SMS and Text Message Marketing Vs. Email (which one works best)

Since the SMS concept was first invented in the late 1980s, the technology expanded and is unrecognizable. It was once a way to send quick communication and is today part of full-blown marketing campaigns. But is it really any more effective than using standard email marketing, and which one works best for your business? Here's a breakdown of how to decide.

SMS Marketing Vs. Email - Open Rates

A successful marketing campaign all starts with open rates. When you look at email statistics compared to SMS, it just doesn't compare. SMS Marketing takes a dramatic lead on open rates, with some text marketing campaigns reaching as high as 98%. The open rate for email marketing? Expect 20% on the high-end, depending on the industry. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Click-Through Rate 

Once you’ve nailed down your open rates, the click-through is integral to earning more conversions. SMS messages are quick and easy to read and command a click-through rate of about 19%. However, most email marketing campaigns level out around 3.2%, whether the content is too long or the consumer received too many marketing emails that day, email struggles in this category.

SMS Marketing Vs. Email - Deliverability

Text messaging is direct and instantaneous, where the receiver enjoys an instantaneous notification. You can expect consumers to open their SMS messages within 90 seconds of delivery. Email can take at least a few minutes to reach the recipient, and spam filters can impact the time. Even if everything goes smoothly, most email open rates are around 90-minutes. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Content-Length

The desired content length of your marketing campaign will dictate whether SMS text message marketing or email is a better fit for you. A short, concise, and power-packed message works best for text messaging. Consumers expect straightforward content, and your click-through rate remains high when you get to the point over text. 

Now let's consider email. If your audience comes from your blog or YouTube channel, you frequently release long-form content, and your usual email check-ins are lengthy, email probably works best. The trade-off to email marketing is a lower click-through rate, although your business style and product offering may make sense with this medium.

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Accessibility 

Many businesses assume that customers have continued wireless access wherever they go. However, this isn't always the case. Not all public transportation is equipped with wireless, and service is spotty at best. If you cater to a traveling audience, they may experience spotty wireless in remote destinations or while en route while flying or driving.

Unpredictable accessibility issues make email less reliable. However, people can usually get their SMS text messages anywhere they go. Most commuters can also receive read-aloud texts while driving or have enough of a signal to receive notifications on the subway or train.

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Complex Drip Campaigns

Both text message and email marketing offer drip campaign capability, but they don't work the same way. This situation requires thinking about the long-term intent and content length. Text messages should be short and direct, and if your drip campaign aligns accordingly, text marketing works great. 

Now let's say you want to promote your consulting services, a complex digital product, or anything that requires a long customer journey and nurturing cycle to convert. You're probably better off with email marketing. You have more space and time to lead the audience through the journey before they arrive at your sales pitch.

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Spam Filter

Recent email spam statistics show that 50% of all email is spam. Savvy consumers send their email marketing messages and other notifications directly to spam, never seeing them again. If their spam filters are set high enough, they may not see the promotional emails they eagerly signed up for. 

Many companies instruct consumers how to properly opt-in and white label their messages once they sign-up for an email list. However, not all consumers take the time to do this, and older demographics may not understand the process. 

Although consumers aren't fond of text spam, they sign up for your SMS campaign and the action triggers an immediate response without hitting spam. Your text marketing messages are unlikely to end up in junk filters if they directly opt into your messaging. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Versatility 

Beyond lead generation, consider how each marketing channel offers versatility in your business. Once a customer opts into your text messaging campaign, continue communicating with them through appointment reminders, quick check-ins, or promos. Email can also accomplish similar goals, but isn't as immediate when it takes an average of 90-minutes to open your content. 

Text message marketing’s instantaneous communication makes it easy to respond to the text and communicate directly about their order or any issues. Email pales in comparison and usually instructs the user to call their customer service line or launch an online chat through their website.

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Images and Graphics

The best practices of using images and graphics depends on your business and audience. Companies that want to attach specific graphics, like coupons, might prefer to stick with images. However, it's not uncommon to deploy SMS marketing without images and still retain the high engagement rate text is known for. This type of marketing falls into MMS marketing, or "multimedia messaging service."

Email works differently. Although fun graphics, memes, and promos can work well in email, they often drive your messages into spam filters. Some people's emails also won't allow the images to download or display correctly. It could be a non-issue if you're just using images to spruce up the content, but if it's the basis of your content, your customer may never see it. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email - Overall User Experience

To figure out which is the better user experience, consider the open rates and click-through rates of both marketing channels. SMS marketing is hands down the winner in these categories, which indicates its recipients welcome the messaging. The stats for email marketing are meager, showing a reluctance of users even to open the content.

Keep in mind people receive hundreds of emails a day. It's not a novel experience to receive an email message from a retailer they like. Instead, it's more likely to be a nuisance while navigating their inbox. SMS is a newer addition to the marketing landscape and people receive far less spam via text message.  

Final Thoughts

Whether or not your business benefits from SMS marketing and texting instead of email depends on your business model and purpose of your campaign. If you want to send lengthy drip campaigns to promote an online course or are selling something that requires a long conversion process, email marketing may work best. 

Otherwise, SMS and text message marketing is the clear winner. It's faster, more reliable, offers higher ROI, and is an immediate and effective way to connect with your audience. 

Ready to get started with SMS and text message marketing for your business? Contact us today.