Combining Email and SMS Messaging for Larger Gains
If you’ve read anything about SMS open rates, you’re probably ready to jump on the SMS messaging train, but don’t leave email in the dust. Correctly combining email and SMS messaging will increase the reach of your campaigns and leading to more sales.
Why You Need Both Email and SMS Messaging in Your Marketing Toolkit
Do you really need both email marketing and SMS messaging? While technically they both end up in the same place — a person’s mobile device, the combination of both can allow you to reach a large audience for the following reasons.
Customer Communication Preferences Vary
Not every customer wants emails from brands they enjoy crowding their inbox. Anyone who has ever opened their email on Black Friday knows how overwhelming this can be. On the flip side, not everyone wants sales messages mixed in with text messages from their family and friends. Occasionally people want both! Offering both allows your customers to pick how you will communicate with them, which makes it more likely they will stay on their marketing list of choice. Personally, I prefer email for companies I don’t know well and SMS messaging for old favorites, so I know when they launch new things or need a reminder to reorder.
There are plenty of people who want to receive both SMS messages and Email.
The Content, Frequency, and Shelf Life Varies
Email lends itself to long form, hopefully high value, content. With email, you can include multiple pictures, link to valuable content and videos, include user generated content (UGC), and customer reviews. You can teach customers something new. And truly build a relationship as they get to know your brand and why you do what you do.
SMS messaging, on the other hand, is short and sweet. It’s a sentence and a link or two. Occasionally there is a picture. It’s not the place for long content, but it is perfect for offers with a time frame.
The Frequency of Communication Varies
Since emails are easier to ignore and not as invasive, you can send more of them. Do you have a new way to style a skirt you launched at the beginning of the week? Send an email.
SMS on the other hand is normally not a daily occurrence. Text messages are a bit more sacred, some people don’t even give their phone number out unless they know a person well, so you want to honor having their phone number by providing high value at a lower frequency.
Shelf Life and Engagement Varies
SMS messages have a sky-high open rate, and 90% of them are opened within 3 minutes. They also have a short shelf life, customers are more likely to forget about them if they were busy when they opened the message.
Email, on the other hand, has a smaller engagement and open rates but a longer shelf life. It’s there when the person has a break in the day to browse through emails, and the longer form content lends itself to when people have a few minutes.
Using Email and SMS Messaging Together has a Higher ROI
Combining email and SMS messaging makes it more likely a customer will see the message, which increases the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. If your product and CTA are strong, more people seeing your campaigns increases the number of people who take action and make a purchase.
Tips & Best Practices to Effectively Use Email and SMS Messaging Together
Segment Your Audience
As always, segment your audience. Segmented audiences perform better. If you have a small brand with one or two products, you can probably get away with not segmenting. For larger brands with multiple product lines, segmentation is essential. Speak to people about things they care about and they’ll stick around.
Know When to Use Each Channel
Use SMS messaging for time sensitive content. If you have an offer that is time bound, it’s a good time to use SMS. Customers will appreciate knowing about your limited time sale before items sells out or the sale ends. Time sensitive offers are the perfect time to use SMS messaging.
Use email marketing for detailed messaging. Email is for detailed long form content. You can include multiple pictures, link to multiple sections of your website, link to social channels, and videos. Emails where you can let all of your content shine and tell your brand’s story. It’s a relationship builder.
Use Email to Follow Up on SMS Campaigns
Sending an email and SMS message simultaneously with the same content is likely only going to annoy your subscribers. A better flow would be to send an SMS message and then follow up a few hours later with a detailed email. Subscribers are more likely to appreciate the reminder when the messages are spread out.
Create Loyalty Program SMS Campaign
Curious who finds the most value in SMS messaging? Loyalty program members. Loyalty point updates have the highest open rates out of all SMS messages, and 90% of customers who receive them find them valuable. SMS messaging is a great way to keep your most loyal customers engaged.
Don’t Overdo It
When combining email and SMS Messaging keep in mind that some customers will be subscribed to both lists. Don’t drown them in messages. Keep tabs on the cadence of your communication. SMS messaging should be used sparingly, while email allows for more frequent messaging.
Should You Send Email and SMS at the Same Time?
You shouldn’t send an email and an SMS message at the same time. Use them together, but sending the messages at the same time likely falls into overdoing it territory. Use one to complement the other. Follow one up with the other as a reminder, several hours or even a day later.
Keep Your Subscriber Lists Clean and Include Opt Out Options
Keep your marketing lists clean. Remove people who haven’t engaged within a certain length of time. You’ll also want to make sure you include a way for people to opt-out of receiving your messages. Regulations for SMS messaging are stricter than email, a subscriber MUST opt-in to receive SMS messages from your company you may not add them if they gave you their phone number for a purpose other than marketing communications.
Track and Analyze Your Results
As with all marketing campaigns, make sure you track your results. Use Google Analytics and the reporting tools built into your ESP and/or SMS Messaging Platform. Keeping tabs on results will help you determine the correct frequency and cadence for sending messages on each channel separately and combined.
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