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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 Globe and Mail kept the people of Canada up to date with the latest happenings of the G-20 Summit in Toronto.  

With global leaders descending on the city of Toronto in 2010 to talk about some of the most pressing worldwide problems at the highly important G-20 Summit, saying that this was a big time for the news industry is putting things mildly. For any reputable news source, like Toronto’s very own The Globe and Mail, keeping readers informed and in touch with the latest developments at this meeting was priority number one. However, waiting for the next day’s edition just wasn’t fast enough, so the team behind this trusted newspaper decided to take on a faster approach.

Developing a Winning Strategy

Knowing this, The Globe and Mail decided to develop a strategy that focused on real time connections with readers who couldn’t wait to find out the latest about the G-20 Summit – SMS messages. Aside from covering breaking news, traffic updates, protests, and everything in between via text messaging, The Globe and Mail also wanted to promote a deeper level of interaction with loyal readers and increase the reach of both its mobile website and email contact list. Lofty goals to say the least, but considering the raw power of SMS marketing, well within the reach of a brand willing to take the proper steps.

Making Headlines and Raising Awareness

So how did The Globe and Mail put this text system into place? To start, the team behind this campaign spread the word to loyal readers via the newspaper. Aside from traveling down this standard physical print route, The Globe and Mail also targeted its ever-growing online constituency via informative upgrades to the paper’s web page. At the heart of both promotional avenues was a call to action emphasizing the quick, simple, and easy nature of signing up for the SMS program, as well as the benefits held within.

Gaining Ground and Building for the Future

While the members of the G-20 Summit might not have left the meeting feeling any better about the pressing issues up for discussion, The Globe and Mail definitely came out of this major news event feeling good about its position with the Canadian people. After the weeklong affair came to a close, over 53,000 news alerts were sent out as part of the campaign. In total, 89 percent of alert subscribers originated via online awareness materials, leading to 52 percent of these individuals staying with the SMS program or joining the email marketing contact list in order to keep up with all the latest breaking news.

Plotting Your Own Course for SMS Results

Clearly, The Globe and Mail capitalized on the powerful confluence of an effective medium – text messaging – and a major international event – the G-20 Summit. However, even if your industry doesn’t generate headlines of quite the same magnitude, there’s still plenty to learn from this newspaper’s successful SMS run.

First up, don’t be afraid to tether your campaign to an event that matters to your audience. Keying in on these exciting times, and offering up a useful service or offer like The Globe and Mail did in regard to the G-20 Summit, can help set your brand apart and boost SMS interaction in a major way.

Once you’ve honed in on the right time to unveil your SMS campaign, spend some time spreading the word. Whether it’s via social media, your branded website, or even more traditional methods like print media, ensuring you raise awareness among your audience is key to the success of your text offerings. While you’ll still generate some buzz one way or the other, without maximizing this phase of the process it’s hard not to leave some opportunities for outreach and connection with customers on the table.

Finally, after your campaign is up and running, don’t be afraid to engage in a little crossover with your other operations. As we saw with The Globe and Mail, this top tier news source helped bolster its email marketing campaign while building a healthy SMS following. As long as you provide quality content and offerings during your text initiative, there’s no reason not to keep the good times flowing in the inbox as well.



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 Viking Cooking School started with a grass roots approach and built a powerful SMS contact list in no time.

Have you ever wanted to chase a culinary dream and learn to cook with some of the best chefs around? If so, chances are you fall right in line with the Viking Cooking School’s target audience. Unfortunately, reaching out to these aspiring food savants wasn’t always as easy as pie. With this realization guiding the way, let’s take a few minutes to see how Viking Cooking School whipped up the perfect SMS recipe, as well as what you brand can do to mix in a few tips and tricks as well the next time you try to connect with potential customers on the go.

The Basic Ingredients

At the heart of this campaign was a desire to reach out to kids, moms, dads, business professionals, and anyone else who enjoys the art of cooking and making a great meal for friends and family. Naturally, there’s was no better place to start than with past and current cooking students. From this point, honing in on potential new students helped lay the foundation for a successful and interactive SMS campaign.

