13 Ways To Drive Last Minute Sales With SMS Reminders

Chris Brisson

Chris Brisson


May 9, 2024

13 Ways To Drive Last Minute Sales With SMS Reminders

What’s the perfect way to get your timely message read in a hurry? Well SMS & voice broadcasting of course. In this post we will suggest to you several ways to use text or voice messaging to drive last minute sales, but first let’s look at a real world example.

The Ebay Example

Urgency and scarcity. It’s one of the most powerful persuasion and influence secrets for getting people to act and the great folks at at eBay are masters at it.

The other day I bid on some amazing 1960’s VW Beetle Ads and a few hours before it was set to end, I got this email…

Then after I clicked the link and saw this…

It’s asking me to sign up to receive a SMS alert 15 minutes before the auction ends.


Now, they already send you an email, but they know the open rates are beyond low for these types of messages. So what’s an even better way to let you know to act now?

A text message reminder.

It’s an amazing strategy they are using and my guess is that it’s working insanely well for them!

13 Ways to Use SMS Reminders and Notifications to Drive Sales

Many business have time sensitive offers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the entertainment, sports, retail or even services industries; there is an offer you have that can benefit from last minutes sales.

After thinking about I came up with a list of situations perfect for using SMS to drive last minute sales.

  1. Product Launch Closing
  2. Last Minute Webinar Notifications
  3. Micro Sales
  4. Inventory Closeout
  5. Crowd Funding Campaign
  6. Event Ticket Sales
  7. Price Hike Notification
  8. Post Webinar Sales
  9. Free Trial Ending
  10. Early Bird Sale
  11. Holiday Promotions
  12. Renewal Notification
  13. Fund Raisers

1. Product Launch Closing

Build a mobile list during your initial product launch that way if you are offering any bonuses or last minute cross sells you can alert the interested parties on your list. To make your list extremely qualified offer your text to join option during your product launch webinars. Chances are if they signed up to your email list, then attended a webinar they are more likely to take action and buy your product.

2. Last Minute Webinar / Teleseminar Notifications

Many customers send out last minute reminders about their webinar or teleseminar events to drive up attendance and boy does it work! More attendees mean more interested buyers who took the time to understand your offer. Many clients have seen as high as 65% increase in attendance some a simple, teeny tiny, text message. And in the end, they generated more revenue from their events.

3. Mico Sales

Have a sale going that’s closing soon or one day only? Perfect for EOM quotas or maybe you want to increase sales during slow period of the day. Restaurants like Chipotle do a great job at this. Just send out a quick text promo notification to your registered subscribers a few hours before it closes and watch your sales soar!

Here’s an example of how Grab an Uber competitor is using text to drive sales.

This promo is using the Philippine Peso

They used a SMS message to drive sales during off peak traffic hours from 12pm-4pm using the Promocode MIDDAY. The promo was good for one day only making this campaign extremely driven by time and immediately measurable. I also have the Uber app on my phone but I don’t seem to receive these kind of offers from them, in other words they are missing out big time.

4. Inventory Closeout

Many business carry product only to have to put it on sale in anticipation to make room for more inventory. This happens with electronics, food, furniture, household goods, clothing especially seasonal items, like Christmas decorations.  So building a mobile list when a customer purchases or registers a product is a great idea. Then when is the right time a text message can drive you closeout sales from the red into the black.

Example: Some states offer limited sales of a product such as fireworks. A fireworks stand company could build a SMS list to push out a last minute discount to move inventory on the final day they can sale.

5. Crowdfunding Campaigns

If ever there was time sensitive offer it’s the countdown to the end of your crowdfunding campaign. By building a mobile list you can send an exclusive SMS offer or a last minute call to action just hours before the end of your campaigns. Below is a faux example of what a text like this could look like.

Image sourced from http://www.ios7text.com/

*If you are using text to drive traffic to a url be sure the site is mobile optimized.

[bctt tweet="By building a mobile list you can send an exclusive SMS offer"]

Here is an example of a last minute email from Crowd Loans non-profit Kiva.org

Kiva.org provides micro loans to people in deep need. It’s an amazing idea and worthy cause.

Wouldn’t SMS reminder to donate also be a great way to follow up with their list of potential donors?

6. Event Ticket Sales

Many events marketers offer pre-sales to gage interest and predict attendance numbers to conferences, sporting events, concerts, festivals, movies and more. The pre-sale ticket is a limited time offer therefore can benefit from SMS & voice broadcasts to remind your subscribers that it is ending soon.

Image sourced from http://www.ios7text.com/

The Detroit Red Wings Hockey Team is making the most with SMS not only on ticket sales but also offering text promos for food, drinks and gear while in the stadium. Look at the list of text clubs they offer. Notice how they segmented their mobile lists by using different keywords to give the most targeted offers to their subscribers.

Image sourced from the Detroit Red Wings Official SIte

7. Price Hike Notification

Tying into the concept of the Product launch Close or end of a Ticket Pre-sale is a Price Hike notification. This should be used within the message anytime you are are going to raise the price of your product or event entrance. It creates scarcity and causes people to take action or face a higher price later.

8. Post Webinar Sales

You have used SMS to drive more attendance to webinars but you should also use it to close the sale. If you send a SMS reminders with a one time offer to mobile only subscribers you can reinvigorate a sense of urgency that may have lapsed after the event. Remember to sweeten the deal with an addition bonus for people who take action that day or within a few hours.

9. Free Trial Ending Alert

If you use a Free Trial period in your service product start you probably send an email notifying your prospect of the trial close.But why not also follow up with a SMS reminder? By collecting mobile numbers during registration process and offering a mobile opt-in you can remind your prospects that their Free Trial period is ending and what your value is, you can also offer to lock in a special price if they buy now. For products that are digital in nature and require no cost to produce (such as a course or game) this tactic can work well. Sending an email, SMS and voice broadcast the day of the trial ending will get your message heard loud and clear.

