Email vs SMS Marketing (Pros and Cons)

Effectively reaching your target market has always been a struggle for business owners and marketers alike. While the task has become easier to achieve with the dawn of new technologies and trends, there are two classic digital marketing strategies that plenty of companies still implement today.

SMS and email marketing can be considered antique marketing tactics when you consider the many options we have today. However, the fact that these two are still part of the conversation is a testament to how effective they are in reaching and engaging the target market. Their longevity is also part of the reason why you see plenty of email vs SMS arguments among digital marketers nowadays.

The staying power of email marketing is understandable since many still use their emails for work and school. In fact, the first email blast was sent out in 1978. Meanwhile, the first instance of SMS being used as a marketing tool didn’t happen until 2000.

Learning everything you can about these two digital marketing approaches can help expand your marketing efforts. The two have their unique perks and characteristics that can make them the tool you need to meet the numbers you set at the start of the year.


Email vs SMS Marketing Pros and Cons


It’s a Toss-up Between Email and SMS Marketing

The fact that these digital marketing tactics are still standing is a testament to their efficacy. The question now lies on which channel will suit your needs the best since they offer vastly different experiences.

If we must categorize the two, you can consider email marketing as a digital marketing approach that prioritizes reaching as many people as possible. They look to engage more people by providing compelling content in their emails.

Meanwhile, SMS marketing can be considered the more personal marketing strategy between the two as they send a carefully crafted message to their customer’s mobile numbers. The mailing lists you get with SMS marketing have a better chance of turning into paying customers since they willingly gave their number to you to begin with.

Both email and SMS marketing campaigns can be accessed through PCs and mobile. However, email marketing lends itself better to being opened and read on computers and laptops; the opposite rings true for SMS marketing.


Email marketing

Email marketing works best for reaching a lot more people. Since email inboxes are more conveniently accessed via computers, it’s possible to reach more people through it. After all, most people have active email addresses they use for social media and work-related matters.

The biggest things that make email marketing stand out from SMS marketing is its visual design and customization options. It’s easier to add visual flair such as colorful layouts and interesting images to promote the points that you’re trying to make.

Moreover, it’s easy to track the performance of your email campaigns with the help of software that records important metrics. You can also program your system to send emails to customers that meet certain criteria (items left in the shopping cart, previous buyer, etc.).

However, there are plenty of companies that also implement email marketing strategies. It would be hard to stand out from the crowd if the contents of your emails aren’t interesting enough to retain your audience’s attention.

This brings your email design into mind. If your email has too many elements that will take a while to load, you may lose the interest of your reader. On the other hand, nobody likes to read an email that’s only a block of text. Popular devices the market uses must also be considered when designing your emails, becoming a delicate dance to find the balance between visual engagement and quick loading times. 

It’s also important for email marketing campaigns to constantly interact with their networks and encourage them to positively engage with your fresh content. However, flooding your contacts’ inboxes with emails may end up with your readers unsubscribing from your mailing list. Worse, they might even mark your future emails as spam.


SMS Marketing

The biggest advantage that comes with SMS marketing is the level of consent your customers gave you. Potential customers don’t usually give their mobile numbers to anyone, so the fact that you have their number gives you a foot inside the door. They are interested in what you have to offer and would like to hear more from you.

SMS messages are also more likely to get opened than emails. Since people have their phones with them all the time and SMS communication isn’t always used, they’re more likely to get read. More importantly, since SMS messaging is perceived as more personal, it’s easier to create a relationship with your customer base this way.

Unfortunately, these benefits also come with their own challenges. Since SMS messages can’t carry as many characters as emails, you must be short and concise with your message to your customers. The lack of visual customization that email marketing has in spades also hurt SMS marketing in terms of how it can retain the interest of their clients.

Another important factor that SMS marketers must be particular with is the timing of their message blasts. If you’re handling a restaurant’s SMS efforts, it wouldn’t make any sense to send messages during the early morning or late in the evening. It would make more sense to send your SMS campaigns before or during regular meal times.

More importantly, people usually see SMS messaging as a space that clients usually only use for people that they consider important in their lives. Family and friends usually fill people’s SMS inboxes. Fighting for space in a communication medium that is usually reserved to important relationships is an uphill battle that not everyone is so eager to fight.

The personal significance of SMS is also the reason why you won’t likely have a long list of people to send SMS messages to. People are wary of giving their numbers to random marketers, so it will be hard to engage customers in this way. Even if you have their numbers, it’s tough to tell if they will interact with your message at all.


Send the Best Message to Your Customers

We’ve all received unsolicited messages that encourage us to avail a certain product or service at least once in our lives. Whether it’s through SMS or email, we’ve probably been annoyed by those that we didn’t even ask for and immediately marked them as spam or blacklisted them.

On the other hand, we should also remember emails and texts that came from businesses we know and trust. We’ve interacted with their messages well and probably got convinced to go down the funnel due to how the message was written or the time of the day it was sent.

By putting your customers at the heart of your email or SMS marketing efforts, you can easily turn prospects into sales. By learning the specifics of either digital marketing strategy, you can maximize your efforts and help your company or client achieve their bottom line.

If you’re interested in engaging in SMS marketing, talking to our qualified experts at Semaphore is a good place to start. We have years of experience in handling SMS marketing campaigns and help you build a network of loyal customers.


Get in touch with us today to see how we can improve your business!

Alex built Semaphore’s tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. With deep experience in tech: Over 20 years in Web Development, IT and Infrastructure; 10+ years management experience in technology; and an expert in enterprise application architecture, development and tech processes, Alex is an old-hat in bridging the gap between geeks and suits as well as applying tech to real-world business problems. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.