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Email and SMS Marketing in 2024 – The New Barbenheimer?

Author:  Kevin George


Reading Time: 5 minutes
Email and SMS Marketing in 2024 – The New Barbenheimer?

Let’s hit the pause button on AI for a while! Yes, it’s going to be a smash hit this year. Very few experts question that. But there’s another development that has already penetrated our speech balloons: SMS and email marketing. 

A “better marriage” between email and SMS is in the cards. In fact, email and SMS cross-channel marketing sits right alongside AI on the list of email marketing trends in 2024. Does this mean the age-old debate between SMS and email finally drawing to a close? Only time will tell. 

But in the meanwhile, marketers need to acknowledge the existing dynamics between SMS and email. As things stand, it’s no longer just a matter of preference. 

Permission-based Marketing Channels 

Both email and SMS are permission-based marketing channels. If someone subscribes to your email newsletter, or signs up for receiving SMS notifications, they’re providing their consent for communication. 

So you’re not targeting people who’re not interested in your brand. You’re casting a narrower net which ensures only qualified prospects enter your funnel. And that would be a classic instance of Seth Godin-esque permission marketing. 

Leveraging Cross-Campaign Insights 

Suppose you launch a campaign on email. Over time, the analytics data will signal how the subscribers are interacting with your emails. You’ll also learn what type of content is driving maximum engagement and more. 

You can leverage these insights to kickstart a full-fledged SMS campaign. You’ll have the data you need; so you’ll be able to refine your messaging, and optimize your performance over time. You can then use SMS insights to improve your email campaigns, as well.

Humoring the Right Preferences 

Signups don’t necessarily signal preferences. You can only know in time which channel a customer prefers. Which is why it’s important to give your audience the chance to subscribe to both email and SMS. 

Picture this: a prospect signs up to your email newsletter. You send them a welcome email, and so on. But over time the analytics data reveals the prospect to be a dormant subscriber. What then? You either send them winback emails, or, eventually, flush them out of your list. 

But if the same prospect had been on your SMS list as well, you may have seen better engagement. In that case, you’d send them more text messages than emails. 

The reverse is equally true. Some people read text messages but click on the CTAs in your emails. You see, navigating the psychographic terrain can be tricky. So it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. 

Better Results for Time-bound Traffic

You can combine SMS and email when you need instant results. For example, if you’re offering a flash sale with a countdown timer, you need your customers to know about it right away. 

But in this case, email may not trigger an immediate response. Email marketing takes time, and by the time customers engage with your flash sale message, it might be too late! 

This is where SMS can help you. People respond to text messages more quickly. So you can text your customers about the flash sale you’re offering, and ask them to expect an email with the details. In this way, you can leverage both channels, each complementing the other.  

Enhanced Customer Experience

Interacting with customers on their terms – that’s the secret of great customer experience. So if you’re using the medium your customers prefer, you’ve got it down pat.

At the same time, it’s important not to adopt a subservient approach to customer experience. As a brand, you want to deliver value. Customers might not always understand what goes into doing this. But being a marketer, you should know better. 

Let’s take a simple example. You’ve got an email-friendly customer on your list. They don’t usually respond to text messages. But they do open and engage with your emails. Now imagine that you need to send them a security alert, or a shipping notification. This needs immediate attention. In that case, you shouldn’t rely on email only. Instead, you should send them a text message, notifying them pronto. 

Point being, great customer experience is not mollycoddling.🙂 

And Yeah, The RCS Thang!

Apparently, email marketing is likely to become message marketing in 2024. Does that signal the end of email or the end of SMS? Well, neither!

Back in November last year, Apple announced RCS support for iPhones. Here’s what an Apple spokesperson said, “Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS (Rich Communication Services) Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”

This could rejuvenate text marketing, making it more rich, advanced, interactive, and consumer-friendly. Why? Because SMS marketing as we know it is still quite crude. If mobile carriers adopt RCS, it can change the face of SMS marketing.

Now there are apprehensions regarding the viability of RCS. Since marketing through SMS is complicated (what with all the regulations and gatekeeping), integrating another complex feature onto it might screw up the entire apparatus. That’s a possibility one needs to factor in. Because RCS is an intricate messaging standard. 

But if it does catch on, email is arguably the only channel that can successfully incorporate a new one-to-one digital messaging avenue. So we’re talking about an integration of both SMS and email marketing, but in a more cutting-edge manner.

It’s insightful to listen to what Matthew Dun has to say about this

“While there are a bunch of great reasons (IMHO) to suggest that the email team should tackle messaging, there will be a bunch of things for them to learn if they do. RCS isn’t a replacement or substitute for email, but if the trajectory of rich messaging platforms in other markets is any indication, we’ll have to start learning how the two co-exist.”

Do We Have A Winner?

With all the conversation around Apple, RCS, etc. marketers are reconsidering the possibility of integrating SMS and email for real. Many brands already do that, yes. But if the trends are any indication, effective cross-channel marketing, at least in relation to SMS and email, may have more takers this year. 

In fact, according to some experts, 2024 might also herald SMS and WhatsApp marketing to complement email. Evidently, the dice is still rolling. Hopefully, it won’t stop at a tilt, and we’ll have an answer for sure by the third quarter at least. 

About the author

Kevin George, Email Uplers
Kevin George

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

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