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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the perfect SMS lineup brought a local sports television show a major boost in viewership and customer interaction.

Who says that only the biggest brands can get in on the power of SMS marketing? As Kentucky Sports Television (KSTV) showed with a three-week mobile marketing campaign, sometimes it’s not about the size of the marketing bat you bring to the game, but how you swing it. To learn more about KSTV’s successful sports-oriented text initiative, let’s spend a few minutes breaking down the show’s strategy and what it might mean for your organization moving forward.

Honing In on the Right Audience

For KSTV, the whole point of reaching out to customers via mobile messages was to boost the interaction between the community and this sports talk show. Naturally, the people pulling the strings of this campaign knew that not everyone would be interested in learning more about the sports-related content of this program. Instead of wasting time appealing to the masses, KSTV honed in a very specific target audience – men, aged 18 to 45, in the Louisville, Kentucky area. By keeping the focus on this group, KSTV could begin to mold the perfect plan to increase interaction from this demographic.

Enacting a Powerful Game Plan

Once the sports program had its sights set on this group, it needed to hammer out its mobile marketing game plan. With this in mind, KSTV set out to create “The Ultimate Tailgating Experience.” At the heart of this concept was enticing these men to sign-up for the mobile contact list in exchange for a chance to win a plethora of goodies. Included in this prize package was a $150 gift card to the Kroger grocery store, a case of Rootie’s BBQ sauce, an event tent, a grill, and a wide selection of sports memorabilia. In short, everything a sports fanatic would need to enjoy tailgating before a major sports event.

To add a little icing on the cake, KSTV provided extra opportunities to win the event for those willing to opt-in to its mobile marketing contact list more than once. In total, 10 additional shots at the grand prize were up for grabs for the fans willing to “double opt-in.” If you’re unfamiliar with this process, it’s a method usually used to confirm a contact list membership request or as a gateway that unlocks premium services and features – in this case, extra chances to win.

The Final Score

After an exciting three weeks, KSTV was ready to crown a winner. Of course, the winner we’re talking about isn’t the guy that won the tailgating goodies, but rather the sports television program itself. For all of its hard work, KSTV received the greatest prize any brand utilizing SMS marketing could ask for – a massive jump in visibility and consumer interaction.

With several thousand local sports fans participating in the event, KSTV was already on the path to notching a mark in the win column. However, the simple fact that over 54 percent of the respondents agreed to future communications helped lay the foundation for a responsive and connected mobile community. Additionally, KSTV sifted through the data in the weeks following the sweepstakes to learn more about its target demographic. This information would prove valuable in future SMS campaigns and other outreach programs enacted by KSTV.

Maximizing Your Time at the SMS Plate

So now that the clock has reached zero on KSTV’s outstanding SMS campaign, it’s time to figure out what your brand can take from this case study and put to good use the next time it sets into the mobile marketing arena. First up, if you’re going to offer a prize package or sweepstakes, you better make it worth your audience’s time. To make this a little easier, follow in KSTV’s footsteps and spend some time learning a little more about your target demographic. This way, you know exactly what strikes their fancy when it’s time to promote the big event. Additionally, getting creative with your consumer interaction, like double opt-ins and extra sweepstakes entries, helps strengthen the bond between you and your audience. With these lessons learned from KSTV’s campaign, you’ll have everything you need to knock one out of the park the next time you step up to bat with your mobile customers.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Baxter Avenue Morgue connected with customers looking for the perfect Halloween scare via smart SMS messages.

For many people, there’s nothing quite like Halloween. While other holidays focus on bringing together friends and family for more serious reasons, this night is all about scaring the pants off each other. To help add an extra element to the fun and festivities, haunted houses, like the Baxter Avenue Morgue in Louisville, Kentucky, offer up delightfully ghoulish attractions. Unfortunately, when it comes to seasonal businesses with a short operational run, competition can be pretty stiff. With this mind, Baxter Avenue Morgue decided to go all in on a smart SMS plan in an effort to get a leg up on the rest of market. Even if your brand isn’t in the business of scaring its audience, there’s still plenty you can learn by taking a look at this haunted house’s frighteningly successful text message campaign.

