Why SMS Marketing Messages are Better than Emails

Email and SMS (short message service) are direct, “outbound” marketing strategies businesses use to engage with potential and existing customers. While they are both effective and useful in their own right, there are several differences between them in terms of performance, how well they can cut through the “noise,” and other metrics. 

These differences give SMS marketing an upper hand due to its many benefits over email marketing. 

SMS marketing messages can be used for a lot more than just Calendly reminders!

What the Heck is SMS Marketing Exactly?

SMS Marketing, also known as text or mobile marketing, is one of the most effective ways of communicating with customers using text messages. 

You can use text messages in your marketing efforts to send promotional messages, welcome texts, autoresponders, appointment reminders, abandoned cart messages, and many other types of targeted messages that you would like to communicate to your current and potential customers (aka your "target audience") quickly, and with a high rate of visibility.

Even better? Text message marketing isn’t limited to just text! Using MMS (multimedia messaging service), you can also include captivating images in your SMS marketing. Pretty cool, right?

According to Finances Online, people prefer to receive brand updates by SMS rather than email. 

Why? 

One reason is spammers more widely and easily abuse email. Too many brands use them to over-communicate, in short (trying to get “top of mind” with potential customers, but in the end, suffering the dreaded unsubscribe, never to be heard from again). 

This poor approach is more of an old-school, “carpet bombing” approach than cultivating a real, authentic relationship with current and potential customers (the latter being what you want and what we wholeheartedly embrace in all things here at HypeLife Brands). 

Additionally, bad actors and marketing novices can gather emails more easily through scraping, list buying, and other inauthentic methods. So again, this gets heavily abused, making the inbox a very noisy place to cut through

After all, do you or people you know have 5,605 new emails in your inbox? It’s likely…rendering email far less effective in a marketing campaign today than in decades before for consumer marketing. 

This is not to say you shouldn’t use email…because you should, but do it carefully. 

Marketing is about having a healthy, cross-channel mix of consistent inbound AND outbound tactics. 

Some consumers prefer text message marketing over email, while others prefer the opposite. So holistic consumer marketing means it is better to use both channels than rely only on one.  

That said, here are some reasons why text message marketing can be more useful than email when you want to send a powerful marketing message to your customers, past and present. 

Want to send multiple messages to a customer? Text marketing should be your new best friend.

The Best Ways to Use a Text Message Marketing Platform

1. Building Brand and/or Solution Awareness 

You can use both email and/or an SMS marketing campaign to make your brand and solution to the consumer’s problem you’re able to solve known. Whether launching a new product/service or communicating with your customers about an existing one, you can use SMS messages to distribute your message effectively.

Remember not to abuse text message marketing when considering either channel, just like email. Mobile carriers are protective, and your text message marketing platform will be monitored. An expected unsubscribe rate of ~1% or less will be measured against your specific, provisioned phone number. 

Because text message marketing has a much higher open rate, be careful not to abuse it in your marketing strategies. Mobile carriers can and will ban your sending entirely if they detect a high rate of unsubscribes from your text messages.

2. Generating Leads 

SMS marketing campaigns and email campaigns can both be useful in generating leads for your business. You can use either method to encourage your audience to sign up for an email newsletter (send this through your SMS marketing channel), visit your website, try a service, download a product, etc.

Of course, not everyone who receives your text message marketing will buy your product or try your service. So remember that this, like most digital marketing, is a numbers game. If your email list only has 200 subscribers, your results will be minimal. But building this list to 1000, 5000, and beyond through approaches like paid advertising will give you a larger audience to cultivate.

Remember the old business adage: It takes 10 no’s to get 1 yes. The same applies to effective and powerful email + marketing by text message.

Some consumers will be ready to move, and others will sit on the sidelines for weeks or even months.

But if they don’t unsubscribe, they are likely listening but just not ready to buy yet. 

3. Making More Sales 

Text message marketing and email both allow you to reach many people quickly. The more reach and engagement you get, the more sales you can make, as building awareness requires seven to ten marketing "touches" at minimum to gain that new customer's allegiance. 

Of course, email marketing and SMS campaigns can be helpful beyond just this type of conversion goal. They can also help you generate more traffic for your website, build credibility with your customers, grow customer loyalty, grow your social media following, and, ultimately, grow your audience. 

Therefore, to implement a successful sales strategy for your business and your marketing efforts, it is critical to not just send with your digital bullhorns but also look at your metrics, open rates, click rates, Google Analytics, etc., to see which channels are performing the best for specific messages.

While these channels can achieve the same objective, they don’t always yield the same results due to their differences in effectiveness and rate of customer attention. 

An SMS campaign is a highly versatile marketing channel...use it wisely, use it often!

