SMS vs Email Marketing – Use Cases, Performance Comparison, Advantages & Disadvantages

Author Image By Ashish Dwivedi

Last Updated: December 18, 2023

6 minutes

Marketing the key to the success of a business is of many types depending upon the requirements, location, audiences, etc. Email marketing and SMS marketing are some of the types of marketing. In this SMS vs Email Marketing article, we’ll show you a comparison between both types of marketing.

Both email marketing and SMS marketing are used to send promotional messages to customers and leads. The difference is just that SMSs are shorter and more precise than emails that are directly sent to the customers’ phones.

Email marketing has always been the most preferred method of sending promotional emails by companies to their customers and leads. SMS marketing on the other hand has emerged in recent years and it is fast, cost-effective, and requires no internet connection. But the question arises, which is better among the two?

Let’s understand both marketing channels separately, before learning SMS vs Email marketing comparison.

What Is SMS Marketing?

Sending promotional messages through SMS is called SMS marketing

Through marketing-oriented SMS you can:

  • Build a contact list 
  • Track each SMS campaign 
  • Examine the delivery, opening, and response rates 
  • Know the unsubscribe rates 
  • Get the report of the performance of your campaign

You can also send personalized messages to your customers and use text messaging for personal conversations.

SMS Marketing

Types of SMS Marketing

  1. Promotional SMS Marketing- These are general promotional messages which contain information like brand information, special offers and discounts, sales information, limited-time offers, etc. You can also inform people about your upcoming events. Promotional SMSs require an opt-in by the customers, they usually get a welcome message with a form asking for consent to receive messages.
  2. Transactional SMS Marketing-  This gives customers information like their order confirmations, shipping updates, and delivery confirmation. This helps a customer to keep a track of their product delivery. Other information these types of SMSs include our account information, payments, bill reminders, and all kinds of transactional information.
  3. Customer Service SMS Marketing- Through this type of SMSs customers are provided with a direct link where they can ask questions and interact with customer service, or customer service uses these messages to send surveys to customers asking them for reviews and feedback.

Advantages of SMS Marketing

  • The word limit is only up to 160 characters making it more precise and coherent. Hence reading SMSs doesn’t take much time. Due to this people prefer it as people are more inclined to read short and less time-consuming messages.
  • Text messages have higher opening and response rates than any other medium of communication.
  • Sending and receiving SMSs doesn’t require an internet connection. Hence internet is not a barrier for SMSs.
  • Text messages are immediately received after they are sent. Hence there’s no waiting time.
  • 99% of all the SMSs are read by the recipient,
  • 90% of the SMSs get read within 3 minutes,
  • 61% of marketers still don’t use SMS marketing for their businesses.
  • 6 billion SMS are sent daily.
  • 81% of professionals use only SMSs for professional work
  • 2.27 trillion SMSs are sent every year,
  • SPAM rates of an SMS are just 3% compared to email channels which have 53%
  • The open rate of SMS is 98% compared to the email channel which has 20% only.

Disadvantages of SMS marketing

  • When you have a lot to tell and communicate with your customers the word limit of 160 characters becomes a barrier. It becomes very difficult to include all the relevant pieces of information.
  • Pictures cannot be included in text messages. Hence you cannot show your new products or any products visually.
  • There are very strict rules and regulations for GDPR compliance. Hence there are chances that your SMSs can get spammed if you fail to get an explicit opt-in. Hence businesses cannot completely rely on SMS marketing.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email Marketing is sending promotional content through emails by a business to its customers or leads. Email marketing is one of the most popular modes of communication between a business and its customers and clients. Since emails can include images and short video clips. This makes emails very impactful and captivating for customers and leads.

Email Marketing

Types of Email Marketing

  • Welcome Emails- Whenever a customer signs up or makes a purchase from your company then an email is sent to them for welcoming them. This first email is called the welcome email. The main focus here is the conversion of customers to leads and making the existing customers retain.
  • Newsletter Emails- The regular updates of brands that customers get on a fixed schedule that can be weekly, monthly or the frequency depends completely on the brands. The main focus here is to build long-term relationships with their customers.
  • Promotional Email Campaigns- These are promotional emails sent to customers and leads for the promotion of its goods and services. These emails aren’t personalized. The main focus here is to promote products and services to all audiences.
  • Cart Abandonment Emails- When a customer or a lead puts some items in their cart but doesn’t proceed with buying, due to many reasons. Chances are there that they may buy in the future or not buy at all. These abandoned carts contain a lot of revenue within themselves. Hence it’s crucial for businesses to send emails to customers who left items in their carts giving them offers and discounts on their carts. This helps a lot in bribing customers and motivates them to buy to a greater extent. Many abandoned cart drip campaigns have gained a lot of success.
  • Seasonal Marketing Campaigns- Companies release great offers and these are sent around specific times, like seasons, holidays, etc. They’re used for promoting products that fit certain times of the year.

Advantages of Email Marketing

  • There’s no word limit. Hence it’s a perfect choice for long messages like newsletters, business updates, etc.
  • Emails can contain images as well. Graphical representation makes messages more impactful and appealing to the audience.
  • There’s no restriction on time zones on emails. People receive emails according to their own time zones.
  • Email marketing is the most used communication channel among businesses throughout the world hence email marketing ranks on top for communication purposes for B2B businesses.
  • Based on subscribers’ online activities businesses can create drip campaigns.
  • It generates more traffic on your website if you provide your website’s link in the email.
  • You can send feedback forms to customers asking them for reviews and ratings of your products and services. This will help you to improve your services.

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

  • Many emails are spammed since a customer’s mailbox is already flooded with promotional emails.
  • Many email providers have provided strict filters in their email services that put promotional emails right into the spam folder. Poignantly this affects most genuine emails also which can benefit the customers.

Performance Comparison: SMS vs Email Marketing

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Open Rate98%20%
CTR (Click Through Rate)9.18% (Highest among all Communication Channels)2.5%
Spam RateOnly 3% of the SMSs are considered spam due to explicitly opt-ins85% of the emails are considered spam.
Response Rates 90 seconds is the average response time.90 minutes is the average response time
UsageFewer companies use SMS marketing. Hence if you are using SMS marketing then the chances of you standing out are much higher.Mostly used by all businesses. An average employee receives 121 emails per day.
CostVery affordable. Costlier than SMSs.

Since both email marketing and SMS marketing has different advantages and disadvantages they should be used for different domains by businesses. Businesses should not stick to just a single method.

Use Cases: SMS vs Email Marketing

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Email MarketingSMS marketing
NewslettersLimited offers and discounts
Long-form educational contentPurchase confirmations
Product announcements because they have imagesAppointment reminders
B2B campaignsUrgent notifications
Messages that require technical informationPurchase confirmations
Press releasesDirect communications with customers and clients


SMS marketing and email marketing are the two most prominent forms of marketing used by businesses to promote their products and services. Both types have their own advantages as well as disadvantages hence businesses should have the knowledge of which scenario in which marketing will work best. By taking the right step at the right time only businesses can have more grip on the market.

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