When to Use Email and SMS Marketing

Are you torn apart between SMS and email marketing? Where should you invest your money if you are a merchant looking for leads?

The forecast is that there will be 4.3 billion email users in 2022. Most of these people have mobile devices and, therefore, a phone number. Between SMS and email marketing, one can get confused about which one to use for marketing.

Today, we will clear this confusion for you. We will reveal which tool to use for which situation. In the end, you should know which medium applies best for your business.

Let’s Compare Email vs SMS Marketing

Email marketing is an important strategy for sending newsletters, adding product placements, and sending announcements or offers. SMS, however, works best for urgent communication—especially if you want a high open-rate. 

To give you perspective, here are some stats to consider between the two marketing media:

  • 87% of marketers use email to nurture their leads
  • The average click-through-rate for email campaigns is 2.6%
  • The average open rate for email is 21%
  • 93% of B2B marketers use email as a marketing channel

On the other hand, here are some stats for SMS marketing:

  • 91% of consumers like to receive texts from their favorite brands
  • 34% of people open the SMS messages within five minutes after receiving the notification
  • The response rate of SMS is 45%
  • 58% of consumers say that SMS is the best way for brands to communicate with them (the consumers)

Now that we have seen some critical statistics, are we to assume that SMS is a better option? Not really; there are ways to use SMS marketing campaigns effectively. Then, there are situations where email marketing is the best approach. 

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When To Use Email Marketing

Below are some of the best cases when to use email marketing.

1. Nurturing Leads

Send email materials to nurture leads. What it means is that you should avoid sending cliché marketing materials. Instead, give your recipient something they can use.

You must send materials that establish you as a credible source of information. For example, if you sell makeup and lipstick, send emails that teach the recipients how to apply makeup the right way.

If you do not do this, your subscribers will get tired and view your emails as spam. It is called content fatigue. There are many ways by which you can avoid subscriber fatigue, and one is by sending value-driven content. You can also utilize campaign management tools to plan your content newsletters and track your success.

2. Building Customer Loyalty

Loyalty is a result of nurture. Use emails to make your subscribers feel part of a community. More importantly, email them about things that help change their lives.

One pitfall of many email marketers is that they bombard their subscribers with announcements. Unfortunately, people do not become loyal to marketing content—they become loyal if they feel valued.

For example, instead of sending coupons and discount codes about your online course, send an email that navigates the recipient to a free online tutorial. This approach drives loyalty because the recipient feels that you are advancing his best interests, not yours.

3. Redirecting Traffic

Use email marketing to redirect traffic not to your landing page but to your blog. For example, you may have the best online business ideas to share. Send an email about these ideas but tell the recipient to click a link to get to your blog.

Email marketing is an effective way not only to sell but also to build traffic. Your subscribers gave you their email address for a reason—they want to hear what you have to say. Now, please do not give them a reason to unsubscribe. 

When To Use SMS Marketing

Now, let us discuss the situations where it is better to use SMS than email.

1. Short-Term Promotions

Text messages are excellent for telling your subscribers about a promotion. For example, let us say that you are giving a 20% discount on all your products. SMS is a better tool than email because it is straightforward.

In your SMS message, just tell the recipient upfront that you have a coupon code. The message should also tell the consumer where to go and when the promotion expires.

Remember that SMS is much more personal. It is an effective way to appeal to a customer’s emotion—far better than emails.

2. Urgent Updates

If there is a change in your policy, or if you will close your shop for a while, SMS is a better tool than email. Since more than a third of people open the SMS within five minutes, they get to know the news quicker.

An urgent update is something that a customer should know because it affects their life or business. You can also use it to send quick notes about a crisis.

For example, let us say that you have an app. An SMS is a better way of telling your subscribers that the app will be down for maintenance.

3. Polls and Surveys

SMS is an excellent method for sending polls and surveys. The message is brief, and it is easier to send your message across—no subject lines, no email body, no image, etc.

When you send this survey, it doesn’t mean that the recipient will answer via SMS. You can add a link to your SMS, redirecting a recipient to a webpage.

Most phones today are smartphones—customers have browsers in them. If you think that the consumer is offline, you can opt to survey SMS and not online.  

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Best Practices For Email Marketing

Sending an email is easy, but writing the copy is not. To get the best results from your email campaign, we have prepared some best practices for you to ponder.

1. Keep the main message and CTA above the fold

The copy and CTA must be viewable when the consumer opens the mail to get the best of an email marketing message. Do not put these two things at the end of the email body.

Here is an example: 

When to Use Email and SMS Marketing - Watch lesson button

As you can see, the “Watch Lesson” button is above the fold and is easily viewed.

