4 Ways To Combine SMS and Email Marketing For More Engagement And Sales

Email marketers are seeking ways to cut through inbox clutter and drive more conversions.

Mobile marketers want to engage customers without bombarding them.

Both need solutions to increase response rates from their audiences.

Low email open and conversion rates mean wasted efforts and missed sales and overusing SMS blast campaigns risks turning off subscribers.

As an experienced marketer, I have developed integrated email and SMS campaigns that have increased both open rates and bottom line revenue for customers.

In this guide, I’ll share a few of the best ways to combine the strengths of both channels to bring in more engagement and conversions.

Let’s dive in.

Why Combine Email and SMS Marketing

Email is still considered the best engagement and revenue-generating tool that businesses use today and business owners are discovering the power of SMS as well.

While these two tools are typically pitched against each other the truth is that they are in fact highly complimentary.

Pros of Email

  • High send volume i.e. you can send emails daily without burning out your subscriber list.
  • Higher lead flow i.e. you will get more people signing up with their email address than mobile number

Cons of Email

  • Low open rates
  • Spam algorithms
  • Reputations scores
  • Low-medium priority channel means people will not rush to answer an email, it can be hours or days.
  • Lower quality leads

How does bulk SMS fit into all of this?

Here are the pros and cons for SMS:

Pros of SMS

  • Has high open rates
  • Low to zero spam algorithm issues
  • No reputation scores to worry about
  • High priority medium (high response times)
  • High quality leads

Cons of SMS

  • Limited characters
  • Low send volume i.e. you can’t send SMS messages as often as email
  • Low lead flow i.e. people will only give up their mobile numbers if ready to buy which means less people will opt-in to your SMS funnel

You can see that these two mediums are able to cover the weaknesses of the other making them a great power combo.

Let’s look at some of the different ways you can use SMS and email.

4 Strategies to Integrate SMS and Email

Below are effective ways to combine these two marketing channels:

1.    Use Email to Grow Your SMS List

What if you don’t have an SMS subscribers list set up yet?

Chances are you already have an email list so the first thing you’ll want to do is send out a series of emails (one email isn’t going to cut it) inviting people to join your SMS list.

If you have email segments make sure you set up different SMS lists that match your email segments to keep your SMS targeting on point.

Jinx, an online retailer, used email to tease new product launches and sales, driving SMS subscriber sign-ups resulting in a 120% increase in subscriptions from email flows and an 88% increase in revenue from email campaigns1.

  • Add a call-to-action (CTA) in your emails inviting customers to text a keyword to opt-in to SMS updates.
  • Offer an exclusive discount or deal for those who opt-in to SMS through your email.
  • Send a dedicated email campaign promoting the benefits of your SMS program.

2.    Boost Email Open Rates

One of email’s weaknesses is that 80% of people will not open your email.

Whereas 90%+ people will open an SMS message.

SMS is a good “can opener” strategy to get your foot in the door to let people know that you sent them an important email.

MailiGen increased email open rates from 20% to 29% by resending emails and sending SMS to unresponsive subscribers, resulting in a 59% increase in email open rates1.

  • Send an SMS alerting contacts of an important email they should check.
  • Share a teaser via SMS and link to the full email content.
  • Follow up via SMS if an email goes unopened.

3.    Launches And Events

If you’re launching a new solution or event using email in combination with SMS will give you the highest chance of eyeballs especially as the event draws near.

The best way to use this would be to use email leading up to the event to educate and build anticipation and use SMS to get people’s attention 24 hours before the event.

  • Have people sign up for the event using email and mobile
  • Use email to send content
  • Use SMS to as a reminder right before launch

4.    Drive Maximum Sales

Email is great for your general nurturing and sales emails but when you have special sales events like Black Friday or Christmas you want to get maximum eyeballs which means lowering as many barriers for people to see your message as possible,

SMS allows you to get around reputation scores, spam algorithms, inbox competition, etc. so you give your promotion the highest chance of driving sales.

If you are sending an email with lots of content you can either create a unique page and use SMS  to funnel traffic to that page or send the email followed by an SMS inviting your subscriber to open the email.

  • Use email for broadcast, nurturing and general sales.
  • Use SMS to get maximum sales for special events
  • Use SMS to get the “open” and then send the customer through to a special content page or offer page.
  • Send a follow-up SMS after you send your email campaign.

Key Takeaways

1. Email and SMS marketing complement each other well. Email has high send volume but low open rates, while SMS has high open rates but lower send volume. Combining them leverages the strengths of each.

2. Use email to grow your SMS list. Include CTAs in emails inviting people to join your SMS list to receive exclusive offers or early access to sales. This can significantly boost SMS subscriptions.

3. Boost email open rates with SMS. Send an SMS alerting people to an important email so they are more likely to open it. You can also use SMS to follow up if an email goes unopened.

4. Use the power combo around launches and events. Use email leading up to an event to build anticipation, and SMS as a timely reminder right before the event to drive engagement.

5. Maximize sales with both. Use email for general nurturing and sales outreach. But leverage SMS around special sales events to bypass barriers like spam filters and drive maximum visibility and sales. Follow up an email promotion with an SMS reminder.


Integrating email and SMS provides an opportunity to engage customers in new ways and drive better results. Test different approaches, learn what resonates with your subscribers, and refine your strategy over time. With smart automation, valuable content, and a seamless cross-channel experience, you can develop marketing campaigns that convert.