Back to all news

Email and SMS: Your Marketing Power Couple

April 11, 2023
Email and SMS: Your Marketing Power Couple

Having trouble deciding between email and SMS marketing campaigns? Fortunately, you don’t have to. Both channels have their unique advantages, so why miss out on any of them? Especially in today’s technology-driven world, where it’s never been easier to create and manage the email and SMS duo thanks to all kinds of marketing software.

Get ready to up your game because we’re about to share some top tips for setting up effective marketing campaigns that take advantage of both channels. But first, let’s break down their individual strengths to see the unique benefits text messages and emails bring to the table.

How SMS can give you an edge

Businesses use text messages for all kinds of marketing purposes: advertising, promotion, feedback collection, shipping updates, and even OTP (one-time password) codes. And why shouldn’t they, considering there are 6.92 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2023? That’s as much as 86.34% of the global population. 

SMS campaigns offer marketing professional benefits like:


Immediacy. With open rates at around 98% and response rates reaching up to 45%, text messages cut through the noise and reach the phone's inbox within seconds. A bumpy internet connection or spam folders won't hold them back.


Brevity. The 160-character limit per message may seem like a restriction, but it can surprisingly become a strength. Due to its brevity, customers can quickly understand the message and its purpose without wading through the details.


Foot traffic generation. Businesses can send targeted text messages to nearby users through geofencing technology. A customer walking through a shopping district and receiving an SMS advertising a sale in a store ten feet away is more likely to check it out.

Еhere are 6.92 billion (86.34% of the global population) smartphone users worldwide in 2023.

SMS marketing is ideal for quick and crisp communication. But what if you need more space to send detailed info plus a picture? That’s when email marketing comes to the front.

Why email marketing rocks

Email marketing has proved its worth over the years. In fact, it’s still a reigning champion with an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent. It holds the magic that keeps emails relevant, even though the open rate is lower than in SMS marketing (20% on average), and there are “only” 4 billion daily email users. Let’s look at the ingredients of that magic.


Excellent lead generation. Email provides a large canvas for marketers to work with in lead generation campaigns. By getting email addresses through opt-ins and sign-ups, businesses can build lists of subscribers most likely to convert.


Higher digital traffic. Emailing newsletters, promotions, and cart abandonment reminders help businesses pull customers back to their websites or social media pages. Plus, by throwing in a link or persuasive call-to-action, you can encourage customers to explore your products and services more.


Establishing credibility in the field. You can share industry know-how and valuable tips while promoting your brand through bulk email marketing to build industry leadership.

And these are just some of the benefits email has to offer as a marketing channel. Check out our recent article for a broader email marketing benefit overview. Meanwhile, let’s take a closer look at how email and SMS stack up against each other.

The difference between SMS and email marketing

SMS is a less crowded channel for promotional content.

Here’s an often-overlooked distinction between SMS and email marketing: SMS is a less crowded channel for promotional content. Think about how many emails pour into your inbox daily vs. how many text messages you get. Exactly.
The crowded email space makes it tough to stand out amidst the piles of promotional content. People have grown numb to emails under their constant barrage, so engaging customers with email marketing only will soon become a top challenge.

In contrast, SMS is often reserved for personal communication, which makes it a more intimate way of reaching customers.

Text messages tend to be concise, urgent, and attention-grabbing — and their higher open rates reflect that. So yes, an effective marketing campaign leverages the strengths of both of these channels to mitigate their weaknesses.  

Benefits of combining email marketing with SMS

This power couple has quite a few advantages:


Going omnichannel. With both email and SMS marketing at their disposal, businesses are best equipped to attract new customers and build loyalty. Their content will land right where it's supposed to and have the greatest chance of making an impact. Email works wonderfully for those long, chatty messages such as cart abandonment reminders or educational content. On the other hand, SMS campaigns are a better fit for time-sensitive alerts such as limited-time birthday offers, appointment reminders, and order updates. You can switch between email and SMS in each particular case.


