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SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing – Which Is Better?

young happy entrepreneur texting on smart phone in hallway

Many marketers believe that email, with its massive user base, works better than SMS for reaching people. But that might not be entirely true.

When we look closely at SMS marketing vs email marketing, the choice is not as simple as many think. Both channels have their specific advantages and use cases. 

Smart marketers know it’s not about choosing one over the other. It’s about knowing how to combine these to get better results. 

In this post, you’ll not only learn the differences between the two, but also learn how to use them together.

Table of Contents
What is the difference between SMS marketing and email marketing?
Advantages of SMS marketing
Advantages of email marketing
How to use SMS marketing and email marketing together?
How to choose the best email and SMS marketing platform
SMS vs Email: Beauty lies in combining the two

What is the difference between SMS marketing and email marketing?

SMS and email marketing differ in various ways, which define their varying marketing potential. Here are some of these differences:

  • Character limit & content length: SMS messages are capped at 160 characters, requiring concise messaging. Emails allow for much longer content.
  • Rich media: SMS mainly uses text with some platforms supporting images or short videos. Emails can host images, videos, GIFs, and other interactive elements.
  • Urgency & read rates: SMS has higher read rates due to instant delivery and is ideal for timely communication. Emails are suited for newsletters or extended marketing campaigns that run over a period of time.
  • Hyperlinking: SMS often features short, plain URLs leading to various web pages, while emails offer a mix of hyperlinks and plain URLs.
  • Cost structure: SMS costs are often per message, especially for international texts. Emails might have costs based on the number of subscribers or sends.
  • Global reach: SMS doesn’t require the internet and reaches users directly on their phones. Emails need internet access and might be limited by spam filters.

SMS is brief and quick with high open rates, while email focuses on detailed content and various formats. Both are valuable. The key is knowing when to use each.

Now that you’ve discovered what makes each platform unique, let’s consider the key metrics marketers track when using email and SMS channels.

Open rate

Text messages on mobile devices usually get immediate attention, leading to most of them being opened and read promptly. 

Emails, on the other hand, have a tendency to get lost in a crowded inbox. As a result, many emails go unnoticed, as people typically open only those with catchy subject lines or ones in specific tabs.

Click rate

Text messages are typically brief, making it easy for recipients to understand the content, see the link, and click on it. The simplicity of SMS often directs people to take the desired action.

Emails, in contrast, can be lengthy with multiple links, which might lead to a lower CTR.

Conversion rate

While SMS can get people to take quick action, emails offer more detailed information and can build interest over time. 

Compelling people to act can be more difficult using emails, so you’ll need persuasive copy and compelling CTAs.


Both SMS and email can have trouble getting to people’s devices. Emails could end up in spam folders or get lost among many other emails, while SMS messages might not go through if the number is blocked or the phone settings are restrictive. 

However, SMS typically shows up right in the main inbox, which makes it more likely to be noticed.


Typically, SMS is the more costly channel, as most service providers would ask you to pay per message. The costs vary depending on your and the recipients’ locations and the number of messages.

Emails, technically, don’t cost anything. However, if you’re using an email marketing platform, you will need to pay the subscription costs for that. Though there may be monthly email limits, you don’t necessarily need to pay per email.

SMS vs email statistics

Understanding the performance metrics of the different channels is important. By comparing SMS vs email marketing metrics, you can gain insights into where you should focus your efforts to get the best returns. 

Here’s some data from the latest Omnisend report to provide a clearer picture of how these channels stack up against each other.

Open rate98%24.38%
Click rate11.03%1.32%
Conversion rate0.16%0.07%
CostSMS messages tend to be more expensive than Email.SMS messages tend to be more expensive than Email.

Advantages of SMS marketing

As businesses explore different marketing strategies, SMS marketing consistently shows its value, highlighting a range of clear benefits. 

Let’s look into the main advantages of SMS marketing.

1. Immediate delivery & timely alerts

SMS messages are perfect for sending timely updates, from flash sales to important announcements. Timing plays a huge role in SMS marketing, so it’s best to learn the best time to send SMS for higher conversion rates.

Here’s an example of how a timely text message can generate extra sales.

When Facebook was down, Mom Life Must Haves used SMS to promote a special offer only for their SMS subscribers.

example of a special offer only for sms subscribers

2. High open rates & engagement

According to Omnisend’s internal data, text messages get opened a lot. This is great for marketers like you since most messages you send will be seen. 

SMS lets you send personalized text messages, to help you make your customers feel special. 

We all check our messages on special days, like birthdays. Basic Piece uses this idea creatively by sending personalized birthday messages as shown below.

personalized text message by basic piece

3. Direct messaging & mobile reach

Given that SMS messages are short and easy to read, they enable impactful communication. It allows you to reach your audience directly on their phones and get immediate attention.

4. Opt-in consent

With SMS marketing, recipients give permission before you message them. This ensures you’re communicating with an audience that wants to hear from you, rather than sending unwanted texts.

5. Segmentation

Using segmentation, you can group your audience by interests or purchase history. This allows for tailored messaging, enhancing the chance of connecting meaningfully with each recipient.

