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Email & SMS: Why You Need Both & Tips to Get Started

28 Apr
2022
Email & SMS: Why You Need Both & Tips to Get Started

Email is a proven, reliable, and consistent marketing channel. SMS is a relatively newer, more disruptive channel that offers some key opportunities for brands to grow. Leveraging SMS as a marketing channel means your campaigns are read quicker by your customers, and they’re more likely to purchase if the message is relevant. 

There’s a reason why so many brands have embraced SMS marketing in 2022. It’s exciting and full of potential, but only if you use it right. 

But one of the most effective ways to leverage SMS marketing is to integrate it with email. With a combined email and SMS marketing strategy, you can complement your overall marketing efforts and better communicate with your customers.

SMS is here to stay as a marketing channel

While text message marketing has some limitations, SMS is still a robust channel for marketing that can drive conversions and help you connect with customers. Here are some reasons ways SMS distinguishes itself from other marketing channels. 

High open rates & click-through rates

SMS tops the charts for open rates - hitting a solid 99% - and outperforms other marketing channels for click-through rates, with a solid 6.16% CTR. To give you some perspective, the average CTR for email marketing is around 2.80%. 

And sure, these benchmarks are averages that vary depending on your niche and industry, but the difference is significant. The takeaway here is that SMS marketing drastically increases the chances of your contacts seeing your message and heightens the likelihood of them taking action.

Easily trackable performance metrics

SMS campaigns are easy to track, so you can monitor performance and see if your text messages are resonating with customers. Some of the most important metrics you can track include:

  • Delivery rate: This is different from delivery rates in email. In SMS, delivery rate means your text messages have landed in the recipient's inbox - i.e., that the number is not inactive or invalid. Because, unlike email, SMS doesn't have junk/spam folders.
  • Unsubscribe rate: Most marketers hate looking into the cause of unsubscribes, but it's essential to track the metrics and investigate any drastic spikes. If many users unsubscribe during a campaign, you should find out why. 
  • Conversion rate: Knowing how many of your customers convert from SMS campaigns shows how viable SMS can be as a growth channel for your brand.
  • Click-through rate: Optimizing this rate is crucial - you want customers to take action!

2-way SMS makes customer service quick & easy

2-way SMS opens up a wealth of marketing opportunities, such as the ability to launch interactive campaigns or collect feedback from customers. But SMS can also ramp up your customer service by offering customers quicker, more direct support. 

With two-way SMS, you can record customers' responses and directly engage with customers to resolve their queries. 

What to keep in mind with SMS marketing

While SMS marketing is a potential powerhouse, it's not without limitations. Here is a couple that you'll need to watch out for.

Gain SMS content & opt-in

More power, more responsibility, right? This principle applies quite strongly to SMS marketing. Because although your opportunities for engagement increase, there are stringent compliance requirements surrounding SMS. 

Customers must explicitly opt-in with their phone numbers to receive your messages, as per the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). You must have explicit, written consent to send SMS messages to customers, even if you have a long-standing relationship.

Understand proper SMS compliance

You know that spam is bad, but it's downright illegal as per the CAN-SPAM Act when it comes to SMS marketing. TCPA doesn’t apply to transactional messages, such as delivery notifications or shipment tracking updates. 

But it does protect consumers from unwanted spam - if you want to send customers commercial messages, the texts must be easily identifiable. So, no trojan horsing. 

SMS compliance can be complicated. Luckily, our team here at Sendlane is here to help! Check out our Guide to SMS Marketing eBook to learn more about compliance and SMS laws.

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The importance of combining email + SMS in your marketing strategy

Okay, so SMS marketing is great, and we know to be careful about contacting customers via their phone numbers. But how does SMS complement your email marketing strategy? This is how:

Every customer has a preferred communication channel

You can employ all the best practices and create killer campaigns, but you still won't be able to control how customers choose to interact with your business. And that's okay - it's important to accept each customer's preferred communication channel and reach them accordingly.

But how do you tell which channel they prefer? Since SMS requires explicit opt-ins, customers who don't prefer the channel may just avoid it altogether. So, you can give both email and SMS opt-in options and let them choose.

Beyond the initial stages, you can also track which channel customers prefer by monitoring performance metrics. Are they engaging with and responding to your marketing efforts more on one channel?

Expand your audience reach

Gen Z and Millennials might jump at the opportunity to receive SMS, while Gen X and up might prefer email. With both channels, you can reach your customers where they are to improve the customer experience.

Text messages are shorter, more concise, and land right in front of your customers. This makes them highly effective, but it also means that email is the better channel for certain kinds of correspondence. For example, email might be the better channel if you need to send a longer email, like details about multiple products in an upcoming collection.

Conversely, text messages are great for sending customers order updates, promotions, and delivery updates. And, of course, there are times when SMS and email campaigns can complement each other nicely. 

For example, you can drive traffic to your website with SMS during sales campaigns if customers don’t open the initial emails sent to them.

Automating email + SMS enables brands to scale more effectively

When you're preparing to scale, stability is vital. This might sound like a vague observation, but the need for stability extends to all your business channels and operations. 

You need to ensure that you can do more. Your support team can manage more customer service requests, your fulfillment partner/team can handle more orders, and your marketing team can manage your diverse channels. 

