Combining SMS and Email Marketing for higher engagement

The combination of SMS and email marketing allows for greater engagement and leads to higer conversions

Written by

Corey Epstein

Published on

08 Apr, 19

Table of Contents

  • Email Marketing
  • SMS Marketing
  • How SMS marketing fits seamlessly with your email marketing strategy

Email is the default marketing channel used by brands to reach consumers today, and has been for several years now. However, users are getting tired of it. Nearly 50% of all emails sent in 2018 were spam, and users are becoming wary. As a result, the average click through rate (CTR) for emails has gone from 5.4% to 3.3% between 2011 and 2018. This has increased interest in SMS marketing.

(Source: Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing. Let the battle commence…, Text Marketer, 10/17/2017)

While SMS marketing today is among the top four most-adopted mobile marketing tools. Unfortunately though, more than 61% of mobile marketers don’t use it. However, given that 60% of consumers seek an enhanced experience from a brand when they engage with it, it may be time for marketers to take another look at their customer engagement tools. As part of a survey conducted among marketers, Forrester found that 50% of the participants saw more qualified leads, higher conversion rates, and improved sales efficiency as a result of their engagement efforts. Thus, for marketers looking to improve engagement, SMS might be a more effective tool – it offers an open rate of over 4x, better ROI, and is quicker.

(Source: Tap Into The Marketing Power of SMS, Gartner, 11/03/2016)
(Source: The Secret to Effective Customer Engagement, Marketo, 11/1/2017)
(Source: Customer Engagement Is the New Marketing, Inc., 07/06/2017)

On the other hand, SMS is just not the right channel for storytelling, as it is limited to 160 characters, while small screens simply don’t allow for the best UX. However, when these two channels are used together, they complement each other to build a more effective marketing campaign. In fact, a recent study found that using the two channels together made a marketing campaign 38% more effective in bringing in revenue.

(Source: SMS & Email Campaigns Earn 38% Revenue During Valentine’s Day, Martech Series, 02/20/2019)

With ecommerce increasingly going mobile, the combination of SMS and email marketing holds the promise of being the best way for digital-first businesses to communicate with their audience. Here’s how the two channels stack up against each other.

Email Marketing

Email is an effective tool for generating new leads, acquiring customers and retaining them, while also maximizing the ROI with each campaign. Email marketing is currently used by at least 56% of companies to promote their businesses and communicate with consumers.

(Source: 70 Email Marketing Stats You Need to Know for 2019 | Campaign Monitor, Campaign Monitor, 12/18/2018)

Some of the key pros and cons of email marketing can be summed as follows:

Email Marketing Pros:

  • More interactive
  • Richer, personalized content
  • Less intrusive than calling

Email Marketing Cons:

  • Slow to catch audience attention
  • Engagement is low
  • Not conversational

The reason email has become so common is because it is easy for a business to send multiple personalized messages to a vast audience through easy-to-use platforms. However, as more and more emails start becoming promotional, customers are getting wary of being bombarded by marketing messages. Also, email can be less effective when sending shorter messages, especially for time-bound promotions. That’s where text marketing comes in. It’s been seen that people respond to a text in just 90 seconds, while they may take at least 90 minutes to respond to an email.

Given the number of marketing emails people receive every day, it is very likely that most of them end up in the recipient’s spam folders. At the same time, bombarding existing customers with emails offering them a discount for a product they have just bought is sure to get them to either delete the email or unsubscribe from the mailing list.

(Source: Email Marketing vs SMS Marketing. Let the battle commence…, Text Marketer, 10/17/2017)

SMS Marketing

SMS marketing, or text marketing, is the perfect channel to fulfill customer expectations with quick responses and targeted communications. It has been observed that customers pay attention to texts more than emails since they are shorter and to the point. Hence, it is easier to capture the audience’s attention with creative, relevant, and time-sensitive messages using SMS. And while only 21.8% of emails are opened on average, SMS has an open rate of around 82%.

(Source: What is the open rate of SMS text messaging?, Shift Communications, 09/29/2015)

As a marketer, you can make the most of this channel by generating leads, converting them into sales, and building relationships with customers across their purchase journey. You can further optimize the level of engagement by using marketing automation to reach out to them, inform them about new products or services, promotions, discounts, or offering any relevant content.

Know more about how SMS and Email marketing stack up against each other

How SMS marketing fits in seamlessly with your email strategy

If you choose a good SMS marketing platform, it should offer to categorize your leads and customers automatically based on customized criteria such as their demographics, rate and level of engagement, the channel they have been acquired from, etc. Subsequently, personalizing messages is essential to having meaningful and contextual conversations with your audience. Ultimately, this leads to higher sales conversions.

Here are some of the most effective ways of creating a successful integrated marketing campaign with both email and text messaging.

Integrate SMS campaigns with your CRM. Marketing automation helps manage and optimize marketing campaigns. Through effective personalization, segmentation, and relevant messaging, interactions with leads or consumers can be optimized to convert them into sales quicker. A study found that 66% of mobile subscribers made a purchase after receiving an SMS.

(Source: SMS vs Leading CPCs – A comparison – Burst SMS, BurstSMS, 03/19/2018)

Use SMS to move leads through the purchase funnel. 64% of consumers prefer that businesses communicate with them using text messaging. So once you have a lead in the purchase funnel, you need to keep them engaged by building a relationship to convert them into a customer. Jumping in with a sales pitch immediately might not be the best way to servicing new leads. Rather, engage them by providing access to content that educates them regarding your product and how it can solve an existing or future problem.

(Source:Integrate text messaging with your CRM, Clockwork, 01/29/2018)

SMS and email can drive more effective cross-promotions. We know that the combination of SMS and email allows for greater customer engagement, and can help you cast a wide net to capture the maximum attention of your audience. Short and relevant text messages can be used to provide customers links to special offers, time-sensitive promotions, or up-sell products and services. A study found that companies that enhanced their engagement increased their cross-sell value by 22%, drove up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%, and also saw a 5% to 85% increase in order sizes.

(Source: What is Customer Engagement, and Why is it Important?, Smile Inc, 09/08/2018)

There is little doubt that email is an effective method of communicating with leads and customers. However, the current landscape is quickly shifting towards a multi-channel approach to conversing with one’s audience. To keep with the changing trends in customer behavior, startups and small businesses must re-evaluate their marketing strategy in favor of an integrated approach to drive their message home, loud and clear.