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Combining SMS and Email Marketing for Higher Engagement
SMS Marketing Best Practices

Combining SMS and Email Marketing for Higher Engagement

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 audiences.

April 8, 2019

Brands have continued to use email as the default marketing channel to reach consumers for several years. But user engagement with email is fading - with spam emails comprising nearly 50% of all emails sent in 2018, it’s easy to see why users are becoming wary. As a result, the average click through rate (CTR) for emails fell from 5.4% to 3.3% between 2011 and 2018, in turn driving increased interest in SMS marketing.

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

SMS marketing is among the top four most frequently adopted mobile marketing tools. Still, more than 61% of mobile marketers don’t use it. It may be time for marketers to reevaluate their customer engagement tools - as part of a survey conducted among marketers, Forrester found that 50% of participants saw more qualified leads, higher conversion rates, and improved sales efficiency as a result of their engagement efforts. For marketers looking to improve engagement, SMS appears to be a more effective tool with an open rate of over 4x higher than email, better ROI, and increased efficiency.

(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, brands may find that SMS is not an effective channel for storytelling with character limits and UX limited by mobile screen size constraints. But when used together,  the two channels complement each other to build a personalized, high-touch marketing campaign that is visibly 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 audiences. Here’s a deeper look into how the two channels stack up against each other, and how you can best implement your own email + SMS strategy.

Email Marketing

Email is an effective tool for generating new leads, acquiring customers and increasing retention, and simultaneously 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, boiled down:

Email Marketing Pros:

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

Email Marketing Cons:

  • Slow to catch audience attention
  • Low engagement
  • High inbox saturation

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

SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is the perfect channel to exceed customer expectations with quick responses and targeted communications. Studies have shown that people respond to a text in just 90 seconds, while they may take upwards of 90 minutes to respond to an email. 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 engagement by using marketing automation to reach out to customers, inform them about new products or services, promotions, discounts, or provide  any other relevant content.

How SMS marketing fits in seamlessly with your email strategy

A good SMS marketing platform should categorize your leads and customers automatically based on customized criteria such as their demographics, level of engagement, the channel they have been acquired from, etc. You can further maximize sales conversions by, personalizing messages to create meaningful conversations with your audience. 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. Use SMS to move leads through the purchase funnel. Once you have a lead in the purchase funnel, keep them engaged by building a relationship to convert them into a customer. Jumping in with a sales pitch immediately could turn away new leads. Instead, engage them by providing access to brief and accessible educational content that educates them about how your product 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, but, the current landscape is quickly shifting towards a multi-channel approach to conversing with an audience. To keep with the changing trends in consumer 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.

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