When To Choose SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing
Jonathan Rodriguez
March 12, 2021

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Many modern marketing software and services today use email marketing as one of the primary modes of communication between the business and the client/customer. One reason for this is because of the ease of emailing a client whenever you have to send them something like an update or newsletter that they subscribed to. 

All you have to do to be able to send an email to a subscriber is obtain their email address. If they have consented to let you use their email address for marketing purposes, then you can go ahead and send them any promotional and marketing materials. 

While email marketing has been and continues to be a common form of marketing, there has been another form of marketing that has been slowly creeping up the rankings. This is SMS marketing, also referred to as business text messaging

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SMS Marketing

More than half of the world’s mobile population has a mobile phone that they use for various purposes. Because of the remarkable number of people with mobile phones, SMS marketing has become a reasonable and successful option for marketing. So, what exactly is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is a great alternative to the more common forms of marketing such as email and video marketing. People can receive your messages via text message. It is much simpler to curate a text message than an email, and it is much faster to send. Plus, people are likely to open text messages more than emails and they likely won’t dismiss it as spam. This is because people value their mobile phones in a personal way more so than with emails. 

Does that mean text messages are better than emails? 

Are Text Messages Better Than Emails?

There are times when text messages are better than emails and vice versa. It all depends on the goal. Some questions you should ask yourself are:

How Do We Want to Reach Out to Clients/Customers? 

Asking yourself how you want to reach out to your target audience can help you determine if you should use text messages or emails. Are you trying to use cell phones to reach out to people? Then you likely might go ahead and send text messages, of course. How about sending a longer message? Text messages tend to be on the shorter side, so you should look into using emails instead. 

What Types of Content Are We Trying to Send?

The type of content you are planning to send to the user is important in determining what avenue you want to send it through. The reason you have to know what type of content you are planning to send is that you might be limited in terms of the content you can send in text messages versus the content you can send in emails. For example, a graphic or image might be a bit out of place in a text message compared to an email. 

Who are We Targeting?

Knowing who is your target audience can help you determine whether to use text messages or emails as your messenger. For example, if you are trying to reach your target through phones, then ideally you’d want to go with SMS marketing. It is an engaging form of marketing and has a relatively high open-rate. This means that more people will be able to view your message and you don’t have to worry too much about whether or not people will even open your message.

These 3 questions can help you come to a proper decision of whether to go with text messages or emails. Neither one of these forms of marketing are necessarily better than the other, more so that they have their unique advantages and disadvantages from each other. This is why you should know when to use one or the other. 

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When Should You Use SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing?

There are different factors and reasons for you to consider to help decide when you should use SMS marketing or email marketing. 

When To Use SMS Marketing


If you are trying to make your marketing campaign more personal, then you should aim to use SMS marketing. Many customers and clients see their smartphone as a more personal item as it is the primary way they can communicate with their friends and family. Of course, the only way you can start sending clients marketing and promotional messages is by obtaining their permission. Only then can you begin sending those texts out as part of your marketing campaign. 

Targeted Approach

If your new marketing campaign is supposed to be very highly targeted, then use SMS marketing. Going off of how personal SMS marketing works, utilizing a mix of personalization will help make that great business-consumer relationship much stronger. The only caveat to keep in mind is to not spam those customers who permitted you to message them with a ton of messages. They can find it rather annoying and see it as being a turn-off. This can inevitably lead to them unsubscribing from your SMS list, which can negatively impact your marketing efforts. 

More Engagement 

When it comes to a successful marketing campaign, engagement should be one of your primary analytics to evaluate. Engagement shows how much people interact with your content. If you send somebody a text message with a link, you want them to click and open that link right? What’s the point of sending SMS messages if nobody is going to engage with what you’re sending? Fortunately, SMS marketing has a high engagement rate that is much higher than email marketing. Engagement rates with SMS messages are 6 to 8 times higher than email marketing. So if engagement is important for your campaign, then be sure to try using SMS marketing. 


With text messages, you can be sure that your marketing and promotional content will be sent and opened rather quickly, at least compared to other marketing techniques. People tend to open and read messages within an average time of 15 minutes. This is much quicker than say if you decided to use email marketing, which can take hours or even days before it gets opened. 

When to Use Email Marketing

The Message is Not Time-Sensitive

Email marketing is a great choice if you are planning to send a message that isn’t very time-sensitive. The reason for this is that when you send somebody an email, there is no guarantee that they will open it. There is also the possibility where a person will open it, but not until hours or even days after you originally sent it. If the message you are sending doesn’t require an immediate response or engagement, then make sure to look into utilizing email marketing.

Long-Form Content/Message 

Email marketing, in contrast to SMS marketing, gives you the luxury of sending a longer message. Whereas in SMS marketing less is more, in email marketing you don’t have a set character limit for your message. This means you can send a message that can be detailed and informative all within an email. This doesn’t mean you should go overboard with the length though. A ridiculously long-worded email can be very off-putting to potential readers and lead to them clicking out of it just from taking a quick look at it. 

More Imagery/Graphics 

When it comes to showing creativity, then email marketing beats SMS marketing decisively. This is mainly because where SMS marketing limits how creative you can be, in emails, you can use all sorts of imagery and even graphics you’ve created. It can be a part of your message and help make it more engaging to the reader. Visual content is very appealing to readers as instead of just text, they can be grasped by the visuals that are attached to the message. 

More CTAs

One of the most engaging aspects of an email is the different call-to-actions you can attach to it. Whereas in SMS marketing you might only have space for 1 or 2 call-to-actions, an email allows you to use many. You can paste a link within your text as a CTA. Another form is using a button or image as a clickable link. There are more opportunities for you to drive users to your website when it comes to email marketing. 

As you can see, both SMS marketing and email have their advantages and disadvantages. This is why you must analyze your marketing strategy to know which avenue you wanna go through. Once you analyze your strategy, you can decide whether to go with SMS marketing or email marketing for your marketing campaign. 

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SMS marketing and email marketing both have their place in marketing strategies today. One has been in use much longer than the other, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their disadvantages. You can even utilize the two of them together in your strategy to make it more effective. It depends on what your goals are and how you want to reach them. 

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