SMS promotions can be one of the greatest marketing assets that an online retailer can run. This Halloween, I am bringing you a step closer to understanding the terrifying power of SMS virality, but showing you how 5 prominent brands used these creepy promotions to impact their popularity, community and bottom line. In the spirit of making your hair stand on end, these SMS promotions can be utilized by your website this coming Halloween. All you have to do is get a little creepy!

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The SMS Promotions That Got Out of Control

A paltry one in 5 brands actually ran a SMS marketing campaign last year. That means some 72.3% of all businesses are not capitalizing on SMS virality, like you should if you don't want to be kept in the dark.

#1: Macy's, the popular department store, used mobile SMS promotions to drive traffic and sales to their website. In a horrific turn of events, texts were sent out to their SMS lists that promoted exclusive 'looks' from NBC's 'Fashion Star' show. Their list customers were then able to click through to their online store to buy the stylish outfits. Diabolical indeed!

Promotional technique: Incorporating pop culture (show) for virality.

#2: Who is more spooky than the ever-growing Kmart brand, that successfully used SMS promotions recently to improve customer engagement and sales. By sending a bulk SMS to its existing SMS list, Kmart got shoppers to redeem a $5 off coupon for purchases of $50 or more. The process involved Apple's Passbook app, to add a time limit on the coupons.

Promotional technique: Using SMS coupons to improve online and offline sales.

 #3: Pizza Hut recently used SMS promotions to spark a viral competition that catapulted their brand into the cold, heartless limelight. To reach their younger customers, they asked their SMS list and customers to text 'Win Pizza' to a short code. The prize? A pizza a month for an entire year. In the end only one person claimed the reward, even though thousands shared the promotion.

Promotional technique: A valuable competition that can be shared between friends.

#4: Feeling a little wired, shaky or paranoid? It could be from Starbuck's new SMS promotions, like the trivia contest they launched. People could opt-in and answer a trivia question, which would win the first correct answers a copy of the soundtrack for the Great Gatsby film. The promotion sold a lot of frappachinos and got a lot of opt-ins.

Promotional technique: Affiliation with pop culture (movie) and competition.

#5: Of all the scary brands out there, none is worse than Toys R Us. Their recent SMS promotions have been very clever, alerting busy parents at key times to new product launches and specials. Their 15% back to school deals are very popular and have resulted in a massive increase in online sales for the brand. This is downright boo-tiful marketing.

Promotional technique: Leverage timeous discounts that matter to their niche lists.

I'm sure that these great viral SMS promotions have you thinking about your ecommerce website in a new light. You had better jump on the SMS bandwagon, before it nips behind a safe enclosure and leaves you to be devoured by the zombie apocalypse. It's coming. *Please note that we have cast these brands in a creepy light for the sake of Halloween, we actually think they are all really amazing companies! For reminders, alerts and FAQs click here for Developer Archive. Which of these deeply disturbing SMS promotions do you think will work for your brand?

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