A long, long, time ago (in a decade far, far away) reaching customers digitally was hard. Flash forward 15-20 years and you’ll find that brands are now communicating with you through your emails and cell phones more frequently than your loved ones. You may even receive a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon on your birthday before you get a call from mom…
But seriously, let’s talk about your email and SMS inboxes for a second.
Industry experts are pretty much in agreement, traditional broadcast advertising isn’t as effective as it once was. There’s just too much noise to cut through. When it comes to digital marketing, best practice is now considered two-way communications with individualized messaging. This tends to look like personalized emails based on purchases, text messages prompting refills on prescriptions, and suspiciously on-point web-banner ads.
So, how do you choose which two-way communication tool is right for your business? We take a deeper look at two of the most common ways to market to your consumers in the digital age: email marketing vs. SMS marketing.
Anytime you launch a new marketing initiative, you should ask yourself- what is my objective? If you’re a nonprofit, are you trying to solicit donations? As a retailer are you announcing a new clothing line or just a Black Friday sale? The quantity and timeliness of your information are two key determinants in whether you should utilize SMS or email marketing.
As a general rule of thumb, email campaigns are great when your information isn’t time sensitive. In 2018, the average open rate for an email is 24.8%. If your email is one of the lucky ones that gets opened, it takes on average 90 minutes for someone to respond (versus 90 seconds for a text message). Email campaigns are also better suited when you have lots of copy you’d like to send. On average, you’re only able to send about 160 characters with a text.
On the flip side, SMS campaigns are great if you’re looking for a higher probability of your message getting viewed. SMS open rates continuously live around 98%. Text messaging is also successful when your campaign has a desired action step for a customer to take: check out this sale, confirm your appointment, take this survey. With around 306 characters of message space max, your campaigns have the benefit of always being concise.
Here are some quick examples of typical marketing campaigns and the delivery method it is best suited for.
Donation solicitations or “asks”
The more your audience hears your message, the more likely they are to remember it. At least, that’s the basic psychological explanation as to why you might find yourself singing “call 1-800-Steemer, Stanley Steemer gets carpet cleaner” in the shower.
However, if there’s one true take-home difference between email and SMS marketing campaigns, it’s in regards to the volume and frequency of messaging. As you remember from above, the difference between email and text open rates is significant. It’s estimated that around 74 TRILLION emails are sent every year as opposed to only around 8 trillion text messages. This means you’ll often have to send email campaigns a few (dozen) times before it really captures attention. Not only is this type of blast marketing not ideal for text messages, it may not even be legal!
Text message marketing relies on consent and compliance. Your subscribers (or customers) have to “opt in” to receive your messages. Think of this as a mutual agreement between business and consumer. They’re giving you a mainline to their attention, and in return, you’re promising not to abuse this privilege.
This isn’t to say that higher volume campaigns don’t work with text message marketing. The volume of messages just has to align with the customer’s expectations. For example- Bright Pink sends monthly texts to their subscribers reminding them to perform a self-examination on their breasts to increase the probability of early detection of breast cancer. The expectation is to receive a text on the first of the month. But if you start receiving messages each week, it can feel like too much and in an invasion of trust in the agreement. On the other hand, some faith-based groups might want to send out a text every day to their subscribers. Perhaps daily affirmations or motivations. This is great, as long as your subscribers are aware of the anticipated frequency!
In conclusion, here’s a tip. If you have a pretty good idea about the frequency and volume you will be reaching out to your audience, text message marketing is the route for you. On the other hand, if you’re interested in inundating your audience with messaging as much as possible, email marketing might be the right choice.
We’re not here to rain on any email marketing parades. In fact, we believe email marketing walked so text messaging could fly (or whatever the kids say). As you’ve gathered from everything written so far, there are some clear-cut cases when one type of marketing is preferred over another. But while you’re busy contemplating between SMS and email, your competitor is using both email and SMS to generate leads, acquire new customers, and retain existing ones.
So, why not use both channels too? When used together, you’ll eventually realize that there’s no use in pitting them against each other because they make the perfect pair.
If you use an email marketing service like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or Campaign Monitor, it’s now easier than ever to merge email and SMS marketing tools together with SimpleTexting’s Zapier integration. With Zapier, you can plug SimpleTexting into 1,000+ apps including Salesforce, Facebook, Google Forms, Shopify, and a whole lot more. Now, if a customer misses an email announcing the details of your summer sale, you can still send a follow-up text days later with more information on specific discounts.
So go forth and market! And remember that the SimpleTexting support team is always a resource if you have any questions!