The SMS symphony: how to harmonise with email marketing

With our email inbox constantly saturated with marketing comms, SMS could be your biggest ally for reaching customers directly. Find out why email marketing and SMS marketing complement each other so well in our latest blo

Businesses have long relied on email as their go-to channel for customer communications, but in today’s world where we’re always two seconds away from checking social media or shopping online – email marketing alone is simply not enough.

To beat the competition, it’s becoming more and more important for companies to find their voice with a rich customer engagement strategy that offers something unique and meaningful for each and every customer. Whilst email is still the channel with the most global accessibility, it is only one side of the coin – and that’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog. 

How can we take these two powerful marketing channels and use them together to create a seamless customer experience?

SMS marketing vs email marketing

Let’s explore some of the things that SMS marketing and email marketing have in common, and the things that make them different.


Both email and SMS marketing are permission-based, meaning that customers have to opt in to receive communications via either channel. These channels can also easily be monitored for campaign success through tracking information such as open rate, delivery rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate, and are big allies for businesses when it comes to conveying promotional or transactional comms. 

It’s easy to tailor and adapt messages sent via these channels so that they resonate with multiple segmented customer groups. Both can also be automated and scheduled for bulk sending. 


The main differences between these channels are their format and timing. SMS messages contain a limit of 160 characters whereas email is unlimited, but SMS is also proven to be more effective at grabbing attention, with a 98% open rate

Ever had one of those mornings where you’ve woken up to 20+ new email notifications and felt too overwhelmed to process them all? This is the growing problem that businesses relying on purely email marketing face.

Depending on which industry benchmark you look at, email open rates are anywhere from 15-25%. Some think it’s the immediacy behind texting that makes SMS open rates so much higher, but what we do know is that an SMS inbox is (usually) a much less crowded place. 

Often, email offers more flexibility in terms of design and subscriber experience as it’s formatted using HTML coding, whilst SMS is more limited and heavily text-based. However, other forms of mobile messaging like WhatsApp do offer rich messaging features that boost customer engagement. 

Although, the short and simple nature of an SMS is seen as a big advantage for communicating important information to customers such as delivery progress and appointment reminders. 

Why you should combine SMS & email marketing

As we hinted at in the last section, email and SMS are both important tools for marketers in different ways. The immediacy of SMS is perfect for getting through to customers quickly about order information or service updates etc, whilst email marketing is still seen as a valuable way to offer customers more educational content or longer updates in the form of newsletters for building trust and loyalty – which is equally important.

So with both tools providing an important piece of the consumer marketing puzzle, it makes sense to use them side-by-side in a complementary approach. Let’s get into a few more reasons why.

Cross-compatible data sets

Achieve cleaner customer data by obtaining information from feedback surveys and forms across both email and SMS. You can also get a more accurate picture of how your marketing campaigns are performing by cross-referencing key messaging metrics like: 

-Do your customers interact more with long or short content? 

-Which method gets higher open and response rates? 

-How do your customers usually sign up to your platform? 

-Where does your audience spend more time engaging with you via email or SMS? 

All of these metrics will give you a well-rounded idea of how to improve your customer engagement. 

Targeted outreach and segmentation 

Personalise, personalise, personalise! It’s all about showing your customers that you know and understand their buying habits – this is what will set you apart from your market competition, and make the most difference to your customer retention and bottom line. 

In fact, 90% of leading marketers say that investing in personalisation significantly contributes to business growth.

With two lines of communication open, you can divide and conquer – one channel could be used for gathering information from surveys about how they found their checkout experience, and the other to send out tailored incentives with products that they’ll love based on their order history. 

The more you mold your comms around your customers, the better your engagement rate will be. This can be as simple as understanding when the optimal time to send email and SMS marketing campaigns is for each industry. 

Remember that personalisation is a great tool for building brand loyalty, and whilst you want customers to feel valued – it’s important not to cross the threshold into intrusive territory. Make sure you’re on the right side of the do’s and don’ts of personalisation

Multi-touch/omnichannel engagement 

Your customers will always feel connected as there are multiple ways that they can get in touch and hear from you – especially, with more than 90% of the global population owning a smartphone. You can also ensure each channel plays a key role in your funnel by using SMS first to drive traffic to an email containing an offer or a new product launch. 

Winback campaigns and re-engaging lost leads

Put together a strategic email and follow-up SMS approach to entice lost leads into completing a purchase or using your services again. This could pair nicely with a bespoke winback offer. 

Let’s say that your customer’s journey to order completion was interrupted. A gentle nudge from another channel could be all it takes to get them back on track. With SMS being a lot less saturated than the email inbox, it might be just the tool to help you gently remind customers without overwhelming them. 

SMS could be your answer to breaking the dreaded one-time transaction curse

Will it be email or SMS marketing for your business?

We’ve looked at how the differences in format for both email and SMS marketing make both tools a powerful ally for marketers when used together. 

SMS’s high open rates and less saturated inbox make it an ideal choice for short and effective comms that drive traffic to your website or even an email with updates or educational content. Email marketing is still a staple in business-to-customer (B2C) comms, and still serves as a preferred method of contact for a number of consumers. 

You’ll likely find the best success with a harmony of both email and SMS marketing. If you’re thinking about where to divide your messaging budget, take note of where your customer activity is coming from. Are customers engaging with you more by email or SMS? 

The bottom line is, email and SMS work well together and are often both needed for a seamless customer experience with your brand.