Email and SMS…
Both are powerful and popular methods of communicating. And both are used for marketing on a regular basis—particularly email.
But when do you use which?
What actually are the benefits of email and SMS marketing? Here we’ll go over both and walk you through how and when to use them.
Email is the classic marketing channel. It’s been used for decades, and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. What makes email such a standard?
Email marketing is affordable compared to other marketing options, such as direct mail or Google Ads.
To put it in perspective, using MailChimp’s pricing as a standard, sending a marketing email costs about $.0025 per contact. (That’s a quarter of a penny!)
People are used to giving out their email addresses for everything, which makes it easy to build your email marketing list.
The more people in your list, the more who see your marketing content, and the more who’ll take advantage of your services.
Considering how many emails you can send for a relatively small price, and considering how easy it is to build a list, email marketing generally has good ROI.
According to Constant Contact, you can get an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent on email marketing.
With all that email marketing has going for it, it does have a few pitfalls.
Emails average around 21.5% open rate, according to Campaign Monitor.
Low open rates mean that you need lots of contacts in order to make a difference.
Email’s been around a long time, and email marketing has been around for just as long.
People are used to getting their inboxes flooded with marketing emails that they don’t really care about, meaning it’s easy for emails to get lost at sea and ignored, deleted, or sent to “Spam.”
The up-and-coming generation of young adults just don’t email as much as previous generations have.
Email marketing doesn’t appeal to that much-sought-after younger crowd, which is definitely a point to consider, since it could have a serious impact on the future of email marketing.
Now let’s pivot to another form of marketing that isn’t quite as common: SMS.
SMS has a lot going for it.
The reported read rate for SMS is 98%. That means almost all the texts you send to your customers will be opened.
Although texting itself has been around for a while, and businesses have been using SMS marketing more in recent years, the concept of SMS marketing is still relatively fresh. Our SMS inboxes aren’t mercilessly inundated with marketing messages (like our email inboxes are).
People are probably less likely to ignore your SMS, since it’s not crowded with 100’s of other promotions.
Texting is a communication avenue that every age bracket and segment of people uses. Everyone from elementary-aged kids to great-great grandparents texts, meaning you can use it to reach a broad range of people.
While the benefits of SMS marketing (particularly its 98% read rate) are highly desirable, there are some pitfalls to keep in mind.
SMS is more expensive than email if you’re looking at a purely cost-per-message basis.
However, the comparison is a bit tricky, since SMS can have an ROI as much as $71 for every $1 spent—almost double the typical ROI of email. That’s because SMS reaches such a higher percentage of its intended audience, so your list doesn’t need to be as large to make as big of an impact.
People are more hesitant to hand over their phone numbers than their email addresses, so it can be a bit more difficult to build a list. (That being said, as mentioned, the higher read rate means that you don’t need as big of a list in order to be impactful.)
The state of SMS is constantly in flux due to regulations from the mobile carriers that are intended to help prevent SMS from becoming a wasteland of unwanted marketing messages, like email has in many ways become.
The good news is that Mobile Text Alerts handles the monitoring of these shifting regulations for our users, so you as the user don’t need to be on top of all the changes.
Since email and SMS are both beneficial and useful for different reasons, it’s best to use these 2 methods as complements to each other.
Email thrives by being inexpensive and easy to implement on a mass scale.
SMS thrives by being highly effective and having broad reach.
Both communication channels are useful for essentially the same purposes (although if you’re really emphasizing personal one-on-one interactions, SMS has a leg ahead since it’s almost certain your recipient will actually read it).
Marry these 2 communication channels together and you’ve got a communication strategy that is stronger, more rounded, and more effective.
Here are 5 specific reasons why you should use them together.
By using both email and SMS marketing, your business can increase customer engagement by reaching customers on any device. Both channels enable businesses to send messages directly to the inboxes of customers, regardless of whether they are using a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
This gives your business an opportunity to deliver timely messages and capture attention no matter what device your customers prefer.
Combining email and SMS marketing helps you stay top of mind with your audience.
With email campaigns, you can reach customers at regular intervals to stay engaged.
SMS messages should generally be used more sporadically in addition to emails, reaching out whenever there's an important update to share or a promotion that needs to be advertised quickly.
Having these 2 channels together allows you to approach your customers from different angles so that you can stay in their sight. (Also, both channels support automated processes that make it easier for you to keep your customers up-to-date with the latest news and offers, which can be another way to stay top of mind.)
Let’s say you have a long message that’s too much info for a text, so you send it in an email. You could then accompany that email with a text message telling people to check their email.
This type of approach gives you the flexibility that email offers to create longer content, while also letting you take advantage of texting’s 98% read rate.
Sending your important marketing communication through both channels helps ensure you’re really reaching people.
If they missed your email, they’ll see the text. If they opened the text but ignored it, they may still see your email.
Seeing your messages in more than one place will make them more likely to follow through on what you want them to do.
Using both communication channels as a part of your marketing strategy gives you more flexibility.
If you feel a situation calls for an email, you can send an email.
If you feel people will respond to an SMS, you can send an SMS.
If you feel that both would be appropriate, you can send both at the same time.
Having the option for both opens up your marketing efforts to more possibilities.
82% of marketers worldwide already have email marketing in place.
SMS marketing, on the other hand, is less of a given.
To incorporate SMS marketing into your email marketing strategy, you’ll need a scalable way to send mass text messages. That’s why many companies turn to SMS platforms like Mobile Text Alerts.
Mobile Text Alerts allows you to easily manage contacts and send out mass text messages without any coding and minimal setup required.
(On the other hand, if you have developers at the ready, another solution is to program your own SMS marketing messages via SMS API.)
As a bonus, Mobile Text Alerts allows you to send emails and SMS together simultaneously. Let’s go over how all of that works.
You can get a free Mobile Text Alerts trial account set up in less than 5 minutes. (No card or obligation required.)
Once your account is set up, you’ll be able to send a few test SMS messages to get a feel for how the platform works.
After setting up your account, you’ll need to add a contact or 2 so that you can test out the platform.
You can add contacts manually, or you can use one of the several opt-in methods available.
The Mobile Text Alerts platform will send messages to a recipient’s email address automatically if the recipient has no phone number listed.
If you’d like your recipients to receive both an email and a text message whenever you send out a blast, you can toggle on an option that says “Send messages to emails and phones if a subscriber has both records.”
Then, whenever you send a message through the platform, your recipients will receive it on both channels.
You can easily send messages by choosing your recipients and typing out the message within the platform. Or you can set up automated flows.
(You can also send via a mobile app.)
Your messages will then be sent, and you can view analytics on those messages from a “Reports” tab within the platform.