Mixing Things Up

Of course, targeting the right audience is one thing, but spreading the word and generating sign-ups is an entirely different matter. To successfully accumulate the latter, the Viking Cooking School fired off an email blast to existing customers with a slew of exclusive offers and discounts. This practice helped stabilize the burgeoning contact list with individuals known to be interested in the services offered by this culinary learning center.

Once the wheels started rolling on the awareness phase of this campaign, the team behind this initiative posted in-school signage, enabled word-of-mouth promotion by instructors, and looked to traditional print advertising to help spread the word. On the digital front, revamping the school’s website with an informative opt-in widget helped capture curious visitors who might not have been aware of the physical campaign materials.

Raking in the Results

After a strong four months of testing at the Ridgeland, Mississippi branch, the Viking Cooking School proudly claimed control of an SMS contact list of close to 300 members. While this might not seem like much to some, the fact that this list contained a highly interactive audience should not go unnoticed.

For instance, a single text message to this group – costing just $15 to generate and ship – filled eight $79 spots in a class that would have otherwise been under capacity. If you’re keeping up with the math on that exchange, it’s a net gain of $632. Today, the Viking Cooking School now has two more of its 16 locations enacting SMS operations, with plans to implement the same strategy at the remaining branches as well.

Finding Your Own Path to SMS Success

Now that we’ve recounted the successes of the Viking Cooking School, it’s time to lay the foundation for your own inspiring SMS success story. To do this, let’s talk a little about what made this campaign so effective. First up is the fact that the Viking Cooking School utilized as many resources as possible to build a strong contact list. While some brands might assume that current and former customers aren’t the target demographic, this initiative proved that there’s nothing wrong with starting with these consumers before branching out to new potential customers.

Once you’re on track for a strong foundation, it’s time to leave no stone unturned when searching for new members for your SMS contact list. From traditional print advertising to online promotional materials, going the distance on all fronts is the best way to ensure you maximize the reach and impact of this texting operation.

Finally, don’t worry so much about raw numbers. We’ve covered SMS campaigns before that easily dwarf the Viking Cooking School’s 300 member list. However, few examples come close to the return on investment (ROI) generated by the texts offered by this institution. As long as you understand this and enact the strategies covered in this case study, you’ll be enjoying a massive boost on behalf of your brand via SMS marketing like the Viking Cooking School in no time.



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 Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Tampa, Florida Turned out a 35 Percent Redemption Rate

One part great content, one part timing, and a little smooth talking sprinkled on top for good measure. If you’re new to the world of SMS marketing, chances are your idea of the perfect text message follows along these lines to some degree. However, if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to look beyond this rudimentary recipe and uncover the truth behind powerful and effective mobile marketing tactics.

To help you find the perfect blend of SMS “spices” that make up a great campaign, let’s dig into the tasty particulars of the top-notch initiative set forth by Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Tampa, Florida. This way, when it’s your time to whip up a winning batch of text offers, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to wow the eager customers waiting for your next great message.

Prepping the Kitchen

First off, it’s important to understand why Carrabba’s decided to enact this strategy in the Tampa market. Aside from the obvious desire to boost sales and increase foot traffic in its local restaurants, this brand also wanted to see if it could replicate, and exceed, the prior success enjoyed by the branches in the nearby Orlando region. With this in mind, the team behind this campaign laid out a four week stretch of text marketing. During this time, the goal was to reach a healthy five percent redemption rate – something any brand would be more than happy to collect at the end of a mobile marketing run. However, as you’ll soon see, this campaign went above and beyond in a major way.

Reaching out to the Audience

The outreach and education portion of this campaign featured segmentation on a variety of levels. First, each branch in the Tampa area set up a localized database to ensure a closer connection with repeat and unique consumers. Additionally, these locations also applied separate promotional strategies in an effort to appeal to varying patron groups. This specialized approach focused on early diners (4 P.M to 6 P.M.), late dining customers (8 P.M. to 10 P.M.), “Carside” carry-out patrons, Sunday lunch fans, and the “Happy Hour” demographic. Even though the promotional materials and outreach methods varied from group to group, each customer interested in joining the SMS list simply needed to text “AMICI” to the 82672 short code in order to join the contact list. Once on this list, members received a steady stream of relevant offers and discounts.

