We know how it goes. Every year you promise yourself that you’ll start festive season marketing earlier.

Suddenly it’s November. Then December happens. In the mad rush to the holidays, your good intentions have been foiled again.

Never fear. If you’ve left it to the last minute, using online SMS for the holiday season is your saving grace.

We’ll show you last-minute text tactics and SMS strategies, including:

  1. Why last-minute messaging is manageable
  2. Templates for:
    • Retail and eCommerce
    • Hospitality venues
    • Hair and beauty businesses
    • Health and fitness companies
    • Trades and services
    • Real estate agents
  3. How to tackle post-Christmas sales with text
  4. How to get maximum return with minimal spend
  5. Do’s and don’ts for holiday season SMS

Don’t stress: last-minute messaging is manageable with SMS

Christmas marketing tactics in joining hexagons

When it comes to SMS marketing, you can afford to keep your timelines a little tighter.

There’s no need to brief a graphic designer to create the perfect email banner. There’s no fuss over font styles, mismatched colours and odd sizing.

No wrangling with temperamental email templates and no testing responsiveness across numerous devices. No worrying about emails diverted to a promotions inbox or lost in a pile of EDMs dying for attention.

With holiday SMS, it’s as simple as writing your message and reaching your contacts in a few clicks.

You could wake up at 7am on Christmas morning and decide to send a message.

Your clients will see, open and read your message before they even consider opening their first gift. (Not that we’re advocating for messages on Christmas Day). Read on for better ways to turbocharge your festive season campaigns with SMS marketing.

You’ll also discover a range of templates to copy and paste. Some of the templates below are over the standard 160 characters and may cost more per send. Read our SMS character help doc to find out more.

Last-minute festive season text templates for retail and eCommerce

Spent all your tokens promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Do not fret. People still spend a staggering amount over the Christmas and holiday period. Americans spent more than $1 trillion in retail sales last year.

Here’s another staggering stat: while about a quarter of people start their Christmas shopping in November, far more people leave it to the last minute — 62%, in fact.

Here are some templates to get your brand front of mind before most spenders hit the stores.

Templates: Christmas SMS messaging for retail stores

Shoppers are beginning to expect bargains before Christmas. If you offer holiday promotions, now is the time to drive them hard.

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Flash sale! Get 25% off all ladies and men’s clothing at [Company]. This weekend only, everything must go. Instore and online – shop sale at smsg.io/123567. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Missed [Company] epic Cyber Monday sale? Check out our one-day sale – tomorrow only! Get an extra 20% already reduced lines. Opt-out reply STOP.

Did you know that 51% of Christmas shoppers buy gifts for themselves? You can use text to give them a little extra encouragement.

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Buy one get one 50% off for all shoes at [Company]. Buy a gift and treat yourself. Show this message at the sales counter to redeem. Opt-out reply STOP.

Show your customer how much you know about them with tailored, irresistible offers. Segment customers by buying history, and data from signup forms or conversations.

You can use [placeholders] to personalise messages with data from your contact list.

You can also choose to add a custom placeholder to automatically fill in important details. The words ‘little girl’ is an example below.

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Hi (First Name), looking for the perfect gift for your little girl? Get 20% off all toys this weekend only. Opt-out reply STOP

Not all marketing campaigns need to involve discounts. 19% of Christmas shoppers spend on unplanned purchases. And 30% tend to have a vague idea of what they need but rely on gut feel in-store.

Almost 50% of shoppers are open to suggestions, making them easier to market to. Send messages about re-stocked popular items or coax customers into visiting your store by letting them know about extended trading hours.

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Hi (First Name). Stuck for gift ideas this Christmas? Make life easy and give them the gift they want – a [Company] gift card! Order in-store or online at smsg.io/123567 Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hey (First Name). Limited edition [Company] eyeshadow palettes are back in stock! Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for her? Look no further, buy now at smsg.io/123567 Opt-out reply STOP.
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Take the stress out of shopping this Christmas with [Company]’s extended trading hours. From now until Christmas Eve, we’re open from 8am until 8pm for your shopping convenience. Opt-out reply STOP.

