In Search of the GOAT: Top SMS Marketing Campaigns of the Year
Ideas / Inspiration, Campaigns

In Search of the GOAT: Top SMS Marketing Campaigns of the Year

Brooke Andrus

February 23, 2022

Reading Time: 9 minutes

With more than 7,000 merchants on Postscript texting their subscribers all year long, we get to see a lot of amazing SMS marketing in action. So, we wanted to recognize some of our GOATS—the brands that are not only killing it in the creative department, but also embracing smart send strategies for maximum returns.

Ready to level up your brand’s SMS game this year? Here’s some inspo from some of our most successful customers over the last year. The examples featured in this post achieved:

  • at least five figures in total attributed revenue (with many reaching six figures),

  • double-digit earnings per message (EPM), or

  • both!

Keep in mind that these metrics are heavily dependent on list size. (Luckily, Postscript has tons of tools to help you grow your SMS subscriber base. Explore them here!)

Whether you’re just getting started with SMS or fine-tuning your current strategy, this post will help you make SMS your most profitable channel in 2022. 

Our Top Picks from the Top 25 in Total Attributed Revenue

First, we’ll spotlight some of our team’s selections from the 25 highest-performing Postscript customer campaigns sent during the 2021 calendar year (in terms of total revenue attributed to a single campaign message). Note: Postscript users have the option to create custom attribution windows, but the vast majority use the default seven-day window for clicks and 24-hour window for views.

YoungLA BFCM Special Collection Drop

YoungLA Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

Like many brands, YoungLA kicked off BFCM sales early in 2021. They fired off this campaign the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to announce the drop of their Black Friday collection and provide a discount code.

Why It Works

Timeliness

By sending early, YoungLA got ahead of the BFCM noise. Creating a special Black Friday collection added another degree of timeliness to the campaign.

Urgency

In addition to making the message more timely, the Black Friday collection implies limited-time availability—enticing recipients to take action. A substantial discount of 30% adds to the urgency.

Scarcity

Ending the message with more emphasis on limited product supply further motivates customers to take action.

Organic Olivia Black Friday Early Access

Organic Olivia Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

Organic Olivia sent this campaign on Thanksgiving to alert subscribers to their Black Friday deals.

Why It Works

Exclusivity

Giving someone “early” access to something implies that they are special. But Organic Olivia takes it even further by using the word “exclusive” to describe the discount code—and inserting the letters “VIP” into the code itself.

Specificity

No teasers here. Subscribers know they’ll need to buy at least $250 worth of product to unlock the highest discount. This strategy is a great way to increase AOV and capture high-intent customers.

Variety

By offering three different deals, the brand makes sure there’s something for everyone—whether or not they make a big purchase. Double loyalty points reward existing loyalty program participants—regardless of the amount they spend—while also incentivizing new customers to sign up for the program in order to reap the double-points benefit.

Dr. Squatch Black Friday Second Send

Dr. Squatch Top Campaign 2021 (second send)

Campaign Quick Summary

This was the second of two messages Dr. Squatch sent to subscribers to promote their Black Friday sale. (In line with a trend we saw across our customer base, Dr. Squatch’s afternoon Black Friday send outperformed their morning send.) 

Why It Works

Brevity

Because this is a follow-up message, there’s no need to make it long-winded. It’s a quick reminder that gets right to the point.

Urgency

The message leads with a same-day deadline to take advantage of the deal so recipients know they only have a few more hours to act.

Specificity

Shoppers enter the site knowing they must spend at least $55 to unlock the guaranteed 20% discount, which likely led to a higher AOV.

My Patriot Supply Christmas in October

My Patriot Supply Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

This MMS campaign from My Patriot Supply combines Halloween fun with worries over holiday shipping delays to capture subscribers’ attention and get them thinking about shopping for gifts earlier than usual.

Why It Works

Timeliness

Sending a Halloween-themed campaign in October is timely on its own, but weaving in current events (i.e., supply chain issues) and connecting it all to the need to shop for holiday gifts earlier than usual makes this message truly stand out.

Creativity

In addition to a creative theme with great copy, this campaign features an eye-catching GIF that immediately captures the spirit of the promotion.

Urgency

Sure, holiday shopping may not feel particularly urgent in October—at least not normally. But by playing up the possibility of supply chain-related shipping delays, the brand creates a sense of urgency for subscribers to get ahead of the game and avoid headaches later in the year.

