Top 10 SMS campaigns of Q1

Arguably, SMS is one of the best channels out there that helps marketers reach consumers no matter if they have a smartphone or feature phone and brands such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola and General Mills have all increased their databases by implementing the medium into their overall strategies.

SMS is a great way for brands to connect with consumers on a deeper level. Additionally, marketers are able to build their databases to better target users in the near future.

Here are the top 10 SMS campaigns of the first quarter, in alphabetical order.

Ace Hardware
Westlake Ace Hardware, which operates 88 Ace Hardware stores in several states, used SMS to deliver weather-related text alerts and special offers to help consumers prepare for when the bad weather hits.

Additionally, Ace Hardware integrated the campaign with the National Weather Service to provide timely, location-based weather notifications.

SMS was an effective channel for Ace Hardware because it not only gave the company a new way to communicate to its consumers, but SMS also helped the company send out relevant information to help grow its database.

Aveeno
While many companies are placing QR codes on their static prints ads to drive user engagement, hair care brand Aveeno went a different direction.

After consumers text-in the keyword, they fill out their contact information by replying to messages.

By offering an incentive ? in this case a free sample ? consumers are more inclined to opt-in.

This also helps Aveeno start a relationship with consumers and take it beyond a simple static ad.

Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola is no stranger to SMS and it was no surprise that the company was going to tap the channel when it came to promoting its latest initiative centered around March Madness.

Coca-Cola?s Coke Zero ran an interactive SMS program that rewarded users with prizes when they watched March Madness games.

Additionally, consumers could find codes on March Madness-themed Coke Zero products and cups and text them to the short code 2653.

The initiative was a great way to have users interact with their mobile device while they were watching a game at home.

General Mills
General Mills? Cheerios brand leveraged SMS to help drive mobile donations for its Spoonfuls of Stories program.

Additionally, for each mobile donation made, publisher Simon & Schuster Children?s Publishing matched the donations up to 50,000 books.

Through the initiative, consumers were encouraged to text the keyword Books2Kids to the short code 20222.

Then, users received a text message back confirming their donation of $5, which was billed to their carrier bill.

Although SMS is a great channel to build a company?s database, it is also good for driving donations.

JCPenney
Department store JCPenney thought outside the box when it came to promoting its Easter dresses.

The time-sensitive campaign centered around JCPenney sending out SMS messages to its opted in consumers to drive them in-store for a one-day event.

This is a good example of a company that is using their current mobile database to reach its customers and drive sales.

The one-day event was time-sensitive and SMS was a great channel to quickly get the word out about it.

Macy?s
Macy?s is another department store that took advantage of its mobile database to drive in-store and mobile sales.

Additionally, those that were not opted-in to Macy?s database could also text the keyword STAR to the short code 62297 to learn more about the show and how to get the latest looks.

Macy?s has been using SMS for a while and continually sends out messages to its consumers letting them know about new sales and events.

Reese?s
Last month, Hershey?s Reese?s candies used SMS to let sports fans vie for a chance to win a trip to the upcoming 2013 NCAA Men's Final Four game.

Reese?s ran a text-to-win promotion as part of a bigger push to interact with sports fans.

From there, users were sent back a message to enter their birthday and email address.

Additionally, the SMS message also included a link to Reese?s mobile site where users could learn about the rules of the game.

The campaign helped Reese?s start a dialogue with users and then continue it by sending more relevant SMS messages.

Rite Aid
Rite Aid is another company that used SMS to help drive donations.

Rite Aid proved that SMS can be used to drive awareness of a good cause and to get consumers involved.

Additionally, instead of simply asking them for a donation at the point-of-sale, Rite Aid used SMS to have consumers make their own choice about the donation.

Starbucks
When it comes to mobile, Starbucks is one of the companies that leads the pack no matter what channel they are using.

To promote its My Starbucks Rewards program, the company ran an in-store call to action.

The call to action was positioned near the drink counter so that when consumers waited for their drinks they could text-in.

Coffee lovers were encouraged to text the keyword GOLD to the short code 697289 (MYSBUX).

When consumers texted-in, they received a message from Starbucks that thanked them for their interest in the program.

For this instance, SMS helped Starbucks build up its My Starbucks Rewards program.

Additionally, but using the in-store call to action, the company was able to reach more consumers while they were waiting for their drink.

U.S. Tennis Association
The United States Tennis Association significantly expanded its existing SMS strategy this year with plans to bring in-venue messaging to more events and introduce new text clubs.

Through the new SMS initiative fans in the audience are able to text to vote, answer a question, post a picture or send a message based on a promotion to a short code. The results will appear live on the screen in real-time.

The USTA said that it will also be able to deliver special offers to fans in the audience.

The association?s updated SMS strategy proves that it is never to late to build on an existing initiative and make it better.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York