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Email vs. SMS Marketing: Which Channel Gets Better Results?

May 13, 2020

Email has been the preferred method for sending mass messages and reaching audiences for decades. At the same time, SMS marketing is a fast, cost-effective and reliable way to share promotions and updates with customers. When it comes to SMS vs. email, which is better?

Email and SMS can work together to create seamless communication for customers. And while specific messages are delivered best via email, many marketing messages are more effective when sent via SMS. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss text vs. email marketing to help you maximize ROI from your marketing campaigns while sharing the best scenarios to use each. 

SMS vs Email Marketing Comparison

When to Use SMS Marketing

If your message is time-sensitive or requires immediate action, SMS is the best communication channel. Use SMS when you need to send:  

Advantages of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is:

  • Immediate: SMS allows you to deliver important messages straight to the hands of your customers. 
  • Visible: With a 98% open rate for SMS, you can virtually guarantee your audience sees your message. 
  • Conversational and casual: Consumers want you to treat them like human beings. SMS allows you to send essential information personally – without causing the relationship to cross inappropriate boundaries.
  • WiFi-free: SMS messages are sent via a mobile network connection, which means your customers can receive them even without an internet connection.
  • Concise and straightforward: Most SMS platforms put a 160-character cap on every message, forcing you to get to the point quickly. 

Pro Tip: Textedly is one of the only companies to offer you the ability to send text messages over 300 characters.

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When to Use Email Marketing

Email is the best communication platform to use when you want to share long messages that are not time-sensitive. Email offers more creative freedom, allowing plenty of space to feature imagery, graphics and calls to action (CTAs). 

Two hundred sixty-nine billion emails are sent daily, and nearly 50% are classified as spam. It’s no surprise that many people disregard marketing emails and delete them before ever reading them. 

However, email still has an appropriate time and place in any marketing strategy. 

Advantages of Email Marketing

Smart uses for email marketing include: 

  • Newsletters 
  • Long-form educational content
  • Visual product announcements
  • B2B campaigns that cover technical information
  • Press releases or publicity updates

What Is the Difference Between Email and SMS?

Marketers and business owners are constantly looking for the best way to win consumers’ attention. Between advertising, social media, email and other forms of marketing and advertising, consumers see thousands of ads every day

As the world becomes increasingly mobile-centric, more companies are adopting SMS marketing. 70% of consumers think SMS texting is a great way for businesses to get their attention. Want to connect with customers? Research shows that SMS produces engagement rates 6-8 times higher than email marketing.

Let’s take a look at the difference between email and text messages across a few important categories. 

Open Rate

  • SMS messages boast a 98% open rate
  • Email open rates average 20%.

Click-Through Rate



  • SMS: Fewer companies run SMS marketing campaigns, which means you have a higher chance of standing out in your audience’s messaging inboxes. 
  • Email is an overly saturated marketing channel. The average office worker receives 121 emails per day

Response Rate

  • SMS: It takes the average person 90 seconds to respond to a text message. 
  • Email: It takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to an email.


  • SMS is one of the most cost-effective ways to share your message with a large number of people, though the cost varies from provider to provider. Textedly starts at $24 per month for 1,000 messages and increases to accommodate your business needs. 
  • Email marketing costs vary dramatically depending on your provider, list size, send frequency and additional features. You can expect to pay a few dollars per month for a bare-bones email platform or several thousand per month for an advanced platform. 

If you want to achieve high open rates and response rates and consistent engagement, SMS is a solid bet. But you can’t write off email completely. Next, we’ll look at use cases for SMS and email to use both channels effectively. 

How to Strike a Balance Between SMS and Email

SMS and email both have their strengths and work best as complementary channels. 

As a general rule of thumb: 

SMS is best for time-sensitive information, urgent requests, or messages that require two-way communication. 

Email is best for content that is long, contains rich media or can be accessed at a later date. 

Here are a few ways to use email and SMS together:

  • Send text messages to encourage customers to subscribe to your email list for weekly newsletters.
  • Send order confirmation receipts via email and follow up with SMS tracking updates. 
  • Send emails to inform customers about new product launches. Then, send mass SMS texts to announce flash sales on the latest products. 

When used in conjunction with email, SMS marketing is a great way to build brand awareness and grow relationships with customers who want to hear from you. 

Pro Tip: Be careful not to overwhelm customers with marketing messages. Cap your SMS messages at one to two per week. Email marketing frequency depends on your industry and how often customers currently hear from your business. In general, one to two bulk emails per week is ideal for most companies. 

Use Textedly to Start Messaging Customers Immediately

When it comes to SMS vs. email marketing, the decision is clear: choose both! Even if your ideal vehicle is email, adding SMS to draw customers’ attention to their email inboxes is a wise investment and uses marketing resources strategically.

Whether you’re brand-new to SMS marketing or want to try out a new platform, Textedly can help. Textedly provides straightforward, flexible SMS solutions that are easy to set up, so you can start messaging customers immediately. 

Get started with a free Textedly trial to jumpstart your SMS marketing campaign. 

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