Dr. Squatch Special Product Drop

Dr. Squatch Top Campaign 2021 Special Drop

Campaign Quick Summary

In this MMS campaign, Dr. Squatch sends subscribers a photo of their special Star Wars collection, announces that it’s now available for purchase, and directs them to buy now.

Why It Works

Creativity

Dr. Squatch capitalizes on the chance to get a bit playful with the music-inspired intro (in an on-brand way, of course). And because the product’s packaging and overall appearance are what really make it special, this was the perfect time to execute an MMS—rather than SMS—campaign. 

Novelty

Most customers won’t buy this product because they need soap; they’ll buy it because it’s new and unique—and because they are major Star Wars fans.

Simplicity

Dr. Squatch lets the photo do the talking and simply invites recipients to shop by following the provided link.

HydroJug Black Friday Sale Announcement

HydroJug Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

HydroJug sent this campaign on Thanksgiving to announce the official start of their Black Friday sale.

Why It Works

Timeliness

This brand got a bit playful with its Turkey Day timing by owning up to interrupting dinner.

Variety

Two deals are better than one—and introducing a higher discount on select items may pique subscribers’ interest enough to explore the sale and see which products fall into the big-discount bucket.

Scarcity

Offering the higher discount on “select” items also introduces limitations—which means recipients know they must take action before those “select” products sell out. Otherwise, they’ll miss out on the better deal.

Beddy’s Summer Blowout

Beddy's Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

Beddy’s sent this campaign to announce the start of a site-wide sale and provide SMS subscribers with a code to redeem for an additional discount.

Why It Works

Exclusivity

If regular discounts of up to 50% weren’t enough to entice subscribers, Beddy’s offered an additional 20% off with the use of a special coupon code. Upping the ante for subscribers makes them feel like they’re in on something special—and after doing the quick math in their heads (50% + 20% = up to 70% off), they’ll be much more likely to click.

Urgency

The discount may be exclusive, but that doesn’t mean others won’t jump on the opportunity to use it—and Beddy’s makes that clear by ending this message with a strong call to buy the sale items before they’re “GONE.”

Simplicity

This is a textbook sale campaign—short, sweet, and to-the-point. And in this case, it totally works. While you don’t want to overuse this sort of strategy, when done right—and sparingly—it can be very effective.

Vintage Boho Bags Summer Flash Sale

Vintage Boho Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

This MMS campaign from Vintage Boho Bags announces a flash sale with deep discounts on select items and includes a GIF showcasing different products.

Why It Works

Urgency

The use of all-caps makes the message feel super urgent, and the copy in the attention-grabbing GIF immediately tells subscribers that items will sell out fast—pushing them to take immediate action.

Accessibility

The brand sells higher-ticket items, but the message clarifies that they offer payment plans with as little as 25% down. This detailed information could help convert buyers who are on the fence.

Imagery

This is an excellent use of a GIF image. It shows recipients multiple examples of featured sale items and includes copy elements that reinforce the urgency of the offer. 

More Picks from the Top 500 in Attributed Revenue

Postscript customers collectively sent millions of texts through our platform last year, so cracking the top 500 was no easy feat. These five campaigns generated substantial revenue for their respective brands. But more importantly, they incorporated some applause-worthy strategies we’d love to see more of in 2022. 

Bones Coffee Fall Giveaway

Bones Coffee Top Campaign 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

This MMS campaign from Bones Coffee offers two deals in one: 20% off and a free gift with the use of a special code for purchases made during the specified time period.

Why It Works

Urgency

This deal is only available for one weekend, so subscribers know they can’t wait long to take action.

Specificity

In addition to designating a very short and specific window of time for this deal, Bones Coffee teases the giveaway part of the campaign by rattling off some specific potential prizes. This gets recipients thinking—perhaps even dreaming—about which free gift they might score.

Mystery

Instead of offering the same free gift to everyone, the brand introduces an element of mystery and chance by indicating that the customer must purchase in order to find out which gift they’ve won. This gives them an extra little push (beyond the 20% discount) to “roll the dice” and buy.

J Skis Two-Message “Oops”

JSkis Top Campaigns 2021 A
JSkis Top Campaigns 2021 B

Campaign Quick Summary

For this campaign, J Skis first sent subscribers a message that appears to be intended for someone named Taylor, who is working on the company’s new website. A little while later, they sent the second message to “apologize” for the misfired text and prompt recipients to go ahead and check out the new pages—which happen to contain new products.

