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Email Marketing vs. SMS Marketing: Which Wins the Battle?

Samavia Malik

In a world full of competitive and personalized marketing strategies, email and SMS are on the rise. You’re likely to ask yourself which digital marketing strategy is the best?

Are you ready to find out?

Keep reading this article to learn more about email marketing vs. SMS marketing, the pros and cons of each digital marketing channel, and its examples.

Email as a Marketing Strategy

No one can deny the vital role of email in digital marketing. While advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are effective strategies, reaching out to your audience through email is crucial.

After all, email marketing has a Return-On-Investment (ROI) of $36 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing is pretty versatile as you can achieve a variety of desired results. For instance, email campaigns are excellent for advertising new products, welcoming new clients, sending product updates, requesting customer feedback, etc.

How does email marketing work?

Email marketing is an excellent mode of communication with your current and potential clients. 

Whether you’re planning to build customer trust or grow clients’ understanding of your brand, emails help foster the customer-business relationship, nurture leads, and land more sales.

Having a capable team of marketers helps you in many ways, like:

  • Design an effective email.
  • Craft a compelling subject line.
  • Develop its content.
  • Keep your email on brand.
  • Think about your layout.
  • Personalize your email.
  • Incorporate visual elements.
  • Conduct A/B testing.
  • Track results and improve.

Is Email Marketing Worth It?

Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels to build an authentic connection with your clients but it has its pros and cons.

Pros and cons of email marketing

Pros of email marketing

Email is an effective digital marketing tool for a reason, providing the following benefits:

Tells a visual story

Emails contain more visual elements than SMS and present information in a visually appealing way. So, they give you more space to be creative, allowing you to captivate your customers with high-resolution images to show off your new product. 

For instance, Unlayer lets you create beautiful emails by incorporating images within no time. You can easily modify and personalize emails according to your customer and brand’s style.

Aligns with user habits

When you put an ad on a billboard overlooking your local highway, your target audience will likely ignore it. Since 99% of users check their emails every day, emails can help get your message seen and viewed.

This way, you interact with your target audience who want to engage with your company’s content. They’re viewing their email for a reason looking for sales, updates, and other content that aligns with their interests.

On the other hand, in the case of billboard advertising, they’re focused on the road while traveling down the highway.

Serves as a cost-effective option

Whether running a small business or leading a global corporation, making the most of your marketing budget is essential. As you already know about its tremendous ROI, email marketing is a cost-effective strategy.

Plus, there are several email marketing softwares that enable you to design, execute, and monitor email marketing campaigns for free.

Cons of email marketing

In this email marketing vs. SMS marketing debate, email has a few disadvantages.

Lower CTR

The average Click-through Rate (CTR) for email marketing is 2.91% across industries, which means a significant portion of your messages may generate zero actions from your target audience. 

It might seem like email marketing offers little value, so your team needs to perform its best when it comes to creating valuable emails.

Appears spammy

Subscribers may feel annoyed at the overwhelming number of promotional emails flooding their inboxes. Your readers may unsubscribe from your email list or mark your messages as spam.

That’s why it is so vital for your marketing team to limit the number of emails sent and decide on an effective cadence.

Responsive issues

Not everyone is going to open your email on the same device or with the same device settings. If you don’t test how your emails are rendered across devices, it can lead to faulty graphics, blocked images, unreadable text, and whatnot.

However, your team can bypass this disadvantage by using Unlayer’s 1,000+ HTML email templates with a responsive format. 

Email Templates That Convert Crazy

Attractive Designs. Responsive Format. White-Labeled.
Email Templates

3 Examples of Successful Email Marketing 

Confused about how to design the perfect email campaign for your business? Have a look at three examples that have used result-driven techniques to master the art of email marketing with their email copy and design.

1. Artsy

What sets Artsy apart from other companies is its eye-catching emails. The email below creates a joyful and welcoming experience connecting readers with artists and their artworks. They’ve advertised various arts by sending out a list of suggestions to their readers with attention-grabbing graphics. 

Additionally, Artsy’s Call-To-Actions (CTAs) are effective as these buttons are essential to redirect their readers to relevant and helpful landing pages.

Effective email example from Artsy

2. Tinder

Tinder exactly knows what’s it like to create a warm and welcoming email, especially for new clients. Their invitation to ‘Tinder Like a Pro’ expresses the brand’s personality with an inviting tone that provides valuable information to their new customers.

Plus, employing rich multimedia like GIFs and beautiful illustrations really sets it apart.

Effective email example from Tinder

3. Netflix

This has to be one of our favorite examples of email personalization from Netflix. It makes their readers feel like they matter. Because when you remove the barrier between subscribers and businesses, you can effectively market your services.

Effective email example from Netflix

SMS as a Marketing Strategy 

On average, Americans check their phones 344 times a day because mobile phones are that piece of technology that consumers are likely to keep in their hands throughout the day.

That is precisely why SMS marketing is ideal for sending short messages, quick advertisements, and promotions.

How Does SMS Marketing Work?

SMS marketing primarily relies on permission-based texting services to create and promote brand awareness. Your company asks the users if they want to receive automated texts.

When consumers confirm their subscription to text message updates, you can start sending periodic messages to engage them and boost your results effectively.

Is SMS Marketing Worth a Shot?

SMS marketing is an excellent way to reach out to your customers interested in your product or service. But it comes with its own set of benefits and limitations.

Pros and cons of SMS marketing

Pros of SMS marketing

Want to know if SMS marketing is the right choice for your business? Here are a few of its advantages.


The second a ‘ding’ sound comes from a mobile phone, your customers direct their attention to their smartphones. Therefore, texts are a quick way to grab their attention and ensure your messages get viewed.

No need for internet

Users don’t even require WiFi to receive your text messages, which means you can connect with them on the go. This sort of communication is extremely valuable for businesses like the food, retail, and tourism industries. 

For instance, a promotional text of a meal at your restaurant may motivate users to drop by on their way home from work.

High customer engagement

While emails may go unread, your text messages will likely get your readers’ attention. This results in higher engagement levels for your business, leading to more sales.

Cons of SMS marketing

As with any other marketing strategy, SMS marketing also has a few limitations.

Length limitations

Texts are primarily designed to be short, so you should keep your messages brief and to the point. As most users are likely to preview their text message from notifications, developing a message that instantly hooks readers and lures them into reading your entire message is crucial. 

On the expensive side

Telecom companies charge users for sending and receiving text messages. Hence, your brand needs to decide on a cost-effective plan. Sending too many text messages will take a toll on your budget, and users will also feel overwhelmed. Therefore, you may see higher unsubscribe rates.

This way, your ROI will likely decrease, and you definitely don’t want that.

Unclear branding 

You may have difficulty building trust with your consumers because of the large number of fraudulent texts they receive. Plus, it is very difficult to build brand recall because you can’t easily add logos and brand colors in a text message.

That’s why users should opt in first when you’re employing SMS marketing. That’s the best way to make your business goals clear from the very beginning. 

3 Examples of Effective SMS Marketing

Are you interested in crafting an SMS marketing campaign but don’t know where to start? These examples will give you some inspiration to help drive the success of your SMS marketing plan. 

1. Vuori

A few things need to be communicated upfront with the new SMS subscribers. For example, whether message and data rates will apply, how the subscribers can opt out, and where they can find the privacy policy.

And Vuori has successfully included that information in their confirmation text message.

SMS marketing example from Vuori

2. Jenni Kayne

Some companies use SMS to send promotions and sales because it is one of the most efficient ways to engage prospects and customers. The SMS example below from Jenni Kayne includes an image, the promo code, and a link to the website for its customers to make a purchase.

SMS example from Jenni Kayne

3. Beachside Crossfit

As Beachside Crossfit has done here, you can also send event invitations to your customers through SMS. They’ve let their clients know when and where the event is taking place and how to sign up or view it online.

SMS marketing example from Beachside Crossfit

Email Marketing vs. SMS Marketing: Which Is More Effective?

Asking this question if email marketing is more effective than SMS marketing is like asking if cardio or lifting weights is better for fitness. It’s a valid question, but both come with a unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

So, there’s no straightforward answer to this question. Just like cardio and lifting weights serve different health and fitness aspects, email and SMS marketing can serve different purposes of your marketing efforts.

The real power is how you apply them together in an impactful way. When you try to cover all your bases with just one of these, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities to reach your customers in an impactful way.

For instance, email marketing is effective for sending out long-form content like newsletters, etc., while SMS marketing is more effective for sending brief updates. Similarly, you can send an email promoting an upcoming event a month before and then follow it up with a reminder text.

Still, there are industries that can benefit separately from email marketing and SMS marketing.

Top industries that can benefit from email marketing

The hospitality industry, eCommerce, and luxury brands are bound to be big players of email marketing. Vivid storytelling and striking images are the perfect marketing tools for those working in these industries. 

Hence, email is the perfect tool for incorporating these elements into your marketing campaigns. Plus, email marketing is very cost-effective, so you can expect a great ROI. 

Top industries that can benefit from SMS marketing

Text messaging is an effective marketing solution for a variety of industries like retail, restaurants, real estate, etc. These industries can incorporate texting into their marketing campaigns by offering special coupon codes and discounts.

For instance, restaurants can send a last-minute promotional text to their customers right before lunchtime or at the end of the long workday when they’re most likely to make plans for eating out.


Both marketing strategies are effective and work even better when used in sync. 

Regardless of your marketing tactic, user permission is crucial for collecting emails and phone numbers. This way, you’re building trust with your customers and avoiding being sent to spam.

And hopefully, we’ve cleared all the fog around email marketing vs. SMS marketing and given you a better insight into the pros and cons of each.


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