Why Use SMS Messages for Marketing?

Studies have shown that about 85% of smartphone owners prefer text messages or SMS over phone calls or emails. SMS marketing is a powerful communication and marketing strategy that every business should use in its marketing effort.

With mobile devices in everyone’s pockets, purses, and desktops, SMS marketing has an ingrained mobile-friendly nature that is also super-powerful in getting your marketing messages delivered and seen.

Why Use Email for Marketing?

Email marketing simply means using email to communicate with potential or existing customers. You can use email for the same purpose as SMS marketing—for instance, to introduce a new product, inform customers, notify customers about an update on pricing changes, generate more leads, or promote a product or service. 

The difference comes in the results. Using email compared to SMS marketing will definitely yield different results. 

You can use email to send longer messages to an enlightened audience with active email subscriptions.

Think of short message service marketing as a short-form way to get across your next marketing message. Excellent for small business, SaaS marketing, and beyond!

Why is Marketing by Text Message Better than Email? 

As mentioned earlier, more benefits come with marketing via SMS text compared to using email in the following ways: 

1. Higher Open Rate 

Sending a message and getting it opened are two different things. Most will either ignore it or not spend much time considering it amongst the many other messages they get flooded with daily.  

Getting your business messages read is important, though it is not guaranteed that every opened message will be read.

The higher the open rate, the higher the read rate. 

Comparing the email open rate with the SMS open rate is important when you want an effective strategy to yield better results. People are more likely to open a text message than an email.

According to current statistics, SMS receives a higher open rate of up to 98% compared to the average email open rate of 28%. Yes, the difference is that huge, so take note!

Therefore, if you were choosing a channel that would get you the highest open rate, you would definitely want to go with SMS marketing. 

2. Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate is the number of times the links in your message are clicked compared to the number of people who view them. According to Text Republic, the average click-through rate for text marketing compared to email is about 19.3% vs 4.2%, respectively

Apart from your messages getting opened and viewed by your audience, you also want them to click on your Call-to-Action (CTA) links. The good thing about text messages is their precise and concise nature.

SMS messages are shorter and can be better optimized to generate a better click-through rate than emails too. 

With a higher CTR, you will likely generate more leads and even conversions than a lower click-through-rate. 

3. Better at Encouraging Quick Responses and Two-Way Dialog

Every marketer or business is encouraged when customers respond to their messages. The response rate is, however, heavily affected by the marketing channel you use for the message. For instance, if you communicate by email, you are more likely to get delayed responses than text messages, which imply one-to-one communication in the eyes of consumers. 

Statistically, 90% of people open text messages within 3 minutes, which is massively faster than emails arriving in flooded inboxes (if you don’t end up in the Junk or Spam folder or Gmail’s dreaded “Updates” folder). If they can open the message within that very short time, you will also get responses and top-of-mind faster. 

In addition to that, SMS have a higher response rate of 45% compared to the email response rate of 10%. Therefore, when using text marketing, you will likely get more responses faster than email. 

Text marketing is also powerful for encouraging back-and-forth, two-way, personalized communication. People looking into and researching your organization and offerings can ask questions and get quicker responses via text messaging than email.

And if you're managing one of the small businesses out there and thinking, "how will I have time to manage this also?!", this type of communication can make your business feel larger to the average person, helping grow customer (or potential customer) delight in the earliest stages of the relationship you're aiming to build. So give this marketing channel adequate focus, if not more than strictly your email channel.

4. Higher Deliverability Rate 

Deliverability refers to the ability of your message, whether email or SMS, to reach your customers’ inboxes and eyeballs. Email, due to a growing number of technical requirements to prevent domain spoofing and spamming, plus much tighter email sending restrictions put in place in early 2024 by most major email service providers (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, et al.), you will likely encounter deliverability issues – especially when sending using email. That means, though you may be sending 1500 emails to your audience members, you will see a drop without question in the emails that successfully arrive in the first place.

However, studies have shown that SMS marketing alternatively has a much more reliable, average deliverability rate of 97% for small businesses and large ones on average, with email having an average deliverability rate of 84% (at best) across the board.

As mentioned earlier, communicating via text is instant and customers or audiences will likely receive and see the message faster. As there are no major spam filters for text messages, as long as the person hasn’t unsubscribed, SMS marketing has a much better chance of being delivered (and, again, seen).

5. Higher Conversion Rate 

Every business wants a higher conversion rate because that is the ultimate goal in achieving your organization’s key progress indicators (read: goals for growing your business). Converting a visitor means you can convince him or her to take a desired action, such as buying a product or service. 

The conversion rate has been proven higher when using SMS marketing than email.

Statistically, text marketing yields about 29% conversion rate, while email yields about 16.72%. 