Here is an example of a reminder email from one of our integration partners Zapier.com

That’s a great start but wouldn’t a SMS reminder will compliment this email well?

10. Early Bird Sale

Another strong tactic if to offer an early adopter a special incentive to take action by a certain day in order to secure a ridiculously reduced price. This can be used in the critical start of a product launch, fundraiser or event. Once again the meek but mighty SMS with its 98% open rate can get you in top of mind when you need it most.  

11. Holiday Promotions

Everyone looks forward to Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday Deals. If you offer a mobile list when your shoppers by a product you can drive more sales on these days with exclusive offers.. You can also use SMS messages send a special offer for a specific item if inventory of a product hasn’t been moving well.

In fact even Google recognized the value of last minute SMS reminders by offering holiday text ads in Christmas holiday season of 2015.


12. Renewal Notifications

Many times when a subscription is going to end, there is no automatic renewal. This often the case for things like website access, domain names, hosting, and SAAS products. If you build a mobile list you can increase renewals by sending a SMS reminder that the user’s subscription is ending.

Here’s an example…

Let’s you have membership site for model planes and a 1 year subscription is $97 annually. If sending out 1000 SMS messages costs you $50 and your conversion rate is a meager 1.5% your ROI will look like this.  

.015 X 1000 = 15   15 x $97 = $1,455  That is a 2910.00% Return on your spend!

You only need 1 sale to make 194.00% return!  I don’t know about you but I like those odds.

13. Daily Deal Sites (Groupon, Living Social)

Building a SMS list when you are collecting an email from people who want deals should be a no brainer. The key is to limit your text messaging to 1 once a week. Reserve it for a killer deal if you build that SMS list you can charge a premium for those messages to advertiser because the open rate is so high.

Look, here is a list** of  companies using text to drive these last minute sales. Are there any companies here that you wouldn’t mind getting a timely SMS promo from?

But here is the real question…

“If all these companies are using SMS to drive last minute sales why aren’t you?”

Grocery, pharmacy and home goods.

  • Costco: Text COSTCO to 71034.
  • Target: Text COUPONS to 827438.
  • Family Dollar: Text VALUE to 28767.
  • Meijer: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Home Depot: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond: Text OFFER1 to 239663 or enter your mobile number online.
  • IKEA: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Walgreens: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy: Text GROCERY to 43101.
  • Earthfare Healthy Supermarket: Text EAT to 71700.
  • Hy-Vee: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Sherwin Williams: Text your zip code to 72468.

Clothes, Makeup & Accessories

  • Victoria’s Secret PINK: Enter your mobile number with email signup.
  • MAC Cosmetics: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Macy’s: Text JOIN to 62297.
  • Kohl’s: Text SAVE to 56457.
  • American Eagle Outfitters:  Text JOIN to 32453 or enter your mobile number online.
  • Nordstrom: You must sign up via a salesperson while in-store (ask for the NEXT app).
  • Saks Fifth Avenue: Enter your mobile number online.
  • JCPenney: Text JOIN to 527365.
  • Lord and Taylor: Text SALE to 95555.
  • Aeropostale / P.S. from Aeropostale: Text JOIN to 237687 / Text JOIN to 772376.
  • Bloomingdale’s: Text JOIN to 25666 or enter your mobile number online.
  • Babies R Us & Toys R Us: Enter your mobile number for both online.
  • Avenue: Text AVE to 40679.
  • Charlotte Russe: Text CR to 78953.
  • Dress Barn: Text JOIN to 21226 or enter your mobile number online.
  • Men’s Wearhouse: Text STYLE to 41680.
  • New York & Company: Text WEB to 697895.
  • Stages Stores: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Wet Seal: Text WETSEAL to 77053.
  • Express: Text ROCKS to 397737.


  • Payless: Text PAYLESS to 747474.
  • Famous Footwear:  Enter your mobile number with email signup.
  • Nine West: Text NINEWEST to 25179.

Fast Food & Eateries

  • Arby’s: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Subway: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Jamba Juice: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Ruby Tuesday: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Dominos: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Jack In The Box: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Outback Steakhouse: Enter your mobile number online.
  • Applebee’s: Text JOIN to 22337.
  • Baskin–Robbins: Text OFFER to 31310.
  • Burger King: Text BKALERTS to 287437.
  • Caribou Coffee: Text CARIBOU to 65017.
  • Papa John’s Pizza: Text START to 47272.
  • Pizza Hut: Enter your mobile number online.

Crafts & Gifts

  • Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts:  Text BEADS to 56266.
  • Kirkland’s:  Text SAVE to 572837.
  • Things Remembered: Text JOIN to 874438.

Office Supplies

  • Office Depot  and Office Max:  Text OFFER to 33768.
  • Staples: Text STAPLES to 555444.

Movies & Games

  • Redbox: Text SIGNUP to 727272.
  • AMC Theaters: Text AMC to 242424.

**This list was sourced from the Krazy Koupon Lady Blog.

The Bottom Line

Any promotion that is date, countdown or time based to creates a sense urgency to buy. But people get busy and they forget. If you are running a sale or having an event coming up, then send out a last-minute notification text message alerting them that it’s closing soon. If you aren’t using SMS as a part of your marketing mix you are losing out.

I hope you enjoyed the post and drop me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Chris Brisson

Chris Brisson

Chris is the co-founder and CEO at Call Loop. He is focused on marketing automation, growth hacker strategies, and creating duplicatable systems for growing a remote and bootstrapped company. Chat with him on X at @chrisbrisson

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