SMS vs. Email Marketing

Are you looking to reach your customers effectively? Then you’re probably wondering if SMS or Email marketing is the right choice for you. Read on to learn more about both methods and make an informed decision.

Alannah Picking

Alannah Picking — 12 minute read.

Short Message Service (SMS) and email marketing are tried and tested marketing strategies brands use to retain customers, increase brand awareness, and facilitate sales.

Since the advent of digitally accessible businesses, SMS vs email marketing has been considered for brand promotional techniques due to its reliability. However, with the increasing popularity of smartphones, many businesses have resorted to SMS marketing to promote their products and retain clients.

Sms Email Marketing

Between these two marketing campaigns, none is the better option - both are equally effective for different products and engagement scenarios. Therefore, the real question regarding these two marketing streams is: how and when should you use them?

With so many industries on the scene, it can be challenging to decide on marketing which one, SMS marketing vs email marketing, yields the best results in terms of conversion rates and ROI for your business.

Sometimes, text message marketing vs email marketing may serve your purpose; other times, it’s better to opt for both SMS marketing strategies or both. Keep reading for a detailed explanation and analysis of how each marketing channel works, including their advantages and disadvantages.

SMS VS. Email Marketing

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS or text marketing employs direct marketing techniques to send promotional updates and content to your customers’ mobile devices. This strategy demonstrates significant SMS marketing effectiveness better suited for promoting a single product or service and communicating your brand’s special limited-time deals and offers.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing lets you send personalised emails directly to your customers’ inboxes. Typically, users join your email list to receive newsletters, product details, exclusive offers, etc. Emails can also help your clients receive delivery updates and order confirmations.

What Are The Differences Between SMS And Email Marketing?

You can only determine the difference between the two marketing campaigns by considering their effects on conversion rates, customer loyalty, deliverability, etc.

1. Open Rate

SMS marketing campaigns outperform emails in SMS vs email statistics, showcasing higher open rates — SMS messages are 98% more likely to be opened and Drive customer engagement.

This is because utilising both email and text marketing by sending messages to your audience’s mobile device creates a sense of urgency, making them open the texts. SMS campaigns, therefore, have potentially aided in achieving crucial marketing goals.

While email campaigns aren’t known for high open rates ( up to 22%), which entail opening a different app to view your blog post or marketing message, sometimes, your emails may end up in the spam folder if the email service provider detects any suspicious content or links. However, you can use personalisation to increase these rates, by personalising email campaigns to engage customers.

Email Sms Marketing Statistics

2. Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

CTR is a metric used for determining how many users have clicked on the link in your email or text messages, thus influencing the response rate. An SMS marketing campaign has a much higher click-through rate, as it is usually short, easy to read and contains only one link to open.

Emails are typically long-form and contain more content and links than text messages - that’s why it is highly likely that the recipient might lose interest in reading the extensive content and not opt-in. As mentioned, personalising marketing emails and adding visual infographics can boost engagement.

3. Delivery Method

Customers and viewers can opt-in to get SMS marketing messages from your company or brand. Users who willingly provide their phone numbers for brand-related updates and promotions will likely be more engaged when they receive the same. This consensual text marketing can increase overall CTR and conversion rates.

Email marketing efforts reap more benefits if the users willingly become your email subscribers. However, unlike SMS marketing, users can give you their email addresses in various ways - by signing up for your newsletter, booking a free session, requesting a guide, making a purchase, etc.

Differences Email Sms Marketing

4. Cost Comparison

Regarding SMS vs. Email marketing for small businesses and start-ups, the one thing that’ll often be the deciding factor will be its cost. While bigger companies and brands can opt for both marketing channels, new business ventures must consider their budget for promotional campaigns.

On average, every message may cost from $0.01 to $0.05, and the total cost will depend on the number of texts sent to your users and their location. Unlike email marketing automation, SMS marketing techniques are the more cost-effective option; however, the platform is not ideal for delivering long-form content.

Email marketing, on the other hand, costs more, as you might have to pay anywhere. Email marketing vs SMS marketing could vary significantly, with costs ranging from $5 to $1,000 per month, depending on your client base. Even though they’re more expensive, hiring a digital marketing agency to write specific content utilising various marketing resources may boost your sales and improve conversion rates.

Pros and Cons: SMS Vs. Email Marketing

Advantages of SMS Marketing

1. More Likely To Access SMS

It’s no secret that smartphone users worldwide spend hours on their phones, so reaching users in real-time is best achieved through an SMS text, utilising the devices they frequently use. SMS subscribers exhibit high open tendencies, often viewing messages within 90 minutes as it doesn’t require logging into a separate app.

2. No Internet Required

Many people worldwide still don’t have steady access to the internet, and the use of SMS as a marketing tool is an effective way to reach this audience. This marketing tool also comes in handy in case your users face connectivity issues and can’t access their mail.

3. High Engagement Levels

As mentioned, SMS has a higher engagement rate and lead generation marketing strategies than other marketing methods. This is because text messages are short and succinct and require less effort to read them.

Benefits Text Message Marketing

Disadvantages of SMS Marketing

1. Limited Space For Content

It is often difficult to build customer relationships and send detailed information on your products in a short text message. And not knowing enough about your products and services will not compel people to purchase them. Moreover, SMS marketing has a character limit of up to 160 characters per message, so it’s hard to devise a punchy and personalised call-to-action.

2. Reduces Brand Loyalty

Spamming your customers with unstructured messages isn’t always the way to retain brand loyalty. So, selecting a long-form approach with personalised anecdotes can be more beneficial in the email vs SMS debate SMS vs. email marketing for customer service and product launches.

Creative Campaign Ideas

Advantages of Email Marketing

1. Versatility

Email marketing is a versatile tool for small business owners and brands to reach out to their existing customers with various information, including product details, appointment reminders, short announcements, discount offers, etc. You can also welcome new customers to build relationships.

