Published February 15th, 2023 by Editorial Team

SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing: The Ultimate Comparison

The business environment is more competitive in the 21st century more than ever. In the struggle to gain a competitive advantage over other niche players, most brands shift their focus towards personalized marketing strategies. This is why email and SMS marketing is on the rise. 

Since most brands strive to become nichers in their various industries, they are continually searching for digital marketing tactics that are best suited for their businesses. In this article, we will carry out a detailed comparison between email marketing and SMS marketing. 

However, before we proceed to the main comparison, let's quickly discuss these two exceptional marketing tactics. 

Email Marketing 

Email is an essential aspect of digital marketing. Even though you decide to invest in advertising and search engine optimization, you may want to send a message directly to your audience's inbox, that's where email marketing comes in. 

If you need professionals to handle your email marketing campaigns, you can hire some of the best email marketing service providers online. 

According to web fx, email marketing generates fifty percent more sales than most other lead generation methods. That's amazing, isn't it? 

Again, it's valuable to reach out to your clients these days via digital messaging (email). A larger percentage of your prospects are using portable devices with an internet connection. 

Whether you are advertising a new product, sending product order updates, or requesting customer feedback, you will always find email marketing useful. It allows you to easily stay connected with your customers, making it one of the best ways to market your business online. 

Without an iota of doubts, email is a popular digital marketing channel for most marketers. In recent studies, 73% of marketers said that email marketing is their number one digital marketing channel for return on investment. 

Still not convinced? Email marketing is generating about 29 billion Euros in retail sales annually in the UK. I know this is sounding very interesting to you. But it's not all hassle-free. Email marketing has its challenges. 

Challenges of Email Marketing

According to Radicati Group reports, 74 trillion emails are sent every year, 269 billion emails are sent every day, and 2.4 million emails are sent every second. 

The figures are mouth-widening, aren't they? Sadly, about 50% of these emails find their way to spam. You can use any of these email marketing software to directly get your email to your audience's feedback. 

Again, with so many emails sent at a time, our inboxes are getting cluttered. Due to the high number of emails people receive daily, they tend to delete many emails without checking their content. That means you may spend a fortune sending emails that people may not see the contents. 

So, most marketers prefer using SMS marketing or push notifications for their campaigns these days. These two marketing tactics don't face the same challenges email marketing is facing. 

When prospects receive push notifications or SMS from you, their phones immediately alert them and get your attention. That's why their open rate is high and could help you achieve great results for your marketing campaign. 

What is SMS Marketing

SMS marketing (which stands for Short Message Service) is a marketing tactic that enables you to send messages to your customers via text directly. In a nutshell, SMS marketing is text messaging. 

You can send personalized messages to your prospects and customers to increase brand awareness, boost engagement, and possibly generate sales. Sadly, marketing leaders underutilize SMS despite its potential and proven marketing effectiveness. 

According to research, SMS has a 98% open rate compared to emails with a 20% open rate. Furthermore, it takes about 90 seconds for an SMS to get replies while it takes about 90 minutes for emails to get replies. 

The marketing potential of SMS is endless. A recent study by digital marketing magazine shows that 75% of participants suggested they prefer receiving offers via SMS to emails. For this reason, about 65% of marketers have adopted SMS marketing due to its effectiveness and unquestionable potentials. 

Similarly, for every SMS marketing campaign, there's always a 45% response rate while there is only a 6% response rate for most email campaigns. 

Unlike emails, SMS is short, and it takes an average of 3 minutes to read 95% of all text messages. 

By now, I know you are thinking if Email marketing is no longer in fashion, right? That's far from it. Even though SMS marketing is getting all the attention because of its comparative advantage in the open and response rate, email marketing is still a relevant digital marketing strategy. 

Email users are growing rapidly every day. With the expectation that users will increase to 4.3 billion by the end of 2020, email marketing is still very much in fashion. 

SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing: Which is Better?

For the avoidance of doubt, SMS, and Email marketing both play essential roles in your business's marketing plan. Even though both marketing tactics have their benefits on how they deliver information to your customers and prospects, it can be challenging to choose the best strategy for you. 

In this section, I will do a quick comparison between SMS marketing and Email marketing, focusing on the following variables; 

  • Open Rate
  • Deliverability
  • CTR
  • Cost
  • Customization

#1. Open Rate

Certainly, technological advancement is a beautiful thing. But it comes with its challenges, and distraction is one of them. We are living in a time where customers are easily distracted. And grabbing their attention these days is a daunting task. 

Guess what?

SMS marketing quickly gets people's attention irrespective of the distraction. Like I mentioned earlier, the average open rate for SMS marketing campaigns is 98%, and that's massive. And the average open rate of email marketing, on the other hand, is 20%. 

Averagely, it takes someone 90 seconds to reply to a text message compared to 90 minutes for an email. 

Even though the distraction is high among customers, SMS marketing is still a direct route to getting their attention. 

#2. Deliverability

Do you know the unique thing about SMS marketing? Your list has only engaged customers because it requires your audience to either opt-in or out of the campaign. So, at all times, you communicate directly with people who are enthusiastic about your products or services. 

Email marketing, on the other hand, has a larger list and may require you to send frequent emails. Again, there's a high chance that the email you send may end in the customers' spam folder. This could damage your reputation and possibly make customers stop trusting your brand. 

Recent statistics show that 49% of all emails sent are marked as spam. This report is shocking. That means you have to go through hurdles to ensure that your audience gets your email in their inbox. 

Furthermore, an average office worker receives over 120 emails a day while an average millennial receives about 67 texts each day. 

#3. Click-Through Rate

Generally, both email and SMS marketing could have a high click-through rate depending on your call to action. So, the number of click-through rates you get from your email and SMS marketing largely depends on your call to action. 

Averagely, the click-through rate of email campaigns is about 4%. What this statistic means is that your customers opened your email and probably read the content. But they didn't take the desired action. 

It's a bit challenging to craft an outstanding call to action for a Text message. It has limited character (163). Most marketers use links as CTA during the SMS campaign. 

#4. Cost

Cost is another important variable to look out when deciding whether to choose SMS or email marketing. The cost of your SMS campaign depends on the message length, the number of messages sent, and the recipient. For instance, it costs more to send SMS to an international audience compared to local calls. 

Generally, SMS marketing is more expensive than email. Email, on the other hand, is the most cost-effective strategy to send a non-time-sensitive message to a large audience. 

#5. Customization 

When it comes to customization, email outweighs SMS marketing. You can easily personalize email in a way that resonates with your client. 

With email, you can add attachments, hyperlinks, images, and videos. It enables you to customize your message and connect with your audience using the right color combination, images, and gifs. 


Both email and SMS marketing play an essential role in your overall marketing strategy. It won't be rational to discard email marketing in favor of SMS marketing because both tactics have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, statistical reports showed that about 90% of internet users in the US use email at least once in a month in 2019. Everywhere!

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