The Basic SMS Plan

Baxter Avenue Morgue had one goal in mind when it came to setting up an SMS operation – engage it’s audience and set up future remarketing opportunities. To do this, the campaign decided to offer up a chance to win two free tickets to the attraction for anyone willing to join the haunted house’s mobile marketing contact list. All customers had to do was text the keyword BAXTER and wait for a new contest winner at the end of each week of the promotion.

Taking It a Step Farther with Targeting

However, no great campaign just fires off messages with reckless abandon and hopes for the best. Like plenty of other cases in this mobile marketing series, Baxter Avenue Morgue understood the importance of targeting. With this in mind, the haunted house chose to focus on teenagers and young adults in the Louisville and southern Indiana areas. Not only were these two portions of the local population into scary scenarios and thrills, they’re also some of the most active segments of the population when it comes to texting and mobile phone use. Basically, there’s little chance that an SMS message from the haunted house would go unnoticed by those who can’t stand being away from their phones.

Tuning Into the Right Channels

To get the word out on this campaign, Baxter Avenue Morgue picked up commercial spots during high volume television periods. Honing in on open commercial space during related programming, like AMC’s Fear Fest and ABC’s 13 Nights of Halloween, helped add a little extra punch to an already smart campaign approach. As information came in about these TV spots and correlated signup numbers, Baxter Avenue Morgue focused on optimizing its marketing budget by pulling weaker results and adding extra spots on successful networks and time slots.

The Final Numbers

Once the dust had settled and the campaign came to a close, the SMS campaign managers were ready to tally the results. In total, thousands of customers from the surrounding areas joined the mobile marketing list, giving Baxter Avenue Morgue a major boost in SMS contacts. From here, more than 50 percent decided to stick around and receive future messages from the organization. Considering that the commercial spots employed by the haunted house ran for only 15 seconds – a relatively short time to convey a call-to-action (CTA) – and that the value of the sweepstakes tickets were just $40 a pair, having such a positive and lasting response makes the results even more impressive.

Everything Your Business Needs to Scare Up the Same Success

So now that you know Baxter Avenue Morgue’s story, what lessons can you pull from this tale of mobile marketing success? To start, finding the right portion of your audience, and connecting with these individuals via the appropriate media, goes a long way. SMS marketing is more about quality than quantity, so don’t be afraid to focus on a select group, especially if these people are the most likely to convert by a wide margin.

From here, you don’t have to spend an arm and leg on marketing to make a splash if you have a smart strategy. This haunted house gave away one pair of tickets a week, hardly a king’s ransom by any stretch of the imagination, yet it still raked in thousands of new customers. With this lesson, and everything else you’ve learned from Baxter Avenue Morgue, you should have all the info you need to scare up some stunning results of your own the next time you send out a text.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How great timing and a smart campaign put Route 66 Harley-Davidson on the fast track for SMS success.

Few things personify enjoying the freedom of the open road like hitting the highway on a Harley-Davidson. However, despite being one of the most iconic brands in the automotive world, the rise of manufacturers like Honda and Ducati have taken a serious bite out of the sales of Harley-Davidson dealerships, according to a report from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s “Rally News” blog. To battle back against these dipping sales, Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma decided to get a little cozier with shoppers during the holiday season via smart SMS marketing. To see how this text message push brought the Christmas spirit to Route 66′s customers, and pumped up sales in a major way, let’s break down the dealership’s approach to mobile marketing and see what your brand can use for its next SMS campaign.

Building a Savvy SMS Plan

To start, the dealership wanted to play on the concept of the “12 Days of Christmas” by offering unique deals and specials to members of its mobile marketing contact list. Aside from handing out valuable discounts for those looking to pick up accessories or parts for their favorite bikes, the campaign made great use of the buzz surrounding the holiday season. For each of the 12 days that made up the campaign a text message made its way to the inbox of participating members, revealing a redeemable offer related to a product sold in-store.

To give you an idea of how this worked, let’s look at Leather Jacket Day. As the seventh day of the Christmas promotion, seven different styles of motorcycle Jacket were sold at a 20 percent discount. While it might not be “seven swans a swimming” like the original version of this tune, having a deal like that come straight to their phones was music to the ears of the bike fanatics that make up Route 66′s mobile contact list.

