tan1A 35-location tanning salon in Washington State by the name ‘Seattle Sun Tan’ was able to generate nearly $200,000 in new sales during the first month of their new SMS marketing campaign. The question is how did they grow sales by such an astounding amount in that initial month? The key is down to the wide reach they got with their initial opt-ins. As with most SMS campaigns, Seattle Sun Tan’s first goal was to collect their customer’s mobile phone numbers and gain their permission to send them deals in the form of an SMS message in the future.

They were able to collect telephone numbers by using short code 33733 and keyword “TANS”, enabling customers to opt-in with ease by merely sending  a text containing the keyword to the chosen shortcode. The real drive behind the opt-ins however, was the manner in which they promoted their SMS subscription via a wide range of channels, thus reaching the maximum number of people.

How they did it

Firstly, Seattle Sun Tan utilised their pre-existing email database of over 80,000 customers in order to promote the launch of their new SMS campaign, thus inviting them to subscribe. They also advertised their new campaign on the leading page of their website, in addition to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which in total managed to reach another 37,000+ customers. Furthermore, each of Seattle Sun Tan’s 35 locations conspicuously advertised the new SMS campaign in extremely visible and high-traffic areas throughout each store. As a result of such efforts, Seattle Sun Tan gained 4,750 opt-in customers during the first month of their SMS campaign. Perhaps an even more extraordinary achievement was the 57% redemption rate the initial text message they delivered, generating an incredible $196,101.87 in new sales.

For businesses running SMS campaigns, it is vital they exploit every channel they have available in order to maximise the number of opt-ins they are gaining. Often, the key to building a strong database of numbers is also finding an incentive which will capture your target audience. Once a business has selected a keyword and short code, the main priority is to drive opt-ins for the SMS marketing campaign. The aid of a competition, discount, voucher or promotion may be useful to provide customers with a valid reason to sign up in the fist place. It is imperative however, that businesses take every opportunity and platform provided to promote their SMS campaigns, integrating them into their overall marketing strategy.

How you can do it

Below are a few brief examples of ways to drive opt-ins across a variety of channels:



It is far easier for businesses to collect email addresses from their customers than it is mobile phone numbers. Therefore, businesses should make the most of their resources and if they already possess a large email list they should utilise it to aid the growth of their SMS list. This could be achieved by sending an email offering their customers an incentive such as a voucher if they opt-in to their SMS campaign.


Upon every sale, employees could try to encourage customers to opt-in to their “Mobile Club” to receive discounts, exclusive offers and updates on their products/services. Promoting the SMS campaign in this way will help build a strong relationship with customers who choose to sign up. In addition to verbal promotion, businesses could also advertise in the form of bold signs or posters on the shop walls and windows in order to grab peoples’ attention from the moment they enter the store.

Social Media:

There is no denying that in this day and age it is vital that businesses utilise social media as a platform to promote and expose themselves to as many people as possible. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc., are all filled with businesses trying to promote their brand to their target audience. One huge advantage of such platforms is that businesses already have their customer base built up in the form of their ‘followers’, therefore allowing them to interact purely with an audience who are interested in their products or services and will pay attention to what is posted. This is why businesses can gain large numbers of opt-ins when promoting SMS Campaigns in such ways.