6. Cost-effectiveness

SMS marketing is affordable but still offers great results. It’s a smart choice if you want good returns without spending too much. For specifics on costs, check out Omnisend’s guide on SMS marketing pricing.

7. Integration

You can blend SMS with other communication channels. This flexibility allows you to connect with customers in multiple ways, ensuring a broader reach and impact.

8. Measurable results

SMS campaigns provide measurable metrics, giving useful insights for continuous improvement.

Using these insights, you can create compelling campaigns that allow you to connect with your target audiences, building lasting engagement.

Advantages of email marketing

Email marketing is important for businesses as it’s beneficial in several ways. Let’s look at the main advantages that it offers.

1. Rich content, storytelling, and versatility

Emails can include stories, pictures, videos, and more, letting you share messages with different content formats. This offers more versatility than SMS. 

You can even add animations to show your brand’s style, as Lou & Grey have done in the example below.

2. Segmentation & personalization

Emails are great for targeting specific groups of people. By segmenting your email lists you can send tailored messages to different groups.

With dynamic emails, the content can change in real time, making emails feel more personalized. This makes it more likely for people to open and read them.

Want to start sending more personal emails? Draw inspiration from these customer segmentation examples.

3. Direct communication

Using email marketing, you have the power to speak directly to your customers. This one-on-one communication channel lets you send tailored, timely messages. 

Be it exclusive deals, the latest news, or product updates, your emails land straight in the recipients’ inboxes, creating a strong bond between you and your audience.

4. Lead nurturing & automated workflows

With email marketing, you can automate messages based on specific triggers like user behaviors or signups.

For instance, if a potential customer looks at a product but doesn’t buy it, an automated email can remind them to make a purchase and even offer a special deal. 

Such targeted, timely emails help you nurture leads, guiding them through the buying journey with ease.

5. Brand building & long-form content

Frequent communication is an effective way to build a stronger brand, and email marketing makes this possible. Not only can you create, automate, and send multiple emails, you don’t have to deal with length restrictions.

6. A/B testing & continuous optimization

Email performance is trackable. So, you can always test multiple email versions to see which works best. 

By running A/B tests and getting feedback, you can make your emails better in terms of content, design, and overall strategy.

7. Measurable metrics & cost-effectiveness

With email marketing, you can easily track how well your messages are performing.

Here’s a snapshot of the Omnisend dashboard showing results from several email marketing campaigns:

omnisend dashboard showing results from several email marketing campaigns

Additionally, it doesn’t cost a fortune to execute a simple email marketing strategy. Most email marketing platforms charge based on email list size. So, you only spend more as your brand grows.

Delve deep into our email marketing cost guide to discover what it takes to run a profitable email marketing campaign.

8. Global reach 

With emails, you can easily reach a wide audience across the globe. So, regardless of geographical barriers, email marketing is an effective way to share your message and engage with your audience. 

9. Compliance

You don’t have to worry about breaking data protection laws when utilizing email marketing. Your job is to create engaging emails, while your email marketing platform will ensure that you stay compliant with regulations like GDPR and CAN-SPAM.

How to use SMS marketing and email marketing together?

Omnisend’s internal data shows that campaigns using both SMS marketing and email marketing are 429% more likely to make people buy something. 

This means that when you use both SMS messages and emails, more people are likely to take action.

Here’s an illustration showing some use cases of both channels:

SMS marketing vs Email marketing

Welcome offersWelcome emails
Special time-sensitive offersPromotional emails
Order confirmation and shipping updatesBrowse or cart abandonment emails
Customer serviceTransactional emails
Time-limited sales and promosBirthday emails
Personalized offersHoliday emails
Thank you offersUpsell and cross-sell emails
MMS messagesBack in stock or restock emails
Review request and customer feedback emails

Curious to know the results you can get by combining both SMS and email marketing? Here is an example of a brand getting high returns via these channels B-Wear Sportswear. They get 40% of their sales from welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and SMS.

So, combining SMS with email campaigns works well and ensures optimal audience engagement and conversion.

How to choose the best email and SMS marketing platform

Picking the right email and SMS marketing software is crucial for a successful marketing campaign. So, finding the best solution needs careful thought.

Here are some important features to look for when selecting email and SMS marketing software:

  • Integrated campaigns
  • Automated workflows
  • Global messaging reach
  • Cost-effectiveness

Don’t want to look too far? Try Omnisend. It seamlessly combines SMS marketing and email marketing to help you run truly omnichannel campaigns.

Apart from robust email marketing capabilities, you get free SMS credits and extensive automation options to optimize your campaigns.

Use Omnisend to take your email and SMS marketing campaigns to the next level.

SMS vs Email: Beauty lies in combining the two

SMS and email marketing each have unique strengths. When combined, they offer a potent mix for enhanced customer engagement.

By understanding when and how to use each channel, you can optimize your outreach for maximum impact.

With this guide, you’re better equipped to harness the synergies of both, ensuring more effective and resonant communication with your audience. 

The key to success lies in strategically combining the power of SMS and email marketing. Good luck!

Source from Omnisend

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by Omnisend independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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