Holiday Text Messaging Guide for Small Business

Alexa Lemzy November 21, 2016
Young Couple Text Messaging

It’s that time of year again – Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and other special dates are right around the corner. The National Retail Federation expects that, this year, November and December retail sales will increase by 3.6 % to $655.8 billion.

You don’t want to miss out on your slice of that warm pumpkin pie! Here are powerful holiday text message ideas that will increase your sales this season.

Text Messaging Basics for Holiday Business

What you first need to know about text messaging is that it’s truly one of the most effective modern marketing channels. Surprisingly, people are more likely to read promotional SMS than even email. Think about it – most of your friends and colleagues keep their phones on them most of the time, right?

The basic idea behind text message marketing is that customers and leads give you permission to text them greetings and information on special promotions and sales. SMS is an opportunity to enhance customers’ experience of your brand while increasing your return on investment. Here are the basic rules of customer engagement via SMS.

Only text customers who’ve opted in

You may be wondering why you can’t contact your email subscribers and social media followers via text messaging if you already have their phone numbers. Text messaging is a form of “permission-based marketing.” A phone number is one of the most intimate pieces of contact information that someone can give you, so don’t take advantage of it by overstepping your boundaries.

Instead, create a strong mobile opt-in list using best practices. This way, you’ll avoid FCC intervention (which can include hefty fines) and improve, rather than destroy, the relationships you have with your customers.

Building relationships via text during the holidays

The holidays are a time of festivities, and they’re also a time of stress. There’s no way to know for sure how your customers feel, so try to always use an upbeat tone when sending holiday text message greetings.

Furthermore, there’s more to SMS than just coupon codes. Instead of sending a promotion each time you reach out, you can ask recipients to visit a piece of fun content on your website, like your social media profile, or participate in a poll. Relationship building should always happen before you ask someone to make a purchase.

Keep your message relevant to the reader

If your text messages are relevant and to-the-point, you will have a much higher success rate with SMS promotions during the holidays. If someone orders from you regularly, include gratitude statements.

Keep your contact list segmented into groups to avoid sending messages that seem impersonal. Track your website views, responses, and everything related to customer interactions to maintain a consistent voice with SMS recipients.

How to use short URLs when texting
URL shortener

Short URLs can be created for any page on the web. Rather than sending someone a link that’s several lines long, use a link shortener. This will make your messages cleaner and more readable.

Short links give back valuable character space to text messages. A shortened URL can be limited to 12 characters.

Why use a call to action?

If you don’t tell consumers what to do, they aren’t going to do anything. If the call to action is not immediately visible, recipients probably won’t engage with you any further. So, if you want text message recipients to visit your content and use your coupon codes, you have to tell them.

Holiday SMS for Customers

As you prepare your holiday gifts and promotions from the end of October through to the beginning of next year, you want to be prepared to reach out to each of your text messaging subscribers. Show customers that you haven’t forgotten about them. Use these templates in your bulk SMS queue just before each upcoming holiday.

October 31st is a spooky day, hence maybe the only time of the year you can be a little dark. Remember, though, you are a business, so don’t be distasteful. Keep your Halloween text messages fun and make sure they don’t go against your brand image.

“You may be too old to trick-or-treat this year, but you can enjoy an offer that’s better than free candy one night per year – enjoy 15% off the annual cost when you renew your 2017 membership with the OCTOBER15 code.”

“Happy Halloween, Chris! Here is how one small business had a scary 300% increase in their October revenue:”


At thanksgiving, in November, many people are feasting, spending time with family, and enjoying the calm right before the Black Friday storm. What else are they doing? How is your product or service relevant? Leverage your value.

“Hi Jean, are you prepared for cleanup after your family leaves? Here’s $5 to spend on your next order of cleaning supplies. Use the code “CLEAN5” at checkout.”

“Hey Sam, do you have everything you need to get through this Thanksgiving – all the cooking and housework? Read this article on how to cope with the stress of the holidays:”

Black Friday

You either love Black Friday or you hate it. It’s that day when sales are extreme, and so are shoppers. What do you have to offer your patrons that they didn’t see elsewhere? Show them how being part of your mailing list is exclusive.

“Since you love us enough to share your phone number with us, we’d like to thank you. Come into the store tomorrow, between noon and 6:00 PM, and show this message to your cashier to enjoy $50 off.”

“This is how to get the most from your Black Friday shopping: (Hint: you can stay home and avoid the traffic.)

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the online version of Black Friday. While most people were out scrambling for deals on Friday, some people waited patiently over the weekend for the cyber world to start promoting their sales. If you have an online store, leverage this holiday – patrons will be expecting it.

“Did you miss the in-store sale on Friday? Why don’t you check out our Cyber Monday deals on housewares and clothing? Visit our website before the sale ends at midnight.”

“Happy Cyber Monday, Alex! Save an additional 10% off your wish list items. Shop now at”

“Hi Chris, here is an exclusive deal for you: type in 516334 when making an order on our website and receive up to a 10% discount this Cyber Monday.”


Now that December is here, think about typical consumer behavior. People were doing a lot of their shopping at the end of November, in preparation for Christmas, but they’re probably not done yet.

At any point during the holiday season, you can refer to this big holiday, but try to be mindful of your customers with alternative beliefs and customs – Christmas is, first and foremost, a family holiday.

“Hey, we’re curious, does the Johnson family celebrate the holidays? We have special presents for you! Fill out this form to receive the best offers (link to web form).”

“Jean, Xmas is here – time for you to shine! Show this message to your hairdresser tomorrow and receive a 10% discount for the haircut you love.”

“Merry Christmas, Alex! Enjoy a surprise discount on your last-minute shopping. Find out what you can save here:”


Night city

Make sure you’re ready to funnel some of your customers’ extra spending this holiday season. Follow the best practices for commercial text messaging and use the holiday text message templates to get your wheels turning.

You can use some of the examples above, word-for-word, and adjust others to fit your needs. If you haven’t already, it’s time to plan your holiday SMS strategy. Use this guide to get started right away. Share it with your colleagues now to make sure everyone is ready for the rush.

Alexa Lemzy


Customer support person. Interested in customer success, growth, marketing and technology. Passionate about content, reading and travel.

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