SMS and Email Marketing: Benefits and Differences of Both

SMS and Email Marketing: Benefits and Differences of Both

Both SMS and email marketing are important tools used by marketers because of their diverse benefits. They have a number of similarities, most notably the ability to reach a wide audience.

However, they also have some differences, largely due to the technologies that underpin them. But these differences should not be viewed in the context of which one is superior because, when combined effectively, both SMS and email marketing have a lot to offer every business, whether small, medium, or large.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS (Short Message Service) marketing is the sending of marketing messages through text messaging.

Like email marketing, SMS marketing is also a form of opt-in marketing that requires contacts to consent to receive such messages by subscribing to them.

SMS Marketing Use Cases

With the continuous rise in the adoption of mobile devices, the use cases for SMS marketing are growing. Here are some of them:

  • Promotional deals
  • SMS coupons
  • Text-to-win contests
  • Flash sales and time-responsive promotions
  • Appointment reminders
  • Instant notifications
  • Urgent event updates
  • Personal alerts
  • Customer orders
  • Purchase confirmations, etc

Benefits of SMS Marketing

As noted earlier, SMS marketing can be useful for all sizes of businesses. Here are some of its benefits.

Immediate Delivery

Your clients will receive your SMS marketing message within seconds of being sent through your SMS gateway. Other texting and messaging channels and social networks are also capable of instant delivery, but unlike SMS, they need an internet connection to deliver their messages.

Very High Open Rate

People are much more likely to open a marketing text message and read its content than a marketing email message. The open rate for an SMS in Australia is between 94% and 98%, while that of an email message is 20.6%.

Higher Response and Click-Through Rates

With such a high open rate, it is only natural that SMS will also have a high response rate. Statistics show that this is indeed the case, with SMS marketing boasting a response rate of 45% against 6% for email marketing.

Because they are designed to have fewer characters, SMS messages take a shorter time to read, and the click-through rate ranges between 19 and 35%, thanks to their conciseness. Contrastingly, marketing emails often take longer to read, and only about 3.1% of people in Australia eventually click on email links.

Much Fewer SPAM Cases

Companies like Google and Yahoo have SPAM filters that automatically filter incoming emails and send them to separate folders such as Promotions, Social, Spam, etc. This feature significantly lowers the open rate of e-mails and makes them less effective.

Such filters are very rare in SMS communication. Just 3% of SMS messages are considered SPAM when compared the over 85% of SPAM email messages.

More People are Purchasing via Mobile Phones

It has been estimated that people all over the world spend more than USD 1 trillion daily on mobile-influenced shopping.

People are more likely to search for and purchase a product through their mobile phones than through other devices. 92% of people who search for a product via a mobile phone go on and make a purchase.

Higher Engagement Rates

In contrast to emails, SMS texts have a higher engagement rate because recipients are more likely to interact with an SMS message than an email. On average, it takes 90 seconds to respond to an SMS message and 90 minutes to respond to an email.

Unlike SMS texts, people are often bombarded with all kinds of marketing emails every day which many have little or no time to read. Moreover, a good number of your daily email messages are often classified as spam. All these factors make SMS texts a lot more engaging because they are rarely sent in such huge numbers that make reading them another job, and they are not so frequently considered SPAM.

Greater Security

SMS texts tend to offer better security than emails because of their end-to-end encryption feature, which ensures that only the sender and recipient can access the message. Furthermore, SMS texts do not regularly come with hyperlinks or attachments that form the basis of email phishing attacks.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a marketing strategy that has to do with sending emails to existing and potential customers in order to achieve certain marketing objectives such as increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, promoting products and services, nurturing leads, and making a sale.

The world has more than 4 billion email users, a figure that is more than half of the total global population. This is partly why marketers see email addresses as an important means of attracting more patronage to their businesses.

Email Marketing Use Cases

  • Newsletters
  • B2B campaigns that contain technical information
  • Long-form educational content
  • Information containing download links
  • Press releases and publicity updates
  • Product brochures
  • Audiovisual product announcements

Benefits of Email Marketing

Just like SMS marketing, email marketing can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Below are sone of these benefits.

Increased Conversions, Sales, and Income

Unlike text messages that usually have no links and attachments, a customer can easily click on email CTAs and other links, which can mean increased conversions and sales and thus more income.

One study indicates that the median ROI of email marketing is 122%—four times more than any other digital marketing strategy.

Not as Intrusive as SMS

An email message is not as intrusive as SMS texts because the recipient can read it whenever it suits him, unlike an SMS, which arrives instantly on your phone, even when you are on the move.

Can Help Grow Other Marketing Channels

If you have managed to grow your email list more than those of your other channels, you can grow these other channels via email. For example, if you have many email subscribers and you want them to join your not-so-large SMS list, you can use emails to achieve this. A more effective way is to offer incentives (e.g., discounts for new SMS subscribers, etc.) in the email campaign.


One of the many gains of automation is the ability to disseminate information in bulk via email (or SMS). This saves your business the time that it would have wasted sending information manually to several recipients. One automated email template can be used for multiple email campaigns. 

Differences Between SMS Marketing and Email Marketing

The following are some key differences between SMS marketing and email marketing:



Accessibility Does not require an internet connection Requires internet connection
Content length Limited to 160 characters per message More comprehensive
Compatible media Limited All kinds of media can be attached to an email message (eg videos and several image formats)
CTA Best practice is to include just one CTA Accommodates multiple CTAs
Response rate/time


on average, it takes 1.5 minutes to respond to an SMS


On average, it takes an hour and thirty minutes to respond to an email.

Cost Lower monthly subscription cost Monthly subscription cost can be high, especially among more advanced email service providers/clients
Frequency An unsaturated market that is still growing Saturated marketing channel (on average, an office employee gets 121 email messages every working day).
Spam rate Less than 3% of SMS messages are considered spam. Nearly 85% of all emails are considered spam
Click-through rate (CTR) 19%-35% 3.1%
Open rate 94% – 98% 20.6%

What Does Australian Law Say About SMS/Email Marketing?

Under Australia’s Spam Act of 2003, the following conditions must be complied with when it comes to marketing and commercial electronic messages, including SMS and email:

  • Recipients consent to opt-in
  • Identity of the sender
  • Option to unsubscribe

Be sure to play safe by complying with the Spam Act 2003 for marketing in Australia because the cost of non-compliance can be high.

Get in touch today

Both SMS and email marketing are valuable digital marketing strategies. So rather than adopting one, a combination of both (and more) is recommended. Having multiple messaging channels is the best way to reach, engage, and ultimately convert your subscribers.

Moreover, both SMS and email messages are trackable. This means that you’ll have access to valuable user data that your marketing team can analyse for better decision-making. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help with your SMS marketing.