Email vs SMS. Which channel is better? Answer - it depends.
SMS marketing is the new kid on the block - boasting high open rates and consumer convenience. Email marketing has been around for a long time - and remains the go to for lengthier storytelling & transactional messaging.
A strong brand comms strategy will incorporate both, to offer a richer, more personalized customer experience. And because 44% of all eCommerce shopping is now done via mobile, mastery of the two channels is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but a business critical imperative.
What are the strengths of email & SMS?
Email and SMS are clearly distinguishable by the nature of conversations and types of content they lend themselves to, as well as the level engagement you can expect from each:
What does this mean for your messaging?
When considering which channel you should use for which type of communication, you should ask three questions:
- What is the purpose of the message?
- What type of content are you trying to share?
- Does the customer need to reply, or take any immediate action?
If you’re sharing long form newsletter content, or detailed information like order receipts and password resets, email is the way to go.
On the other hand, SMS can replace email for specific flows, like shorter shipping confirmations, abandoned cart reminders, reorder prompts and requests for 1:1 feedback. The channel is also more appropriate for nurturing a smaller VIP community targeting highly engaged customers, as opposed to the broader audience which an email might reach.
It’s worth noting that SMS messages are more expensive to send than emails, so you only want to use it for tactics that yield the most revenue impact.
Some messages, such as new product drops or sales offers, can work just as well on both channels. As a general rule, email is better for long, transactional comms, SMS wins for short, conversational messaging.
How to align email and SMS flows with the customer journey
Once you understand which channel you will use for which message, you can start to build a customer experience that leverages the strengths of both. A typical dual-channel consumer journey might look something like this:
The focus here is to define what you as a brand want to achieve at every step of the customer journey, and understanding how each SMS message and email contributes to that.
Get it right and you can offer consumers a game changing, omnichannel experience defined by rich, value-packed storytelling and convenient 1:1 brand-customer interaction.
Check out how to incorporate SMS into your eCom brand messaging with this 3-min breakdown: