business messaging blog
Six things you can learn about SMS marketing from email marketing
Scott Navratil

Email and SMS are two very different marketing channels and what works for one won’t necessarily carry over well to the other. But the following six email marketing tips can work wonders for your SMS marketing campaign as well.

Get to the point

Though email is certainly a longer form channel than SMS, it’s still crucial to get to the point fast. Since the majority of emails are now read on mobile devices and since mobile users are less inclined to read a long-winded email than desktop or laptop users, emails need to be concise. Unlike email, the SMS channel is actually restricted by character count on many devices. The 160 character limit is standard with the SMS protocol and devices that don’t have their own proprietary messaging applications can’t receive a single text that contains more than 160 characters. As a result, texts can be broken into multiple parts making them less effective. Even disregarding the character limit, text messages need to be short and to the point. It’s a channel known for its brevity so in order to meet customers’ expectations, text messages should be concise.


Both emails and text messages are more likely to be acted upon when the recipient feels it was truly meant for them. One way to do this is by addressing the recipient by name. Bulk email and SMS service providers can allow messages to be sent that automatically puts each recipient’s name at the beginning. Another way many businesses personalize is by sending birthday offers on customer’s birthday or at the beginning of their birth month. Marketers can personalize further through segmentation of their contact list into subgroups based on various demographics or interests so that they can provide more relevant advertising and offers.

Give people the option to opt out

Every email should include instructions at the end to opt out of future emails. Likewise, every text message should end with instructions. For SMS, keep instructions extremely brief keeping your character limit in mind (“Text ‘STOP’ to end” or something similar). First of all, it’s required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Second of all, even if it wasn’t, it’s still a good idea. Because bulk email and SMS services charge per message, there’s no sense in continuing to send emails or texts to the people on your list who don’t want them. They’re not your ideal audience so make it easy for them to opt out and hope that they take you up on the offer.

Show that you care

Email and especially SMS, should be used for more than just promoting products or services. People see enough advertising on their phones as it is. If every email or text is trying to get them to buy something, they’re more likely to opt out. We’ve already covered personalization and birthday offers as a means to making customers feel important but there are other ways. Sending mobile coupons or exclusive offers that aren’t available to anyone who hasn’t opted in is another way to show appreciation to your most loyal customers. You can also use text messages to make your customer’s lives easier by sending appointment reminders, order notifications, and shipment updates.

Timing matters

A/B split testing at various times of the day has shown that emails sent at certain times are more effective than emails sent at other times. This is even more true for SMS because of its time sensitive nature. The days and times that will work best for the messages you’re sending will depend on a number of factors including your audience, message, and product or service.

Have fun

Texting is something we usually do with family and friends, not brands. As such, we associate it with casualness and fun. If text messages come across as overly formal or stiff, it will come across as unnatural. Use casual syntax and focus on making your messages fun to read.

Chantel Fullilove

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