Exceeding Expectations in a Major Way

At the end of the four week campaign, the Tampa branches of Carrabba’s Italian Grill tallied up the results. In total, 443 local patrons joined the SMS contact lists, which in turn accounted for a 35 percent redemption rate. After dwarfing the original five percent goal, the team at Carrabba’s quickly made plans to expand this initiative to the national stage. Today, this campaign serves as the basis for a continuing bond between locations across the United States and the happy customers who can’t wait for the next great text message deal.

Creating Your Own SMS Success Story

Naturally, this is a lot to digest in one sitting. However, there’s a couple key themes to pick up on and help guide you during your next SMS campaign. First, even if you’ve already been around the block with your SMS operations, there’s always room for improvement. Even though the Orlando version of this campaign was a success, the team at Carrabba’s pushed the envelope in the Tampa market, and then later on a national stage.

Aside from constantly innovating your approach, learning how to break down your audience goes a long way toward specializing promotional offers and outreach methods. You might not have as many varied demographics within your base of consumers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least learn to hone in on what each group likes and dislikes in terms of SMS marketing. If you can pull this tactic off, in addition to the rest of what you’ve learned from the stellar example set by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, you’ll have the perfect blend of SMS methods backing up your brand in no time.



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 Sara Lee’s State Fair brand helped one luck person win a dream home and build awareness for the organization’s line of corn dogs.

Corn dogs may not be the epitome of fine cuisine in the dining world, but it’s hard to argue with the great taste of this enjoyable treat once you give it a chance. Even so, the team at Sara Lee knew that promoting their line of State Fair products would require something extra special. To find out how this brand broke through with consumers in grocery stores across North America, let’s take a few minutes to look the stellar SMS campaign that made this marketing dream become a reality.

A Deal Unlike Any Other

If there’s one thing you need to know about marketing corn dogs to customers on-the-go, it’s that undertaking this SMS goal requires a deal unlike any other to succeed. With this in mind, the marketers at Sara Lee decided to offer over 10,000 prizes as part of the mobile campaign. At the top of this prize list was a staggering $500,000 that the winner could put toward the home of his or her dreams. All participants had to do to enter the contest and have a shot at this life-changing offer was to text the keyword “STATEFAIR” to the short code 75309.

By following this simple request, entrants in the contest could learn more about the prizes offered and receive instructions on how to redeem codes, which could then be entered on the campaign’s unique website for a chance to win. Naturally, few SMS programs have ever embraced a campaign of this magnitude while trying to build a lasting relationship with contact list members, but that didn’t ensure that this initiative in particular would be an instant success.

Spreading the Word

To back up this unheard of promotion, Sara Lee spared no expense in terms of getting the message to its target audience. Speaking of the target audience, this brand honed in on a very specific demographic – busy moms, aged 25 to 44, with two or more children.

Aside from releasing new promotional packaging for the State Fair line of corn dogs and keying in on specific shoppers, the team at Sara Lee also utilized email blasts to leverage the brand’s established email marketing contact list, social media pages, and a new campaign microsite filled with promotional material and the aforementioned ability to redeem entry codes.

Reaping the Rewards

Over the nine month duration of the SMS campaign, Sara Lee recorded an astounding amount of support and interest. In total, thousands of visitors connected with the brand, averaging five site visits per SMS subscriber and four and a half page views per visit. Considering that the campaign site only had five unique pages, these numbers become even more impressive. If that’s not enough to convince you that Sara Lee unlocked the power of connecting with customers via text, the fact that the campaign finished with an opt-in retention rate of 80 percent should be more than enough to change your mind.

