Email vs. SMS: Which Channel to Choose for Your eCommerce Lead Generation
ECommerce lead generation is a vital part of creating a successful business. One of the top secrets of boosting your online sales is to get more leads. Eventually, leads are potential buyers. It is up to the companies to incentivize them and turn into customers.
An eCommerce marketing lead is the one who shows interest in your brand or eCommerce products and services, which makes the person a potential customer. For many businesses, the lead generation process can take months. With eCommerce lead generation, a lead can become a customer in 2 minutes, if he or she has a credit card close by. It might start with a Facebook ad and end on a checkout page several minutes later.
If you are a marketer, you must want to get the most out of each marketing campaign you run. But with so many different channels available, it can be a huge challenge to identify the right one for your campaign.
Nowadays, mobile messaging has to be a priority for your eCommerce platform, whether it is a small online store or a well-established dropship business. While email marketing is still an excellent and demanded channel, you need to connect mobile messaging into your marketing, sales, and customer support to absolutely balance your business to the next level. But which channel is the best?
We’re not going to claim that one is better than the other, but we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of SMS and email marketing.
SMS marketing is a strategy that allows merchants to send messages to customers via text. This practice is also called bulk SMS. Businesses can send text messages to their customers to raise brand awareness, boost engagement, build brand loyalty, and even generate sales.
Unlike email, which is often slow to respond, SMS allows you to respond to customers and support them more than ever. If used correctly, each customer can have an automated assistant that helps them with their online shopping experience.
Here are just some of the campaigns and automation you can run with bulk SMS:
- Meaningful content that’s straight to the point
- Quick access to important information
- Deals and coupons
- Information to keep customers in the loop
- Personal alerts like notifications and account updates
- Automated customer support
- Information to customers who don’t want to visit apps or websites
- Ask for product reviews
Subscription-based stores can also text suggestions of corresponding items to a customer. With a single text reply of “yes,” customers can add-on items to their subscription orders.
Regardless of whether you’re using automated or manual replies, texting your customers can raise engagement and create a more productive customer relationship.
Email marketing is the practice of sending a commercial message, commonly to a group of people, using email. Ecommerce marketers continue to rely on email for a good reason: it just works, and everybody loves it.
Google recently introduced Dynamic email for Gmail, which opens up new opportunities to innovate with email marketing. It offers new and exciting features for email marketing.
Email suits many purposes, and it’s something many users are used to receiving for several reasons, including:
- Deals and coupons
- Service or product promotions
- In-depth and educational information
- Meaningful, detailed content
- Feedback or action requests
- Establishing, and maintaining a community
SMS marketing is rising in popularity, but email isn’t going anywhere too. Relatively, it’s adjusting to the constantly progressing online world, and it’s gaining power because of it. Email is still an excellent channel for eCommerce marketers, and it will continue to show decent results in the near future.
- Research reveals that SMS open rates are 98%, compared to just 20% of all emails. Moreover, it usually takes 90 seconds for a person to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email.
- Moreover, 75% of people have advised that they’d be glad to receive an offer via SMS – this is why 65% of marketers claim that SMS marketing is a very effective method for them.
- The number of email users continues to increase. In 2017, there were 3.7 billion email users (which means half of the world population). By 2020, this number is supposed to rise to 4.3 billion.
Due to the significant number of emails people receive, it’s no surprise that so many get deleted without even being read. In contrast, text messaging doesn’t face the same challenge. As we’ve already discussed, the open rate of text messages is far higher than email.
As soon as someone gets an SMS, their phone alerts them and grasps their attention. And if the user doesn’t open the message straight away, the phone will keep on reminding them they have an unread text, making this a highly beneficial feature for your campaigns.
Nevertheless, bulk SMS could face this same challenge as email marketing in the near future. Since it continues to grow more popular with each passing year, people may be used to ignoring them soon.
Using SMS and email marketing to your advantage
SMS messages are awesome because they’re short, and they get straight to the point. With a 160-character limit, companies have to be clear in their approach and can’t fill their SMS messages with lots of puffery content and unnecessary information.
Short, accurate copy that grabs attention is a necessity, plus many links to confirmations, tickets, reviews, and attachments.
Differently, there are no particular limitations when it comes to emails. Marketers can compose emails as large as they wish, and include any kind of feature-rich content such as images, GIFs, videos, infographics, and other interactive content. Moreover, your email list can be easily segmented through your email service provider. That being said, you still need to keep your emails concise and to the point – especially when the average reader only has an attention span of 8 seconds.
Email marketing may feel like the safer play in many cases, especially if you’ve already been using it efficiently. However, combining these efforts with SMS marketing can boost your results.
For instance, Smart Insights found that sending a follow-up text to your customers that asks if they’ve read your email can increase open rates by nearly 30%. By combining these two channels, you can immediately and easily increase the engagement and maintenance levels of your customers. This is especially beneficial if you’re using emails to gain reviews and customer outlooks.
Some marketers think that SMS is a replacement for email remarketing. After all, with such an open rate and mobile optimization, some may ask: why bother with email?
Though this question seems to make sense, the idea of getting rid of emails is fundamentally wrong. As powerful as bulk SMS can be, it has disadvantages.
- The strictly limited characters of promotional text messages make them great for fast communication, but bad for detailed messages.
- Since clients are automatically alerted every time you contact them, it’s easy for them to become exhausted if you send too often. Differently, emails have no character limit and allow you to communicate in much greater detail.
Getting Started with SMS Marketing
The steps are simple:
- Determine the different ways that you want to use SMS to connect and engage your customers.
- Find an SMS marketing service that suggests all the features and functionality you need.
- Start simple. You don’t have to use every feature or strategy to work immediately. You may not even see real success right in the beginning. You should focus on growing your list and then start to add additional engagement strategies.
- Keep on testing. There is always room for improvement and learning. Keep things bright, and continue attempting new things.
Getting Started with Email Marketing
Before sending an email marketing campaign, create an email marketing strategy first. Carefully consider your email marketing templates to succeed. Although no two email strategies are identical, most include the following:
- Selecting an ESP (Email Service Provider) to send your email campaigns.
- Setting goals for the program and determining which metrics are most crucial in reaching those goals.
- Developing a brand voice and style guide to be used in your emails.
- Designing or customizing an email template to create brand flexibility and save time.
- Implementing a pre-send checklist and process to avoid email marketing mistakes.
Email is growing, developing, and changing, so are text messages.
This gives you a perfect chance to engage with your customers through both mediums. You only need to experiment and adapt the ideal communication channels for you. Why choose one if you can use both?
Yes, we highly recommend using email and SMS together to communicate with your customers more effectively.
SMS marketing can easily cover email marketing pitfalls. How? If you’d sent a customer an email and they didn’t open it, you can create an automated system to send a follow-up text message. Did they open the initial email? Good, then you make sure they don’t get a text.
Some customers prefer email over SMS and vice versa, so take your time to experiment with these channels to see what performs best for you. Give customers the option to choose their communication platform and watch them feel happy.
Using SMS and email marketing as “either/or” choices weakens the potential of your campaigns. Both are necessary for your marketing mix – but choosing only one or the other is a losing game.
Artyom Matevosyan is a content writer in the text marketing industry. Having his major in English & Communications, Artyom is passionate about writing. His writing is always backed
up by thorough research above anything else—facts first, narratives second.