6. Encourages Direct Customer Feedback

Due to the significantly higher deliverability and open rate of SMS marketing, you will likely get more customer feedback and responses to an SMS survey about your products or services when using SMS over email. 

7. Easier Personalization 

Your audience can feel more connected to your brand and special to you when using SMS marketing with personalization than email...because of the more "personal" intangible feeling we get from text messages since they're usually received from people we know, unlike email.

No matter which text message marketing software you're using, it is very easy to personalize SMS messages you send to your audience to make them feel special (yes, just like a mail merge so send bulk messages).

This again puts you in a position to increase your engagement and achieve better results with your SMS marketing campaigns than those sent via email. 

8. Opt-In Consent Gives You an Open Door

The other good thing about SMS messages in your marketing is that you get opt-in consent from the recipients before you can text them via your SMS marketing service, and your texting phone number will have to be verified by the service provider before you can even use it. This ensures that your communication does not infringe upon the Telephone and Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), among other laws. 

In addition, people have consented to receiving your messages from your dedicated phone number. When they receive text messages from your organization, they are already aware of your content or business niche and have acknowledged they want to hear more. Collect their phone number directly from them, getting their consent right up-front to communicate further, and you've got an open door for developing new customer relationships and new revenue opportunities. 

9. More Cost-Effective

Another benefit of using text messaging over email is the cost.

Communicating with your audience via SMS marketing services is generally cheaper than email. However, the cost is relative depending on the service provider or platform you are using to send SMS marketing campaigns and emails.

When you compare most email and SMS service providers and platforms, you will note that sending SMS campaigns is typically cheaper than an email in the end...though some SMS marketing services do have a small per-text-sent cost baked in.

So if your frequency is high (meaning you send multiple messages per month), this can be a bit of an expense "gotcha" with your SMS services, so be careful with that. And yes, you typically get charged a credit for both inbound messages, not just outbound ones.

However, with a reasonable sending cadence, SMS text marketing campaigns can yield a higher Return on Investment (ROI) than emails due to their much higher visibility rate. 

10. Better Flexibility 

SMS's flexibility makes it easy to integrate with other marketing channels, such as mobile apps, social media platforms, and even email. After integrating with various platforms, you can easily implement communication using text messages in your marketing automations. 

You can use marketing text messages to complement your email sends, like encouraging your subscribers to take a certain action or remind them to check their inbox for your emails about a particular, longer subject. 

11. Easier Customization for Who Gets What Message and at What Time

A person's average attention span is about 8.25%. Since a text message is only about 160 characters long, it is possible to capture their attention for the entire text message since you are forced to communicate in a short and sweet format.

Given people's general fatigue in the digital realm, this contributes to why SMS marketing performs better than email.

Why?

In short, email is much more often abused, too long, and poorly written by novice marketers and/or people working within your business who simply don’t understand the moving target of marketing towards results (if you haven’t hired a specialized and certified marketing agency like ours). These novices may not even have a marketing strategy at all.

In other words, a customized, short, and sweet text message sent at the right time during the customer’s lifecycle often yields more desired results for your top and bottom line than an email, which is almost always longer and more cumbersome to read. 

12. Faster Execution 

When it comes to implementing SMS marketing as part of your marketing campaign and supporting your overall advertising mix, the recipient also doesn't need to be connected to the internet at that moment.

So the execution of the send and the ability for the person to read it can be done nearly anywhere, even if the internet signal is weak or non-existent, giving you a more powerful signal (no pun intended). 

We know it may be painfully technical for some of you reading or painfully simple for others, but this is a nuance that's important to understand.

Many SMS marketing software platforms also offer iOS and Android apps (with a snazzy user interface) that allow you to compose draft marketing messages, personalize messages, and even schedule a campaign send on the go. This makes this marketing campaign tactic easier for you or your marketing manager to keep up with and stay consistent.

Those same apps also enable you to respond to inbound messages that result from your marketing campaign on the go, allowing you to keep your text message responses coming fast and promptly.

Want to build ecstatic Millennial customer satisfaction? This is one major way! Want to totally eliminate the need for phone support (and its costs)? Make your customer service responses impeccably fast via your text message marketing platform of choice!

Millennials hate the opposite. No response? There's no faster way to get yourself a one-star review than to ignore their contact request...and if you're reading this, we'll bet your organization relies on Millennials as a key part of your target audience, or at least one of them.

13. Better Simplicity and Better Reach 

Some people don’t use email very often or at all (yes, they exist!). But more often than not, they know how to open and field a text message on their personal phone. This is why gathering phone numbers in your initial marketing intakes and lead forms is crucial for success in your marketing strategies!