Going the Extra Mile

Of course, no top-notch SMS initiative is complete without a solid push to gain new membership. With this in mind, Route 66 Harley-Davidson pulled out all the stops when it came time to promote its 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Social media, in-store advertisement, and reconnecting with past customers who might be interested helped swell the ranks of the list and ensure that these offers didn’t go to waste. After spending some time bolstering its contacts, the dealership began to fire off these deals once a day, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation among the shoppers looking to pick up something special during the holiday season.

Reaping the Rewards

So for all this hard work, what did Route 66 Harley-Davidson gain? To start, the owners noticed a stark upswing in general foot traffic at the dealership, as well as the obvious gains in its SMS contact list. This increased amount of customers in the store naturally led to a significant boost in sales – particularly with the promoted items. On T-shirt Day, sales of these shirts jumped to 250 percent of the numbers posted on an average day. Helmet Day saw the same amount of these high dollar items sold in one business day as what the dealership sold for the entire previous week. While we could go on and on with the stats that support each day, you can already see that this campaign was nothing short of a massive success for Route 66.

Finding the Road to SMS Success for Your Brand

It might seem like all you have to do to follow in the footsteps, or tire marks, of Route 66 Harley-Davidson is to slap a few texts together and send them to your contact list. However, the truth is that there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t pull things off just right. To help propel you to the same heights, you’ll need to put an emphasis on offering deals that actually matter. Whether it’s discounting high dollar items or running specials on normally expensive services, finding a way to add value to the customer is key. Also, planning your campaign around upcoming events, like the holiday season, is a smart way to generate some extra buzz. If you can put these practices to good use, you’ll find yourself in the fast lane heading toward major SMS success in no time.



It’s hard to argue with the fact that texting with your customers is at or near the top of the list when it comes to effective marketing strategies. Whether it’s Mashable’s Allegra Tepper noting that viewers open 98 percent of sent messages, or Rimma Kats from Mobile Commerce Daily reporting that consumers are 10 times more likely to redeem a mobile coupon when compared to a traditional options, there’s no denying that SMS marketing is a powerhouse for brands that pull it off right. However, like any other great thing, a few bad apples can spoil the whole deal for everyone involved.

To help combat this wave of illicit text usage, the Messaging, Malware, and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group, otherwise known as M3AAWG, has released a series of industry best practices to help steer brands away from the temptation of mistreating contact list members. With that in mind, let’s dig into the report and see what your brand needs to do to ensure that it stays on the straight and narrow, all while keeping the good vibes flowing with audience members.

What Is M3AAWG?

While all of this sounds nice, you’re probably sitting in front of your computer wondering what M3AAWG is and why this organization cares about your text marketing campaign. To answer the first part of that quandary, this organization is an open membership group that services the technologically oriented communications industries – in this case, anyone who plans to connect with customers via text. As far as the motives of this group, the goal of M3AAWG is to bring these related sectors together to combat messaging abuse – namely spam, viruses, and any other threat to the digital well being of consumers around the globe.

Laying the Foundation

To pave the way for this goal, M3AAWG released a comprehensive review of the issues facing the industry and its recommended feedback to these problems. At the heart of the report is the concept of making mobile marketing abuse unprofitable. By having regulatory bodies and laws, like CASL, bring the hammer down on those who stick a toe over the line that separates acceptable from illicit, M3AAWG hopes to curtail the threat of spam and other shady practices to unsuspecting readers. Aside from covering the threats faced by the text community, the report also covers safe Internet browsing and protecting business web domains.

Developing Industry Best Practices

To help realize this dream of a spam-free community, M3AAWG offers up some important best practices for brands like your own. Before your messages start hitting mobile inboxes, here’s a quick breakdown of M3AAWG’s recommended tactics, as explained by The Wall Street’s MarketWatch blog. First, limiting the number of messages you send, as well as notifying the authorities of any group soliciting black market bulk user information, can help separate your campaign from the ranks of generic spammers. Naturally, there’s nothing wrong with connecting with your audience regularly, but if you’re going overboard with multiple daily messages, you’ve definitely crossed over into the shadier part of the industry.

