SMS Marketing vs Email Marketing: Which Is More Effective?
Sergii Diachenko
Sergii Diachenko
CEO at DecisionTelecom

SMS Marketing vs Email Marketing: Which Is More Effective?

With so many communication channels around, businesses try to utilize as many avenues as possible to reach their customers. Two popular options are email and SMS. There has been a lot of discussion around both. But there is still no unequivocal answer as to which is better, SMS marketing or email marketing.

In this article, we will talk about the differences between using SMS and email messaging for marketing purposes, and the advantages and disadvantages of both channels.


What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is a type of marketing where you send text messages via the cell network to promote a product or service. These messages don't require the sender or receiver to have an active internet or mobile data connection, which makes SMS marketing a unique form of digital marketing.

Bulk messaging is one of the main tools in SMS marketing. It allows businesses to send promotional SMS messages to their customers en masse. These messages can include advertisements, announcements, special offers, invites, and more.

Transactional messages are also important for customer engagement. These are essential messages sent in response to your customers' activities and interactions with your business. Promptly sent texts such as login OTPs and order confirmations allow you to deliver a smooth user experience to leads who have already converted.

Another important aspect of text marketing is two-way conversations. They allow your customers to respond to your marketing messages and can add a personal touch to any SMS marketing campaign. You can collect important insights into customer behavior and feedback with the help of conversational SMS marketing.


The pros and cons of text message marketing


Benefits of SMS marketing

One of the biggest fears of any business is allocating major chunks of its budget to uncertain marketing strategies that end up bearing no results. Text message marketing, fortunately, is a worthwhile strategy that offers many possibilities. It's proven its benefits in many ways.

  1. SMS's open rate of 98% beats many other types of marketing channels in terms of actual reach and impact! It means the user opens and reads almost every SMS, which means that your message contents reach the recipient for sure.

  2. A text message is sent instantly, and as long as the recipient is not in a no-coverage zone, there is almost a 100% that the SMS will reach. Decision Telecom guarantees the delivery of messages even when roaming.

  3. For most SMS marketing campaigns, you must obtain the express written consent of the customer before you text them. Each recipient must wilfully opt into your SMS marketing program. This means that once you start sending out your campaigns, your business receives a "warm" audience, prepared for purchases.

  4. According to statistics, 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.

  5. To receive your SMS messages, the recipients do not need to have internet access. They can get your texts no matter where they are in the world where their carrier is available.

  6. SMS messaging shows a higher level of engagement; average click-through and response rates have been seen to reach up to 45%.

  7. Consumers do not want to spend a lot of time reading lengthy advertisements or other marketing materials. Given the SMS character limits, a 2 to 3 sentences long advertising message is much more attractive to read.

  8. Only 3% of SMS messages are considered spam. There are global network operators who can monitor and control all text messages going through.


Disadvantages of SMS marketing

While there are numerous benefits of SMS marketing, there are a couple of downsides, too.

  1. Due to the limited number of characters available, a marketer or copywriter needs to work extra hard to fit all the valuable info into a short message, including a strong CTA to encourage the client to take action.

  2. Lack of visualization complicates things, too. You can add images, videos, audio clips, and other files, but that converts the SMS into an MMS (multimedia message), which can cost more than SMS. In addition to text, the SMS message can contain only the sender's alphanumeric name, a link to a website, or maybe some plain emojis. 

Some marketers cite the cost as one of the main disadvantages of SMS messaging. However, given that email marketing efforts include not only sending out the email messages but also preparing for them (design, graphics, text, development), and still not reaching the level of conversion rates SMS has touched, the latter can be more cost-effective.


What is email marketing?

Email marketing is the type of digital marketing where emails are sent to customers to promote your business's products or services. It has a lot of potential for success – according to Venngage, there are 7.9 billion registered email accounts in the world.

Emails are great for reaching certain target audiences, such as those who are more likely to regularly check their inboxes. An email marketing strategy can be great for sending long-form marketing content such as detailed product details or service packages, newsletters, creative invitations, and much more.

Many companies rely on email to promote their brands and offerings. Let's talk about what makes this marketing channel attractive for business owners.


The pros and cons of email marketing

Benefits of email marketing campaigns

Marketers have a lot of control over email messaging and can effectively reach their target audience. The are the main advantages of using email for marketing purposes.

  1. Emails are perceived by users as a more solid, formal way of communication, which many audiences might prefer compared to casual, personal ways such as SMS.

  2. There is no limit on the number of characters in the text body. You can freely speak your mind.

  3. You can add pictures, animations, videos, and action buttons to email messages, which will attract the attention of customers. 

  4. The opportunity to unsubscribe offered in each message demonstrates respect for the opinion of subscribers and thereby increases their loyalty.

  5. Automated data collection and analysis are available thanks to integration with various analytics tools offered by email providers.

  6. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email messaging generates over $35 for every $1 invested.


Disadvantages of email marketing campaigns

Now, let's go over what difficulties a business can face if its marketing strategy makes use of email messaging.

  1. In 2022 alone, more than half the emails sent out were spam. Given this risk, email service providers have spam filters that automatically sort suspicious content into a separate junk folder, which many users tend not to check regularly. To make matters worse, many email providers automatically empty the junk folder after a set number of days. There's a high chance of your promotional emails being lost forever.

  2. Email messaging has a lower CTR and conversion rate than SMS, as we also discussed in the previous sections.

  3. Recipients need stable internet access to even check their emails, let alone read them.

  4. The possible irregularities or inconsistencies in some visual elements can make it difficult to view an email on a smartphone.

These disadvantages may not completely outweigh the benefits of email marketing. Email messaging remains a good advertising tool for generating leads.


SMS marketing vs email marketing: What to choose?

Here's a table that offers a brief yet comprehensive comparison of SMS vs email marketing.

Assessment parameter 

SMS marketing

Email marketing

Open rate



Click-through rate (CTR)




Only around 3% of SMS messages are considered spam

Nearly 85% of all email traffic ends up in spam


It usually takes the user 90 seconds, on average, to reply to a text message

It can take anywhere from minutes to hours for a recipient to reply to an email


More than 6.5 billion people in the world own a smartphone

Around 4.2 billion people in the world have email

Text volume

A limited number of characters allowed

No limit to the length of the email body

The speed of obtaining information

In 90% of cases, the text message is read within the first 3 minutes

It can take up to 2 days from the moment you send an email to it being read


Short, standard text messages

Endless possibilities for visualizing content

Wrapping up

Both SMS and email messaging are effective marketing methods that we don't see losing popularity any time soon. Both channels are actively used by small and large businesses to promote products and services and communicate with their customers on the regular.

Most marketers advise using SMS and email marketing in a combination that maximises the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. For example, in-depth information about new deliveries in the store can be sent via email messaging, and service notifications via SMS.


Partner with a professional SMS provider

SMS messaging is considered a worthy investment in marketing resources. Even if your primary communication channel is email, SMS is a great way to create brand awareness and build long-term customer relationships.

Whether you're new to SMS marketing or looking to move to a new platform, Decision Telecom has you covered. We provide simple, reliable, and flexible business SMS solutions that can be integrated into your existing marketing strategy. Sign up today to try it for free!

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