Email or text? It is often the question when any of us needs to follow up with a friend or perhaps when you’ve just paid for something. The answer likely varies based on the situation, the sender, and the information you’re receiving.

The question is also pertinent for the marketer, because email and SMS are not an either/or choice today. It’s a both/and for marketers. The magic is in choosing wisely for every situation. 

We’re not here to tell you to pledge allegiance to “Team Email” or “Team SMS”. Both have their value, but choosing properly can make your marketing more effective and less intrusive. 

Here are five times SMS does it better.

1. This is timely and important info

When it comes to urgent and timely messages, SMS is the right choice every time. Most people check their text messages quickly and frequently. Text messaging is the best way to deliver time-sensitive offers, limited-time promotions, or urgent notifications. For many, checking email is reserved for a once-a-day (or less) activity, but the average smartphone owner checks their phone 96 times a day! Checking email once a day means time-critical announcements are missed. This not only creates a frustration for the recipient who misses an announcement, but it can also devalue your brand. If your target customers find the content you deliver is outdated, next time they may blow you off altogether.

2. I want feedback and interaction from my audience

If your marketing goal relies on immediate engagement or quick responses, SMS generates higher response rates. This may be things like event reminders, flash sales, or appointment confirmations. It should come as no surprise that SMS typically has higher open rates and faster response times compared to email. While email inboxes can get cluttered with tons of junk messages, SMS messages are often read within seconds of receipt.

3. I need to send a short and sweet message without flare

SMS (or MMS) messages are concise and to the point. No fancy layout. No choosing fonts and colors. At most, an extra photo or gif. People appreciate the simplicity in many cases. If your message can be effectively communicated within a limited number of characters, SMS can be an immediate, straightforward, and direct way to communicate. This approach works well for brief announcements, reminders, or simple calls to action. The lack of flare and wordiness often prompts recipients to reply or take another positive action.

4. My audience is glued to their phones

Most of us keep our phone on or near us at all times (or we’ve got a watch dinging us). However, there are select times, often related to a demographic, when we silence our phones or intentionally check them less. If your target audience relies heavily on their smartphones for communication and daily habits, SMS marketing is going to be more effective. Younger age groups and specific industries have a higher preference for text messaging. This is not a hard science, but it is always important to know your target audience.

5. It’s easier for me to collect phone numbers than email addresses

In some cases, people are more willing to provide their phone numbers for SMS communication as opposed to sharing their email addresses. If your target audience is more inclined to opt in for text updates, don’t hesitate–and don’t stress over not getting an email address. SMS can be a valuable marketing channel to engage directly. Even in the case that you need to communicate a lengthier message than texting allows, you can use SMS to send a link to a landing page where your audience can get more details or even revisit the info in the future. 


Don’t ditch your email lists, but in some situations, email would be considered an outdated form of communication and the last thing any business needs right now is the perception that they are technologically behind. As with all marketing, SMS marketing should be used judiciously, as excessive or intrusive text messages can lead to customer annoyance or opt-outs. Careful consideration of the target audience, the urgency, your goals, and content are all crucial when determining whether SMS is a better marketing tool for your specific situation.

Haven’t started your SMS marketing campaign yet? We’d love to help. To learn more about how SMS marketing can help your business, contact us today.

You may also like