From here, resist the temptation of spam endorsements at all costs. While the idea of pumping up your contact list with new users is great at first glance, subscribing to these services, even if it is free, only propagates consumer abuse in the form of compromised personal information and illicit data harvesting. Additionally, letting your customers provide feedback with the 7726 (SPAM) system keeps your campaign honest and provides feedback from the viewers at the same time. The last recommendation is a call to action of sorts for the industry. Instead of just reading about text messaging best practices on blogs like this one, connect with others via comment sections, forums, and social media to help spread the word about doing business, and gaining results, the right way.

Is This the Same as CASL?

Considering all the coverage we’ve given CASL recently, you’re probably seeing a lot of similarities between that legislation and this industry report. The big difference here is that CASL is a law with severe penalties for those who decide to break it, while M3AAWG’s recommendations for best practices is simply the industry chiming in with its own take on the right way to connect with mobile shoppers. However, if you truly want to stay on the good side of the law, the overlap between these two offerings can help reinforce a strong approach to mobile marketing, according to Candice So of news outlet ITBusiness.ca. It might seem like a little bit of overkill at first glance, but keeping up with M3AAWG’s releases and staying on top of all the latest regarding CASL enforcement is a smart way to keep your campaign rolling smoothly and avoid the long arm of the law.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships brought great mobile messages to car shoppers down in Florida.

Cruising by the beach with the top down and the sun shining on a beautiful day seems like all the advertising a dealership would need to sell cars in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately for the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, playing on the appeal of the good weather and location just wasn’t enough. With a plethora of competitors using the same tactics to sway shoppers looking for a new car away from these affiliated dealerships, this group – consisting of authorized Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Wheego dealers – had to shift into high gear with a smart text campaign to beat the heat. To learn more about this strategy, let’s take a moment to break down the particulars of the campaign and how your brand can put these lessons to good use.

Setting the Stage for SMS Success

With car lots and service centers located on both sides of the St. Johns River, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships already had the infrastructure in place to offer a great customer experience to the people of Jacksonville. However, plenty of businesses have had the same foundation, but couldn’t seal the deal due to insufficient customer awareness. To get the message out about the cars currently in stock, the people in control of this dealership group decided to kick things up a notch with a smart and engaging SMS campaign.

At the heart of this promotion was a “text-to-win” contest. Essentially, potential customers and anyone else interested in the Nimnicht brand were encouraged to fire off a text to the dealership for a chance to win a variety of prizes. To help get the word out, this campaign used available billboard space and online ad content, in addition to local TV and radio spots, to connect with the local population. With nearly 1.5 million people living in Jacksonville and surrounding areas, it’s easy to see why this dealership group exhausted every venue available when building its SMS contact list.

Going Beyond the Basics

However, all of this was just the first phase of the project. Once excited customers participated in the text-to-win promotion, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships went above and beyond by rolling out a second initiative based off of these new members to the texting list. For those expressing interest in hearing about new car offers during phase one of the campaign, the next wave of messages helped connect these mobile consumers with sales professionals that were ready and willing to walk shoppers through the process of finding the perfect new or used car.

The Big Finish

While the idea of a multi-tiered text campaign might seem a little overbearing at first, the results this dealership organization produced tell an entirely different tale. In total, over 4,000 people signed up to experience the fun and interactive text-to-win portion of the SMS initiative. This stat is pretty impressive on its own, but the people running the campaign weren’t satisfied with just good enough.

From here, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships indentified and pursued leads from within these interested customers. Of this second wave, 9.25 percent were workable leads, giving the sales force for this dealership group more than enough customers to keep them busy in the following months. In short, this campaign surpassed plenty of expectations, easily entering the ranks of other resounding SMS success stories.

Polishing Your Own Text Message Campaign

So now that you know the story of how the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships left its competition in the dust with great SMS messages, what can you do to make your next campaign go over just as well? To start, leave no stone unturned. Whether you’re doing radio spots or in-store promotions, getting the word out about your initiative and growing your list is extremely important. Once you do this, don’t be afraid to reconnect with your customers and go beyond the basics. As this dealership group demonstrated, having a plan with several layers that goes beyond signing people up is a powerful approach. With the Nimnicht example and some savvy SMS knowledge guiding you along the way, there’s nothing that can stop your next text message campaign from joining the other successful brands found within these case studies.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the right approach to SMS messages and retail promotion turned Westfield Malls into a mobile marketing leader.