Why It Works

Creativity

This campaign proves that you don’t have to get fancy with texts to stand out. In fact, these messages stand out because they look like regular ol’ messages people send to each other all the time. By staying completely authentic to the channel and working in some humor, J Skis creates a memorable, on-brand experience for subscribers. It really does feel like a text you’d get from a friend or coworker.

Exclusivity

Anything password-protected feels exclusive—and the second text’s instruction to keep it “on the DL” adds to the hush factor. People feel like they’ve been let in on something secret and special, piquing their curiosity and pushing them to click.

Urgency

Urgency drives action out of exclusivity, and this campaign executes that principle perfectly. Without coming right out and telling customers to act now, the second text makes clear that subscribers’ early access to the new product pages will only last until tomorrow.

HUSH Elk Hunt Giveaway

Hush Top Campaigns 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

This MMS campaign from HUSH announces a prize drawing for a guided elk hunt worth more than $16,000. Subscribers gain one drawing entry for every dollar they spend on HUSH products.

Why It Works

Novelty

You don’t get many chances at once-in-a-lifetime experiences like this one. While many customers grow weary of standard sales, this campaign is intriguing because it’s so different. And it clearly worked: this was HUSH’s all-time best performing campaign. 

Creativity

This is an excellent use of MMS. The elk image included with the message adds to its effectiveness, because it allows subscribers to imagine themselves on a hunt coming face-to-face with a trophy.

Urgency

Customers only have so long to amass drawing entries, so they have to act if they want a chance to win. This is a great way to get folks who have been contemplating a purchase over the finish line.

Bishop Rotary Inventory Update

Bishop Rotary Top Campaigns 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

In this straightforward, yet effective campaign, Bishop Rotary announces access to a new product and shares inventory numbers for recently restocked products.

Why It Works

Exclusivity

In addition to providing subscribers with first access to a new product, the brand reinforces the exclusivity of the information contained in the message by signing off with a personalized VIP thank-you to make each recipient feel extra special and appreciated. 

Specificity

Disclosing hard inventory numbers—especially for popular, recently restocked items—really makes subscribers feel like they’re being “let in on” special information that no one else has. Furthermore, including any specific quantities implies that supplies are limited—thus creating scarcity (even if it is only imagined). 

Urgency

Exclusivity, specificity, and scarcity add up to urgency. Recipients feel compelled to act on this exclusive information quickly—before the limited inventory runs out.

REDCON1 Product Feedback Request

REDCON1 Top Campaigns 2021

Campaign Quick Summary

Rather than simply doling out another discount, REDCON1 offers a half-off code in exchange for product feedback. Subscribers must complete the linked survey in order to get the discount.

Why It Works

Reciprocity

Sometimes giving away something for nothing has the opposite of the intended effect. By making recipients work for the discount, the brand increases the chances that they will actually use it. After all, they’ve gotta make their time worthwhile.

Flattery

By using the subscriber’s name and emphasizing the value of their individual opinion, REDCON1 makes each recipient feel important. This, in turn, makes them more likely to accept the request. 

Specificity

One crucial detail is that the brand calls out the length of the survey. Before even clicking into it, the subscriber knows it will be short. We’d even take it one step further and include a time estimate.

Bonus: The Most Creative Campaigns of 2021

The Postscript team sees thousands of texts each year. We wanted to know which ones stuck in their memories—in a good way! They came through with tons of awesome examples—the crème de la crème in SMS creativity. We compiled ’em all in a handy PDF reference sheet, which you can download free here.

Get the Free Download: 16 Super-Creative SMS Marketing Examples (and How to Adapt Them for Your Brand)

Here’s a little taste of what you can expect to find in this resource. Be sure to get your free copy to see the other 15 examples!

Vapor95

Vapor95 created a Matrix-inspired campaign urging subscribers to reply with a keyword. The majority of subscribers chose to unlock the mystery and opted for RED over BLUE. This campaign was nominated multiple times, and for good reason—it’s an amazing example of a brand leveraging SMS to increase engagement and delight their subscribers.

Vapor95 Top Campaigns 2021

Feeling inspired? We hope so! But if you’re looking for even more great examples of effective SMS marketing, be sure to check out Fantastic Texts. We add new messages to this awesome catalog of ideas every day, and you can explore by industry and campaign type.

Brooke Andrus

Brooke Andrus

Senior Content Marketing Manager

Brooke Andrus is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. A journalist by trade, Brooke now uses her nose for news to keep ecommerce merchants informed on industry trends and business best practices.