email vs text


Email and SMS are common marketing channels to engage current customers and acquire new ones. But should you use email, SMS, or both to market your business? That’s a curveball question for many marketers and solopreneurs. To select between email vs. text, you need to thoroughly understand how both marketing channels are different. 

Let’s discuss SMS and email marketing in detail to help you choose the right marketing channel for your business.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing involves using email to send promotional and marketing content to customers and leads.

Email gives you plenty of space where you can add visuals, animations, and text content. The large screen estate is an asset when you’re trying to provide value and build genuine connections with your customers and leads.

You’ve likely seen email marketing in action — remember receiving that newsletter, discount offer, or feedback request from the last brand you shopped from? That’s email marketing.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is more personalized. The best part? Text messages have an excellent open rate so there’s a much higher probability the customer or lead will see your marketing content.

Text messages are more effective in engaging customers, but SMS isn’t just about marketing content. It’s coming a step closer to your customers and leads to building a stronger connection with your brand.

You can send customers notifications about flash sales so they can quickly visit your store. With email, there’s a possibility that the sale ends by the time a customer reads the email. You can even send reminders about checking out an abandoned cart or their next meeting with you.

Email vs Text: Major Differences

Email and text differ in cost, the ability to accommodate content, and more. Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the two:


Basis of differentiation

SMS Marketing

Email Marketing

Delivery requirements

Requires a phone with active cell reception.

Requires a smart device or computer with an internet connection.

Opt-in regulations

Businesses need explicit consent from consumers before sending text messages to comply with local regulations.

Email opt-in regulations are relatively more relaxed and differ among countries.

Open rates

Text messages have a better open rate of 98% than emails.

Emails risk getting lost in the shuffle, especially if they end up in the spam folder.

Character limit and visual options

SMS have a 160-character limit and don’t support visuals.

Emails have no character limit and support visuals, such as images, GIFs, and videos.


Cost varies based on your business needs and the marketing platform. The cost per SMS is generally higher than per email.

The cost depends on the marketing platform, your subscriber list, and the email frequency. Email marketing tools charge a monthly fee for email campaigns.


Anywhere between 2-6 messages per month is fine. Sending a lot more messages can look spammy.

1-2 emails per week is a good practice. However, you may send an occasional email for time-sensitive notifications, such as a flash sale.

Brand customization

Not a lot of opportunity for branding your content.

Ample space to add branding content, which is great when you want to build brand awareness.

Click-through rates (CTR)

Thanks to higher open rates and more personalization, the CTR text messages are generally higher at about 20% to 30%.

CTRs for emails are generally lower at about 2% to 5%.

Need help calculating and comparing email and SMS ROI? Use our calculator and plug in the numbers.

Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is a top-notch marketing channel. But to fully utilize its potential, you need to know both the pros and the cons.

Pros of SMS Marketing

Wider reach

There are more mobile phones globally than people. This gives you the opportunity to connect with a wider audience that may or may not have a computer or an internet connection.

Higher engagement rates

Text messages offer more customizability. Using a conversational tone and personalizing the text messages can elicit more responses to your text messages.

Clear and to-the-point

Conciseness breeds creativity — the 160-character restriction compels you to communicate your message clearly in a limited space. Shorter messages are more impactful and great for an audience with shorter attention spans.

Simple to opt-in and opt-out

Customers can easily opt-in and out of receiving text messages. You can place a CTA to opt into text messages on the company website or at the checkout. The easier you make it for customers to opt in and out, the more trust you’ll build with them.

Cons of SMS Marketing

Limited character count

The limited character count is also a con because you can’t send longer communication. When you need to add details about who is eligible for a sale or include T&C, the limited character count can be restrictive. MMS can address this concern with a 1,600-character limit, but that’s still not enough for many types of marketing content.

Restrictions on visuals

SMS messages don’t support visuals. MMS messages can include visual content but they’re still not as effective as email because you can’t use HTML to design the layout.

Regulations and compliance requirements

Non-compliance with TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) can attract heavy penalties. It’s critical to comply with requirements like allowing customers to opt in and out and sending messages only during business hours. While these requirements aren’t a major concern, even a small mistake can be costly.

Pros and Cons of Email Marketing

Email is one of the most widely used digital marketing methods and offers an ROI between 36 and 45%. Of course, email marketing comes with its own set of drawbacks. Let’s talk about both.

Pros of Email Marketing

Commonly used

Nearly 4.26 billion people use emails. So, you have a bigger playing field for reaching out to potential leads and pitching your product and services. It even opens up venues to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers.

Easier tracking and analysis of your campaigns

Marketing platforms like Emittr allow you to monitor the performance of your email campaign. Tracking a campaign’s KPIs (key performance indicators) like open, spam, conversion, bounce rate, and click-through is easier when you have the right tools. These metrics allow you to monitor and optimize as you go.

Suitable for branding

The lack of a character limit and the ability to add visuals make emails more suited for branding your content. You can design emails with more flexibility to include your brand’s colors and style and use HTML to build an attractive layout.

Easy for users to unsubscribe

While receiving prior consent isn’t necessary for sending cold emails in all countries, some laws like the US’s CAN-SPAM legislation mandate that recipients be provided an easy way of opting out of receiving messages from a specific business in the future.