Templates: for eCommerce and online stores

Don’t get left behind this holiday season, ensure that your promotions and deals reach your customers with Christmas text messaging.

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Flash sale! Get 20% off all items sitewide at [Company]. Enter FLASH20 at the cart to redeem. Shop now: smsg.io/567123 Opt-out reply STOP.
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Free shipping Friday with [Company]! Get free express shipping on all orders today only. Use FRIYAY at cart to redeem. Shop now: smsg.io/567123 Opt-out reply STOP.

It’s very easy to sell the benefit of doing Christmas shopping from the comfort of your home.

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Hey (First Name), hate the stress of Christmas shopping? Do it online with [Company]! We’ve put together a gift guide to make shopping a breeze – go to smsg.io/123567. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hi (First Name). Forget queues, hot and crowded malls, Mariah Carey on repeat and everything about the Christmas rush we all hate. Do your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your home or on the go with [Company]. Check out our Christmas edit at smsg.io/123567. Opt-out reply STOP.

Did you know you can reduce cart abandonment by nudging customers with SMS? You can automate this using triggered marketing messages by integrating your content management system (CMS).

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Hi (First Name), you’ve forgotten some items in your cart at [Company]! Don’t let them get away! Opt-out reply STOP.

Postal delays are all part of the festive season. You can keep your customers in the loop about shipping timelines so they feel comfortable shopping with you.

Make sure you consider the shipping times provided by your usual carrier. Add the amount of time it takes your team to dispatch. Then, add a time buffer because it’s Christmas.

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Hi (First Name), last days to order online with [Company] and receive your items before Christmas. Buy now and be guaranteed that your gifts will arrive in time. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Get FREE express shipping on all items ordered today with [Company] and be guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas. Hurry, offer available today and tomorrow only. Opt-out reply STOP.

How-to: Christmas text messaging for restaurants, bars and hotels

Christmas SMS for restaurants

Whether you run a bar, restaurant or hotel — December is always a busy time for the hospitality industry. Functions, office parties, bookings and holiday-makers are all part of the fun.

Maximise the opportunity for your hospitality business by selling the benefit of taking a break from cooking, a staycation or even a vacation to avoid all the kerfuffle of Christmas entirely.

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Merry Christmas from [Company]. Need to feed the family? Make life easy for yourself and order in. Get free delivery on all orders on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Opt-out reply STOP.
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We know Christmas can be tiring. Reward your efforts with a staycation at the [Company] – stay 2 nights, get the 3rd free! Opt-out reply STOP.

Hair & beauty holiday text message marketing templates

With all the events leading to Christmas, many people turn to beauticians and hairdressers to ensure they look their best. Drive more appointments through holiday season SMS reminders.

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Big Christmas function coming up? Take the pressure off—come in for a full makeover at [Company] for $50 and redeem the cost of the product. Book now, appointments are limited! Opt-out reply STOP.
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Want to turn heads this Christmas? Book in for a half head of foils, styled cut, wash and blow wave and save 20% off at [Company]. Book at smsg.io/123567 Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hi (First Name), come into [Company] for a pedicure from now until Christmas and get a free upgrade to a deluxe spa pedicure or add on a manicure for 50% off. Hurry, places are limited. Opt-out reply STOP.

Health & fitness holiday season SMS marketing templates

The holiday season can strain people’s health; from stress to indulgences or neglecting their usual fitness routine.

It’s a great time to remind people to come in for checkups, physiotherapy sessions, therapy, yoga sessions, or sign up for gym memberships.

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Hi (First Name), holiday stress getting you down? Take care of YOU with 20% off all appointments until Christmas at [Company]. Call us or book online at smsg.io/567123 Opt-out reply STOP.
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Protect your sanity this holiday season at [Company] – we’ve added extra yoga and pilates sessions every day of the week up until January. Sign up now. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hey (First Name), come see the team at [Company] and get your free fitness appraisal and nutrition plan. Book now! Opt-out reply STOP.

Trades & services holiday text messaging templates

Strange but true: Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers in America.

On Black Friday, American plumbers will receive 50% more calls than on any other day of the year. Mostly because people put too many food scraps down the sink after Thanksgiving.

