What Works Best for You – Email Marketing or SMS Marketing?


Unless you communicate effectively with your audiences, it is tough to do well in the business landscape. Communication can happen in many forms, and one of the most effective methods that have stood the test of time is email marketing. Businesses have used email marketing for decades to convey their messages effectively to their audiences. However, another communication method that gives email marketing a run for its money is SMS marketing.

Yes, SMS marketing is fast emerging as a quick, reliable, and cost-effective way of communicating with your customers, especially for promotions, reminders, and updates.

So, as a marketer, what should you opt for – email marketing, text messages marketing, or both? Let us, therefore, take you through email vs. text – which campaign works best for you – getting your message across – how email and SMS work, why businesses choose one over the other, and why should you choose both.

Getting your message across – how email and SMS work?

Effective communication is the biggest challenge marketers face. As a marketer, if you are unable to reach out to your target audience effectively, then your marketing efforts lack teeth. It is crucial, therefore, to know what works best for your organization – email marketing, text message marketing, or both.

That is why it is essential to know how email and SMS work.

As a marketer, it is vital to understand the importance of getting your message across – how email and SMS work.

With mobile use on the rise, more and more companies are embracing SMS marketing. 77% of consumers consider SMS as a positive form of communication. Also, according to research, SMS marketing has engagement rates 6-8 times higher than email marketing.

Here is how email and SMS marketing work:

Whereas emails have an open rate of 20%, SMSs have an open rate of 98%.

The average email click-through rate is around 2.5%, while that for SMS messages is 29%.

While only 3% of SMS messages are considered spam, almost 50% of emails are categorised as spam. The main reason for the deliverability discrepancy is because SMS marketing requires customers to opt-in for the messages, which means they are all engaged customers who want to listen to you.

On average, an office worker receives around 121 emails every day. Email is one of the most used marketing channels. SMS marketing is an upcoming channel; few companies run their campaign. The low frequency of SMS means you have a better chance of getting the attention of your audience.

When it comes to response rates, there is a lot of difference between the two. While people take a lot of time to respond to an email, they almost instantaneously respond to an SMS.

SMS is an extremely cost-effective way to reach out to your target audience. The cost may vary from provider to provider. For emails, the cost may vary depending on the provider, list size, frequency of emails sent, and other features.

Why businesses choose one over the other?

As an entrepreneur, you need to change your marketing strategies to suit the needs of your customers. As customer preferences change and technology evolves, businesses use various channels to reach their target audience. And, email marketing and SMS marketing are two of the most potent channels that businesses use to effectively communicate with their audiences.

However, why do businesses choose one over the other?

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let us try to understand the advantages and disadvantages of email and SMS marketing.

Email marketing advantages

Email marketing is an extremely potent tool. All you need to do is do it the right way.

It improves your brand identity – When you do it correctly, email marketing can fetch you great results. Your email serves as a constant reminder to your customers about your brand. Your email campaigns can significantly improve your brand identity.

It is cost-effective – Again, if you do it the right way, email marketing can be extremely cost-effective. You can keep adding your contacts to your mailing list. With a bit of effort, your mailing list can become as big as you want. It is only when you add sophisticated technology to run your email campaign, do you need to pay for your campaign. However, email marketing gives you a good return on your investment.

You have a lot many testing options available – There are a lot of ways to do A/B testing to check the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. From headlines, links, and images to the content and drip campaign, you can test everything to know whether it will be effective or not.

Email marketing disadvantages

Consumers many a time mark branded messages as spam – There are chances that people mark your messages as spam. And, if that happens, then your email campaigns don’t serve the purpose.

You need a lot of time, effort, and resources to run an email campaign – To run effective email campaigns, you need to have dedicated resources. You need people who can draft emails correctly. You also need experts to write emails that give you leads. It is a time-consuming job, no doubt.

It is difficult to offer a personalised experience – Today’s customers want a personalised and customised experience. But it is difficult to truly personalise an email, which is a drawback to an extent.