Better for cold outreach

Nearly 4.26 billion people use emails — that includes most of your target customers if you’re a digital brand and a good chunk of your target customers if you’re a non-digital brand. Send cold emails to this massive target audience over email to take your business to the next level.

Cons of Email Marketing

Spam filters

Popular email platforms like Gmail and Outlook have built-in spam filters. If too many customers mark your email as spam or if you send too many emails, your emails could automatically end up in the spam folder and never be seen by the recipient.

Saturated channel 

Email users exchange over 333 billion emails every day. Saturation is a drawback — more brands are fighting for your target audience’s attention than ever before, making it harder for your brand to get noticed.

Short attention span

While email provides the estate to more text and visuals, consider Gen Z’s average attention span of 1.3 seconds for ads and the benefits of flexibility start to look a little less attractive. Of course, there are ways to keep readers hooked to your email with sharp copy and immersive design.

Email vs Text: What to Choose? 

When you decide between email and text as the preferred channel for communicating with your customers, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Does your message require one-way or two-way communication?
  • Is the communication time-sensitive?
  • Do you need the communication to be secure?
  • Does the message contain any form of media? 
  • Are you looking forward to automating client communication? 

Now that you have acquired detailed insights into both email and text for marketing purposes, it is time to make a decision. To make it easier for you, here are some use cases where you can use email and text: 

Use Email if: 

  • You wish to onboard new customers 
  • You intend to send detailed information about your products and services 
  • You’re looking forward to implementing some client/patient recall strategies 
  • You want to reach out to customers in different time zones 
  • If you want to keep a record of things like billing 

Use texting if: 

  • You want to schedule/reschedule and confirm appointments 
  • You want to send a text to multiple people without a group message 
  • You wish to communicate with customers in a closed group 
  • You want to send payment reminders 
  • You need to communicate with customers securely (especially in the case of healthcare)
  • You wish to inform clients about limited-period promotional offers
  • You seek to send greetings on special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries
  • You wish to share service or delivery updates with your clients

How Can You Choose Between Email and Text for Your Business?

In the email vs text debate, there’s no clear winner since both marketing channels have their advantages and disadvantages. So, to choose between the two, you must gauge your marketing goals, customer preferences, and budget.

Understand Customer Preferences

Research your target customer’s preferences to determine the marketing channel they use the most.

For instance, if you own a retail store, your customers might prefer texts to emails. On the other hand, email is more suitable for B2B SaaS companies.

Monitor the devices they use to browse and purchase your goods and services to better understand customer segmentation. You can even conduct a short poll or survey to ask them what they prefer between email and text.

Identify the type of messages you’d like to send

Identify if you’d like to send promotional, transactional, or educational messages. Then determine its length, target customer, time sensitivity, and need for visuals. 

SMS marketing is best for time-sensitive messages, like a flash sale promotional message. If you need to send a slightly long message paired with high-quality visuals to make your point, use email marketing.

Similarly, if you’re a B2B company, emails would be the ideal channel to reach potential leads, whereas B2C businesses might witness increased ROI with text messages.


It’s best to use both digital marketing channels simultaneously if your budget allows it. If you’re low on budget, pick one based on your target customer’s preferences and your business goals. As a general rule, the cost of SMS is lower than email. So bear this in mind as you make a decision.

Monitor and analyze results

Test and analyze the results from both sources to determine the channel that offers greater ROI. Tracking metrics will help you understand if your target customers respond positively to time-sensitive text messages or prefer immersive visuals in your emails.


1. Is it better to send an email or text message?


In the battle of email vs text, what suits you best really depends on your use case. You need to decide the purpose of your communication, understand what your target audiences prefer, and then finalize whether you want to use text or email. For instance, if your goal is to reach out to as many people as possible and automate communication, then text is better. On the other hand, if you wish to send out detailed messages, then email is the better option. 

2. Which is safer email or text message?


Both email and text are subject to interception. Both can be accessed by other individuals as they are not safe by default. However, text messages can be made secure and HIPAA-compliant. For that, you need to sign up with text messaging software that allows you to communicate securely with your customers. 

3. What info should not be sent by email?


Any information about the customer that contains sensitive details pertaining to payments, their addresses, their account numbers, etc can be intercepted during transmission. In the case of healthcare, any sensitive information about the patient such as their test results, medications, or account credentials should not be sent via email. 

4. What is the advantage of messaging over email?


Text messaging is beneficial over email in a number of ways. For example, it has high open and response rates, it can be automated, it is instant, and an affordable means to communicate with prospective clients and existing customers. All in all, it is a great channel for SMS marketing

5. What are the advantages of using email to send messages?


Emails are better than text messages when you have to send detailed information to clients as text messages have a character limit. Also, email is a great channel for branding purposes. 

SMS and Email: A Powerful Combo

While email and SMS marketing are different, using both helps achieve results faster. And you don’t have to use two separate platforms to use SMS and email — just use Emittr. With Emittr, you can quickly draft, schedule, and send email and text messages to achieve your marketing goals without breaking the bank.

Schedule a demo today to discover how Emittr can help grow your business.

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