This highlights a huge opportunity for Christmas, where many families come together over a similarly large meal.

Make sure that your customers are in front of mind should their sink (or other drains) get clogged with a simple holiday season SMS.

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Hi (First Name), thanks for entrusting your plumbing to us this year. Everyone at [Company] would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. And should you need our services, reply to this number. Kind regards, your friendly plumber [plumber1 name]. Opt-out reply STOP.

Other trades and services can use the festive season to their advantage too. Depending on your hemisphere, December may be the beginning of very hot or cold weather:

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Hi (First Name), fan not quite cutting it this summer? Get your fully ducted air conditioning system up and running with [Company]’s festive sale. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hey (First Name), get warm and toasty with our gas heating installation. Book now in time for Christmas. Opt-out reply STOP.

Real estate holiday text message marketing templates

If you’re a realtor or real estate agent, you can use the holiday sentimentality to your advantage.

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You can either buy a smaller tree… or a bigger living room. Dreaming of a bigger home? Contact [Company] now. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Asked Santa for a new home? You could be closer than you think. Call [Company] to check out our amazing Christmas listings. Opt-out reply STOP.
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New Year, New Home! Looking for a bigger, newer home? [Company] have some beautiful houses and apartments just hit the market. Reply with your preferred suburb to see some listings. Opt-out reply STOP.

With the help of an autoresponder, you can have replies sent immediately to potential leads with relevant property listings.

How to: post-Christmas text message marketing

Post Christmas SMS

Boxing Day is one of the biggest shopping days worldwide.

Increase online sales and foot traffic with Boxing Day text message marketing.

Think about the best time for your business to send a text message. Is it the evening before, the morning of Boxing Day or before Christmas?

Just make sure you add a sense of urgency to encourage shoppers to come to your business first.

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Hi (First Name), get down to [Company]’s biggest-ever Boxing day sale! First in best dressed, get in early to avoid missing out! Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hi (First Name), it’s up to 50% off storewide this boxing day at [Company]. Don’t miss out! Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hey (First Name), beat the crowd, shop online with [Company]. Our Boxing day sale has arrived and we’re offering free returns and free express shipping! Shop now: smsg.io/123567 Opt-out reply STOP.
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(First Name) Need a dress for New Year? Shop [Company]’s Boxing day sale to look great for less. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Boxing day model clearance continues at [Company]. There’s still time to save on run-out models. Come in and make us an offer! Opt-out reply STOP.

If you aren’t an eCommerce or retail business, there’s still an opportunity to boost sales on Boxing day.

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Hi (First Name), whether you hit the Boxing day sales or sat it out, there’s nothing better than a Boxing day beverage. Come down, say hi and get free tapas with every beer, wine or cider at [Company]. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Boxing day sale has hit [Company]. Make us an offer on these amazing listings. Opt-out reply STOP.
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Hosting a shindig this Boxing day? Fix that leaky tap or hissing toilet before your friends notice. Book now with [Company] for instant quotes. Opt-out reply STOP.

How to get maximum return with minimal spend

Globe with cartoon Santa peeking out

Want to get the most out of your holiday marketing campaigns? Check out our top tips on how to make SMS work best for your business.

A/B test SMS messages

To gain learnings fast, you can split some of your recipients into A and B test groups, send two different versions of your message and see which performs better.

Use this to test things like:

  • Which call to action performs better?
  • What type of offer is more enticing to your audience?
  • What greeting performs better?
  • Whether your audience appreciates festive puns
  • What time of day or day of the week is better for sending messages?

The opportunities for A/B testing your holiday SMS campaigns are endless.

Do’s and don’ts for holiday season SMS marketing messages

The rules of SMS aren’t complicated, but they are important. Follow these for SMS success.

All marketing messages need an opt-out option.

  • If you use a shared or dedicated number, you can direct recipients to reply ‘stop’ to unsubscribe.
  • If you use a shortcode or alpha tag as the sender, you need to include an opt-out link.
  • Be mindful of the time you send your messages and the timezone of your audience. Timing is everything.
  • Don’t buy contact lists. Not only is it illegal, but it won’t drive the results you desire.

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