Writing Your Own SMS Dream Story

So now that there’s no questions surrounding the outcome of Sara Lee’s SMS endeavor, let’s talk about how your brand can tap into the power of texting as well. First off, you don’t have to give away $500,000 to turn your campaign into a hit. Sure, it could definitely generate some serious buzz, but as long as you offer something of value, like a limited time discount or coupon, you’ll get a positive response from your audience.

Speaking of your audience, one of the biggest reasons the State Fair promotion took off is because the team behind this program knew who to focus on when the time came to start spreading the word. Naturally, your products might not share the same demographic consisting of busy moms trying to keep their hungry kids happy and fed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend some time honing in on the proper target audience. If you can line this portion of the SMS process up with a strong set of offers and accessible promotional materials, the sky is the limit for where this kind of campaign can take your brand.



Few things are worse than having a bad hair day. With this concept in mind, it might seem like a fairly straightforward process for M&M Products to sell its variety of ethnic-oriented hair products to those in the Atlanta, Georgia area looking to say goodbye to frizzy and tangled hair. However, with so many options on the market, this brand needed a powerful and effective approach for standing above the crowd. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how M&M Products put some solid SMS tactics to good use.

Pinpointing the Path to Success

At the heart of the program, this organization wanted to push product trials via SMS marketing to help target customers and contact list members understand the difference offered by this brand – specifically its Sofn’Free GroHealthy line. Aside from the primary objective of boosting contact list opt-ins, M&M Products also aimed to hit on a few key secondary goals. Chief among these additional benchmarks was the desire to foster growth via in the brand’s email marketing operations, as well as a deeper understanding and awareness of the full range of products offered by this organization.

Connecting with the Target Audience

So how did M&M Products kick things off and let the world, or in this case the people of Atlanta, know to opt-in and pick up a free trail of Sofn’Free GroHealthy? To start, the brand purchased an assortment of print ad space selections to broadcast the message, in addition to revamping its website and social media pages with the news. Additionally, on-shelf displays asking shoppers to opt-in via the keyword “SOFT” and SMS shortcode 59925 helped cover the target audience members that might have slipped through the cracks located between print and digital awareness offerings.

Reaping the Rewards of a Proper Process

Obviously, this campaign attacked from a lot of different angles, with some pretty high hopes in terms of final results. However, these lofty goals and aspirations quickly came to life thanks to the hard work put in by the M&M Products group. In total, over 4,400 messages came in from interested users, with 2,056 going one step farther and opting-in for some continued interaction with the brand. As far as conversion rates go, this 46 percent mark stands as an absolutely outstanding final number. Adding that the campaign only lasted for 90 days makes this total even more impressive.

However, the team at M&M Products wasn’t quite done with just racking up the opt-ins on the SMS front. As far as boosting its email marketing operations went, this campaign helped account for 1,774 new members to the brand’s ongoing inbox initiative. Needless to say, this double dipping is a dream scenario for any brand looking to take on a complete online marketing approach.

Looking Your Best Too with SMS

This is a lot to digest in one sitting, but if you’re looking for the quick and easy lessons from this case study, there’s a few key points that pop out across all phases of the M&M Products campaign. First, once you’ve uncovered your target audience, connecting with them across all possible platforms is the best way to ensure the success of your operation. Whether you’re going low-tech with on-shelf displays or dipping into social media and your email marketing list, spreading the word as much as possible reduces the chance for any wasted opportunities.

Aside from covering every angle of attack for the promotion, M&M Products was also willing to take a hit with free samples in the short term to build a lasting and dedicated relationship moving forward. If there’s one thing customers love, it’s valuable offerings and “freebies,” so don’t be afraid to load up on the deals and discounts. It might seem a little tough to swallow at first, but don’t be fooled; backing up your SMS marketing with great offers now is the key to sustained success and engagement later. With this notion on your side, as well as the rest of what you’ve learned from this case study, it won’t be long before your brand kicks off a winning campaign of its own.



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 Dawson McAllister Live talk radio show of Spring Hill, Tennessee used a strong SMS approach to reach out to local youths in need of help and guidance.

