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Making the Case for Mobile Marketing: SMS Beauty Tips from Kiehl’s Cosmetics Retailers

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 unique new twist and some smart outreach turned Keihl’s SMS campaign into a marketing makeover superstar.

It’s a worn out cliché, but it’s hard to deny – in marketing and in fashion, it’s all about standing out. Whether we’re talking about the latest designs from Estee Lauder or your next big promotional event, if you don’t show up in style, you won’t be making a splash with your audience. Kiehl’s, a leading cosmetics retailer, knew that to get its great makeup deals out to the masses and keep their products in the limelight of the hottest looks, the brand needed to really hit one out of the park. Of course, there’s no better way to do this than with a smart and creative SMS plan, so let’s take a minute to zoom in on exactly how Kiehl’s revamped its style and got customers through the doors in record numbers.

A Quick Kiehl’s Primer

To start, you’ll need a little back story on the cosmetics retailer to see just what the guys and gals in charge of marketing over there were working with when they decided to roll out this SMS strategy. At the time of the text message outreach, Kiehl’s had more than 250 brick and mortar stores across the United States. In addition to this, a bustling online presence helped compliment these shops and snag business from those who weren’t able to make a trip to their local store. While all of this sounds nice, there’s no doubt that plenty of business was being left on the table, solidifying the fact that a new approach was in order to grab up these shoppers before they ended up at some other brand’s checkout.

Reaching out Across Multiple Channels

While there’s nothing wrong with just slapping together a few quick texts and sending out some promo deals to your text message contact list, don’t expect to pull off the same results as Kiehl’s – we’ll talk a little more about that later though. Instead of going with the path of least resistance approach, this brand decided to give its customers a few options for joining in on the fun and boost the store’s contact list at the same time. First, the traditional in-store sign-up sheet and friendly reminders from the employees staffing the registers got some buzz going for the upcoming offers. In addition to this, Kiehl’s also pushed the sign-up details on its website, ensuring that the customers who hadn’t stopped by recently wouldn’t be left out once the messages started hitting phone screens.

Unique Location Offers

Now that all of that’s covered, it’s time to look at what happened once the audience started signing up by texting “KIEHLS” to the pre-prepared SMS short code and sharing their location data with the retailer. As the contact list members traveled within a certain radius of Kiehl’s stores, they immediately received discounts and makeup deals. This unique take on the text message ad could occur up to three times a month, giving shoppers plenty of incentive to take a little trip near their favorite local shop and see if any deals were up for grabs.

Big Time Results

As the six-month campaign moved forward, it was pretty clear to all involved that this one was going to go down as a major success for SMS marketing. In total, 73 percent of the contact list ended up redeeming these deals and making a purchase, while 81 percent filled out a survey at the end of the campaign, giving some invaluable feedback for the next run of messages. Interestingly enough, 90 percent of these surveyed shoppers who considered the texts memorable noted that they made a purchase, indicating that the overlap between receiving messages and making a long-term impression on your shoppers is a pretty powerful one-two punch for brands that pull it off right.

Making a Major Move for Your Brand

So what does all of this mean for your brand? The first thing to take away from Kiehl’s big time success story is that giving your customers options goes a long way. Whether it’s in the store or online, having multiple sign-up outlets can boost your contact list numbers. Once you have that tactic hammered out, the next thing you can do to make a splash is to make it fun for the customers. While you don’t have to use location-based services like Kiehl’s, any way you can change things up and turn a boring old text into a fun little event for your audience gives you a chance to get the most out of your SMS marketing plans.

Kiehls

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