Regardless of whether you live on the shores of Nova Scotia or reside in sunny northern California, it’s always a treat to spend an afternoon at the mall. For residents of the latter location, Westfield Malls is one of the premier destinations for just such a shopping excursion. However, staying on top of the retail world doesn’t come easy. For the guys in charge of this chain, connecting with customers was essential to the sustained success of the malls, so the decision to roll out a smart and effective SMS marketing campaign came pretty easy. If you’re interested in learning more about how this retail giant rode an outstanding series of texts to increased customer activity in the participating stores, take a moment to read on and find out how you can put these lessons to good use for your brand.

A Different Approach

One of the most intriguing facets of this case study is that unlike the other companies and brands we’ve profiled, this campaign came from the center’s management and not from particular stores within the mall. Instead of letting the shops renting stalls within the mall fend for themselves as far as promotional materials went, the executives of the Westfield Mall management team decided that what’s good for these particular outlets was good for the center as a whole. With this big picture outlook serving as the foundation of its mobile marketing campaign, the advertising team was ready to make some waves with an audience that couldn’t wait to connect via their mobile phones.

Breaking down the Promotion Particulars

To start, the Westfield Mall chain pushed hard to generate substantial gains within its subscriber database. Via in-store promotional material and external outreach programs – namely local radio broadcasts and TV spots – the northern California audience soon became well aware of the buzz going on down by the local mall. At the heart of the promotion was a “text-to-win” event.

For those willing to join the contact list and receive promotional materials, a chance at winning a $1000 shopping spree was the grand prize. The best part? Westfield Malls used the SMS short-code “SPREE” as the lynchpin of the campaign to keep things simple and memorable for those willing to join in on the fun.

Understanding the Impact of Great Text Messages

After the dust had settled and the shoppers came out to the mall in droves, the people in charge of this campaign had plenty to be happy about. First off, over 6,000 new individuals joined the contact list during the event. While that’s great on its own, understanding that all of this occurred within just a week, adds an entirely different and impressive perspective to the increased subscriber number.

Today, all five locations of Westfield Mall enjoy increased foot traffic and extended reach via a stable and highly responsive mobile messaging contact list. For mall management and independent retailers within these centers alike, it’s hard to call this campaign anything other than a resounding success.

Building Your Own Powerful Campaign

So what can your brand learn from the Westfield Mall campaign about connecting with customers via powerful marketed text messages? Above all else, having a smart plan matters when you’re setting up your advertising operations. By putting the greater good before individual promotion, the people in charge of this initiative were able to create a situation that benefited those renting space within the chain’s retail space. This in turn created increased business for the malls as a whole, which was definitely music to the ears of those operating the outlets.

As for the actual texts you send out, don’t be afraid to keep things simple. Too often brands worry about wowing the audience with long prose and witty banter. While there’s nothing wrong with keeping your messages engaging and informative, remember that people are more likely to participate if you make the process easy and straightforward. A memorable or brief short-code, as well as texts that get straight to the point, can help round out everything else you’ve learned and provide all the tools you need to build the perfect messages for your next mobile marketing campaign.Wesfield



Chances are when you were a child, your parents sat you down and talked about the “golden rule” – treat others the way you want to be treated. As far as your daily interactions go, there’s plenty of merit to subscribing to this concept as you meet new people and connect with established friends and family. What might not be so obvious is that this, and some of life’s other tried and true staples for successfully navigating your social scene, also has a spot in your next great SMS campaign. To learn a little more about being polite, courteous, and effective with mobile marketing, let’s break down the five golden rules of texting with customers and what your brand can do to make sure it always stays in the audience’s good graces.

Make Your Message Clear

First up on the list of golden rules is leaving the text-speak behind. While it might seem hip and cool, chances are you have a better shot at offending your target demographic by using things like “ur” instead of “your” and not the other way around, according to Stuart Marburg of Australian newspaper The Age. To make your message clear and easy to read, write your texts in a simple, straightforward manner. A good way to test these texts is by asking whether you would take it seriously if it wound up in your inbox. If the answer’s anything less than a solid yes, it’s time to start revising the message and switching out the slang for plain English.