And beyond empowering your teams, automating emails and SMS also provides you with the necessary stability to scale more effectively. 

With automated notifications and behavior-based triggers, you can leverage email and SMS to provide your customers with a more personalized experience on autopilot. 

Collect more data about your customers & and their behavior

When you combine SMS and email marketing, you can combine the data collected from each channel to gain a more comprehensive view of your customers. You can better understand their interests, behavior, types of campaigns they respond to, etc., leading to better personalization. 

You can segment your audiences with confidence and trust that you're delivering the most relevant content to their inboxes. If you're just getting one channel off the ground (i.e., SMS marketing), you can leverage data from your existing channel (i.e., email) to help grow your secondary channel quicker and eventually reap the benefits of a combined strategy. 

If you're collecting and leveraging data effectively, it becomes easier to deliver more personalized experiences to your customers. You can better tailor your campaigns to their interests, keeping in mind their behavior, preferred communication channels, and the type of content they respond to.

How to create a high-performing SMS + email strategy

Creating high-performing SMS and email campaigns isn't rocket science, but it does require strategic planning, the right data, and a keen understanding of your customer's needs. Here are some of the best practices to create campaigns that engage and convert.

1. Collect email & SMS consent

You can’t communicate with customers without opt-ins. Make use of pop-ups, which we call two-step pop-ups, that collect both phone numbers and emails so you can begin marketing to potential customers. You can use popups that collect information for first-time visitors, but you can also collect this information at checkout.

Alternatively, if you’d like to gain SMS consent from those already subscribed to your emails, you can do so via email! 

2. Audit your existing email marketing automations

Marketing automations are great. They're so great that many marketers make the mistake of setting up automations and leaving them as-is. And while some automations perform effectively for a long time, some may suffer in performance or fail over time. That's why it's so important to audit your existing automations and see what works.

Here's an example; if you have an email welcome sequence that just isn't getting any engagement, you might want to look into adjusting or recreating it. Similarly, if some of your behavior-based automations aren't performing well, you might need to reevaluate the triggers.

Auditing your campaigns and prioritizing continuous improvement are crucial to creating better campaigns. So be ruthless in your vetting process.

3. Determine which messages are better suited for email and SMS

Some customers will inevitably prefer one communication channel over the other, but at times, email may be the better channel across the board for your campaign. And at other times, SMS/MMS may reign supreme. 

For example, SMS is generally better for reminding customers about abandoned carts or initiating your welcome sequence. But for campaigns that don't have a clear winner, you can optimize your marketing efforts by, again, turning to data. 

4. Set up an SMS platform that integrates with your email marketing app 

We've talked a lot about the advantages of data and automation, so you might have seen this point coming. When migrating data across platforms and setting up automations on two different systems, managing your channels and scaling your operations becomes tedious. 

To get the best out of your email & SMS marketing, use an application that integrates your apps and centralizes your data. Or you can use an all-in-one email and SMS platform like yours truly, Sendlane!

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5. Start sending email & SMS campaigns

Once your email & SMS campaigns are ready to go, it’s time to start sending them to customers. You can leverage each channel to nurture leads, launch new products, or follow up post-purchase! Keep an eye on your performance to see how your campaigns perform and if any updates are needed. 

6. Set up your automations

Armed with historical data and deep insights into your customers' preferences, it's time to set up your automations. 

There are plenty of automations you can set up, but we recommend setting up three automations: 

Here’s one tip about improving the effectiveness of your automations: leverage MMS when texting customers. MMS supports things like images and GIFs, which gives your brand some much-needed personality when communicating with customers. 

7. Always, always be testing & update campaigns as needed

Nothing is ever perfect. Campaigns can perform excellently one day and not so much the next. This is because consumer trends and behavior are always evolving, meaning your marketing efforts need to, too. So be sure to always test, monitor performance, and update your campaigns as needed. Data is your friend, and continuous improvement is your mantra for success!

How Sendlane makes email + SMS marketing easy

Sendlane is an all-in-one email SMS/MMS marketing platform that helps you create high-performing campaigns, optimize your automations and make better, data-driven decisions. If you’re looking to make SMS + email easier to manage, we’re here to help.

All-in-one email & SMS marketing 

Sendlane is an all-in-one email and SMS/MMS marketing platform that helps you create high-performing campaigns, optimize your automations and make better, data-driven decisions. 

Easily build personalized campaigns

Sendlane empowers you with the right data to weave hyper-personalized, high-impact campaigns. Leverage customer data, trigger automations, and advanced segmentation to connect with your customers on a deeper level.

Powerful analytics & deep data integrations 

Data and analytics help you understand your customers better. And Sendlane gives you the most relevant, actionable data to personalize your customers' experiences and deliver greater value.  

Email & SMS: The eCommerce Power Couple

While email and SMS marketing are powerful in their own right, you can combine the two to get the best results. You can leverage a combined email and SMS marketing strategy to drive more engagement, convert more visitors, and develop more personal relationships with your customers.

And with Sendlane, you can integrate your marketing efforts across the two channels for the best results. Automate better, segment smarter, and engage your customers better with our fully integrated platform.

If you’re searching for a better email & SMS marketing platform for your eCommerce store, click here to start your free 14-day trial!

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