Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – What is Better? (A Complete Guide)

May 10, 2023 Julio Romero

Reading time about 6min

Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – What is better? – A Detailed Guide

When it comes to personalized marketing channels, there is an ongoing debate around email marketing vs SMS marketing. With both strategies offering distinct advantages and disadvantages, it is crucial for marketers to understand which channel works best for their business. In this article, we will delve into key metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of the performance of email marketing vs SMS marketing.

email marketing vs sms marketing

Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – Open Rate and Response Rate

When it comes to open rates, text messages win the race against emails with a high margin. A study conducted by Gartner reports that the open rate of SMS is a whopping 98 percent. It is also noteworthy that the SMS response rate is as high as 45 percent. Another study conducted by a mobile research firm identifies that over 90 percent of all SMS messages sent are opened and read within three to five minutes.

Furthermore, 82 percent of people claim to read every text message they receive. On the contrary, the open rate of email sits at around 20 percent. Not to mention, an average person replies to an email within 90 minutes, compared to 90 seconds for an SMS. Also, Learn Hub identifies that consumers are 4.5 times more likely to reply to an SMS than an email. Thus, SMS marketing takes the cake when it comes to open rate and response rate.


Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – Accessibility

Over 67 percent of the total world population uses a mobile phone, with smartphones accounting for more than 75 percent of all mobiles in use. Given the people are now habitual of using phones, SMS and emails are direct communication channels for promotions and marketing strategies. However, only three-quarters of phone users can be connected via email instantly, compared to text messages.

The SMS feature is inbuilt in all mobile handsets, whether they are smartphones or not. Text message recipients are notified right away, as opposed to email message recipients. So, 2 points for SMS marketing and 0 points for email marketing, so far.

Image Source: DataReportal


Frequency and Deliverability

A low open rate of email messages demands the marketer to raise the frequency of emails. As the number of emails sent by you increases, the chances of your email being opened and read get higher. However, this also leads to more emails getting spammed. The Email Statistics Report identifies that 49 percent of all emails are marked spam. Such a high number of emails getting spammed affects the open rate of emails. It is undoubtedly a vicious circle.

SMS marketing is a permission-based strategy. Only the subscribers of your SMS list who have opted-in will receive SMS messages, which nullifies chances of getting ignored. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, SMS is the preferred communication for discounts, coupons, and special offers by 75 percent of mobile users. The statistics substantiate the efficacy of SMS messages. Well, SMS marketing wins in this department, too.


Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – Customer Engagement

Source: Freepik


Customer Engagement derived from any marketing channel is a byproduct of its click-through rate. While the click-through rate sits between 6 to 7 percent for emails, SMS generates as high as 36 percent click-through rates. Learn Hub identifies that 86 percent of small business marketers claim that communication via SMS generates higher customer engagement than email. Hence, SMS marketing continues to maintain a lead over email marketing.


Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – Scalability and Customization


In the case of SMS marketing, you are limited to 160 characters. The message must be crisp and to the point. Since it is a text message, you cannot play around with attractive fonts, pictures, graphics, or story-telling techniques to motivate potential customers to respond to your SMS.

That is a challenge, and email marketing comes as a rescue, especially where you need to communicate long-form content to the recipients. You are free to use attachments, hyperlinks, images, or videos to generate the maximum possible views and fully connect with your audience. Finally, email marketing scores some brownie points over SMS marketing.


Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing – Cost

Source: Freepik


Compared to other marketing strategies, both email marketing and SMS marketing is cost-effective. While the costs for both marketing strategies depend on the campaign, email marketing takes the cake in this case. Email marketing is internet-based, and charges would not vary based on your location and the recipient’s location. For SMS, you will have to negotiate for the best package deals with your SMS marketing provider as the prices will vary for local and international messages.


Email Marketing and SMS Marketing Trends

Trends – Email Marketing

Source: Freepik


It is noteworthy that over 60 percent of people use their smartphones to open and read emails. You cannot ignore the importance of optimizing your emails for mobile phones as the open and click rates of emails can boost with mobile-friendly email designs.

Create personalized emails that speak to your customers. As an email marketer, you can use AI to analyze customer’s favorite products or services and their shopping habits and target the emails to your audience accordingly. Furthermore, adapting customer appreciation emails in your marketing campaign gives a sense of value to users.

Appreciation emails could include personalized birthday messaged with discounts, early access invites, and thank you emails. Studies identify that in the year 2020, emails with birthday messages generated 24.08 percent click rates and 23.22 percent open rates.

Interactive messaging promotes customer engagement. Email campaigns can be made more interactive by including videos, gifs, polls and surveys, and much more. As per the statistics, the open rate of emails increases by 20 percent by adding the word ‘video’ to an email title. The inclusion of video also increases the click-through rate by 65 percent.

You can use the power of customer feedback by including user reviews and ratings in your email to improve brand loyalty and sales. It is noteworthy that 94 percent of all people consider online customer reviews as crucial as reviews from their friends and family members. The user-generated content is available free of cost and is one of the easiest ways to get organic traffic.


Trends – SMS Marketing

Source: Freepik

Studies say that more than 50 percent of people with customer service queries prefer communication via SMS. Typically, the customers enquire pertaining to the availability of products, troubleshooting, the status of order processing or shipping, and payment confirmations.

Since more than 60 percent of people do not like to wait on hold for more than a minute, SMS allows quick resolution of issues by eliminating hold times and transfers. Use two-way SMS for a more interactive experience. As opposed to live chat, or over the phone where customers have to act promptly, customers can easily communicate with customer service agents at their own pace.

Use a sender ID, a dedicated number, or a naming identifier from which recipients receive your message. Message from a known identity gives a feeling of familiarity to the customers and improves customer engagement and brand loyalty.

Use SMS as a tool to push open rates and boost other marketing channels. You can send reminders to customers to access long-form communications like newsletters and blogs on other platforms. With a 98 percent open rate, an SMS is less likely to be ignored.

Studies suggest that 77 percent of customers who receive transactional updates via SMS have a good impression of businesses and brands. Further, they are increasingly opting-in to receive text updates. It promotes business among the existing customer base.

Customers are the happiest right after they have received the service or product. Make the best of this by asking for a review or feedback using SMS as it is instant. Around 72 percent of customers claim that positive reviews amplify their trust in brands. You can focus on gathering customer reviews via this channel and further use those reviews for your benefit.

Read our post on the Complete Guide to SMS Marketing to learn more about this strategy.


Which one should you use?

SMS marketing is permission-based. It implies that your customers trust in your business and are giving you consent for contacting them. While you should not cross boundaries, customers want the brands to connect with them and keep them in the loop. SMS is better suited for sending out deals and coupons to customers who have opted-in for receiving messages, to-the-point messages, and quick access to important information and personal alerts like summarized account updates or notifications.

On the contrary, email marketing is more suited for reaching out to the potential customer with detailed and educational content, sharing long messages, or require space for images or graphics for customer attention.

It is also noteworthy that a marketing mix of both strategies can double fold your ROI. A study by Smart Insights identifies that you can increase the open rates of email by 30 percent by sending a follow-up text to your customers asking if they have read your email.

Both the communication channels give an ideal opportunity for customer engagement. All you need to figure out is what your customers are seeking, how you deliver it, and what works best for you. If you are planning to invest in a better SMS marketing setup, you must look into Winback’s plans.

Winback’s SMS marketing setup can do wonders for your eCommerce store by recovering up to 34% of abandoned carts. Also, you will receive up to 35X ROI on every dollar you spend on Winback. Visit our website to chat with us through the live chat option or you can drop us an email for a discussion.

Topics: SMS Marketing, Email Marketing