Be Considerate with Your Timing

Once your content is in good shape, the next step is not stepping on any toes as you start to plan when these text messages fire off. Again, an easy way to understand the importance of timing is to put yourself in the audience’s shoes. If you wouldn’t want messages popping up during the middle of the night or first thing in the morning as you try and wake up, they probably don’t want this either. If you’re dealing with a local audience, it’s easy enough to figure out appropriate timing. However, if you’re targeted consumers span several time zones, you’ll have to place an even greater premium on adjusting and staging automated messages to ensure that you avoid the faux pas of untimely and intrusive SMS marketing.

Skip the Fluff

Some brands try to turn marketed texts into novels as a way of artificially adding value for the audience. The truth is that customers aren’t interested in all of this fluff, as Susan Gunelius of Entrepreneur Magazine explains. Instead of long-winded and rambling messages, these shoppers want value in the form of straightforward and brief text offers. This doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out any of the friendly banter, just don’t let it interfere with the actual point of firing off these texts in the first place; to offer deals and discounts that not only entice the consumer to stop by your store, but also enhances the relationship between these shoppers and your brand.

Be Friendly

It’s important to note that skipping the fluff doesn’t mean you can’t take a moment to stop and say hi before diving into the meat and potatoes of your SMS pitch. Much like connecting with people face to face, there’s nothing wrong with being friendly and inviting to help kick a conversation off. If you have names attached to your contact list, adding these into your SMS messages with a salutation is a good start. For the brands that don’t have this info on hand or feel like this isn’t the right approach, simply starting off with a salutation at the top of the message is also an acceptable way to cut down the formality and make things more comfortable for your audience as your texts start to hit consumer inboxes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Little Criticism

Finally, like plenty of life’s other endeavors, the odds of getting everything right with your first SMS campaign are pretty slim. With this in mind, it’s important to be open to criticism from your audience, according to Bob Bentz of iMedia Connection. While it might not be the most pleasant thing you do during your text campaign, listening to feedback and running A/B testing on your stable of messages is a powerful way to improve and refine your message. The benefit of keeping this form of communication open between you and your audience is that the more you connect with one another and work toward hitting all of the golden rules of SMS marketing, the better off both sides of this relationship will be moving forward.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How a larger than life approach to SMS marketing helped Six Flags reel in young rollercoaster fanatics.

A day at the amusement park is one of the best ways to spend some time off during those hot summer months. For Six Flags in Maryland, this concept definitely held true, but something was lacking from its traditional summer turnout. To help boost attendance and connect with the young, tech-savvy side of its audience, this leader in the world of amusement parks turned to a strong blend of mobile marketing and smart planning. With that in mind, let’s strap in and ride along to see exactly how this plan turned Six Flags lagging summer attendance around over the course of the campaign.

The Power of Targeting

First up, Six Flags made it the mobile messaging initiative’s main mission to target the amusement park’s highest performing demographic – teenagers. At this point you might be wondering why a brand would focus on the audience members mostly likely to pay a visit to the park. The answer lies directly with surprisingly low summer turnouts from this group. To help get things back in gear, Six Flags decided to return to its roots and use the power of targeting via text messages in order reconnect with these younger park goers during the hot summer months.

Great Content Builds Great Results

Aside from focusing in on this specific group, they also knew that teens wouldn’t just jump at any mobile offer. To really connect with this group, Six Flags offered text-to-win contests, as well as mobile alerts regarding park information and weather updates. Even VIP ticket offers made the cut, ensuring that this younger, active audience had all the encouragement they needed to pay a visit during major events, like the park’s 4th of July festival, as well as all the regular sunny summer days.

Getting the Message to the Masses

As part of the push, Six Flags went all out on sign-ups and referrals to expand its contact list. At the base of the push was traditional avenues for opt-ins, like in-park customer service stations and signage. From here, radio spots and promotional content helped create more buzz about the interactive text program. Of course, when it comes to connecting with today’s teens, the smartest thing Six Flags did was to turn its social media accounts into the focal point of the campaign, providing this audience with everything they needed to sign-up directly on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other relevant social networks.

