When it comes to marketing and advertising, gone are the days of broadcasting your message to as many people as possible and hoping that some of them would respond. Today, targeted messaging is far more prevalent as email and text messages replace radio and television ads.
That said, while you can engage with customers directly via multiple channels, not all of them are equally effective. The two most common — email and SMS (text) campaigns — are similar, but one is decidedly better (spoiler alert: It’s texting). So, let’s break down the advantages and drawbacks of each method so that we can understand why SMS messages are more engaging.
A Brief Breakdown of SMS Reminders and Emails
Before we can have these two communication methods go head-to-head, we need to discuss what it means to send messages via email or an SMS gateway. Here’s a quick overview of each option.
With email messaging, users subscribe to an email list or get added to the list when they purchase a product. From there, the business can send them reminders to refill orders, check out new deals, or confirm upcoming service appointments. These reminders can accumulate in the customers’ email inboxes.
With SMS messaging, users have to opt in to the program before they receive messages. After they’ve done so, the company can send similar text reminders, including discounts, order and delivery updates, or appointment reminders. These reminders go directly to the user’s phone.
Why Text Reminders Are More Effective Than Email
These days, consumers are far more comfortable receiving and opening texts from businesses than ever before. Fortunately, utilizing an SMS application programming interface system can yield better results than email for several reasons.
On average, text messages have a 98% open rate, compared to 20% for email. It’s far more likely that a user will see a text message, while that same person might ignore or delete an email.
Up to 80% of customers want to receive order updates via text, and 43% are proactive about texting a business. When it comes to appointment reminders, companies can reduce missed appointments by as much as 26% if they send text reminders.
Smartphones have made it easier to receive and open emails, but a text is often much more convenient. With the average person receiving around 21 spam emails per day, it’s easy for notifications to get lost in the shuffle.
The Limitations of Email and SMS Reminders
Although both email and SMS messaging have advantages, neither option is perfect. Here’s a comparison of the limitations of each system.
Emails are far easier to ignore or delete without opening than texts are — but customers can also disregard promotional texts. The problem worsens when users activate the silent mode on their phones.
Texts can feel invasive. Customers have to opt in to an SMS campaign; federal laws prevent businesses from sending text messages to current or prospective clients without written permission, so a business could be breaking the law by texting. If a business spams potential purchasers’ phones, recipients will be far less likely to trust the company.
One major shortcoming of using an SMS gateway is that messages have to be short and sweet. If an enterprise wants to include a lot of details, it’ll need to include a link (which may get ignored).
Tips and Tricks for Designing Effective Campaigns
While SMS messages have limitations, you can overcome them with some creative problem-solving.
One way is to give users incentives. People will want to keep receiving texts if there’s value to them. Adding discounts or deals to messages can make the open rate even higher.
It’s vital to remember not to overdo it. Reminders and promotional texts are best when used sparingly. It’s optimal not to send more than one or two messages per day — and the sender must pay attention to user feedback.
A company may need to adjust its send times. For appointment reminders, the best approach is to send several to ensure that the customer doesn’t forget. A/B testing can help a business determine how far in advance a reminder text is most valuable (i.e., two hours before versus the night before).