Providing choice. When customers can pick and choose — email or SMS, companies can gain valuable insights into what makes their audience tick. When you cater to your customer's preferences, you save them the hassle of unwanted messages and increase retention. But here’s a secret: you can still get your customers to subscribe to both channels.


Doubling the power. Celebrity couples often share their followers and fan base. Just like that, companies can encourage their email subscribers to sign up for SMS alerts or invite their SMS recipients to join their email newsletters.  A pro tip: offer exclusive perks such as discounts, freebies, or access to special promotions to the customers who subscribe to both channels.


Getting the full picture. When businesses keep tabs on customer interaction with email and SMS campaigns, they can identify which messages and promotions really excite their audience. This insight helps tailor marketing strategies to suit the audience's preferences and drive engagement and conversions.

Psst, want to see how popular brands mix SMS and email marketing to great effect?

Big brands leveraging SMS and email marketing

Hundreds of big names have successfully balanced SMS and email marketing efforts to create harmony without appearing too pushy.

Sephora, for instance, offers customers the choice of texting or receiving emails with promotional messages, service appointments, order tracking and delivery alerts, back-in-stock notifications, and so on. Customers can opt in or out of the programs anytime by texting a short code or replying to the message.

H&M spiked its email and SMS databases with an in-store campaign that offered instant coupons in exchange for subscribing to the retailer’s alerts.

Now using SMS and email marketing for your next campaign sounds like a fabulous idea, 

Let’s explore some smart strategies for blending SMS and email marketing.doesn’t it? How about a couple more tips on mixing and matching both approaches?

Combining SMS and email marketing: Any tips?


Divide and rule

Segmenting subscribers by recent purchase history can make them feel like you really “get” them. For more specific promotions, segment your audience by location and send text notifications to customers in a specific area.

But wait, there’s more! Segmentation saves money. Using this strategy, you won’t send messages to subscribers who would likely have zero interest in your offer.

And let’s face it — keeping a handle on all your customer data when it’s scattered like confetti is impossible. Consolidate all that data into one place for smooth promo campaigns.


Keep your messages straight

Customers may receive both an email and an SMS from the same brand, but if the messages are conflicting, they might get confused and frustrated.

So make sure the brand message and voice are consistent across channels. 

It’s also a bad idea to send duplicates or bombard customers with numerous messages in a short span of time.

Plus, you should ensure that your SMS and email messages complement each other and work together to achieve your marketing goals.


Bring order to chaos

Keeping data from different sources consistent is more than just a challenge.

You risk running into all sorts of problems unless you’re really careful.

But with a centralized database, you can avoid overlapping subscriptions or overloading the same customers with messages.

One of the best ways to centralize data is to use an email and SMS marketing platform that seamlessly integrates both marketing capabilities


Find the best tech

Launching successful SMS and email campaigns with the right tech only takes a few clicks. There are plenty of features that let you automate every action along the way.

You can quickly import and export data from other sources and keep it in a single place. As a bonus, it automates manual tasks and bulk messaging, including welcome emails and abandoned cart reminders.

Finally, you get access to analytical and reporting tools and can easily segment your audience and personalize campaigns.

Choose the right email and text marketing software, launch campaigns, manage them, analyze the results, and enjoy.


Why limit yourself to one marketing channel when you can double your impact with email and SMS? Don’t settle for less when you can have the best of both worlds.

With SMS, you can enjoy the benefits of immediacy and straight-to-the-point messaging. Meanwhile, email marketing is a great choice for lead generation and establishing credibility. Combining these two channels will give your marketing game an extra punch.

Got a missing piece in your marketing puzzle? Don’t fret! Check out Retainly’s email and SMS marketing platform. P.S. Book your free demo to check out all of our features without committing to anything.

What else to read
Retainly Partners with RSM Georgia Solutions to Elevate Customer Engagement
Read the article
Retainly Partners with RSM Georgia Solutions to Elevate Customer Engagement