Why is this important? Because people are more likely to respond if they see what’s on the table right away than having to read through the entire message.

There are three main reasons you must put the CTA above the fold. One is that subscribers do not read text; they scan it. 

2. Write compelling subject lines

Subject lines are the deciding factor in whether or not the recipient will open your email. Email recipients have an automatic response to emails—they think it is spam.

There are many ways to write compelling copy. However, you need two main things: the problem and the benefit of your solution. 

The subject title must immediately tell the recipient what is in store for him. Do not use your blog post title if you send a link to a blog post. Instead, re-write the subject line. 

Here are some examples of blog titles in subject lines:

  • How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers
  • Ways How to Make Money From Home
  • How to Grow Your YouTube Channel

And here are the revised subject lines:

  • 17 Suppliers That Will Bring Sales
  • I Did This, and I Earned $2,000 a Month!
  • Do These to Get 1,000 YouTube Subscribers!

As you can see, there is a big difference between these subject lines. The revised ones do not sound instructional at all. Instead, they tell the recipient something intriguing—something that they can use to achieve success. 

3. Split-test your emails

Always split test your emails. Split testing means sending two versions of the email. Just to be clear, it does not mean sending the two versions to the same person. In a split test, you want to measure which email design, or message, gets a better response.

Here is an example of two versions of the email split test from BuzzFeed:

buzzfeed example 2
buzzfeed example 2

What BuzzFeed does here is to test the subject lines and the images. Then, once they have enough data, they can analyze the results and tell which subject line has a better open rate.

Email marketing providers like Optin Monster tell their users how to do split tests. If they require you to pay for this service, your alternative is to manually send the two versions of emails. This way, you do not have to incur additional expenses. 

Best Practices For SMS Marketing

Now, let us give you some of the best practices for SMS marketing.

1. Send texts sparingly

SMS is personal. People use it to communicate with their loved ones, so do not spam your recipients. If you do, they will block you.

The word “sparingly” has no definite timeframe or schedule. It is always subjective. However, we recommend sending only one to two SMS messages per month.

Of course, it also goes that you must not launch new promotions all too often. Ideally, you must have a promotion that runs for a month or a quarter, but not more than two in a month.  

2. Be straightforward

SMS is short. People use it to convey messages that do not need a phone call. As such, you must keep your messages short and sweet.

Avoid fluff phrases like “did you know” or “Hey! We are launching….” Instead, say “Get 35% off on your next purchase…” or “Get FREE wallet if you buy our….”

A short message is not confusing. It immediately tells the reader what is up for grabs and why you are texting. A long and winding one is mentally draining, and it will never end well for your marketing campaign.

2. Tell the recipient what to do

Finally, your SMS message must tell the reader what he should do. Do not just announce a promotion or a discount. Tell the consumer where to go.

In our examples earlier, you can append words like “visit yoursite.com” to redeem your voucher!” You can also say, “go to this link to learn more!”

How to Find a Perfect Balance Between Both

Here are some of our recommendations on how you can find a balance between the two marketing strategies.

1. Get both phone and email upon opt-in

We are sure that you have a landing page, and that is where you get your leads. You can also ask your consumer for their phone number in your email opt-in.

This may be a tad personal, and the consumer may not like it. What you can do is make the phone number optional. However, give him a reason to share his number with you. Since you cannot use an ebook as a lead magnet, offer a discount in exchange for the consumer’s phone number.

2. Do not duplicate marketing materials

Do not send the same marketing campaign to the same person via both email and SMS. It does not make sense. It is annoying, and your lead will unsubscribe.

3. Use both in different ways

Create a standard for when to use these two platforms. We provided you with several ideas earlier. Now, what you need to do is write a rulebook.

For example, you can create simple bullet points that tell you when to use either. Below is an example 

Use SMS for:

  • Coupon codes
  • Downtime announcements
  • New promotions

Use email for:

  • New blog post
  • New YouTube post

With a simple guide, you will not go wrong. Remember, emails and SMS messages have a cost. You want to get the best out of every penny you spend as a marketer. 

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The Best Strategy: Pair SMS & Email Marketing

The best strategy is to pair email and SMS marketing. Use these two marketing tactics to reach out to different people differently. Our guidance is to use SMS and email marketing. Pick a reliable software platform for email marketing that also has SMS.  

Our recommended approach is to use SMS for announcements, but only to people who have already bought something from you. 

Then, use email to nurture leads who have not made a purchase yet. Of course, there are situations where you may want to use email, such as when you want to add images to your message.

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