Few callings in life are as admirable as trying to help the younger generations make the transition from budding youth to mature adulthood. However, for Dawson McAllister, a well-known youth advisor in the Spring Hill, Tennessee area, of the Dawson McAllister Live radio show, making the connection through standard practices just wasn’t quite doing the job. With the need for enhanced communications and outreach serving as the backdrop, let’s spend a little time looking into how the Dawson McAllister Live radio show utilized a smart and savvy SMS program to reach the adolescents and young adults who needed guidance most.

Setting the Stage for Interaction

In order to promote enhanced interaction with his audience, Dawson McAllister of this eponymous radio show focused on something near and dear to the younger generations – texting. During the “Peer-to-Peer Advisor” segment of the radio show, the team behind Dawson McAllister Live decided to incorporate real-time texts as part of the feature. By doing this, other teens and young adults could chime in with advice and insight to help the call-in guest as he or she navigated the sometimes rocky waters of growing up. Depending on the subject or topic, different short codes, like “parents” or “anxiety,” helped funnel appropriate responses to the show in an orderly and efficient fashion.

In the long-term, the Dawson McAllister Live radio show also hoped to acquire a lasting and active SMS contact list. With this audience further connected to the brand, Dawson McAllister and the rest of the organization planned to release relevant content and promotions that would in turn improve the quality of life for these youthful participants.

Reaching out to the Masses

To help spread the word about this new feature, Dawson McAllister and the rest of his team explored a variety of promotional avenues. Aside from talking up the text-in service on the live show, the production group went above and beyond by retooling the branded website with information regarding the service, as well as implementing various awareness campaigns on social media. In the end, listeners of the show had countless opportunities to learn about the text-in feature and how best to utilize this new tool during the next “Peer-to-Peer Advisor” segment.

Gauging the Impact of This Guidance

While still a major part of the Dawson McAllister Live radio show today, the implementation of the text-in service provided powerful insight into the value of SMS marketing in general. First, when offered the choice between chiming in via Facebook, Twitter, the Dawson McAllister Live website, and text, the audience of this radio show overwhelmingly stood behind the SMS option. Considering how powerful text messaging is in this demographic, as well as many others, the fact that this became the preferred method shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

As this SMS community continued to grow, Dawson McAllister and his team used the burgeoning success of this platform to promote and build awareness for a one-on-one off-air help line, known as The Hope Line. Today, this radio show also boosts a constantly growing network of list members that can’t wait to receive all of the latest news and offers associated with relevant topics and discussions.

Finding the Right Path for Your SMS Success

Even if you’re not in the self-help business, there’s still plenty to learn from this case study. First, SMS marketing can easily supplant other offerings – even social media – when you give your audience the opportunity to make a choice. Additionally, while most think of texting as a planned and metered system for communications, the Dawson McAllister Live team proved that utilizing this tool in real-time isn’t only viable, it’s effective as well.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, as you grow your SMS audience, there’s no reason you can’t use this community to foster growth in your other ventures. Whether it’s something like McAllister’s off-air help line, or a selection more oriented toward tangible productions, having a vibrant SMS following is a great way to build awareness for new offerings. With these lessons in hand, the choice is clear; if you want to connect with your audience in a way that truly matters to them, follow the Dawson McAllister Live radio show’s lead and start texting with the people that matter most.



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 University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky used a smart SMS system to welcome in eager freshmen to campus.

Looking back on your college years probably brings back a mix of emotions. Added in to those sleepless nights cramming for the next day’s exam are plenty of great memories with friends, as well as the struggle of acclimating to life away from home. Now imagine if you would have had the help of your university in making the transition a little easier your freshman year.

For the students at the University of Louisville, this idea turned into a reality, all thanks to a savvy SMS marketing campaign. Even if your focus is on promoting goods and services to eager customers, there’s still myriad lessons to be learned by delving into the particulars of this innovative text messaging approach.

Finding a Better Way

At the heart of this campaign was the desire to make assimilating into college life easier for new students. By minimizing the shock of this process, the team at Louisville felt that new additions to the student body would have a better chance at succeeding in both their personal and academic lives. However, the big issue standing in the way came from the unwillingness of the freshman class to regularly check their official university email inboxes.

