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SMS Marketing: Why It Works So Well With Email

August 31, 2021
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Of the various marketing channel options companies have at their disposal, few are as effective at providing ROI as SMS or Email. But instead of viewing your strategy as SMS or email marketing, it may be time to reframe it as SMS and email marketing

You can think of them as marketing peanut butter and jelly. Individually, they’re great. But together, they create something truly special, capable of revolutionizing the way you target customers and run campaigns. 

But why do they work so well as a combination? And how can you utilize them to their fullest potential?

Let’s discuss. 

First: Why Email Marketing? 

For decades now, email has been a major hub for communication. As technology progressed and smartphones became a ubiquitous aspect of modern living, email has gained even greater prominence. 

Naturally, marketers realized it was a valuable resource if utilized properly.

Today, email marketing refers to any email a company sends out that’s unrelated to a specific customer query. That includes newsletters, press releases, subscriber deals, sales promos, or brand building. 

Email marketing works on an opt-in basis. Customers have to consent to receive a marketing message from you, the business. In exchange for their willingness, consumers have an opportunity to learn about new products, killer deals, or general company updates. 

It’s a direct marketing strategy that allows you to:

  • Stay in contact with your audience
  • Reach customers in real-time
  • Encourage customer engagement
  • Gather measurable consumer data
  • Target consumer segments
  • Build brand awareness
  • Generate ROI   

Second: Why SMS Marketing? 

Although newer than email marketing, text message marketing provides a more targeted marketing channel for reaching customers. The primary focus of a text messaging strategy is to push a campaign about a promotional message, sale, or event, or keep customers updated about a transaction. 

And because practically everyone has their cellphone in their pocket, purse, or hands at all times, SMS has an extraordinary open and engagement rate. 

According to Harvard Business Review survey:1 

  • 99% of all text messages are opened, with 97% of messages being read within 15 minutes of delivery.
  • 56% of organizations say that their mobile messaging apps perform well for improving customer engagement.
  • 68% of companies expect mobile marketing messaging to play a vital role in online consumer marketing over the next decade.
  • 82% of organizations say that better metrics and analytics data, including read receipts, are the most important capabilities of SMS. 

Compared to email, a text message marketing campaign has a greater underlying urgency and tends to be time-sensitive. They’re short, sweet, and almost always centered around a call to action, spurring their audience to do something. 

And now, new tools and services are constantly emerging that empower marketers to run an SMS campaign that is more effective and accessible. Additionally, smartphones also allow you to enhance SMS messaging by incorporating videos, images, gifs, or other multimedia. 

email marketing services

Why an Integrated Digital Marketing Plan is Best 

Instead of choosing one or the other, why not say yes to both channels? 

Marketers know that a multichannel approach to advertising delivers better results. Just like how you diversify stocks or how you get your cat many different toys, so too should you cast a wider net to reach more potential customers—particularly since the channel one consumer spends their time on may not be as effective for another. 

If you want to optimize your efforts—not simply reaching an audience but also engaging them effectively—employing different SMS messaging techniques and channels is the answer.  

An integrated digital marketing plan allows you to get the most out of both communication channels. You can enhance your existing email marketing campaign by strategically incorporating text messaging. 

Why do they pair so well?

They’re Built for a Mobile-First World 

Today, mobile dominates the internet game. 

More than half of all internet searches are done via a mobile device. And the same can be said for purchasing.

In Q1 and Q2 of 2021, mobile accounted for 60% of all organic search engine visits within the U.S.2 And going by the trend, this number will only continue to increase, especially as the technology keeps evolving. Because of this, Google and other search engines are placing even greater emphasis on mobile and mobile responsiveness when it comes to ranking sites.  

Both email and SMS are channels built to thrive in a mobile-first world and marketing approach. 

As time passes, marketers and automated intelligence will only continue to optimize email and SMS content for a mobile screen. By combining both channels, advertisers can fully push a mobile-first marketing strategy.   

They’re Both Permission-Based 

Because of FTC and FCC regulations, both email and SMS communication is restricted to some degree. To protect consumer privacy and prevent harassment, there are stringent rules for SMS compliance. Customers must voluntarily consent to receive emails or text messages from a company. Ways that consumers opt in include:

  • Inputting their phone number or email address into an online web form
  • Signing up for a newsletter 
  • Providing that information at a physical location 

Since both of these channels are voluntary, you can operate confidently knowing that your audience actually wants to receive the news, be it about a sale, an update, or a new release. Furthermore, these channels allow you to provide a personalized interaction with leads that are already warm. 