SMS marketing advantages

SMS marketing is another powerful tool that has extremely high engagement rates. When used correctly, an SMS campaign can also give you great results.

Consumers prefer SMS messages over phone calls or emails – The majority of the customers these days prefer to receive text messages over a phone call or email.

SMS messages have high open rates – Most of the consumers (98%) tend to open branded text messages.

SMS messages reach customers quickly – Since most of us are on our mobile phones, it reaches the customers instantly.

Saves you time – Drafting an SMS message is not at all time-consuming, you can draft SMS messages quickly. Also, you don’t need experts to write long content. Many can do it on their own.

You can get an instant response – SMS messages can give you instant results. Hence, if you have a restaurant or brick and mortar store, you can expect to get an immediate response from your campaign.

SMS marketing disadvantages

You can’t send long messages – People are not used to reading long text messages. They expect a few sentences at the most. Hence, if you have to send a long text, then you should opt for an email.

You cannot send rich media – As the name suggests, you can only send text messages. You cannot send any rich media like audio or image files.

You need consumers to opt-in to receive your messages – It is not legally and ethically right to send them messages without their prior permission.

SMS marketing can become spammy too – Though you have prior permission to send your consumers messages if you bombard them with promotional offers, it is sure to feel like spam.

If you look only at the disadvantages or advantages of either of the two, you might think of choosing one over the other. But to reach out to your target audience effectively, you need to strike a balance between both of them.

Both email and text messages offer great results.

Why not both?

As a marketer, you need to devise a comprehensive strategy to maximise your communication reach.

So, what should you choose – email or text?

But what is the need to choose one over the other? Why not both?

It is best to use both these channels if you want to reach your target audience effectively.

Yes, your marketing strategy should strike a balance between email and text messaging because both are effective channels.

Let us try to understand when you should opt for an email marketing campaign and when it is best to run an SMS campaign.

Here is when you should use an email marketing campaign:

If your message is not time-sensitive or you need to send an elaborate message, then you should opt for an email marketing campaign. When you opt for an email campaign, you can get creative freedom, you can use images and graphics, and add CTAs (call to action).

You can opt for email marketing when you have to send:

  1. Newsletters
  2. Lengthy educational content
  3. Product announcements – you can add visuals
  4. Information to sell products and services
  5. Technical information
  6. Press releases
  7. Any new update
  8. Emails for survey, feedback, and take advice

If your message requires instantaneous action or it is time-sensitive, then it is best to opt for an SMS marketing campaign.

You can opt for SMS marketing when you have to send:

  • Product offers
  • Discount offers
  • Appointment recaps
  • Personal alerts
  • Urgent updates
  • Purchase confirmations
  • Something important that requires two-way communication

That is why it is crucial to opt for both the channels – email as well as text messages. And, if for any reason, you plan to use just one of them, then it is better to use email marketing. According to Smart Insights, if you follow up on your email with a simple message – have you read your email – it can improve your open rates by 20 to 30%.

When you combine SMS with email marketing, it can significantly improve customer engagement levels. The combination also improves customer retention rates, which you can use to learn more about your customers.

You also need to factor in demographics. Different people in different age groups respond differently to SMS messages. Also, men read SMS messages more frequently as compared to women. The majority of younger people respond to SMS messages, whereas the percentage is less when we look at the older age bracket.

What it means is this – you have to take into account a lot of factors before formulating your marketing strategy. Every industry and demographic behave differently. You need to fully understand your customers to develop your communication strategy.

Hence, if you want to reach out to your customers effectively, make sure you use both email marketing and SMS marketing. But if you have to opt for only one, make sure you choose email marketing.

If you want your email marketing campaign to be effective, you must contact vStacks Infotech now. We are a digital marketing company with plenty of experience in handling email marketing and SMS marketing campaigns for clients in diverse verticals. From market research to email content creation, we can formulate effective strategies that will bring you fruitful results. Also, if your niche requires a combination of email and SMS marketing efforts, we can help you strike a balance between the two. Contact us for an easy, affordable, and comprehensive marketing strategy.