Case Studies (part 1) - Businesses using SMS marketing to their advantage

June 11, 2015 Edward Category 0 Comments

SMS marketing is used by all companies, whatever their shape and size to enhance their profits, make customers aware of their latest deals, perform vital services and raise awareness about important issues for charities. These range from a local takeaway wishing to boost their Friday night trade, to multi-national corporations and sporting organisations using SMS for their benefit. Below are some examples and case studies of extremely successful SMS marketing campaigns, how they solved a particular business problem and their positive outcomes. These examples can also help to decide how you can use SMS marketing to suit YOUR business strategy with SMS Bandit.

I’m feeling hungry, so let’s go to Pizza Hut! Now amongst the yummy pizzas on offer here is also one of the cleverest examples of how to use SMS marketing to promote business.

Pizza Hut logo

Pizza hut use a strategy called, “geofencing.”. The company compiled its list by sending a simple message with a “call to action” which was to text the work, “PIZZA” to a short code number. This enabled them to find their current location. Everybody who opted into this campaign and were within half a mile of a branch automatically received a text message advertising their latest offer.

This was rolled out for fifteen months across 340 branches in the UK. Their campaign was 142% more efficient than other methods and helped to create a loyal band of customers.

One of Pizza Hut’s main rivals, “Domino’s Pizza” had an altogether different solution to their business problem. One particular branch in Charlotte, North Carolina was located close to the city’s university campus. The franchisee wanted to attract more students to his shop for takeaway pizza. He had tried the traditional methods of mail shots, emails and even a Facebook group, but none of these seemed to have an effect on the branch’s takings. So he decided to try SMS marketing, at a time when the first smartphones were becoming popular with the local student population. He decided to use the university’s basketball team, known as the “69ers,” to kick off his campaign. He increased the Facebook group’s number and used this to obtain a contact list by advertising at the basketball arena to gain initial interest. His first text message was a call to action for the students to send the word, “49ers” to a shortcode number and win a free pizza. Ten per cent students who attended the game took up the offer and by the end of the night he had 600 ‘opt ins’ and a further 350 members of the branch’s Facebook group.

His campaign carried on for the remainder of the semester and by linking his SMS messages to the social media group had 2,000 members with a mailing list of 850 students. That is potentially a lot of extra pizza sold.

In another part of the takeaway food market, sixteen branches of Subway in America instigated a successful SMS campaign. To opt in users had to text a keyword to a short code number. Then, customers were sent coupons and product offers in return, including a “free 6” Subway sandwich with 32oz drink. Each offer was sent with an expiry date to encourage a call to action with a frequency of 4-6 messages per month.

The results of this very basic campaign were phenomenal. Over 5,000 customers signed up to the messages and 13,000 texts were sent in total. The redemption rate was 9%, which does not sound a lot, but compared to only 1% when they did the same using direct mail it was an improvement.

The campaign was so successful through these sixteen branches that it was rolled out over 300 outlets across America.

Subway logo

Slightly closer to home a Subway franchisee in Manchester started an SMS campaign to boost sales at his store over the competitive lunchtime period. Initially he sent a first message which gave notice of the campaign ahead in order to legally allow people to opt out of the messages. Then he set to work. His first message reminded customers of the legendary £3 lunchtime offer at 11.30am. The results were astounding! Where once lunchtime trade was steady this particular day they were queuing out the door!

Cider giants, Bulmers took advantage of a surprisingly hot summer’s heatwave in the UK. Like Pizza Hut they “geofenced” their customers so if they were within half a mile of a pub selling their cider, they received a text message, which read like this:

“Why not come and enjoy a refreshing pint of Bulmers at the (enter pub name) Check out other locations here link to website) using the Bulmers local guide. Terms apply To stop text stop to (shortcode).

Bulmers logo

Over the period of one month 77,000 texts were sent with a whopping 25% take up rate. Half of the recipients clicked on the link to the Bulmer’s guide and 53% when surveyed afterwards remembered receiving the texts. Holiday company, Centre Parcs wanted to attract new customers to their family orientated sites. Their message had a simple call to action: Text Forest to 77777.” The potential customers were then sent a DVD and information pack to their address, provided by the recipient. The results of this campaign were astounding. Over 99% of customers who received the information were staying at Centre Parcs for the first time, while 15% of those who requested information bought a holiday. Eighty-two per cent of recipients opted in for future information.

SMS marketing texts can be used to increase sales and create added interest in an event. In 2013 organisers of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone decided to use SMS marketing texts to increase ticket sales for their sporting event. After highlights of the previous race in the calendar in Monaco a text was sent out to 45,000 recipients on the circuit’s database, who had expressed interest in attending future motoring events or had attended one of its races in the past.

It read: “Enjoyed the Monaco Grand Prix? Get your tickets to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone now! http://bit.ly/12wYgh1 To opt out text STOP to 60070″.

By clicking on the link customers were taken directly to a mobile the ticket page where they could easily buy them online for the event.

The chocolate-maker’s Cadbury’s had a rather unique headache in the run up to the biggest sporting events of them all, 2012 The Olympic Games in London. As one of the event’s major sponsors they were given rather too many tickets for their support and did not really know what to do with them. Instead of giving them away to clients or using them for corporate purposes they decided to give them away to members of the public. A promotion before the games started urged buyers to text “JELLY MASCOTS on packets of these specially made sweets. The winner of the competition would win tickets to see the Men’s 100m final, plus other top events. They would also stay in 5 star accommodation and have free transport.

Cadbury logo

Running competitions such as these for a one off event can have enormous impact on customers because it makes them associate and identify with a particular brand and an event. Something as unique as the Olympic Games in London, which are a “once in a lifetime,” experience for many further enhances this association.

SMS messaging does not have to be used to sell products or increase profitability either. They can be used by not-for profit organisations too in order to help get their message out or raise awareness of a particular issue.

The British Army uses SMS messages to aid with the recruitment of soldiers. A simple “Text ARMY” to a short code number activates a callback service which provides potential new recruits with information and how to take their interest in enrolment further. Even non-profit organisations, such as The British Army must comply with the legal regulations of recipients being able to opt in or out of future messages.

SMS is also popular in the charity sector, as it is seen as a non-intrusive way of asking people for donations and a good way of raising awareness about a particular issue.

In 2011 The British Heart Foundation started using SMS marketing to organise a petition to make the teaching of First Aid compulsory in schools and for each pupil to leave with knowledge of how to save a person’s life. Currently the number of signatures it has generated is around 80,000.

Save The Children also used SMS messaging to gain support for a ceasefire between forces in Gaza. Campaigners were urged to sign the petition by texting CEASEFIRE to a shortcode number. This was followed up by MMS messages showing the misery suffered by children in the disputed territory as a result of war. During this campaign 300,000 texts were received with a 4.9% response rate. This increased immensely to 240% when donations and a call back service were included as the call to action.

The versatility and success of mobile SMS marketing has helped a range of businesses, from a local franchise who wants to sell more pizzas through recruitment to the British Army and making donations to causes. In the future companies will find new and more interesting ways to generate business through our phones, while consumers will continue to benefit from the offers, discounts and services that companies provide through SMS messaging.



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About the Author

Jonathan Rudd profile picture

Jonathan Rudd

Jonathan's background is in journalism. He has worked amongst other for the York Press and the Leeds Guide. He is now a freelance journalist and copywriter taking on a wide range of projects for everybody from tradesmen to Internet startups assiting with their content marketing needs.


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