E-mails vs SMS: Who Will Win When It Comes to Marketing?

In the digital era, it’s not a surprise to see how both e-mails and SMS messages are on the rise when it comes to online promotion.

According to an article by Gartner, SMS messages have higher response rates than e-mails. The response rates for SMS messages can go as high as 98% and 45% respectively, but when it comes to e-mails, response rates can only go as high as 20% and 6% respectively. The main reason for the difference in the response rates between SMS and e-mail messages is that there are many spam messages in e-mails.

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One advantage that SMS messages hold over e-mail messages is quick access to important information during times when one cannot access the Internet. If people are at locations where they cannot access the Internet, they’ll still be able to receive important alerts. For instance, if a customer wants to purchase a grocery item that is out of stock, an alert from an online e-commerce company that the product is back in stock can benefit the customer. Sending important alerts over text messages increases the probability of a person reading messages, in comparison to e-mails. However, the drawbacks to text messages cannot be ignored.

We can sign up for receiving e-mail messages on many websites, which means that our e-mails may be more relevant to us than text messages in the long run. Moreover, e-mail messages include an element of design, which makes them more attractive and entertaining to read. For instance, this is an e-mail sent by Ralph Lauren, a major clothing company.

What would attract you- an SMS with the words, “Tie-Dye: Not Just for Summer Camp Anymore” or a graphic with these words written below it, what would you choose? Most people would prefer to choose the latter, as an element of the design can increase the level of interest in an advertisement.

Apart from being able to capture the attention of your target audience, e-mails are more detailed in comparison to SMS messages. A 10% discount in a text message is not as appealing as an e-mail which describes the products offered at a discounted rate.

I believe that e-mails are a better option to choose than text messages when information that is not urgent for the customer to know is conveyed (for instance, a customer might want to know when a grocery item will reach him/her). An SMS doesn’t relate to the customers the same way in which an e-mail does. An e-mail message makes you feel like you’re a part of a community.

For instance, Google can make the local guides (who contribute towards writing reviews of various public places which they visit) feel like they’re a part of a community by providing them information that is exclusively available only to community members.

What do you think? Who wins when it comes to marketing- text messages or e-mails?