flows to help build excitement before a customer’s order arrives on their doorstep.
Joanne: My go-to tip for marketers who are just starting out with SMS marketing is to humanize the channel and create messaging that sounds like a conversation vs. a marketing message. Ask your subscribers questions and gather zero-party data that helps you personalize their experience. The possibilities are endless with SMS, so keep in mind that following “best practices” might not always be what’s best for your brand. Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Joanne: My current Jones Road favorites are What The Foundation (WTF) and our Miracle Balm in bronze. WTF gives me light and dewy coverage that lets my skin breathe during the summer. After I apply WTF, I use the Bronze Miracle Balm on the perimeters of my face. It gives me a beautiful bronzed glow, so these products are on daily repeat for me!
Hot Topic, the pop-culture and music merch retailer, is building relationships with their customers by having truly two-way interactions. Email Marketing Manager Faith Bukauskas gives us the exclusive on how the brand is using conversational text messaging and orchestrating their messaging across channels to keep holiday shoppers coming back.
Faith: The trend I'm paying most attention to is customers shopping early. People are getting ready for the holidays ahead of the traditional shopping window to avoid stressful shipping delays.
That said, there are always people who are going to shop at the last minute. Spreading awareness about our in-store pick-up option will definitely bring those shoppers back to us during crunch time.
Faith: We hit a huge list growth milestone this year. Now, it's all about keeping those subscribers engaged and driving repeat purchases. We're going to surprise them with a little gift-giving of our own, sending them personalized offers to encourage them to keep shopping with us.
Another top challenge this holiday season will be reaching customers at the right moment. Even though most of us check email on our phones, we usually need a few quiet moments to find something interesting. During the holiday season, those quiet moments can be rare. Because people engage with text messages as soon as they get them, we're going to use SMS to capture on-the-go shoppers' attention.
Faith: We haven't fully tapped into SMS to build loyalty yet, but we have big plans. We promote our loyalty program in our welcome journey to encourage opt-ins early on. We also use conversational text messaging to ask subscribers if they're a loyalty member. If they are and reply “yes,” we send them a message celebrating their membership. If they reply "no," then we encourage them to sign up. We also engage subscribers who reply "no" or don't respond at all with messages highlighting the loyalty benefits they're missing out on.
Soon, we're going to offer additional incentives to loyalty members who sign up for texts. We're also going to integrate SMS into our email journeys to celebrate customer milestones, like earned rewards or tier upgrades.
Faith: Building a relationship with our customers will come down to making them feel like we're talking with them, not talking at them. This holiday season, we're going to get to know our subscribers by asking them about their preferences, who they're shopping for, and more. We're going to make them feel heard by replying with personalized offers and recommendations.
Using conversational text messaging, we can help direct them to the product they're looking for. That mobile interaction mimics the experience of talking to an in-store associate, with the added benefit for us of collecting helpful data to personalize future campaigns.
Faith: Can I share two? First, if you're just getting started, pay attention to what other retailers are doing and figure out what you can adapt for your brand. Not every strategy is right for every brand, but it can spark an idea for a strategy that does fit your audience's needs.
Second, put yourself in your customer's mindset. Sometimes, as marketers, we have a checklist of things we want to send to our customers and we forget that it can be a bit overwhelming to be on the receiving end. It's already an uphill battle to get your customers' attention—it's even more difficult if you're competing against yourself.
Consider how your text messages work with the other channels they engage with you on. Ask yourself, what kind of messages do I want to receive, and how often? What do I find most valuable or engaging? Do I want to receive this message across channels, or just once on a specific channel?
Take a break from holiday planning, and shop the products that SMS marketing experts at Dae, GUESS, Hot Topic, and Jones Road Beauty think are all that and a bag of chips.
This organic cotton hoodie lets you be totally comfy while also totally stylin'. You can't ask for more.
Cowabunga, dude. This lean, green, and mean Raphael bobblehead would look awesome next to a lava lamp.
This light-weight, buildable spray gives you effortless waves to go with your sunny highlights.
This holiday preparedness bundle will have you study-hall ready (just don’t forget your Trapper Keeper).
This luxe handbag features a convertible strap, so you can wear it as a crossbody or shoulder bag (taking your look from mall-ready to a night out).
Miracle Balm will give you a light wash of color and moisture for a rad no-makeup look.
Dry hair? As if. Check out this mask full of hydrating oils and strengthening butters. Trust us, it’s better than mayonnaise.
Pair this iconic t-shirt with some light wash jeans and high tops for a look you’ll really, really want.
A cross between a tinted moisture balm and a traditional foundation, WTF gives you a complexion Jennifer Aniston would be jealous of.
Throw on your flannel and fire up your modem. Browse SMS tips and examples, get the 411 from marketers, find your perfect SMS match, and jam out to our mixtape.