Standing out and connecting with your audience in the digital landscape is an ever-evolving challenge. While email marketing has long been a stalwart in the marketing arsenal, the rise of text or short message service (SMS) marketing brings up a compelling question: Why not combine both to create a formidable multi-channel outreach strategy?
In this blog, we’ll explore how SMS paired with email marketing can amplify your brand’s reach, engagement and impact.
According to Unlayer, 80% of businesses use email marketing to acquire and retain customers, including both midsize and small businesses. About 81 percent of small businesses cite email marketing as their primary acquisition tool.
SMS marketing involves sending promotional or informative messages directly to a recipient’s mobile phone via text. It is a highly effective method to engage with customers, deliver time-sensitive offers and build brand awareness through text messages. Plus, it’s what many of their prospects prefer.
Studies reveal that 75% of millennials favor two-way text communication for its convenience, speed, and user-friendliness. The research also unveils a staggering difference in open rates: according to Podium, marketing texts boast a 98% open rate. Moreover, text messages trigger a sense of urgency, as 83% of millennials surveyed say they open a text message within 90 seconds of its arrival.
Understanding the benefits and limitations of SMS marketing
With its high open rate and almost immediate attention from the recipient, SMS is an ideal channel for delivering time-sensitive or urgent information.
Further, SMS marketing allows businesses to reach customers directly on their mobile devices, which are almost always within reach. Businesses can connect with their audience wherever they are, whether they’re at home, at work or on the go.
However, SMS marketing has its limitations. One is the character limit imposed by SMS providers — most are limited to 160 characters — which can make it challenging to convey complex messages. SMS marketing also requires customers to supply their phone numbers, which may curb the reach of the campaign.
Despite these constraints, SMS marketing is still a valuable tool for outreach, especially when combined with other channels like email marketing.
The basics of email marketing
Unlike SMS marketing, email allows for longer-form content, making it ideal for delivering detailed information, engaging stories, and persuasive offers.
One of the key benefits of email marketing is its versatility. With email, businesses can segment their audience based on criteria such as demographics, interests, and past purchase behavior. This allows for highly targeted and personalized messages, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.
Additionally, email marketing enables businesses to track and analyze campaign performance through metrics such as open, click-through and conversion rates. Though email analytics has limitations (largely due to changes in Apple’s privacy settings that limit the accuracy of open and click-through rate data) this data still provides insights into customer preferences and behaviors, allowing businesses to refine their outreach methods.
It’s important to note that while email marketing offers immense potential, it’s crucial to follow best practices to ensure deliverability and engagement. This includes obtaining proper consent from recipients, sending relevant and valuable content, optimizing email design for different devices, and implementing effective email automation and personalization techniques.
Why combining SMS and email marketing is best
While successful on their own, each channel offers unique advantages that can help businesses reach and engage with their target audience.
By combining SMS and email marketing, businesses can leverage the strengths of both channels and maximize their outreach efforts with a one-two punch. Several use cases come to mind for the dynamic duo of SMS and email. First, let’s look at how they can create an enhanced customer experience:
Prompt Responses: While email is excellent for disseminating information, it doesn’t always guarantee immediate responses. In such cases, SMS can be a powerful follow-up tool, increasing the likelihood of a response.
Assuring Reminder Notices Are Read: SMS acts as a secure channel for sharing upcoming deliveries, appointments, cancellations, special offers, and in-store deals, guaranteeing these important reminders are noticed.
Updating Contact Information: SMS is a quick method for gathering lost or changed contact details, ensuring your records are up to date.
Using SMS and email together can also elevate your company’s customer care and marketing services. For example, you can:
Enhance Key Metrics: Use SMS and email campaigns to gather valuable insights on improving ROI (Return on Investment), product quality, customer satisfaction, safety, and time management by sending surveys or single questions to your customers. Chances are good they’ll respond!
Elevate Content Quality: SMS is a valuable channel for obtaining info that can help fine-tune and perfect email content by quickly testing various content approaches and measuring click-through rates.
Targeted Recommendations and Upselling: Using data from your email database, your business can initiate SMS campaigns that provide personalized offers that foster customer loyalty and boost sales.
The combination of SMS and email marketing not only enhances your outreach but also empowers your business to refine its customer-centric strategies for lasting success.
Since it’s been a tried-and-true channel for years, most companies are familiar with the basics of email marketing, even if it’s simply used for a monthly newsletter. But if you’re not, there are many tools for adding it to your marketing strategy. Of course, as a HubSpot Solutions Partner, we are big fans of using HubSpot for this type of outreach.
Whatever tool you use, it’s paramount that your data is up to date and that you have contacts’ permission to email them. (Here’s more on email marketing best practices concerning formatting, automation and metrics.)
There are also countless apps and platforms for SMS outreach. Choosing the right one for your business depends on your current tech stack, the volume of texts you intend to send and your budget. If you have HubSpot Marketing Hub Professional or Enterprise, you have access to SMS tools already. Start with the process outlined here.
Creating a seamless integration between SMS and email marketing
To maximize the impact of SMS and email marketing, you need a seamless integration between the two channels. This integration ensures that both channels align and work in tandem to deliver a cohesive, effective outreach strategy.
One way to achieve this integration is by using SMS to drive email sign-ups. Businesses can promote their email newsletters, exclusive offers or valuable content through SMS messages and encourage recipients to subscribe to their email lists. This allows businesses to expand their email subscriber base and reach a wider audience through email marketing.
Or consider using SMS as a follow-up channel for email campaigns. After sending an email, businesses can send a follow-up SMS to remind recipients to check their inbox or take another desirable action. This increases the chances of engagement and conversion through different touchpoints.
Businesses can also use this duo-channel approach to provide a seamless customer journey. For example, a company could use SMS to send order confirmations or shipping updates, while using email to send more detailed information related to the purchase. That way, customers receive relevant and timely information through their preferred channels.
Best practices for maximizing the impact of SMS and email
To maximize the impact of SMS and email marketing, it’s important to follow best practices and implement effective strategies. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Segment your audience: Divide your audience into smaller segments based on demographics, interests, or past behavior. This allows you to send targeted messages that resonate with each segment.
Personalize your messages: Use personalization techniques to address recipients by their name and tailor the content to their preferences. Personalized messages have higher open and engagement rates.
Optimize for mobile: Ensure that your SMS and email campaigns are optimized for mobile devices since most recipients access their messages on smartphones.
Test and analyze: Test different elements of your SMS and email campaigns, such as subject lines, content, and call-to-action buttons. Analyze the results and make data-driven decisions to improve your campaigns.
Respect privacy and consent: Obtain proper consent from recipients before sending SMS or email messages. Comply with privacy regulations and provide clear opt-out options.
By following these best practices, you can maximize the impact of SMS and email marketing and achieve mass success in your outreach campaigns.
While email and SMS marketing have their own merits, it’s clear they are better together as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy. Using this combined approach can yield better results from your outreach efforts than simply using them alone.
If you’re interested in adding SMS or email to your marketing endeavors or wondering how HubSpot could be used for your business, reach out to us today. We’d be happy to hear from you and welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can improve your marketing strategy.
Christine is a Marketing Technologist at Simple Machines Marketing. She has a background in marketing, sales & journalism – and likes to blend them together to help clients expand their business. Outside of work, you'll find Christine whipping things up in the kitchen, hanging with family & friends or exploring all the fabulous things Minneapolis has to offer.