There are two communication modes used by the vast majority of consumers: email and SMS marketing. These channels have adoption rates among U.S. adults of about 90% and 80%, respectively, and among people under 45 their use is nearly universal.
What does this mean for your brand? If you want to get in touch with current and prospective customers, email and SMS are the way to do it. And if you want to multiply conversions, boost engagement, and increase customer satisfaction on top of just communication, using email marketing and SMS marketing in tandem is the recipe for success.
The benefits of SMS
SMS, also known as text messaging, is a highly effective way to communicate short snippets of information quickly. The number of text messages sent annually is so high it’s almost beyond comprehension–about 2.2 trillion texts a year in the U.S. alone–and those messages have an open rate of close to 100%.
SMS makes it easy to reach a large audience at a low cost, and messages sent via text are less likely to get trapped by spam filters than those sent via other mediums.
With its high deliverability and near-perfect read rates, SMS is the platform of choice if you need to make sure your message gets across. It’s also fast; SMS campaigns can be sent in a matter of minutes and they’re usually opened just as quickly.
SMS plays nicely with other types of marketing–namely email, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.
The benefits of email
Thanks to how easy it is to create highly personalized messages, email marketing has long delivered one of the highest ROIs of any marketing channel. And with powerful segmenting capabilities, brands can use email to laser-focus their message to specific audience groups at strategic times, which further boosts the effectiveness.
Usability is a major advantage of email marketing. Consumers are accustomed to using email to discover products, launch financial transactions, request support, and interact with brands in all kinds of other ways. It’s accessible from devices large and small, desktop and mobile, and even via the flick of a finger on devices like the Apple Watch.
When comparing SMS vs email marketing, there are some subtle differences. The more important thing, though, is how well the two can work together as part of your marketing plans to engage customers in a customizable way.
Combining email and SMS marketing
The benefits of email and SMS marketing are clear. Now, let’s discuss why and how you might use these two platforms together to increase the results of your marketing efforts.
If you’re playing by the rules, you should get recipients to opt-in to receive both email and text message marketing from your brand. Sure, this is an additional hoop to jump through, but it’s also a net benefit in the long run. Because subscribers on your email and text lists have opted in, this means they want to hear from you. They’ll be much more receptive and responsive to your message than if you were invading their inbox without permission.
It’s a well-established marketing fact that personalized messages outperform generic ones many times over. Email and SMS marketing allow you to get incredibly nuanced with your personalization based on customer data from your CRM and the actions subscribers take when you message them. For example, if a customer is a highly engaged reader of your emails but has trouble remembering to pay on time, you might offer them the opportunity to receive text alerts when their payment deadline is approaching. This boosts convenience while helping your balance sheet in the process.
Both email and SMS are ‘owned’ channels. This means you fully own the customer data associated with them, like email addresses, phone numbers and subscriber activity. This is in contrast to a platform like Facebook, where your brand owns neither the channel nor the data associated with it. If Mark Zuckerberg decided to pull the plug on Facebook tomorrow, poof! Any customer activity that lived on that channel would disappear. When you own the channel, you’re not at the mercy of a third party and you’re less susceptible to outages, service interruptions and communication breakdowns.
Frequently asked questions
How do I combine email and SMS marketing?
Email and SMS marketing can be used in tandem to deliver tailored campaigns. For example, you might send an email to build excitement about an upcoming product launch, then enable subscribers to receive a text letting them know when it’s live. Or, send a text to alert subscribers that an email is on its way, which is useful when delivering important communications like password resets and policy updates.
Which is better SMS marketing or email marketing?
It depends on what you want to achieve. SMS is great for generating quick responses, while email is effective for long-term relationship building and lead nurturing. Ideally, the two should be used together as part of a strategic communication plan.
What is SMS in marketing?
SMS is a short, text-based campaign delivered via text message or messaging app.
Is SMS or email more effective?
If your message is short, urgent or time-sensitive, SMS is the way to go. If you want to send rich media, deliver a longer message or make it easy for customers to come back to your message later, email might be the better option.