Is Text Marketing As Effective As Email Marketing? It's Not As Simple As You Think!

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There are over 8 billion people on the planet, and 6.8 billion of them have smartphones—a whopping 86% increase from just a few years back in 2016. For most of them, their smartphone doubles as their personal computer, meaning they default to checking email and communicating via the tiny device in their pocket. As such, the exponential rise in smartphone usage opens new doors for text and email marketing.

Granted, new doors bring new challenges. Marketers must understand the difference between email and SMS messages, and which campaigns are most efficient within each medium. Some believe we’re moving away from email in favor of text messaging, but the truth is they couldn’t be more wrong. Email-usage research dating back to 1993 predicts its usage will only continue to grow in the coming years. By 2025, more than half of the world’s population will be using email. Experts believe the increase is primarily driven by businesses and consumers who lean on email as part of the online experience. For example, opening a social media account hinges on providing a valid email address. Everyone wants to scroll and share, so they’re happy to oblige—and even go as far as creating a new email to qualify.

In saturated markets rife with competition, marketers can’t afford to favor one strategy over the other. They must leverage both email and text marketing campaigns to broaden their reach. However, distinguishing the two and running them as separate but cohesive entities isn’t as simple as you’d think.

Worry not, Landline Remover has you covered. Let’s unpack the pros and cons of email and text marketing to determine which winning combination will best serve your customers and bottom line.

Advantages of Text Marketing

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Text marketing—also known as SMS marketing—offers unique advantages you just can’t get with email adverts. Text marketing is more direct while also having a narrower scope of best practices than what you’re accustomed to with email. For example, emails allow you to send just about anything, from newsletters and blog posts to direct sales offers and press releases. On the other hand, SMS marketing is more transactional and limits you to corresponding with customers who’ve already consented to receive text messages from your company.

That being said, let’s dive into the five key benefits of leveraging text marketing for your next campaign:

Delivered and opened in real-time: Gartner found that SMS marketing yields open rates upwards of 98% and response rates at a very respectable 45%. Compared to email, which falls very short with an open rate of 20% and a response rate of 6%, text marketing is the best way to ensure your target audience actually sees your message.

Even better, mobile users don’t need Wi-Fi to receive text messages, either. Hitting ‘Send’ will instantly deploy a message for them to view in real-time. Not to mention, SMS marketing messages are far less likely to be regarded as spam than emails. That means your customers will be more trusting of and receptive to texts than emails.

Easily Accessible: Most people either keep their phone on their person or close nearby. Think about how many times a day you reach for your phone by sheer force of habit. Apply that on a mass scale, and you’re looking at an easily-accessible sea of opportunity. Why leave your messaging to sit in an inbox when you can go straight to the source?

Better for back-and-forth communication: Text marketing can prompt users to respond to messages. For example, they may answer ‘YES’ if they want to learn more about a new offer or confirm a recent order. We see this in practice in our everyday lives. Think about the last doctor’s appointment you booked. Odds are they sent you a confirmation reply text to confirm the time and date of your newly scheduled appointment.

For marketers, back-and-forth communication increases your engagement levels with customers. The raw data is also easier to leverage, as you know when a real person replies to your SMS message.

Requires Explicit Opt-In: Nobody likes spam, and we’re all pros at detecting it these days. While you can argue that explicit opt-in rules are a downside to text marketing, we actually consider it a benefit. That’s because customers who explicitly opt-in to your company’s text messaging alerts want to hear from you, through and through. As such, they’re far less likely to regard your texts as spam. Phishing scams are a dime a dozen these days, so the ability for customers to trust that your correspondence is safe and legitimate is well worth its weight.

Short and Direct: Another feature that can go both ways is the limited amount of space you have with text marketing campaigns. You have about eight seconds to capture and hold someone’s attention, so how you use your 160 characters is crucial to running an effective campaign. You don’t want to waste their time, and SMS messages are short, sweet, and to the point.

Advantages of Email Marketing

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While text marketing prevails in some areas, email campaigns still have many advantages. Email allows you to reach anyone with an email address, regardless of their location. This makes it the ideal platform for targeting customers all over the world. You can also use segmentation to ensure your message applies to specific audiences, such as those in different age groups or with unique interests.

