More threads by Garrett Sussman

Mar 15, 2016
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The Effectiveness of Email Marketing Versus SMS Marketing

When it comes to email marketing and SMS, marketers aren't sure which marketing channel performs best. Is email marketing dying? Should you focus on SMS? Are these still viable channels to use? There seems to be a lot of confusion about this topic.

It's a problem.

You need to a consistent way to get in touch with your customers. In the past, email marketing was the default channel for marketers. Email was a simple way to attract customer attention consistently. An easy way to request reviews.

Not anymore.

Andrew goes on to provide some illuminating stats, dispel some myths and even provide a few SMS templates for review request.

Read the full post here.



Soooo many great points and stats in this one!
Thanks for sharing it Garrett!

Hey guys, head over to read - there are a TON of enlightening stats as well as, like Garrett said, some SMS templates for requesting reviews. After you get all the details Andrew shares, then come back here to discuss, OK?

I am behind the curve when it comes to SMS for business, but I don't think I'm the only one. I bet most SMBs have not wrapped their head's around it yet either. Seems like the only SMS I get are from restaurants. (But that could be that I haven't opted into any or downloaded any company apps.)

What about you guys? Are you seeing much SMS adoption with your clients?
Do you encourage it?

The idea of adding SMS to review gathering efforts is so smart!
Don't you think more businesses should utilize SMS campaigns in addition to email?
Excellent article! Provides some very revealing data on a discussion going on at another site - shared this there as well. :)
Great points in the article. I completely agree that we get too many spam SMS marketing pushes, and that is a huge reason why i'm not a (personal) fan. However... with that being said, you laid out some great points how to use SMS in a very tactful and responsible way.

When I first started reading, I thought, "nope, this pitch on SMS is going to be bulls**t." I'll concede that you got me thinking about how to use it in a better way than I've personally seen.

Oh, and the stats on when people read email... I know I fall into those same time periods. I've been trying to cut back, but with email on my phone and accessible all the time it makes it tough.

Thanks for sharing with the community!
Thanks, Eric. I had the same thought about SMS marketing! My first instinct about SMS marketing was that I hate it, but in some circumstances it makes a ton of sense. I agree with you that the truth is, a lot of times, SMS is most effective on a personal level and very difficult to scale without becoming too corporate/invasive/impersonal.

I think it's also good to be confronted with data, simply because the way I consume email and sms I'm sure is so different from people 10-20 years older and younger than me. This post also highlights the importance of knowing your target demographics.
From a personal consumer standpoint, I don't like SMS marketing and with only a few exceptions I opt out or block the sender.

What struck me in the article were two things:

What about SMS? The research on SMS shows some amazing results. It's a rapidly growing channel with a promising future for marketers but, what does the evidence say?

  • The Pew research center found 91 percent of Americans owned a mobile phone
  • 72 percent of Americans own a smartphone
  • 98 percent of mobile users will read a branded or business based SMS message
  • 90 percent of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes!
  • Response rates are as high as 45 to 98 percent (compared to email's 2 to 20 percent)

So that looks like there's a real advantage to SMS marketing. That was a puzzle to me, given my own dislike of it - I don't like either SMS marketing or telephone marketing and given a choice I will always choose email marketing.

But then I saw this just a bit further on:

SMS: The hidden problem
Approx. 269 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2017. That number is expected to climb to 333 billion emails in 2022. Only 18.7 billion texts are sent worldwide every day, not including app-to-app messaging. What's worse, consumer adoption is surprisingly low. Only 54 percent of consumers have opted in to receive SMS messages from brands or businesses.

That makes sense of what I saw as an apparent contradiction. As with all statistics, you need to look behind the numbers sometimes to see what's really going on.

What this second quote reveals is

  1. compared to email marketing, the volume of SMS messages is only a small fraction, so the statistics for that mode are inflated; and
  2. those SMS messages may be opened quickly but that doesn't mean the people opening them are happy about getting them. Almost half opt out and I wonder how many of the others are annoyed but just delete them or block the sender rather than bothering to reply OPT OUT to the text.

No business wants to annoy it's customers and potential customers (or at least if they do they're likely looking at a short lifespan).

The take-away for me is if you don't want to annoy people, take a closer look at those statistics and consider the psychology of the recipient (and of your target demographic).
Thanks for the comment David. I agree in the sense that I like to think of myself as an 'ethical marketer' who doesn't want to annoy customers, and have the opposite of the intended effect.

At the same time, it feels analogous to when interstitial ads/email capture forms were popular a couple of years ago. I never really used them on GU because I found them to be annoying and made for a poor user experience, but then research-wise, you'd see all of these articles show data that despite being obstructing and a nuisance, they were effective in their objective.

It returns us to that bigger point of at what costs do we try and use tactics for the sake of getting results even if it has a negative influence on our self-perception in how we're shaping our brand. Something that I struggle with, because I rarely want to engage in a gray hat or invasive form of marketing.

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