Holiday SMS Campaigns for Wellness
Holiday SMS Campaigns for Wellness
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If there’s any industry that stands to help people during and after a pandemic, it’s the wellness industry. It’s one of the largest industries on earth, adding up to some $4.2 trillion as far ago as 2017. More recently, it expanded to $4.5 trillion (2018).
These numbers count a lot of different industry subcategories into the total. That includes personal care, anti-aging, wellness tourism, feminine hygiene (a $36 billion industry), fitness, mind-body products, and even the spa economy. But in the U.S., “wellness” products tend to be those we can take home with us that improve our physical and mental well-being.
The trends are pointing to an increasing amount of emphasis placed on ecommerce. The global “digital health market,” for example, increased to $418 billion by 2020. More and more, companies like Hubble (which sells monthly subscriptions for daily contact lens use) can sell products that traditionally required in-person visits online. Customers are growing to trust these wellness brands as their digital experiences grow.
Notable Campaigns from the 2019 Holiday Season
Our look back at 2019 found that wellness brands come in all shapes and sizes. But there are a few things they have in common when it comes to outreach and marketing:
Luxury dental floss turns an everyday purchase into the potential for a gift. That was the brilliance behind the Cocofloss holiday push in 2019. It created unique gift sets, such as a holiday “Healthy Habits Set” that included a 21-day floss challenge and other wellness-related products such as a Balance & Bliss Journal. Cocofloss used an influencer strategy throughout the year, including quotes from influencers like Ellen Degeneres.
The daily multivitamin subscription service is adept at the “kit” strategy, selling starter kits and trial kits that are designed to entice new users into trying out a subscription. GEM also includes gift-giving as one of the central features of its online store, making it especially attractive for holiday gift-givers. Their current refer-a-friend policy rewards customers with $20, and customers can also earn points that can be spent toward GEM products and apparel.
Meditation is one of the top-growing areas in wellness brands, including being the most searched-for wellness activity on ClassPass in 2019. Brands like Muse are capitalizing on this with steep discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Muse Headbands also entice customer participation through a mindfulness app intended to be used with the product, making the brand especially amenable to SMS marketing.
Compliance with CBD and Marijuana Rules and Regulations
There’s a newer element on the wellness scene, as many states relax their laws for the purchasing and selling of CBD products and marijuana. Many people find these products beneficial, but companies selling online sometimes find that dealing with individual state laws can be a hassle.
This is especially true when it comes to SMS rules. Restricted Messaging rules apply to anything that falls under “SHAFT,” or sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, or tobacco. Companies not only have to worry about what they sell online—and who they sell it to—but their SMS campaigns have to be in compliance with text messaging guidelines.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about SHAFT regulations:
If it could be illegal, avoid texting about it.
It’s a basic rule of thumb that applies to all brands. But given the differences of laws from state to state, it means that you should avoid texting anything that might be illegal in another state, even if it’s not illegal in yours.
Remember that federal law prohibits cannabis use.
While states may be relaxing their standards, as an SMS marketer, you still have to comply with federal law and SHAFT regulations.
Realize that restrictions extend to CBD.
As we’ve previously noted, CBD marketing can be dicey, which is why carriers may even suspend the accounts of SMS marketers who violate these rules, even if you’re only promoting CBD-related content and not the use of marijuana/cannabis.
What Was Popular Last Year in Wellness Marketing?
2019 saw spikes in interest in wellness products and courses related to meditation. But what else saw increased popularity in wellness marketing last year?
In 2019, Peloton—selling interactive at-home exercise equipment—went public. As of this writing, the stock for Peloton is far above its IPO price. The public offering of Peloton stock highlighted an emerging trend that would have even more relevance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic: people are looking for at-home wellness experiences more than ever. Being able to exercise, meditate, or practice other healthy habits at home were emerging trends in 2019 even before people knew they would need them in 2020.
Animal-free wellness products
The popularity of veganism means that new businesses like vegan bakeries are on the rise, as are meat substitutes and vegan-based subscription services. This can extend beyond dietary concerns, as people look for cruelty-free products in everything from scented candles to the apparel they wear.
Activities ranging from saunas to cryotherapy to facials all saw an increase in 2019, according to ClassPass, with increased searches on a month-over-month basis. This trend extends to both self-care activities at home (which we saw with the popularity of Peloton), as well as products designed for better self-care at home. With COVID-19, we can only expect that demand for these activities and products will rise in 2020.