Expense-wise, email marketing is one of the more cost-effective forms of advertising out there. You don’t have to pay for printing and postage costs like you would with traditional mail campaigns, and there are no media buying fees associated with email campaigns.

When it comes to B2B marketing, however, email is still the most effective option. That’s not surprising since most global businesses rely on email far more often than SMS to communicate. Other than reach, cost, and B2B audiences, here are some other key benefits of leveraging email marketing in today’s mobile-first world:

Easy to personalize: You can personalize email marketing campaigns on two essential fronts: your brand and your audience. On the branding side of things, emails allow you to highlight your mission while expressing your unique brand personality. It doesn't take an email marketing expert to know that personalization helps connect your brand with your audience, leading to higher conversion rates and ultimately better sales metrics.

Meanwhile, on the customer side of things, marketers can personalize their email campaigns to meet the interests of different demographics. Market research is crucial to meeting prospects where they are. For example, you’d be wasting precious resources relying on an email campaign to get members of Gen-Z excited.

Moreover, you can also jam-pack emails with rich media sources to showcase your brand. This includes YouTube videos, links, gifts, PDFs, and other digital mediums.

No Character Limits: While email will limit the size of your attachments, there are no character restrictions on the message itself. You could send an entire novel about your company and upcoming promotions if you were so inclined.

Still, though limitless characters certainly pose limitless opportunities, that doesn’t mean you should bombard your customers and prospects with dense emails. You still only have eight seconds to get your point across, after all. If they keep reading beyond that, great! If not, at least they’ve read the most critical information.

Less intrusive: While people read text messages at their convenience, there’s something more personal—more intrusive, per se—about a promotional text versus an email. In that sense, emails let your target audience members decide when they want to engage. You risk turning return customers away from your company when you bombard them with distracting text messages.

Flexibility: Text marketing messages can only be viewed on mobile phones. Emails, on the other hand, can be opened on any device. Ensure your emails, links, attachments, and videos are mobile-friendly. It's glaringly obvious when a design team doesn't tailor their digital media to mobile devices—accessibility is key!

The caveat, though, is how often users open those emails in the first place. Is it better to cast a wide email net and hope enough people open it, or should you lean towards targeted text marketing campaigns, knowing users are more likely to view them?

Differences Between Email and Text Marketing

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Email and text marketing are the two most popular online communication methods marketers use to reach customers and prospects. While both methods allow companies to send messages to large groups of people quickly, there are several key differences between the two.

The most obvious difference between email and text marketing is the mode of delivery. You’ll send emails via a service provider such as Gmail or Yahoo, and text messages through a mobile carrier such as AT&T or Verizon. This means that email messages can be longer and more detailed than text messages, which have a limit of 160 characters per message. Additionally, emails can include images, videos, and attachments, while text messages generally can’t—unless you’re willing to shell out for it.

Another major difference between email and text marketing is how consumers receive them. Emails generally require the user to open them before they can read anything, while they can read texts immediately upon receipt without any action required. This makes texts ideal for sending time-sensitive information, such as appointment reminders or promotions with limited-time offers.

Emails and texts also differ in terms of cost-effectiveness. Generally speaking, emails cost less to send than texts because providers don't require additional fees, unlike mobile carriers. Yet, in today’s on-the-go world, text marketing is beginning to emerge ahead of traditional email marketing in terms of overall effectiveness.

SMS messages have significantly higher open and click-through rates than emails. That’s largely because 85% of emails end up in the spam folder. It’s apples and oranges compared to SMS messages which have a much lower spam or spam-like message rate. Of course, this is largely due to compliance regulations surrounding SMS marketing campaigns.

Because SMS messages are short and sweet, people are more likely to open them. Think about the last email you opened that had ten different promotions, seven links, multiple paragraphs, and about two-dozen product pictures. It can be over-stimulating and counterproductive. Conversely, people open text messages a staggering 98% of the time. Granted, some may just be trying to get rid of the notification, but if any part of it catches their eye, you’ve done your part.

