According to a 2020 report, 86% of consumers expect to be engaged by businesses via email and 52% expect engagement from text messaging. Consumers prefer these communication channels for their ease of use and their omnipresence in daily life.

And for companies, combining emails and text messages creates a holistic customer experience. However, text and email are not interchangeable. Taking advantage of the unique benefits of each channel will enable you to provide a smoother, more comprehensive experience for your customers that keeps them engaged with your business.

Why use Email and SMS together?

Since email and text have different strengths when communicating with customers, they can work together to create a complete customer experience.

Using Email to engage customers

Email lets you include images, videos, gifs, and HTML email templates in your messages. This makes it the ideal format for sending multimedia content.

Email also allows for a wide range of messaging, such as:

  • Email newsletters updating customers on the brand’s latest news and products
  • Digital ‘scratch cards’ that ask the recipient to reveal a coupon or offer
  • Short games that reward users with a promotion or educate about your brand
  • Quizzes and questionnaires about your business and feedback
  • Embedded store pages allowing users to browse without leaving the email

Email is, therefore, a universal channel with unlimited usage opportunities in a hundred different ways. They allow for direct, personal, and personalized communication with your customers.

Using SMS to engage customers

Texting is better suited for short and more immediate messages that prompt a quick response. This is because most text messages are opened within just a few minutes of sending. For example, 83% of millennials open their texts within 90 seconds of receiving them.

As a result, they can be useful for:

  • Alerts and urgent messages
  • Booking and order confirmations
  • Appointment and delivery reminders
  • Quick feedback surveys
  • Notifications about important emails

Think of SMS texts as a way to quickly and easily alert someone of something they’ve shown interest in. For instance, if you use webinars as part of your business model, some webinar software have text alerts built into their platform. This is a great way to further engage interested prospects and make sure they show up.

Supporting email with text

SMS can also be a valuable tool to improve engagement with your emails. Customer engagement campaigns that use texting alongside email are 47% more likely to lead to a conversion. While you can’t always fit an important message into the short format of a text, you can use SMS to draw customers’ attention to an email, using texting’s higher open rates to increase your email engagement rates.

Additionally, it can make your existing email services more convenient. For example, using an email to SMS gateway you can forward key emails such as order confirmation emails and schedule updates automatically as texts, ensuring customers don’t miss them.

Sending newsletters

Email newsletters are ideal for sending longer content such as blogs, videos, infographics, and other detailed content that informs customers about the latest news and developments from your business.

Texting provides a faster way to contact customers with short messages, such as a weekly tip or news update text where the key information can be absorbed in a glance. It can also support your email newsletters by notifying customers that your latest email newsletter has been sent out or let them know about some time-sensitive news, such as a flash sale.

Alerting customers to urgent emails via text lets you avoid packing lots of information into an unformatted text while still benefiting from their fast open rates to get the message out quickly.

Gathering feedback

Email and text can both be used as feedback channels in different ways.

  • Email allows for in-depth surveys with open-ended questions, as you can include a form and text fields of any size.
  • In contrast, text surveys are better suited to shorter and simpler feedback requests, such as asking a single multiple-choice question after a key interaction or asking for a customer satisfaction rating out of 10.

As a result, email is ideal for getting detailed information about a customer’s experiences with your business, but texting can generate a large number of responses quickly to get a broader sense of how your customers are feeling. These two approaches to gathering feedback can work together to help you improve customer engagement, getting quantifiable data to focus your efforts from text, and using more in-depth feedback via email to get a more detailed understanding of those areas for improvement.

Offering customer support

Customers want to get the same experience through every communication channel and the ability to pick up an interaction or request through any channel, with more than a third of consumers saying they expect to be able to reach the same customer service representative regardless of the contact channel they use. Email and text are logical places to start with delivering a seamless experience as they are the most common and convenient methods of accessing support and customer service.

Besides using a CRM that supports this unified approach, you can provide more engaging and helpful support by taking advantage of the benefits of each channel. For example, email lets you include visual aids, video guides, and screen captures to demonstrate processes and troubleshooting steps. However, if you need to get responses from your customer about an issue, then texting could get a faster response. It can also be used to let customers know that a more detailed email response has been sent to help with an issue, rather than trying to give detailed advice via SMS.

Wrapping up

Using SMS and email together can have a big impact on customer engagement when you make use of their differing strengths.
Keep the focus on how each can add value and convenience for the customers using them while ensuring that customers get the same great experience through both channels.