While these students generally end up using the school-based email system as a primary means of staying connected with class members and faculty eventually, the university found that early adoption of this method was woefully inadequate during the weeks leading up to the beginning of the semester. However, if there’s one thing about students fresh out of high school that holds true in virtually any situation, it’s that these young people can’t get enough texting.

With this in mind, the team at Louisville decided to build a dedicated SMS campaign that would help keep these new members to campus informed and aware of all upcoming orientation and freshman events. In order to make sure these students heard the message loud a clear, those who opted-in received a free week of campus parking for joining the contact list. Additionally, having new members to the list respond back with the three things they were most looking forward to upon entering college life helped the university learn a little more about these bright young minds.

Creating a Warm and Welcoming Environment

To say the response was positive sells the success of the campaign short in a major way. During the first year of the outreach program, the team at Louisville connected with approximately 500 incoming freshman via SMS messaging. As a result, the university not only gained a new venue for communicating with the portion of the student body that needs guidance and direction most, it also helped bridge the gap that previously occurred between acceptance to the school and slipping into the habit or regularly checking official university email accounts.

Today, Louisville continues to broaden its text messaging outreach program by including reminders about campus visits, application deadlines, and more. Despite serving as a more nontraditional case study, the primary lesson learned from this campaign still holds true for organizations in a variety of industries and nonprofit settings – the younger generations love text messaging.

Taking Notes for Your Next Big SMS Test

So now that we’ve closed the chapter on the University of Louisville’s SMS success story, it’s time to put what you’ve learned to good use for your brand. First off, there’s no denying the power of text messaging when it comes to reaching out to the 18 to 24 demographic. If your target audience falls in to this range, chances are they’ll be more than receptive to the idea of texting with your company or organization.

Also, value in the SMS setting can go beyond traditional coupons and discounts. While these staples serve as a primary part of the mobile marketing process in many campaigns, providing your audience with useful and relevant news and information can also add value to the SMS experience from an entirely different, but equally effective, angle. With these lessons in hand, you’ll be ready to ace your next text message campaign test and start on the path to connecting with the consumers and individuals that matter most to your brand or organization.



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 Bricktown tourist attraction in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma helped boost sagging visitor numbers with a savvy SMS and social media campaign.

While every city has a “trendy” spot, few compare to Bricktown in Oklahoma City. With a sprawling variety of specialty shops, restaurants, and major regional events and concerts throughout the month, it probably doesn’t sound like Bricktown needs much help in the marketing department, right? Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a new approach to reinvigorate a flagging audience and gain a little extra traction for the other marketing operations included in a branded initiative. To find out how the team at Bricktown did just this with a savvy SMS and social media approach, let’s spend some time breaking down the particulars of this stellar mobile marketing campaign.

Building the Foundation Brick by Brick

At the core of this approach, Bricktown wanted to accomplish two things – build a lasting SMS contact list and a strong presence on the various social media networks. By doing this, the team managing the marketing side of this premier tourist attraction in Oklahoma City not only hoped to boost foot traffic on site and more interaction with the community, but also leverage this enhanced digital standing to generate additional value for its online advertising partners. Essentially, Bricktown hoped that building the foundation of a strong SMS approach would improve all aspects of the attraction’s marketing operations.

Spreading the Word about Bricktown

So how did Bricktown spread the word about its revamped SMS contact list? To start, signage around Bricktown’s various attractions, as well as in the digital world via social media posts and website banner ads, helped get the on-site and web communities excited about upcoming events and new additions to the area. Additionally, Bricktown also offered a variety of giveaways and limited time offers for those willing to join the club. In order to redeem their membership, consumers simply had to text the keyword “CHEVY” to the short code 62582.