2. Exposure To Dedicated Customers

Recognised amidst the cons of email marketing, people who regularly use mail apps check their email at least once weekly. They do it with more precise intentions, such as looking for updates, product reviews, customer service, blog posts, etc. So, you can catch the attention of intentional buyers and build brand awareness using email.

3. Easier To Direct

An email marketing strategy is a great way to increase the traffic to your website and ensure a higher percentage of your target audience among the visitors. Using a well-crafted email marketing campaign will also help you get higher ROI.

Email Marketing Pros Cons

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

1. More Competition

Since there’s a high saturation of online brands, most people get spammed with promotion emails, which can get annoying. They will likely be deleted in bulk if they’re not stuck due to spam filters. Plus, most email service providers make it easy to select all emails and delete them. However, crafting headlines and employing strategies to personalise marketing messages might help catch the customer’s attention.

2. Likely To Not Get To The Inboxes

Modern mail service providers have powerful filters that swiftly move emails to spam folders if they notice anything too spammy or suspicious. This is why it’s essential to personalise both headlines and content to prevent this.

3. Easy To Unsubscribe

Besides the easy tools to delete emails, there’s always the option to unsubscribe right at the end of your long-form content. If you use poorly crafted headlines, low visual appeal and overall boring product details, your audience will probably unsubscribe at the drop of a hat.

How And When To Choose Email Or SMS Marketing For Events or Business

When To Use SMS Marketing

SMS is a good marketing platform for communicating time-sensitive information to spur quick action in your audience. These text messages typically include a call-to-action at the end and can also help with the following:

  • Promoting a single service or product
  • Answering customer queries
  • Requesting reviews and ratings
  • Offering exclusive discounts and coupons
  • Signing up for a loyalty programme

How To Use SMS Marketing

1. Get Permission

It is essential to give your potential customers the option to provide their phone number and opt-in for text messages, as they are personal and can often be perceived as invasive. Consent is not just a best practice; it is the law when it comes to SMS marketing.

2. Send Messages On A Limited Basis

To achieve higher conversion rates and enhance text messaging effectiveness, it’s best to employ judicious and focused strategies, which can potentially annoy your clients and make them unsubscribe.

Limit your communications to once a week or less, ensure they are targeted messages, and be intentional in making SMS marketing effective. You can also give your audience VIP discounts and offers to make them feel special.

3. Personalise

Again, since text messages are highly personal, it’s a great way to establish relationships with your audience. Some e-commerce marketers use this tool to ask personal questions about their experience with a particular product and service. This way, your target audience will get free ideas, feedback and valuable insights.

4. Send Time-Sensitive Updates

SMS messages are a powerful tool to make your customers check your sales and discount offers immediately. This is helpful since it prevents marketing messages from sitting in the inbox until it’s too late for them to avail of the offers.

Email Sms Marketing

When To Use Email Marketing

Of course, the answer to the SMS vs. email marketing for e-commerce question is that email marketing is much more versatile and can be used by brands to direct clients to different content types. Aside from that, you can use email marketing campaigns to:

  • Promote multiple products
  • Send product recommendations based on a customer’s last purchase
  • Share updates
  • Promote various custom content, including videos, blog posts, advertisements
  • Delivery and shipping updates

How To Use Email Marketing

1. Ask For Permission

Similar to SMS marketing campaigns, here, too, you must ask for the customer’s permission to send promotional emails. This can be easily achieved using an opt-in option on your website.

2. maintain the quality of your email messages

The only way to build an engaged mailing list is by regularly delivering good-quality content so your customers look forward to the updates. Ideally, mailing your customers once every two weeks with well-written, researched and engaging content is the best way to get a high ROI. Remember to mail sparingly, as it can spam their inboxes and lead to less deliverability.

3. Share Interactive And Personal Experiences

Like social media marketing, you’ll get high conversion rates if your email content has relevancy and interactiveness. Some ways to include such experiences are through expandable content, product previews, roll-over forms, embedded links, etc.


1. What Are The Best Practices For SMS And Email Marketing?

There aren’t any defined rules regarding SMS or email marketing; however, sticking to some practices may help optimise their effects. These include asking for customers’ consent for subscription, tailoring engaging content for your email and SMS marketing list, limiting the amount and frequency in your SMS vs email strategies, etc.

As such, your best practices may differ according to your business, event or service type.

2. How Can SMS And Email Marketing Be Integrated?

You can easily integrate email or SMS marketing by subscribing to a service provider or app that oversees the entire marketing process. Moreover, a digital marketer can help you with short and long-form content to ensure it’s engaging enough for the audience to check out your products.

Choosing Between SMS and Email Marketing

Most successful brands and services use SMS and email marketing to maximise benefits. The best marketing strategy includes both marketing platforms and efficient ways to sync their usage. For example, via text messages, you can launch products and services using long-form email content and remind customers about sales, updates and limited-period services.

But if you’re still having a hard time making sense of these two marketing strategies and how to use them to amplify your business, it’s best to avail the services of a digital marketing agency.

sitecentre® is an industry-leading digital marketing agency in Australia with various services. We have everything under our belt, from customised websites and branding packages to search engine optimisation. We help small businesses and start-ups compete with bigger brands and generate high ROIs using affordable digital marketing solutions.

Alannah Picking

Alannah Picking

With over eight years of industry experience across Digital Marketing, Alannah entered the sitecentre® team in February 2023 as our lead account manager. She comes highly qualified, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Industries from QUT (Queensland University of Technology) and a Postgraduate in Marketing. Alannah’s robust academic background and considerable experience make her an invaluable asset to the team.

Find them on their website: sitecentre®.

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