SMS and email are some of the most effective electronic marketing strategies in the market today. These two methods have been proven to be both effective and reasonably priced for marketers worldwide. Unsurprisingly, small and large business owners alike invest in these marketing strategies to promote their brands. They can be used together or independent of each other depending on your audience’s preference.
But, if you could only choose one, which would be better? Here’s what you need to know about these electronic marketing strategies and how to streamline your process through automation.
What Is SMS Automation?
As it stands, SMS marketing has a conversion rate of around 29%. That’s a pretty high conversion rate considering how an average of 2% to 5% is already an excellent return on typical marketing strategies.
The high conversion rate is compounded by the fact that most SMS marketing is done through automation. This lets you automatically send messages to a large list of people with just a simple click. Even better, automation allows you to send messages on a schedule depending on where you sit on the marketing cycle. The messages can also be different per group, date, product, service, or other factors. All of these can be entered in an SMS automation software and the program will simply follow the instructions as entered. Depending on the software, these schedules can cover days, weeks, or even months into the future — allowing businesses to focus on other aspects of the marketing cycle.
SMS Best Uses
SMS automation can be tweaked and adjusted for practically all industries. Unsurprisingly, the personal approach of SMS marketing makes it incredibly appealing for both large and small businesses. SMS automation has found success when used in the following industries:
SMS texts can be a good way to remind buyers about routine checks or the best time to bring the car back for servicing. You can also send messages based on the season. For example, the winter season makes it the perfect time to send promotional messages for winter tires.
Hospitals, pharmacies, dentists, and ophthalmologists can benefit largely from these automated messages. With appointments typically far in between, it’s perfectly normal for people to forget their doctor appointments. A simple SMS message can help remind them of the visit and give them that extra push they need to show up!
SMS marketing has a very personal touch to it. It tends to be location-locked so local businesses are really the ones who can benefit best from this approach. Using text messages, you can update prospects about new locations, new listings, seminars, or other property-related information.
Other industries such as retail and travel have found massive success with SMS automation, helping share information on limited time sales, products back in stock, and even rare travel opportunities or fare sales. SMS automation works with most industries and can be customized for engagement and replies directly to individual representatives at a company instead of simply just being mass messages (though that is an option also).
Big brand names are using SMS automation marketing to get their message across. There’s Starbucks, which uses phone messaging to update members on its reward system. Costco uses SMS for their business by allowing members to request refills through text. Tommy Hilfiger and Magnolia encourage buyers to sign up for SMS alerts where they can receive information about sales, rewards, and discount vouchers. Truly, SMS is an integral part of the personalized customer experience that is changing the industry.
What Is Email Automation?
Email automation works pretty much the same way as SMS automation. It allows you to deliver messages to a specific set of email addresses. With automation software, these messages can be sent based on a schedule and further segregated based on the receiver, the phase in the marketing cycle, products, services, and so on. The only difference between SMS and email automation is the marketing medium you’re using and the way in which the content is laid out.
Email marketing has proven to be effective when used in the following industries:
Travel and Hospitality
Email automation is a good way to introduce new hotels, travel locations, or discounts to people who are searching for travel spots. This benefit extends to airlines that can use emails to deliver reports on seat sales, changes in flights, and so on.
Using email automated marketing is perfect for banks, investment companies, insurance agents, and other financial service providers. The benefit comes primarily from the fact that customers of this industry are widespread and are rarely focused on one geographical area. The email blast, therefore, guarantees that each person on the list receives timely, accurate, and transparent information. Since finance services can be quite complicated, the email approach lets companies present information in images, graphs, or tables to better communicate data.
Of course, retail businesses also love email automation. This lets them send sales alerts, discount vouchers, or even remind people that they’ve left something in their cart. Since most retail companies utilize deliveries to complete sales, an email approach allows them to have a wider range of prospects.
Email marketing has grown, with brands using this avenue to reach global prospects. Airbnb and Booking.com are just some of the services that rely heavily on email automated marketing. Once you visit their site to look for accommodations in specific areas, they’ll start to send updates about discounts or sales in those locations. Since email makes it very easy for you to follow links, these companies can also post images or videos that encourage you to follow through with the CTA. West Elm, Pottery Barn, and other large retailers often do the same, with images of items you browsed and quick links to take you back to your favorite items.
Which Is Better – Email or SMS Automation?
Both email automation and SMS automation are effective marketing strategies that are open to adjustment. You can easily tweak these two approaches to match the demands of your industry. However, it’s important to note that there’s a distinct difference between these two methods.
For one thing, SMS automation has a more personal and local feel to it. Messages are sent right to your recipient’s phone, allowing them to instantly view the message. This personal approach allows the person to quickly act on the information so there’s very little gap between the CTA and the response. Depending on the SMS automation partner you choose, you can even route responses to specific individuals who can respond directly in real time- making this a truly personal experience for the customer. Email marketing takes some time and not everyone is responsive to their email alerts. In terms of marketing, email automation is best for industries where prospects tend to mull over the decision before acting, and SMS is better for quick responses and engagement.
The downside of SMS automation is that it’s very limited. You typically can’t place images, video, or audio in a text message. (There are a few platforms in the market that will let you send images or gifs.) The best you can do is send a link to your desired page. This means that the message itself should be compelling. In contrast, email marketing offers more leeway when it comes to the content of the message. There’s more room there to “convince” the recipient or encourage them into making a decision.
When it comes to straightforward comparison, therefore, there’s no clear winner or loser. Instead, choose your marketing strategy based on your audience and business. For the most effective solution, merge both SMS and Email Automation together and let your user decide their preferred way to engage.
Whether you’re using email or SMS automation for marketing, keep in mind that marketing principles still apply. To get high conversion rates from your marketing approach, you need to target the right people, deliver useful information, and give your prospects the opportunity to respond or act based on your message.
The platforms that you use are incredibly important, and need to fit your goals and vision, as well as provide good reporting. Additionally, you want to ensure they have good customer service and support, because your business needs to be a priority just as much as you place your customers in a place of importance. We’ve worked with multiple SMS and email platforms, and are happy to take a look at your needs and make some individual recommendations that fit within your existing systems.