How Wellness Brands Might Use SMS for the Holidays
Wellness is a huge industry, and its best practices for holiday SMS campaigns will include all sorts of different strategies and tactics. But here are a few that may be especially suited for wellness brands come Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
Using SMS to capture abandoned carts
Many wellness brands may already have an email list that they can reach out during the holidays. This enables them to launch new campaigns, announce new products, and offer special holiday deals. But Drew Nicole Edell of MuteSix notes that she sees some of the most effective SMS marketers using email lists in unique ways. For example, using SMS to capture revenue that may be missed via email. This leverages SMS’s strengths—high open rates—and helps wellness companies make conversions during the competitive holiday season.
An additional 15% incentive means re-capturing abandoned cart customers for Frey. And who can resist that picture?
Leveraging smartphone apps to foster community
Some wellness products naturally lend themselves to smartphone apps. For example, a sleep aid may include an app that lets someone use a product to naturally log their sleeping habits. It’s not difficult for these brands to leverage that sense of community via app and integrate SMS opt-ins.
Wellness Brands Who Are Executing SMS Well
What wellness brands are already handling SMS during the holidays, leveraging their existing customer base, and driving high engagement?
UMZU is a natural supplements brand that offers a wide variety of products for general wellness. They feature products built for blood pressure and improved circulation, stress relief, and more. UMZU found success with Postscript by doing what we recommended above: they were able to leverage their existing customer base by plugging them into a new SMS channel.
Utilizing a new app and creating a new revenue stream from scratch, UMZU began generating seven figures in sales almost immediately. That’s thanks to 10,000+ compliant opt-ins off the bat. UMZU also engages with its customers by including its latest content in SMS messages. And with integrations with services like ReCharge, it’s able to use SMS campaigns to help fuel subscription-based purchases.
This is a more recent example of how SMS can be used to adapt to changes in the marketplace. Pur water filters saw substantial increases in new subscribers even during the COVID-19 pandemic because it adapted its messages to be more timely and relevant. Rather than continuing with its typical, pre-planned campaigns, Pur offered help and suggestions for dealing with a pandemic while stuck at home.
The result was a 20% increase in new subscribers. Pur switched from a promotional model and focused more on the benefits of its products, and found that these strategies better resonated with customers. This is important for any wellness brand to keep in mind: how does the season—or what’s going on in the news—impact what your SMS customers will most resonate with?
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“For us, [the best practices are] the meat and potatoes flows like abandon[ed] cart [messages] and welcome series are great because of easy, early, big wins. They are unexpected by the clients.”
“Celebrate with your customer and it should turn into sales. Be a good reason to come up at the family dinner, not a bad one.”
Best Practices for Wellness Brands During the Holiday Season
Don’t forget omni-channel promotion
An existing email customer base is not something you should ignore. With UMZU, they were immediately able to leverage an existing audience into a new SMS channel, and the result was a completely different revenue stream. Don’t view the holiday season just as a way to begin something entirely new. Look at it as an opportunity to leverage the customer base you’ve built throughout the rest of the year.
Position your brand for holiday gifting
When Black Friday and Cyber Monday roll around, are you able to send out an SMS that points to a great holiday gift that people can purchase? If you don’t have unique holiday offerings, consider creating unique packages that only take one SMS message. Remember that the open rates for SMS are very high, but people only take action if you make the next step easy. Give them something tangible to click on and purchase—don’t ask them to do the gift-browsing themselves.
Getting Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
People need wellness all year long. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday are when people are going to look for deals—even when it comes to health and wellness products.
Respond to evolving demands with SMS
The advantage of SMS marketing is that it allows brands to be instantly responsive. If there’s a new situation, you can react to it with a quick message to customers. We saw that with how Pur adapted its strategy to the world under quarantine, and drove more engagement.
Use existing channels to build SMS success
Part of the success of UMZU is that they were able to leverage an existing email channel with lots of subscribers and translate that success into SMS. Rather than launch new campaigns, they could simply build on the loyalty of an already-established audience. And for those customers who prefer receiving texts, it’s a no-brainer. The result: more engagement and more sales with customers who are on their phones more frequently.
Kickstart your holiday SMS
Download Postscript and get set up with pre-loaded holiday automations for free.
Written by Kaleigh Moore
Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer for ecommerce companies.