Customers who have signed up want to hear from you—so long as you don’t overdo it. That means providing useful information or engaging content on a periodic basis. 

Complementary Insights 

Both email and SMS can provide a wealth of actionable information, especially since both are response-focused. According to Forbes:3 

“They naturally lend themselves to effective performance measurement. From a tracking standpoint, each channel also delivers many common or very similar metrics that can be used to compare and even combine results to provide a clear picture of a campaign’s success (messages delivered, open rates, clicks/engagements with links, unsubscribes, and even spam complaints).”

Armed with this valuable consumer data, you can measure the effectiveness of a campaign and paint a clearer picture of what causes audience engagement. And today, powerful software can take these data points and produce actionable insights to see how to further optimize engagement and drive ROI.  

Ways to Incorporate SMS into your Campaign 

So, how can you use the power of SMS to enhance your email marketing campaigns? 

Here are a few ways you can draw on the strengths of both channels: 

  • SMS has an incredible open rate – Compared to other channels, email has an impressive open rate. According to a Mail Chimp study, the average email open rate across all industries was 21.33%.4 But that pales in comparison to SMS 90%+ open rate. Therefore, you can use an SMS to push an email campaign. For instance, you can link an email newsletter within a text to increase the likelihood that a customer sees and then clicks through. 
  • SMS is short and sweet – Because texts are limited to 160 characters, they have to get right to the point. This can be a major advantage for you. Your texts can prep email subscribers for a longer email message. For example, if you have an upcoming product release, you can tease it with text and then fully unveil the products within the email. This is a smart strategy since your text gives you more room to work with than an email subject line would allow. 
  • Get a fast action – Do you have a flash sale? A limited-time offer? A deal for the first group of people to sign up? Sending out a quick text is more likely to instigate customers to act—and act fast. You can then follow this up with an email that provides more details or even provide a link to the email within the text. 
  • Learn more about your customers – Similarly, consumers are more likely to respond to a quick SMS survey than an email survey. This means it’s a fantastic channel for getting feedback or learning more about consumer preferences. 
  • Analytics – Combining the analytics from both SMS and email marketing channels gives you more information about consumer engagement behavior. Armed with this data, you can better determine who to target, how to target them, when to target them, and what content to send. Over time, you can tailor campaigns to segments and consumer personas. And the more data you get, the more optimized these campaigns will be. For more on email segmentation and email A/B testing, check out our blog. 
  • Return on interest – On their own, both email and SMS have incredible ROI. Recent surveys show email has an ROI of $42 for every $1 spent.5 And text messaging has similar impressive returns, if not quite as high. A Smart Insights study found that 45% of SMS campaigns generate positive ROI.6 Together, these channels become even more cost-effective since they enhance one another, thanks to higher engagement and response rates coupled with low upfront costs.   

Power Digital—Helping You Get the Most Out of SMS and Email

When it comes to marketing, the more channels you use to target consumers, the better. When combined, SMS and email are among the most cost-effective and powerful tools in your arsenal. 

Do you need guidance on how to build a complementary SMS and email marketing campaign? 

Our digital marketing agency has worked with top brands to help them do just that. Our team can work hand in hand with you to build a customized SMS marketing strategy that lands. 

Want to see what that looks like? Contact us today. 



  1. Harvard Business Review. Mobile Messaging Blazes a Path to Consumers. https://kstatic.googleusercontent.com/files/504d17233468114fdb006adf1bafb3b204d42e31154bcae76583184ff393b7c135274dba05b30a94c2af70734f5ead957d0506bdae286a08ae229a87c2e88521
  2. Statista. Mobile share of organic search engine visits in the United States from 3rd quarter 2013 to 2nd quarter 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/297137/mobile-share-of-us-organic-search-engine-visits/
  3. Forbes. Four Reasons To Combine Email and SMS Marketing. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/03/18/four-reasons-to-combine-email-and-sms-marketing/?sh=847188064684
  4. Mail Chimp. Email Marketing Benchmarks and Statistics by Industry. https://mailchimp.com/resources/email-marketing-benchmarks/
  5. DMA. Marketer Email Tracker 2019. https://dma.org.uk/uploads/misc/marketers-email-tracker-2019.pdf
  6. Smart Insights. 6 Benefits of SMS Marketing. https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/sms-marketing/6-benefits-sms-marketing/

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