The Thrilling Results

So after all this hard work, what did Six Flags have to show for it? First off, during the three months of the program, participation within the brand’s existing text message system skyrocketed. In total, almost 5,000 subscribers decided to check out the offers on their mobile phones. That stat is great on its own, but the increased park attendance, as well as the admission, concession, and attraction revenue, this boost generated was even more impressive. As the summer text campaign came to a close, Six Flags hit all of these goals, as well as reinvigorated the demographic that mattered most. By reconnecting teen attendants, this campaign not only boosted sales in the short-term, but helped fortify the park’s long-term viability by creating a dedicated and interested text-based community.

Making Your Own Mobile Attraction

After reading all that, it’s clear to see that connecting with your audience via mobile marketing is a powerful tool in your outreach arsenal. Even if you’re not in the amusement industry, there’s still plenty we can pull from Six Flags’ example to help make your next campaign a major hit. First, know whom you need to target. Whether it’s teens or octogenarians, having the right audience members on tap is the best way to utilize your content.

Speaking of content, make these messages pack a punch. While simple coupons or discounts are definitely valuable, mixing in some great content or exclusive info definitely spices up the message and keeps your reader interested. If you can pull these two concepts off, as well as go all in on promoting your campaign across multiple channels, you’ll be well on your way to a thrilling marketing ride that ends with happy customers and a major boost to sales.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Papa Murphy’s and a great mobile strategy created in the heart of Kansas quickly took the nation by storm.

If there’s one undeniable truth in the marketing world, it’s that text messages and pizza are a match made in heaven. From Papa John’s to Pizza Hut and Chuck E. Cheese, we’ve covered quite a few. However, none of the previous case studies approach this powerful bond quite like a different “Papa.” With that in mind, let’s dig into an extra deep dish helping of SMS marketing and learn just how Papa Murphy’s took the American Midwest, and later the country, by storm with some great mobile messages.

Understanding the Papa Murphy’s Approach

Unlike the other pizza restaurants you’ve read about, Papa Murphy’s offers a line of fresh “Take ‘N’ Bake” pizzas that compliment the great products offered in-store. Obviously, there’s nothing new about customers enjoying a pie straight out of the oven at home, but it’s important to understand every facet of the Papa Murphy’s approach in order to really appreciate how this SMS strategy help boost dine-in and take-out sales at the same time. Additionally, the group of customers targeted by this brand aren’t your typical plain cheese pizza supporters. One of the biggest selling points throughout the campaign was an emphasis on a variety of unique and tasty toppings that take enjoying a pizza with friends to the next level.

Setting the Stage for an SMS Breakthrough

At the core of Papa Murphy’s text campaign was a focus on the Kansas City market. From here, the chain would know just how receptive other portions of the United States would be to a similar, extended run of SMS messages. These text messages offered powerful discounts throughout the year, keeping customers excited and intrigued by the latest offerings from their favorite pizza restaurant. Everything from reduced rates on taco pizzas during Cinco De Mayo to daily specials covering fan favorites like chicken, bacon, and artichoke pies created a program that was irresistible to pizza fans in the area.

Outside of this greater goal, the pizza chain also decided to spice things up with how it generated leads for its mobile contact database. Instead of getting behind a single sign-up method, Papa Murphy’s tested the waters across a variety of platforms, including in-store pushes, mobile tents at civic functions, and online reminders for customers that showed interest in participating. Naturally, this “all-in” approach might seem like a bit of overkill at first glance, but you’ll soon see that Papa Murphy’s perseverance paid off in a big way once the final numbers for the campaign came to light.

Results Throughout the Year

So just how well did things turn out for Papa Murphy’s text program? To answer this question, let’s look at the redemption rates for a couple of the mobile offers fired off to contact list members. In regard to the $5 chicken, bacon, and artichoke pizza deal, mobile redemption rates hit 9 percent. On Cinco De Mayo, and later a “half-off” pizza holiday, rates rose above 11.5 and 12 percent, respectively. However, the big finale came from a simple $5 coupon for a three-topping pizza. At the end of the day, this seemingly generic offer reeled in 17.9 percent redemption rate.

