But you can take some inspiration from success stories. Just like winning the lottery (even better than winning the lottery, since it's more likely to happen to you ), knowing about how others did well can help you believe you can do it, too -- and give you some ideas about how to make it happen.
- Ace Hardware Knows Which Way the Wind is Blowing
Ace Hardware is a national brand with local or regional ownership. Westlake Ace, a franchise owning 88 stores across 7 states, allowed SMS subscribers to opt-in for weather notifications based on ZIP code. These warnings not only provided valuable weather information, but also notes about how to prepare -- and what to buy at Ace Hardware -- to be ready. It resulted both in higher sales as storms approached, but in a huge subscriber increase as people got friends to sign up for the weather warnings.
- Coca-Cola Goes Mad in March
People drink Coke while watching TV, and Coke has figured out that people drink Coke Zero while watching sports on TV. During March Madness (the NCAA Basketball championship tournament, always held in March), Coke sprang for on-air announcements during the game related to prizes and codes printed on various Coke Zero/Diet Coke products. The end result meant interacting with the brand and the game simultaneously. It's not as though Coke really needed more brand awareness (it's the most-recognized logo in the world), but the March Madness initiative didn't lose them any ground.
- Land's End
The clothing catalog giant went big for Mother's Day with an SMS campaign that reads like a "Nagging Mother" joke. In the week prior to the day, they sent three different reminders to get a gift for Mom...and a note that a Land's End gift card would be perfect for just such an occasion. This one didn't increase subscriber lists significantly, but boosted sales of both gift cards and merchandise.
- San Diego Chargers
Most teams have an SMS list to let fans keep up with the team throughout the season, but the Chargers went one step further. During the off season, subscribers receive updates about star players and training regimens, alerts on local appearances, and opportunities to get involved in polls and trivia contests to win Chargers swag. If there's a better way to keep in top-of-mind awareness when not immediately relevant, we haven't seen it.
What about in your area? Do you have colleagues or competitors who really nailed SMS this year? Tell us about them in the comments below, and how you plan to beat them in the coming months.