Compared to email, SMS messages have a better response rate within a certain window. Your customers agreed to receive messages from you and don't mind when one comes through, especially if it's personalized to them. However, they don’t want to be bombarded with promotional texts every day. Between four and six messages per month tends to yield the best response rate.

Conversation rates are the heart and soul of your text and email marketing campaign, but which avenue leads to more conversations, text or email? Overall, research has found that conversion rates shoot up by 100% when marketers text their leads. So, SMS campaigns have better conversion rates than most other marketing strategies.

  • SMS Messages: 14%
  • Social media ads: 10%
  • Email: 4%
  • Google ads: 3%

Best of all, when retailers leverage personalization, time-sensitive promotions, and targeted messaging in their text marketing campaigns, they can further increase their conversation rates by 23%!

Which is Better?

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Both email and text marketing come with clear benefits and drawbacks. As such, the question that every marketing agency in the world is asking themselves is: well, which is better? Unfortunately, even equipped with all of this information, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as one reigning supreme over the other.

Ultimately, it’s about striking the right balance between the two. Moreso, it’s about knowing when to use email and when to use text to achieve different goals.

When to Use Text Marketing

Text marketing is best leveraged for time-sensitive messages. Use them to send alerts, reminders, and confirmations—be they about appointments or upcoming promotional events. You can also use text marketing to:

Promote a Product: SMS marketing can positively influence a buyer’s decision to purchase a new product. Ensure your text message only refers to a single product, as multiple items can quickly lose a potential customer’s attention.

Enhance Customer Service: SMS messages allow for real-time communication between your brand and your customers. They can quickly text questions, comments, or concerns directly to your customer service team. This stands to set you apart from the competition in and of itself.

Solicit Reviews: If you can, sending personalized SMS messages is a great way to garner reviews on your website. For example, you can send a follow-up message with a link to your review page a week after they make a purchase. They’ve had time to use it, but not so long that they’re no longer excited by it. Think of it like the honeymoon phase between your customers and your product. Capitalize on it!

Encourage Sign-ups for your Loyalty Programs: Text marketing is a useful tool for gaining sign-ups in your loyalty programs and promotions. From there, you can shift from text to email marketing to send more detailed information about upcoming deals and new products.

Types of Text Marketing

Text marketing strategies can be broken down into two primary types of messaging: transactional and promotional.

Transactional messages are typically triggered by an action, such as receiving a confirmation text after making a restaurant reservation. Meanwhile, promotions are the most common form of SMS marketing messages. They’ll usually include details about an upcoming event or current sale.

Promotional messages—or campaign messages—are more urgent. The time sensitivity means your customers only have a small window to act. They’ll include swift call-to-action phrases like ‘Buy now’, ‘Sign up today’, or ‘Learn more’, and are usually followed by some kind of deal for doing so. For example, a “Buy now and get 10% off your next purchase!” can create a sense of urgency while offering a tangible incentive.

When to use Email Marketing

While email marketing isn’t as prevalent as it once was, that doesn’t mean it's an obsolete form of doing business. In fact, email marketing can still be highly effective when used in the right circumstances.

Email marketing is best reserved for promoting multiple products since it’s significantly cheaper than text marketing. You can leverage emails to send newsletters, press releases, company updates, and detailed information on new products and services. The following industries are examples of a few that tend to get the most out of email marketing:

  • Travel
  • Hospitality
  • Software Development
  • Real Estate
  • Publishing & Media
  • Music
  • Politics
  • Professional Services

Ultimately, omnichannel marketing is the key to improving your company's bottom line. The best marketing strategies use both text and email marketing to reach different demographics in different ways at different times.

Bolster your Text Marketing Campaigns with Landline Remover

As effective as text marking is, your messages must reach devices that can receive texts. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell the difference between a mobile phone and a landline just by looking at the number.

Here’s where Landline Remover can help elevate your text marketing strategies. Simply upload your lead list into Landline Remover and it will instantly tell you which are cell phones and which are landlines. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but blindly sending texts is akin to playing darts in the dark. That’s not smart marketing, and it’s certainly not conducive to coming in under budget.

Sign-up with Landline Remover today to ensure you never waste another second or dollar texting a landline phone again.