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Email and SMS marketing: Multichannel marketing for wider reach and more responses

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to choose between email and SMS marketing. Learn how to combine them for the best results.

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Email and SMS marketing have long been debated over in the small business community.

The problem, though, is that they’re often pitted against each other to figure out which is better or more effective.

I’m here to tell you that that’s the wrong question. The real conversation should start with, “How can I make them work together?”

I’ll tell you exactly how, including use cases and how-tos for getting started.

What’s the difference between email and SMS marketing?

The difference between email and SMS marketing is the channel being used, as the terms imply. In fact, a lot of the same strategies apply to both channels.

Email and SMS marketing use cases

Given that they’re different tools, when do email and SMS work best together? Here are a few common use cases we’ve seen.


Make sure your entire subscriber base hears about your biggest sales by sending your announcements out through both email and text.

You can use email and SMS together for:


It’s important to keep your partners up to date on happenings within your organization and opportunities for collaboration.

Consider sending out a text blast with a quick “stay tuned” message reminding subscribers to check their emails for more information.

Then, send them a longer email detailing the relevant opportunity or update.

Drip campaigns 

Drip campaigns keep you in touch with your subscribers with minimal effort from you. They use a series of automated emails that trigger based on subscriber actions.

You can use drip campaigns through email and/or SMS for:

  • Welcome sequences
  • Product onboarding
  • Re-engagement/winback efforts
  • Abandoned cart
One of Amazon's drip emails
An example of a drip campaign email from Amazon

Customer loyalty 

Welcome customers to your subscriber list(s) and send them rewards for their purchases with emails and texts containing:

  • Discounts and perks for exclusive clubs and groups
  • Review requests
  • Word of mouth or referral requests


No one wants to place an order and then hear radio silence for days afterward. You can easily use SMS and emails to take customers through the entire post-purchase process with things like:

  • Invoices
  • Confirmations
  • Thank-you messages
  • Order shipping updates 
  • Pickup notifications
  • Order cancellations
  • Delivery confirmations


Announce new products, services, or brands from your organization on both the SMS and email fronts.

Try announcing the launch through SMS and following up with an email that contains FAQs or sneak previews of the new addition.


Keep your events full and organized by running your entire guest-facing sequence through both email and texting.

That includes:

  • Invitations after announcing the event
  • Confirmations following registration 
  • Reminders the week of
  • Follow-ups after the event

Encourage invitees to reply through their preferred medium and integrate your SMS and email efforts to keep track of responses.


Surveys can give you a clear idea of how to improve your programs, marketing, events, flows, or just about anything else.

You can send out your surveys through either email or SMS and follow up with a thank you message (and maybe a discount or perk) through the other method.

Customer service

If a customer sends in a request for support, you can use email and SMS to address it in a couple of different ways.

  • If they submitted their request through your site, you can send them a confirmation through email and let them know that you’ll follow up with a text message.
  • You can send out a summary or follow-up message through email and text detailing the interaction or asking for feedback.

Employee communications/announcements 

Keep your team in the loop with an email and an SMS blast to make sure you reach everyone.

This is especially useful for announcing:

  • All-hands meetings
  • New job postings to be shared with others outside the organization
  • Major updates from leadership
  • Get-togethers for departments

How to seamlessly sync your email and SMS marketing

SimpleTexting offers integrations with several major email providers so you can easily combine your email and SMS workflows. Let’s take a look at the step-by-step.

The SimpleTexting integration menu
SimpleTexting’s menu of email integrations


  1. Choose Mailchimp from the Integrations tab in your SimpleTexting account.
  2. Use your Mailchimp username and password to authenticate your account.
  3. Create your first sync. These “Syncs” link your SimpleTexting and Mailchimp subscriber lists.
  4. Pick your fields. You can sync any additional details you collect (like first names) between the two platforms.
  5. Click Sync lists and you’re done.

Constant Contact

  1. Set up a Zapier account. You can start with their free plan and 100 tasks per month.
  2. Log into your Constant Contact and SimpleTexting accounts as well as Zapier. Search for the two apps in Connected accounts.
  3. Pick a trigger. What event would you like to launch your automation?
  4. Choose a resulting action. What should happen when the trigger fires?

How to build a list for email marketing and SMS 

To build a list that works for email and SMS marketing, you’ll want to build a web form to gather subscribers.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Log into your SimpleTexting account and go to Apps.
  2. Click on Web sign-up forms.
  3. Create a new form and name it.
  4. Choose the list new subscribers should be added to.
  5. Add the fields you’d like web visitors to fill out.
  6. Write up a confirmation message to follow each form submission, and you’re all done.

More of a visual learner? Here’s a quick video to walk you through the process.

Of course, the question remains: What info should you be collecting with your web form? It depends on the type of business you run and how you want to segment your subscribers, but common fields include the following.

  • Name (first and last)
  • Zip code
  • Product or service preferences (as in, type of products or services they’re interested in hearing about)

The perfect email and SMS marketing sending cadence

Of course, the big question that comes to mind when using multiple marketing channels together is, “How often do I send each type of message?”

Rather than making up an answer based on my best guess, I’ll give you a real-life multichannel marketing campaign as a guide along with an extra recommendation.

PrettyLitter’s send cadence

This example comes from the cat litter brand PrettyLitter (by way of our resident cat dad and head of SEO and content, Nathan Ellering). PrettyLitter sends a mix of promotional and educational emails to subscribers pre-purchase along with half the number of texts, all promotional in nature.

PrettyLitter's website email collection form
PrettyLitter's email opt-in form

Post-purchase, the brand sends a welcome email and text to customers as well as an order confirmation through both channels.

They then send out emails including:

  • Customer onboarding materials
  • Expansion deals
  • Review requests

Subscribers also receive text promotions every other day following their purchase. 

A recommendation from our experts

The plan I’ve just detailed is a good one, no doubt. That said, from his years spearheading successful email and text campaigns, Nathan has finetuned PrettyLitter’s strategy, and I’ll give you the basics here. 

Emails per week (pre-purchase):

  • Subscriber promotion (1)
  • Newsletter/non-promotional value (1)

Texts per week (pre-purchase):

  • Subscriber promotion (1)
  • Non-promotional value (1)

Post-purchase, the idea is to open with a welcome and an order confirmation by both text and email. Follow these with any necessary onboarding materials, value pieces, and expansion deals.

As for how many marketing texts and emails your post-purchase flow should include per week, stick to two of each. Be sure not to send your texts and emails on the same day unless they contain a welcome message or an order update.

Note: If you'd like to see the full schedule for yourself, you can find it here.

Email and SMS marketing best practices 

Last but not least, here are a few important points to keep in mind as you create and set up your email and SMS marketing strategy.

  • Alternate providing helpful, useful content and sales messages to build trust and increase the exclusivity of sales deals. Never ask for anything before you've provided value.
  • Play around with your sending cadence. Try sending more messages one week and fewer the next to zero in on the best fit for your subscribers.
  • Know that consistent promos for sales may discourage leads from paying full price (urgency and exclusivity get lost).
  • Be aware of the number of texts you send in a single day (some states allow a maximum of three). Avoid sending more than one email per day.
  • Stop sending promotional messages to people who bought something in response to your previous sale announcement.
  • Avoid sending promotional messages like upsells before your customers actually receive their first purchase. On the same note, don't send expansion messages before your customers have had some time to try out your products.
  • Ask for customer reviews. Stop the second customer review request (via text message) if the customer provides a review after the first email.

📖 Read next: The best alternative to email marketing

Lily Norton
Lily Norton

Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.

More Posts from Lily Norton

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