Gauging the Success of the Campaign

To say that this campaign was a success might be selling Bricktown’s efforts a little short. Since the initiative’s inception, the marketing team at Bricktown has reported hundreds of new followers on Facebook, as well as similar gains on the mobile marketing list each month. In turn, this enhanced presence in both the physical and digital landscapes has significantly increased the value of advertising spots in Bricktown proper, the center’s website, and even in promotions that end up serving as part of the various deployed text messages. Today, the campaign still continues to stand as a shining example of what a smart and effective mobile marketing campaign can do when promoted from a variety of different angles.

Finding Your Own Path to Success

Even if you’re not in the business of standing as a civic attraction, there’s still plenty of powerful tips and tricks to pull from Bricktown’s successful campaign. First off, don’t be afraid to support your mobile marketing initiative across every format possible. While it might take some extra work to build a comprehensive campaign, having a strong backing and enhanced awareness across social media, in your local community, and within your site’s visiting audience goes a long way toward maximizing an SMS contact list’s potential.

From here, the content you share via text messages doesn’t have to be only in the realm of coupons and limited time offers. Bricktown made a major name for itself by promoting upcoming events in the shopping center, as well as utilizing this platform for brand news and giveaways. Value-driven content starts with discounts, but there’s nothing in the SMS rulebook that says your campaign can’t offer even more.

Finally, building a strong following on the SMS, social, and digital fronts isn’t just great for your brand awareness and foot traffic in-store, it also enhances the value of the rest of your advertising operations. Leveraging this increased position in your industry like Bricktown did helps add even more potential to an already powerful process. Whether you’re a local staple like this civic center or you have aspirations for global business operations, squeezing every last ounce of value out of text message marketing can help reach even the loftiest of goals.



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 Orange County Transportation Authority leveraged a smart SMS campaign to help keep the local community on track with the latest bus arrival times.

Few things in life are worse than missing the bus when you rely on public transportation to make your way around town. Not only does this mishap set you back on time, it can also cause a ripple effect that ruins the rest of your daily schedule. As one of the core portions of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) mission statement, minimizing the risk of this event for the residents of Orange, California was of paramount importance. To find out how the OCTA utilized a savvy SMS program to accomplish this goal, let’s break down the particulars of the organization’s campaign, as well as what this information could mean for your brand’s next text message initiative.

Getting off to a Rolling Start

Aside from the desire to help make relying information about this transportation system more accurate and efficient, the OCTA also had two other plans in mind – to develop a strong text-based connection with the patrons of the bus program and to cut down on the significant costs associated with providing route information to these individuals. As the team behind this program found in its initial audit, handling the 18,000 customer calls per week requesting arrival times cost this transportation authority nearly $144,000 per month. Adding in the expensive nature of amassing printed schedules and the toll this approach took on the local environment convinced the OCTA that the time for change couldn’t wait any longer.

In response to these concerns, the OCTA created the Text4Next program. As part of this system, bus patrons texted specific stop and bus route numbers to the short code “OCTAGO.” On the other end of the connection, the team at the OCTA had a scheduling system in place that responded to the query with a text containing the next three arrival times related to the targeted bus and stop.

Raising Awareness for Text4Next

Naturally, this system sounds great, but without the right backing, expecting the population of Orange, California to jump on board without any guidance was a bit unrealistic. To help raise awareness for Text4Next, the OCTA attacked the issue from two angles. The first approach, traditional marketing, included emails to the established email contact list for the organization, as well as a revamped website, brochures, and official press releases.

On the other side of the awareness campaign, the OCTA utilized guerrilla marketing tactics to help spread the word. As part of this outreach, the “Text4Next Street Team” wore branded t-shirts and connected with bus patrons at stops around the city. By doing this, trained “Street Team” professionals helped promote the system and provided valuable hands on demonstrations for the local population.

Racking up the Savings

So how well did the Text4Next program do in its mission to save the OCTA on costs associated with responding to consumer queries? A year after the program launched, this organization reported customer calls had fallen to a weekly average of 14,500, down from the initial 18,000. Additionally, the first month of the program saw over 7,000 messages from inquiring customers, while the 12-month mark saw this number jump to over 198,000. Considering that the average cost of a text hovers around $0.10 for the OCTA, compared to $2.00 per call into the consumer hotline, the Text4Next program, which is still going strong, has saved the organization more than $350,000 since its launch.

