A woman looking at text marketing messages on her cell phone

Stability. Growth. Meaningful connections. To many, these are the secret ingredients of a fulfilling life. And, they also happen to be the key components of a successful business.

Regarding your business, all of these components depend on one thing above all: your customers. Fostering a mutually beneficial, lasting relationship with your customer base gives you a rock-solid foundation on which to build as your company grows and evolves. For many years, email marketing has been a cornerstone of establishing that connection and nurturing it over time. And, for many years, email marketing was quite successful.

However, as the digital space has become more and more cluttered with competing newsletters and spam emails, text marketing—a relatively new innovation—is taking its place in a number of industries. We all know that we don’t look at most of the emails we receive, but it is estimated that 95% of text messages are read within the first three minutes!

As such, being able to effectively weigh the pros and cons of email marketing vs. text marketing is critical to long-term business success as technology and customer preferences evolve.

The Challenges of Email Marketing vs. Text Marketing

Neither email marketing nor text marketing is immune to disadvantages. Here are a few of the most common challenges your marketing team will likely face with each type of campaign:

Email Marketing ChallengesText Marketing Challenges
Clutter. 2.4 million emails are sent out every second; the average adult receives more than 100 every day.
Noise. About half of all emails are spam, which is why only about 20% of emails actually get read.
Disengagement. As few as 6% of email campaigns evoke a direct response, and the average click-through rate (CTR) is less than 3%.
Slow response rates. Most people only check their email a few times a day at most. And, it can be all too easy to forget about an email after reading it or to forget to come back to it after saving it for later.
Impersonal. Branded emails tend to feel less personalized, even if the offers are carefully tailored to fit the reader’s preferences.
Invasiveness. Because texting is seen as being more personal than email, SMS campaigns that are too aggressive can come off as invasive.
Length restrictions. Texts must be concise to be effective. Additionally, most SMS marketing platforms only allow 160 characters.
List building. It’s not ideal to use text messaging to build a list, as users are required to opt-in before receiving messages.

With email marketing, it can be incredibly difficult to overcome the sheer volume and noise of the email marketing scene, even with a stellar campaign strategy and relatable brand voice. It’s almost a cyclical trap—in order to use email marketing to gain visibility, increase engagement, and retain customers, it’s becoming more and more important to already be visible and have a solid reputation just to ensure your emails even get opened.

On the other hand, the challenges of text marketing can mostly be overcome with smart marketing tactics. Avoid alienating your customers by keeping your messages conversational, casual, and keeping the frequency of your texts within a reasonable rate or even dictated by customer preference. Keep messages simple, straightforward, and only tackle one topic or type of offer at a time to keep messages clear and to avoid overwhelming your recipients. 

While list building is still best done with an email campaign, text message marketing offers the greatest advantages in engaging with your customer base once you’ve built out your list.

Email Marketing vs. Text Marketing Advantages

Text marketing is not only susceptible to fewer disadvantages than email marketing, but it also allows your team to take advantage of many benefits that email and other types of campaigns are simply not equipped to offer. That being said, email does offer a few advantages that texting does not:

Email Marketing AdvantagesText Marketing Advantages
Ideal for more complicated communications. Long-form educational content, technical product information, and publicity updates are better suited to a longer email than a text, which may be too short to get the point across.
Creative freedom. Emails are more visual and offer more variety and space in which to express your brand’s personality.
Cost. For small startups especially, setting up a small email campaign is often free, as long as you stay below a certain threshold of recipients. 
Testing options. Email marketing offers a wide array of options for conducting A/B testing to perfect your drip campaigns.
Urgency. The average person takes only 90 seconds to reply to a text, versus an hour and a half for email. Moreover, almost all texts are read within 3 minutes of receiving them. This makes text great for urgent promotions. 
High engagement rates. 98% of all text messages get read, and as many as 45%, on average, evoke a response.
Higher frequency. Because texts require less time and energy to engage with—and because Americans may check their phones as often as 96 times per day—SMS campaigns tend to garner more frequent engagements than emails.
Personal touch. Texts feel like the user is having a 1:1 conversation with a brand, which opens the door a bit wider to responses from users.
Connectivity. Email requires an internet connection, but users don’t need WiFi to receive a text.
QR tracking options. Texting will allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign by tracking QR code or coupon code usage.
Convenience. Most texts take five seconds or less to read and are more readily accessible on a user’s phone than emails.

In short, while email still has its place in the marketing world, these are some of the reasons that 65% of marketers describe text campaigns as being “very effective” for their businesses. When comparing email marketing vs. text marketing, text campaigns offer higher engagement rates, more frequent interactions, and are more likely to motivate customers to take action now rather than later. Plus, SMS & MMS marketing applications are easier than ever to set up—as long as you work with an innovative, capable, and experienced provider.

As the saying goes, it’s time to “give the people what they want,” and as many as 75% of customers say they prefer to receive offers by text rather than by email.

Text Marketing Is the Future of Customer Connectivity

Since the advent of smart technology, phones have become many people’s single most constant companions. An estimated 81% of Americans today own smartphones and as many as one in five adults rely solely on their smartphones to access the internet. It’s rare these days to find someone who doesn’t sleep with their phone by their side or check their mobile notifications first thing when they wake up.

Email may not be going anywhere anytime soon, but email marketing alone is no longer enough to cut through the noise to reach your customers, nor is it necessarily the best way for them to reach you. Incorporating text messaging into your larger marketing strategy opens the door to building deeper connections with your customers, faster and more conveniently. This, in turn, will foster higher engagement, improve customer retention, and encourage customer-centric growth for a far greater ROI than email marketing alone can provide.

When it comes to comparing email marketing vs. text marketing, it’s clear where the advantage lies. Our SMS and MMS experts at NorthText can help you set up a successful text marketing campaign quickly and easily. To get started, or for any additional questions, contact us online or call or text us anytime at (312)869-9070.

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