How to Continue the Conversation (and Sales) in January with SMS Marketing for Your Ecommerce Brand
News, Campaigns, Retention / Loyalty, Ideas / Inspiration

How to Continue the Conversation (and Sales) in January with SMS Marketing for Your Ecommerce Brand

Laura Serino

December 22, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Once you’ve bounced back from a little holiday R&R, January isn’t the time to become complacent with your SMS marketing strategy.

According to a report from Sale Cycle, January produces the third-biggest sales peak of the year as shoppers go bargain-hunting after the holidays.

And let’s not forget about Valentine’s Day, another huge ecommerce opportunity. According to the NRF, consumers planned to spend an average of $196.31 on their February 14 festivities in 2021—up 21% over 2020’s previous record.

Okay, January, we see you!

With plenty of purchases up for grabs during the first month of the year, let’s hone in on some SMS strategies to start the new year off right.

Here’s what to send this month.

Re-Engage Holiday Shoppers with Winback Campaigns

You converted a lot of new customers during the holiday season. Don’t let that list growth go stale; fire off a January win-back message to keep them engaged.

Create a segment of new subscribers who purchased during the months of November and December—but haven’t bought anything from you since then. Send them a quick “we miss you” campaign with a discount code—or even a link to new products you’ve added since the last time they purchased.

Want to try something a little more creative? Ask subscribers to respond to a campaign in order to receive a prize or discount code. The highest-intent subscribers are the most likely to respond, which means you’ll net an even higher ROI.

Here’s a simple example from home decor brand Redline Steel:

Promote Your Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs offer a powerful way to keep customers engaged and turn them into brand loyalists. (You can check out all our loyalty program integrations here.)

Set up loyalty automations reminding your VIPs to redeem their points before they expire—and nudging them to use referral codes in order to earn even more rewards.

Sending campaigns tailored to your different loyalty tiers with pre-access to events or product sneak peeks is another way to reward and engage your biggest fans.

Here’s an example bedding brand Brooklinen sent to their “Comfort Crew” offering first dibs on an annual sale:

Host a Contest

Engage with your subscribers by asking them to submit responses in a contest. Here’s a great example from The Perfect Jean that asked for submissions and then sent a follow-up campaign to everyone that engaged with a promo code.

Hop on the “New Year, New You” Train

It’s the time of year when everyone wants to stop bingeing holiday cookies and instead take action on their health. As such, January is a key selling season—specifically for brands in the health, wellness, self-care, and fitness spaces.

When peak gifting season is over, many consumers turn their attention to themselves—investing in beauty potions, health tonics, and new workout regimens.

Capitalize on the reset mindset with campaigns that resonate with the desire for a fresh start.For example, you could jumpstart the new year with a big sale on top-selling products. Deep discounts can be really effective after the holidays (e.g., 30% off or more, a BOGO special, or a free gift).

Here are a couple of examples from meal prep delivery brand Whole Body Fuel and supplement brand Insane Labz.

For those subscribers who do purchase, create a segment targeting them with health and wellness check-ins through the coming months.

This is also a key opportunity for subscription-based services. Consumers hoping to start the new year off on the right foot will be more willing to sign up for a subscription in the health and wellness space, as seen in this campaign from plant-based protein brand Truvani.

For those subscribers who do purchase, create a segment targeting them with health and wellness check-ins through the coming months.

Kick Off a New Year’s Challenge

If you’ve ever sat down to make a list of new year’s resolutions (write in a journal every day, learn crow pose, etc.) you know that they always come with the best of intentions. Actually sticking to them is another story.

Help your subscribers stay accountable with a resolution challenge. Here are some ideas for every industry:Health/Fitness: Invite subscribers to a workout challenge. Have them opt-in with a keyword to receive tips along the way.

Here’s an example from health and beauty brand Obvi:

Beauty: Create a “better skin” or “better hair” campaign featuring your best-selling products. Have subscribers respond with a keyword reflecting their biggest skin or hair challenge, and then follow up with suggested products to give them a glow-up.

Fashion: Kick off a capsule challenge. Ask customers to send photos of an item of clothing or an accessory from your brand and all the ways they wear it within a 30-day period. Incentivize participation with the promise of a hefty gift card for the top submissions.

Home + Lifestyle: Encourage subscribers to get organized in the new year—whether that means cleaning out their closet, paring down their pantry, or decluttering their computer desktop. Even if you don’t peddle organizational products, it’s a great reason to provide content (a watch party for Home Edit season two) or converse with customers on a topic at the top of everyone’s mind in the new year.

Food + Beverage: Everyone wants to dive into better eating habits this time of year! Do you sell healthy beverages? Do a 30-day soda swap challenge. Ugly Drinks used the new year to do just that and push out their subscription service.

Whether it comes in the form of education or engagement, delivering added value to your subscribers is a fantastic way to build community and brand loyalty so that when it is time to buy, they’ll come back.

More of a sweets brand? No worries. Remind them that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner instead.

Have a Winter Sale

As mentioned above, getting organized is a huge vibe this time of year—and for many merchants, that means clearing out excess products.

Assess your inventory levels and markdown overstocks or items that sold slower during the holiday season. A post-holiday sale most certainly doesn’t apply for everyone—not everyone has the bandwidth or the inventory to manage markdowns this early in the year.

But if you are planning to run a sale, make sure your sale takes place during a limited time frame to encourage subscribers to act—and remind them that inventory will go quickly.

Here are some examples from supplement shops Insane Labz and Inno Supps.

Send a Survey

The start of a new year is a perfect time to ask your customers to weigh in on what they want from you, whether you’re requesting feedback on products, YouTube channel topics, or anything else you’re wanting subscribers to weigh in on.

Keep it short and sweet and if you really want people to opt-in, let them know every entry will receive a discount code or be entered to win a prize.

Celebrate a Holiday

Here are a few other celebratory occasions in January that might be worth a campaign or two:

  • Valentine’s Day (Pre-Holiday Gift Shopping) – Shipping deadlines for Valentine’s Day will come sooner than you think. Start planning to promote this huge gifting occasion in early January.

  • National Keto Day (January 5) – This is a great opportunity for a promotion or new launch for fitness/health brands.

  • National Use Your Gift Card Day (January 15) – Send out a campaign to customers who purchased gift cards during the holidays.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 17) – Our tip is to focus on acts of charity and remembrance rather than a sale.

  • Get to Know Your Customers Day (January 20) – This is a good time to send a quiz or a conversational text to your subscribers.

  • National Spouses Day (January 26) – Get customers to show their significant other a little love.

November and December tend to get all the glory, but there’s plenty of revenue to be made in January. While other brands slow down, yours can take advantage of the opportunity to engage with—and stand out to—your subscribers. Looking for some SMS inspo? Check out some Fantastic Texts right here!

Laura Serino

Laura Serino

Senior Manager of Content and Community

Laura is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. She has spent the past decade working in ecommerce. When she isn't writing about her favorite topic (marketing) or listening to podcasts about her other favorite topic (ecommerce), she's hanging out with her two sons on an island off the coast of Maine.