Therefore, using text messaging will promote inclusivity if your organization is marketing to older generations, like Baby Boomers, who are more likely to read and consider your marketing messages if they receive marketing messages via text. These older generations are also more comfortable giving up their phone numbers over their emails, so don't hesitate to ask for it upfront.

When is the Best Time to Send an SMS Marketing Campaign?

The best time to send SMS marketing messages to mobile devices using your selected business SMS marketing software is between 12pm and 8pm. The best days of the week to send messages to your audience for better engagement are Tuesdays and Saturdays

Though it is clear that text message marketing is more effective than email (or cold phone calls, for that matter), timing is still an important factor to consider when using any of these communication channels. This is because some days of the week perform better than others, and some hours give better results.

Like all marketing tactics, implementing and executing is the first step, but measuring, testing, and optimizing are the next and most critical steps toward effective marketing that gets actual results. All SMS services are essentially a web app (or web-based application) that give you an excellent statistical breakdown of everything that can be measured about an SMS campaign.

Of course, be sure to review those metrics, especially as you gather phone numbers and develop and execute your marketing strategies. Planning, executing, reviewing analytics, and optimizing are the pathways toward a more advanced marketing approach that yields more elevated results.

In addition to that, you need to have the following best practices for your messages to be effective in your marketing campaigns: 

  • Define Your Marketing and Communication Goals—What do you want to achieve with your marketing text messages? You need to set your goals and objectives so that your text message captures everything you would want to achieve.

  • Build Your Subscriber List—Text messaging is not a random exercise. You need to get a quality subscriber list of the right audience. These people have opted in to receive your messages and are interested in them. 

  • Use Compelling Content—Your content—yes, even in a short message format—should be optimized to suit your audience's needs and be compelling enough for your readers to find interest in it. 

    Absolutely, positively, do NOT send the same message repeatedly to the same person...there is no faster way to have them unsubscribe than this. Be smart about the messages you send, just like any and all other marketing channels.

  • Add a Call to Action—This is an important aspect of ALL marketing messages. You want your audience to act in a particular way, whether to click on your links, check out your new web app, follow your brand on social media, send appointment reminders, fill out one of your sign-up forms, share your message, respond, or even buy a new product in the case of e-commerce businesses.

    Therefore, your Call to Action (CTA) must be clear to the message's recipients, a.k.a., the human beings on the other end.

    If there’s no CTA in your marketing message, it is best not to send it to avoid risking the dreaded unsubscribe button or “stop” response to your text marketing.

    If that happens, chances are extremely high that communicating with that potential customer is gone forever. Some messaging platforms will not let you re-add them either, so be careful and keep this in mind when using either of these channels. 

  • Customize Your SMS to Suit Your Marketing Demographics—Segment your subscriber list to ensure you are sending your message to the right audience and not sending too many recurring messages. Depending on your goals, you can (and should) categorize based on age, gender, occupation, and geographic location. 

  • Personalize—Personalizing the messages will make your audience feel special. Messages that are not personalized or contain the receivers' names may be ignored. 

  • Include Your Brand Name—To build a positive reputation for your company and brand, it is always best practice to include your brand name in your text messages to instantly recognize who’s sending this message to a person. Keep it as close to the front of your message as possible. People's attention spans are fatigued so choose your words wisely in your SMS marketing.

  • SMS at the Right Time—Timing is also important, just like when you post on your social media channels. You need to experiment with different times of the day and different days of the week, then find the right timing that suits your marketing strategy.

  • Keep it Concise and Precise—Messages should be brief and to the point. Since SMS text messages are limited to a certain number of characters, ensure your message is clear and captures all the details you need to communicate. 

  • Get Consent from Your Audience—Your messages should have clear opt-ins and opt-outs, this is one of THE most core best practices for using a texting service as a part of your marketing tools.

    This ensures that you get the best results and comply with text message marketing compliance regulations and best practices for marketing text messages. 

With a short-form approach via SMS, there's so many marketing messages you can distribute beyond just sending appointment reminders. Get creative!

Closing Thoughts 

With the above insights in mind, always choose the right channel for your marketing messages. Some messages are best suited for SMS marketing, others for email, and others belong in both (sent at a similar time to ensure you get it across if it is more of a time-sensitive message). As we've highlighted above, be mindful not to send too many messages in either channel. Make sure they are targeted, useful, and poignant at all times!

If you want a higher open rate, response rate, immediate feedback, higher deliverability and click-through rates, and/or want to encourage a two-way dialogue with your customers, then you would opt for SMS marketing over emails. 

Choose email if your message is broader, not time-sensitive, and does not aim to open a two-way dialog.

Digital marketing is about maintaining a solid strategy and a healthy, holistic mix of inbound and outbound communication across many channels.

Use them often, and use them wisely towards your marketing success!

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