Win customer hearts with SMS marketing

January is the perfect time of year for retailers, restaurants, and travel agents to start interacting with prospective customers. By the beginning of February, supermarket and gift shop shelves will be stocked with St Valentine’s Day gifts. Our social media feeds will be awash with Valentine ideas and suggestions. If you are not already using SMS messages to reach out to your target audience, then now is a good time to explore what it can offer.

Why SMS?

How can you ensure that customers don’t overlook your brand or business this Valentine’s Day? SMS messages are a really efficient way to cut through retail noise. Don’t rely on email or direct mail to get the job done, both are too often overlooked and seasonal events are often time-critical. SMS is 4 times more successful than email in reaching and engaging subscribers. This is because it has an open rate of up to 98%. And we just can’t seem to ignore text messages on our phones as we take a peek at them on average 85 times per day!

Boost your database

You may feel that your current database is serving you well, but there is always room for improvement. Is it up to date and are your subscribers interested in your brand? Are they getting value as a list subscriber? Are you attracting new subscribers? If not, how can you increase your database? Your current subscribers have all opted-in to receive your SMS marketing messages, but they can also opt-out if they are not happy with their interaction. 

Post-Christmas is the perfect time to build your database. Everyone is feeling the pinch of holiday season spending, so the promise of exclusive discounts in time to celebrate St Valentine’s Day is highly appealing.

Use your promotions to entice new customers to opt-in to receive your SMS marketing messages. Online shopping has become the norm for many consumers and as Valentine’s gifts can be a very last-minute thing for many consumers, offering SMS reminders, prompts, ideas and easy ways to purchase should prove attractive to new subscribers.

Ahead of February, consider using these methods to boost your subscriber list:

  • Competitions – You can market these in many different ways, including in-store, on social media channels, on business cards and flyers, on products, etc. 
  • Website data capture – Using your existing website traffic is an easy way to enlist subscribers. Adding a consent tick box to a form that already needs to be filled in, is one simple solution. 
  • Email marketing – We know that email marketing is not as effective as SMS marketing when it comes to open rates but that doesn’t mean the two can’t work well together, especially if your email subscriber list is healthy.
  • Social media – Highlight the additional benefits followers will gain by joining your SMS marketing list. 
  • In-store – It is quite common to promote your SMS campaigns at sales points in stores. Shortcodes are particularly useful here, rather than opting for lengthy form filling as shoppers are usually short on time. 
  • Feedback cards – Some restaurants leave cards on tables requesting feedback via a shortcode or QR code. The waiting staff can also be incentivised to encourage SMS opt-ins by talking to their customers about the benefits of being an SMS subscriber by adding their name to a card. The customer then adds the name of their waiter to their sign-up which in turn helps staff to receive a reward. This can also work well for retail. 


Products such as cards and themed merchandise will usually be purchased based on convenience and price. The market is very competitive now so to maximise sales, you’ll need to attract the attention of busy shoppers and make the purchase experience hassle-free. Put yourself out there with targeted SMS messages to alert your customers to what you have in stock.

Valentine’s Day promotions

Some ideas for a catchy campaign include:

  • Voucher codes
  • 3 for 2 offers
  • Valentine’s day reminders
  • Valentine’s day countdowns
  • Good-humoured Valentine’s day themed texts with funny gifs, images, or memes
  • Free delivery
  • Free gift
  • Valentine’s day hacks or tips to impress

Help shoppers find the perfect gift

Simplify Valentine’s Day shopping for your subscribers with an SMS gift guide. Show them that there is something for every type of person. Generate a love quiz for subscribers to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.


With segmentation, you can select relevant customers who are likely to be shopping for St Valentine’s Day.

Do some groundwork with your subscriber list well in advance to establish which of your customers to include in your SMS campaign. St Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for some people. Send out a text message to your subscribers and ask if they would like to opt out of the campaign to avoid any upset. This has become a common practice for many retailers around seasonal holidays. It shows customers that you care about what they are interested in and are sensitive to their needs, rather than being focused on just turning a profit.

For example, a quick text similar to below will help you to separate your audience:

“We know that not everyone wishes to acknowledge St Valentine’s Day. If you would rather not receive Valentine’s messages text back “NO” and we will remove you from our seasonal text list.”

Offering your SMS subscribers the opportunity to opt-out of receiving certain text messages will help you to retain them into the future.


