There’s an age-old adage that asks, ‘which is better, email or text messaging?’
Actually, there isn’t. But it makes for a nice question to posit on a blog. Especially if you’re a keen marketer who’s looking to maximize conversions through email and SMS marketing.
You may already know that 50% of eCommerce sales are coming from smartphones. But did you know most emails are being read on phones? Today, it’s becoming easier to target your marketing where customers are spending most of their time.
And, to the question of which is better—SMS or email—the answer is… well, it depends.
Rather than choose one over the other, consider instead how using both channels to their greatest effect can make them an inseparable team. See them as an interchangeable, dynamic duo. The superheroes of marketing, maybe.
Without a doubt, though, using text and email together will improve the effectiveness of your customer engagement strategy.
To convince you, we’ve compiled 7 reasons to start using email and SMS together with some tips on best practice:
1. Improves customer experience
Studies show 79% of high-income earners will stop using your services if they have a bad experience. Additionally, 90% of shoppers are checking online reviews all the time.
To avoid turning them off, you should gain an accurate view of your customers’ wants and needs. Sending surveys using SMS and email makes this easy to do. But remember, email open rates won’t be as good as SMS’s whopping 98%. To ensure a high response, use both. And if you don’t have the SMS opt-ins you need, use email to request them.
Once received, these customer insights should drive improvements in your next campaign.
Using SMS and email marketing together also helps personalize the experience. On both channels, your customer’s name should be used consistently. Consider running MVT (multivariate testing) and don’t overlook email’s click-through-rate of 8%.
Also, brand your communications. MySignature can help create professional, branded email signatures that will help build your reputation.
2. Controls how you deliver campaigns
SMS and email marketing are permission-based, meaning your customers need to opt-in first. By doing so, they’ve shown an openness to hearing from you which means they’ll be more likely to convert.
Using email and SMS together can make your actions more purposeful. For example, 75% of customers expect you to send them a welcome email. If you don’t, you may miss your best chance to keep them.
So, you should see email as the relationship builder. The one that goes deeper into creating the bond you want for loyal, long-time customers.
SMS, on the other hand, should be seen as the closer. When 90% of SMS is read in 5 seconds, it works quickly to seal a deal. Plus, following up on an email has been proven to increase conversion rates by 22%, making it well worth sending text messages too.
3. Reduces cost
With such high open rates, SMS marketing offers high returns on investment. With email, there are no advertising fees or need for print media, which keeps it lean.
Where you can really benefit is by sending alerts or reminders. SMS is particularly effective for this, where read rates are so high.
For example, say you’re an e-commerce store selling household goods. If your customer needs to be at home to receive your delivery and for some reason they’re not, you’ll need to pay the courier service to drop again. Not only that, but you could also delay a delivery for the next customer.
In the long-term, scheduling text alerts will save money on unnecessary costs.
4. Improves security
Trust is high on the agenda for most of your customers. You’ll need to gain it and keep it for them to stay loyal.
Of course, that’s not surprising if you’re holding on to their personal data. So, when a customer needs to confirm or reset their security passwords, consider using both SMS and email to promote good cybersecurity habits. Not to do the job correctly only, but to reassure your customers that your processes are robust.
And, if any changes are made to their account, email and SMS marketing can work to alert them to these and request their approval or authentication that it was them.
Using both SMS and text messaging channels increases security and, along with it, your customers’ loyalty.
5. Boosts your subscriber base
When your business is starting out, you’ll want to prioritize growing your database.
By deploying SMS marketing strategies such as text-to-win contests, you can secure new subscribers and offer them a chance to know more about your products or services.
If you already have a solid base of email contacts but not nearly as many phone numbers, use a professionally branded email marketing campaign to boost them. In the campaign, share an SMS shortcode that allows your subscribers to opt-in to receive text messages.
On the flipside, SMS is great at chasing up any email addresses you may be lacking in your database or CRM.
When used together, they’ll make sure your communications are effective and purposeful.
6. Can help each other out in times of need
Like all the classic duo’s, email and SMS make a winning team.
Studies have shown how sending SMS reminders to follow up on an unopened email increases email open-rates by 20-30%. And think about it – we all receive a ton of emails every day. How many marketing-related ones do we open?
Remember - text messages bring an effective call-to-action, and work well as deal closers. Use them to kick-start email’s effective customer retention method.
Additionally, when timed well, email and SMS marketing together can help to reactivate lapsed customers. We are all busy way too often and sometimes things slip. SMS alerts work to put your old customers back on to your mailing list for reengagement, which means happy days for you.
7. They’re trackable
Installing analytics to track your open and read rates is essential to measuring the effectiveness of your marketing communications.
And that is one great thing about email and SMS marketing – you can easily track data on how well they’ve performed as part of your customer engagement campaigns.
Most platforms enable you to track URLs. Use these to reveal the true impact of SMS and email in your campaigns, based on the data you’ve collected. You should be able to compare each across all your marketing touch points.
Finally, use this data to decide how you’ll use SMS and email together to target customer engagement in your next marketing campaign or strategy.
Best practice tips for using email and SMS
To help you, we’ve outlined some key points you should keep in mind when trying to make email and SMS play nice together:
- Always get permission/opt-ins first
- Judge the frequency of your communications and don’t overdo it
- Timing is key, so avoid scheduling messages at anti-social times
- Present yourself well using branded communications
- Personalize the experience consistently to build your reputation
- Measure, track and analyze your results and use them to inform your next campaign
Like any great pairing, the key skills of each individual should aim to complement what may be missing in the other. And vice versa.
So, when it comes to effective marketing, you should view email as a solid and reliable way to build strong relationships between you and your customers. Where it suffers, though, is being slower as a communicator and having to fight for attention amongst a sea of competition. But here’s where the more dynamic SMS steps in. Text messaging works fast to get your customer’s attention and gives them a clear instruction to take action.
When planned in a strategic way, email and SMS make the perfect pairing. When in harmony, they’ll support each other to increase open rates and conversions, improve customer affinity, and help you to improve your business.