Just as you’ve got the hang of email marketing, something else comes along. SMS marketing is the (relatively) new kid on the block, and it can be tough to get your head around.
But email and SMS marketing are the soul mates you need if you want to drive customer engagement and make the most of your digital marketing budget. Let’s demystify this perfect partnership!
Differences between SMS and email marketing
SMS and email marketing campaigns are slightly different beasts and can be used to fulfill complementary purposes in your business. Here are the two main considerations:
Differences in real estate
SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, and can’t contain images or video (you’ll need MMS for that). So, when thinking about your SMS strategy, your text message campaigns must be clear, concise, and clever to catch people’s attention.
With an email you have more space to play. This is the preferred method for long form content. Include images and even video to keep your customer’s attention. You can take more time to educate them about your brand, or give more information about an event or product.
Quick communications that drive action
SMS marketing is great for driving quick action. When you want someone to read a whole message (it’s only 160 characters, after all!) and click on a link, they should be your first choice.
Similarities between SMS and email marketing
Both are permission-based
With both SMS and email marketing, your customers are giving you permission to contact them. Whether this is through an online sign-up form, or by ticking a box on a checkout page, you have their consent to get in touch with relevant information.
This immediately moves you from the “annoying spam” column in their heads, to the “people I’m interested in hearing from” column. And they will be much more likely to read your communications, and engage with them.
They work well for higher quality leads
As these customers have given you their consent to get in touch, they’ve shown an interest in your brand. They like your products, they think what you have to say is interesting, they know more about what you offer.
All these things mean they’re more likely to make a purchase when invited to. You can talk to them in a different way than your social media followers, or the people who come across you in a Google search.
And segmentation options for both enable you to put information in front of different customers that they really want to see. Shortening the path to conversion.
Which is better email or SMS marketing?
It’s not really a question of which mode of communication is better. Rather, you should be thinking about which one would be most effective in each circumstance, as they’re both great for almost everything. Email would be the preferred channel for multi product launches, quizzes, or longer form educational content. While SMS can provide an extra layer of customer support in real time, which offers a more conversational approach. This can include quick reminders for coupon usage or flash sales.
Unsure? Here are some ideas for when to use which marketing channel.
When is it better to use email marketing?
Email marketing campaigns are a good choice for:
- Launching multiple new products or offers. In an email you can lay out product specifications, explain new features, and paint a picture of the benefits.
- Sending image or video-rich content
- Regular newsletters, if you want to tell stories about your brand or offers.
- Feedback requests, where you want to gather more information from a customer
- Reengagement campaigns. If you haven’t heard from a customer in a while, an SMS message might feel a little out of the blue.
When is it better to use SMS marketing?
When you need a quick response, the average SMS message is answered within 90 seconds. Here are some ideas for where you could use SMS marketing in your business:
- Time sensitive information, such as flash sales or unexpected opportunities that need fast action
- When you’re sending reminders. Giving your customers a little nudge that an event is coming up, or a sale is almost over doesn’t take many characters. So SMS marketing is perfect.
- Real-time communication. Two-way SMS means you can quickly answer customer concerns in a more human way.
Benefits of using an SMS and email marketing together
SMS and email marketing have their own specific strengths. But, like the Power Rangers, their real power comes when they’re used together!
So, what are these combined strengths? Read on to find out!
Take advantage of omnichannel customer engagement
Being able to communicate with customers across both channels increases your reach. All customers are different. Some like email and never answer their text messages. Others love SMS, and stay clear of their inbox. And people react to channels in different ways.
Using both email and SMS messages means you cover all bases. Your customers don’t miss out on a launch or important product information. And you don’t miss a chance to build trust and increase conversions.
Share customer data across both channels
And, with the increased engagement you get from using multiple channels of communication, you get more data to analyze. These valuable insights can help you send more relevant content to your customers.
With Sendlane’s real-time analytics, you can pull customer data from SMS and Email engagement to inform your marketing strategy. Enabling you to create more effective segmentation.
How to use email and SMS marketing to grow your eCommerce store?
Ready to go? Here's where you might want to take a look at your marketing strategies and see how you can use email campaigns alongside your SMS marketing efforts.
The key to harnessing the combined power of email and SMS marketing for your eCommerce store is to play to the individual strengths of each channel of communication.
Using both email and SMS increases brand recognition, enriches customer experience, and has improved response rates when compared to using a single channel.
Here are two simple examples:
Combining email and SMS in a product launch can be incredibly effective when you’re publicizing an event
- Set up a series of email campaigns telling email subscribers about an upcoming event.
- Send text messages to build hype and send reminders as the event approaches.
- Use your analytics to segment your list, and send follow-up emails based on customer behavior.
Looking to engage your customers with a cause you support?
- Send an email announcing your new partnership.
- Use SMS messages to send top-level engaging stats with a link to “learn more.”
- Follow up with email footers or fundraising updates via email or SMS.
Specifically interested in engaging your customers with Cause Marketing? You can find some ways of doing just that, here:
Best Email and SMS Marketing Software for eCommerce
You’re convinced! Email and SMS are the future!
Now you need to choose the platform that will work best for you. Here is a summary of our 4 top email and SMS marketing platforms:
For a more detailed rundown of our favorite email marketing providers, see our article:
You’re looking to engage your customers. To get them excited about your brand, gather information on their preferences, and drive them towards a purchase. Using email and SMS marketing together is the most effective way of doing this. For a smooth omnichannel experience that drives engagement, Sendlane is the best choice. Sendlane’s real-time analytics, pre-built funnels, and integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce give you the powerful tools you need to make the most of your marketing strategy.