Florists have to be one of the busiest of all businesses coming up to St Valentine’s day. It can be really hard for them to predict traffic-flow and they’ll usually base their predicted sales on their previous year’s business.

Many of their sales will be last-minute and will largely be in-person rather than shopping online.

Get ahead of the event with targeted SMS messaging. Build your database using all of your traditional marketing channels and send out a Valentine’s day series to your subscribers inviting them to pre-order gifts. Send out incentives for pre-orders or early bird discount codes. Not only can you generate more sales by using SMS marketing text messages but it will also help you to schedule and plan for one of your busiest trading days of the year.

Transactional SMS messages

One of the brand and nurture advantages of SMS communication is the ability to interact with your customers throughout the sales transaction with online booking via SMS, confirmations, and delivery tracking.

Reservation-based businesses

Restaurants and the travel industry, hairdressers, beauticians and health spas usually see an upturn in business thanks to St Valentine’s Day. To capitalise on the flow of extra business, it is important to let your customers know that you are ready and available for their business. Don’t let your competitors take the lion’s share. Why not consider sending text messages such as:

Only 2 weeks left to book your pre-Valentine’s beauty treatments! Use our SMS appointment booking system to secure your place now. Hurry as places are running out fast”


Need a relaxing spa day with the other half this Valentine’s Day? We hear you. Click on the link to reserve your oasis of calm.”

Automated SMS for Appointments 

Automated SMS helps manage appointments and workloads at busy times to increase efficiency and reduce no-shows.

By using automated SMS, you can allow customers to amend or re-schedule appointments to suit their needs. Additionally, when appointments have been made by whatever means, the platform automatically sends a confirmation that can be added to the client’s calendar. Automated SMS helps manage appointments and workloads at busy times to increase efficiency and reduce no-shows.

Once a booking has been made, automatic reminders can be sent out to the client to reduce the likelihood of no-shows and last-minute cancellations. When last-minute cancellations do occur, with the click of a button you can send out a text to your subscribers to let them know that you have a free slot.


If you enjoy eating out you will have noticed that text communication is very much the norm now. If you thought that there was an overworked maitre d’ punching everyone’s numbers into the restaurant’s mobile phone, you would be mistaken. Savvy establishments are using SMS platforms to streamline communications. It’s very popular with busy customers as the platform has the capacity to send out reminders and allows customers to cancel if they can no longer make the date. Restaurant staff also report that it has reduced their workload as they are spending less time answering phone calls or chasing patrons to confirm bookings.

Text messaging for restaurants is good for:

  • Booking confirmations
  • Reservation reminders
  • Managing cancellations and reserve lists
  • Alerting customers to emergency closures
  • Confirming dietary requirements
  • Getting feedback
  • Updating customers on restaurant news
  • Advertising for staff locally

Employees Bulk SMS

Valentine’s Day is one of a long list of special occasions celebrated en masse in restaurants. With extra sittings and people arriving to eat as late as 9.30 pm, Staffing needs can change by the hour. Using SMS to manage staff rotas is a really quick way to reach everyone at short notice.

Staff can pick-up additional shifts, swap with colleagues, or request more shifts by using an SMS messaging system.

The travel industry

The travel industry perhaps doesn’t see the kind of increase in customers that restaurants and retailers do over the Valentine’s period but a romantic getaway for some couples, is the ultimate gift. Bulk SMS is a great way to reach as many subscribers as possible. Holiday bookings require much of the same functionality as restaurants including confirmations and reminders. As well as sending out promotional Valentine’s Day offers, discount codes, and links to dream getaways, travel companies also use SMS messages to:

  • Send check-in information
  • Send links to online check-in
  • Promote upgrades
  • Remind passengers to bring passports or to check baggage weight
  • Keep travellers updated with flight changes
  • Communicate emergency information
  • Maintain good customer service.

For businesses that don’t trade in hearts and flowers…

Many businesses do not see an upturn in St Valentine’s day sales but can still use the day as an opportunity to have a conversation with customers. Sending out a happy Valentine’s day message and offering themed incentives to boost your sales could be considered.

SMS is an excellent addition to your marketing toolkit

SMS for business is a key marketing tool and has the potential to boost sales across a range of industries. Want to learn more about how SMS can help your business and how to get more out of your investment? Simply start your free trial today!