10 Extremely Effective SMS Calls to Action

4 minute read

Team Mobile Messaging


Getting the attention of your target audience requires creativity. If you fail to get your message heard the first time, your brand is doomed from the start.

Social platforms and apps are shiny objects, but SMS (aka text messaging) is still the preferred communication channel for millions of people in every demographic.

SMS calls to action are powerful tools for engaging target users. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you don’t need a thousand words to inspire someone.

Here are the three basic things your SMS calls to action need to do:

  • Get someone’s attention
  • Opt a person into a campaign
  • Provide some sort of offer with a clearly outlined value

SMS marketing drives tremendous results when you accomplish all three points.

Quantitative conversion data on SMS calls to action is hard to come by because of the proprietary nature of the information. However, the best way to discover the elusive path to crazy-good conversions is to observe how other brands successfully leverage SMS.

Below are 10 well-executed SMS calls to action. The tactics range from in-store to on-the-go, with a few unusual approaches.


1) Smashburger Table Card

1. Smashburger
It’s amazing how something so simple can be so effective. The laid back and lengthy nature of eating at a restaurant makes this a perfect situation for using a QR code and text call to action. The benefits of joining the “Smashclub” are made crystal clear, motivating the customer to sign-up.

2) Bloomingdale’s Entrance Sign

2. Bloomingdales
Bloomingdale’s utilizes SMS to spark sign-ups for a mentoring program and rightly casts Bloomingdale’s in a philanthropic light. SMS is an excellent and frictionless way to help people do more good for the world and all of this is done before they even enter the store.

3) K&G In-Store Ads

3. K&G In-Store SMS CTA
K&G offers an immediate incentive for customers to text in. If you’re considering making a purchase, why not lop off an extra $5?

4) Hiring at Target

4. Target HiringAn interesting and accessible way to invite people to apply to the company. Providing an example subscriber entry increases the likelihood for a successful user entry.


5) MTV’s VMA Voting Billboard

5. MTV Billboard
This is an extremely clear billboard that calls attention to the VMA’s voting competition. The user can text the simple call-to-action and easily vote for their favorite artist.

6) AAA’s Baseball

6. AAA BBQ for Baseball
Very relevant and straightforward call to action for a baseball game. If you’re attending a baseball game, you probably like baseball. So why not try to win a free game complete with some BBQ?


7) Mike & Mike’s Winning Word

Using SMS for contests is perfect for promoting on the  radio. A recent example came from ESPN’s Mike & Mike for a contest to win tickets to the ESPY awards in Los Angeles. Listeners had to listen for the keyword and text it to the short code, increasing the incentive to listen.

8) Radio stations that invite you to text your opinion

Plenty of radio shows now invite listeners to text or tweet their opinions to the show. This call-to-action not only invites interaction, but it also makes the audience’s words the very content of the broadcast. Radio has always done a great job of that, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.


9) PETA Emojis Pics

9. PETA - No Words
Just flat-out creative. Individual emojis already elicit emotions, but using a ton of them to create a larger image is genius. Depending on the image, it’s a compelling and logical next step for the viewer to to get involved.

10) Pizza Hut Facebook Post

10. Pizza Hut - Cheese Sticks
The picture says it all. If you like cheese sticks, you’re going to do something about it. Overall, very compelling CTA.

If you’re begging for more SMS calls-to-action, check out this expansive repository of examples at artofthecta.com.

Or, if you’re ready to see a quick demo of Waterfall’s SMS platform, sign up below.

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