Riding the Bus to SMS Success

Even if you’re not representing a civil service or government outreach program, there’s still plenty of lessons your brand can learn by following in the OCTA’s footsteps. First, SMS messaging isn’t just an effective way to push up conversion numbers in a retail setting, it can help lower the financial burden of traditional communications as well. By simply replacing a dated method of handling customer inquiries with a smart system, like Text4Next, your brand can cut costs and save money.

From here, sometimes you have to go beyond traditional marketing to get the word out about your campaign. By taking on a guerilla approach like the OCTA did on behalf of Text4Next, your organization can reach an entirely new audience, which in turn adds even more power to your text outreach programs. Regardless of your industry, putting these tips to good use can radically change, and improve, the relationship you have with your target audience.



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 Immix Wireless took advantage of Central Pennsylvania’s love for SMS messaging and sports entertainment to garner increased engagement.

What’s more exciting than watching Triple H make his long awaited return to the ring on WWE Smackdown? For the people of Central Pennsylvania, the answer to this question came in the form of winning tickets to the show for free via a smart SMS promotion. Even if you’re not a fan of the WWE and sports entertainment in general, there’s no way you won’t be on your feet and cheering after you learn a little more about how Immix Wireless turned this event into an opportunity for SMS success.

Putting the Plan in Motion

While some of the other case studies covered in this series delve into the topic of building a new SMS contact list, the guys at Immix Wireless faced an entirely different problem. As a leading cellular service provider in Pennsylvania, this company obviously knew a thing or two about texting. However, the big problem facing this brand came in the form of reengaging a dormant mobile audience.

To overcome this issue, Immix Wireless’ team identified the upcoming WWE Smackdown event at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania as a prime foundation for a major SMS push. As part of this campaign, existing subscribers and new contact list members alike were invited to text in the keyword “WWE” for a chance to win four tickets to the big show.

Hyping Up the Match

To help spread the word and boost participation numbers, Immix Wireless advertised the promotion via several platforms. Aside from the in-store banners and posters found in the retail locations across ten counties in the region, this cellular service provider also notified existing contact list members via an early access push message. Additionally, an extensive social media and on-site digital campaign helped spread the word to those browsing the various virtual fronts operated by the brand.

The Final Count

After the final bell rang for the night and WWE Superstar Triple H made his much-awaited return to the ring, the lucky fan who won the tickets wasn’t the only person happy with the outcome of this campaign. In total, Immix Wireless enjoyed a participation rate just under 10 percent, in addition to adding a healthy dose of new members to its contact list. Considering that this promotion lasted only a week, this success story becomes even more impressive. Outside of the initial success offered by this program, Immix Wireless also gained the confidence to run larger, more extensive SMS campaigns based around future sweepstakes and giveaways.

Setting the Stage for Your Own Success Story

So now that you’re up to speed with the excitement and results surrounding Immix Wireless’ WWE-oriented SMS campaign, what’s next for your brand? For starters, this story proves that texting with your customers goes beyond the initial opt-in phase. While most brands tend to run powerful campaigns and then follow-up later with another push to boost subscriber numbers, Immix’s example transcended this practice and accomplished far more by reengaging current subscribers.

Naturally, you always want to find new members for your SMS audience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to offer high value messages and promotions to the people already on your list. Even if you’re not giving away tickets to one of the biggest sports entertainment events of the year, it’s still a smart call to start with your current subscribers and work your way out to new members. By doing this, your organization can stay at the forefront of these shoppers’ minds, all while continuing to expand its reach.

From here, the other major lesson provided by Immix Wireless revolves around the timing of the event. By running the campaign for only a week before the big event, this organization generated an astounding amount of interest and a sense of urgency among the local population that didn’t want to miss out on this opportunity. For the brands that want to send their audiences into a frenzy like the WWE fans during a Smackdown main event, combining this concept with a powerful giveaway and an approach that motivates subscribers, both new and old, is a clear recipe for success.


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