When email first came on the scene, it was the hottest thing in marketing since the television. But the numbers for email marketing don’t look as good as they used to. Now it’s overdone and 80% of all emails sent are never even opened, let alone read. Email providers started automatically filtering out spam mail and the effectiveness of email marketing took a hit. More recently, SMS, or text messaging, has become the new email. The open rates for text messages is even higher (98%) than email’s open rates were at the very beginning and it’s the preferred method of communication for the majority of people, especially younger people.
If SMS is so great, you may be wondering why email marketing should even be invested in at all. There are actually several reasons to continue with email marketing and the effectiveness of both email and SMS marketing can be improved when they’re used in connection with each other.
Different strengths and weaknesses
The SMS protocol limits the length of text messages to 160 characters. While your actual message can be longer than this, the cell phone provider will break this message into smaller messages of 153 characters with no regard to the break in sentences. Texts messages may be incoherent if they break off mid-word. The 160 character limit is perfect for mobile offers, order statuses, and quick announcements but it won’t work for all messages.
Email on the other hand is a great way to send longer form messages such as newsletters or catalogues.
Texting’s lower annoyance threshold
People are generally less annoyed by promotional emails than texts because they’re easier to ignore and you can send hundreds of ignored message to the trash folder with a couple of clicks. And make no mistake, more of your emails will be deleted unread than text messages. But there is a benefit to this as well. With SMS you’re much more limited in how many texts you want to send per month with most recommending so send no more than about 8. Much more than that and you start to get a lot of opt-outs. By using email marketing, you can send more messages and leave only the very most important to SMS.
Divide and conquer
Email can be a great channel for growing your SMS opt-ins and SMS can be a great channel for getting more email opt-ins. By diversifying your channels you increase the audience for both. There will be some who prefer one over the other and there will be some who like to receive both. A good strategy is to include some exclusive offers/content for both so that you can’t get everything by just subscribing to one channel.
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