As far as subscribers go, Kansas City alone brought the pizza chain 16,000 subscribers. Not too shabby, right? Well the numbers become even more impressive once you factor in the campaign’s extension into another 26 states across the U.S. In total, Papa Murphy’s generated 100,000 new contact list members from this series of mobile offers.

Finding the Right Toppings for Your Own SMS

So how can you follow in Papa Murphy’s footsteps and back up your own five-star mobile campaign? To start, keep things simple and straightforward with your text messages. Offers that are easy to digest and provide real value can win over even the toughest crowds. On top of this, don’t be afraid to explore every avenue when it comes to sign-ups. Papa Murphy’s exhausted these channels thoroughly, and the results clearly show that it was worth the effort. Even if your brand doesn’t offer something as tasty as pizza on the go, there’s no doubt that this recipe for SMS success can put your products in the spotlight and keep members of your contact list begging for more.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How Bulmers Irish Cider brewed up the perfect recipe for lasting SMS success.

After a long day at work or while you’re watching the game on the weekend, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a cold beverage as you relax. When served with a healthy dose of moderation and responsibility, the combination of hanging out with friends and knocking a few back is one of life’s great pleasures. Bulmers Irish Cider in the U.K. naturally understood this concept, as well as the need for a smart and effective way of connecting with consumers. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how this hard cider brewer brought the message of good times and great drinks to an audience primed for reacting to powerful and effective text messages.

Building the Basis for a Great Campaign

At the heart of Bulmers’ mobile marketing plan was a creative take on interacting with audience members. Instead of simply shipping out a simple coupon or limited time offer and hoping for the best, this brewery decided to play to the tastes and habits of its target demographics. For members of the contact list, a simple message pointing them to the nearest pub that offered Bulmers’ on tap or in a bottle served as the foundation for this outreach. To gauge just how effective this clever, “friendly banter” approach really was in getting customers into pubs across the U.K., Bulmers ran a test that spanned four weeks and 77,000 text messages. With a sample size like that, this brand was sure to find out just how strong a great SMS campaign can be when pulled off properly.

Understanding the Importance of Targeting

Before jumping headfirst into the results of Bulmers’ text program, it’s important to note this brand didn’t just simply fire off a one-time text filled with generic directions for heading to the pub. Instead, this marketing campaign focused on two key targeting methods to enhance the impact and power of this message. First, much like the geofence approach discussed in the case study on Pizza Hut, Bulmers implemented a tracking system that only sent messages when customers were near participating pubs. Additionally, these messages were highly specialized to provide specific directions to the pub in question, creating a unique and interactive experience for contact list members.

Outside of the hi-tech geofence concept, this brewery also took its targeting methods in a more conventional direction. Considering that guys in the age range of 18 to 34 love kicking back and having a few brews, it’s no surprise that Bulmers focused exclusively on this portion of their audience. When combined with the ability to keep tabs on the location of these males and connect with them when they were in the neighborhood, it’s not hard to see why Bulmers’ open invitation was a savvy way to drum up some interest and excitement for its products.

Breaking down the Results

So now that you’re up to speed on the particulars of this campaign, it’s time to see what Bulmers received for its hard work. To start, 25 percent of the recipients purchased a cider at a participating pub after opening the text, while 53 percent did the same at another target pub later on. Together, this equates to a conversion rate that hovered around 75 percent – not too shabby, to say the least. In the long-term, Bulmers reconnected with targeted audience members after the promotional period to get a feel for the brand awareness generated by the campaign. In total, 53 percent of those surveyed at least remembered receiving the message, serving as a clear signal that this brewery made a lasting impact with its audience.

Brewing Up a Winning Recipe for Your Brand

While your business might not be centered on crafting tasty ciders for your audience’s enjoyment, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a page out of Bulmers’ book and brew up your own appealing SMS recipe. To start, it’s clear to see that targeting the right demographic is one of the strongest ways to make a splash with your texts. From here, the messages themselves, as well as how you deploy them, need to pique the curiosity of your audience, so don’t hesitate to think outside the box. Even if you’re not offering a deal or discount, as long as your content spurs them to action, you’ll be well on your way to keeping the company of Bulmers and all the other brands highlighted in these case studies.

Bulmers Irish Cider

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