A marketing strategy is very similar with a battlefield: tools and processes fight every day to bring the desired results businesses look for. It is a battle filled with obstacles, a battle with time and sometimes, a fight in which the other part wins and the business needs to retreat and rethink its strategy.
It may seem brutal, but this is what marketers face every day. They look for the perfect ‘weapons’ to use in order to achieve the objectives of their strategy and to help businesses grow.
A really good question is how they choose the tools and how they know that they will work. It can be said that, at a certain level, the tools choose them and there is another battle between these ‘weapons’.
Let’s look, for example, at email marketing. It is a well-known tool present in the marketing field for quite some time. Used to contact people quickly and easily, it has become one of the main elements that marketers use in most of their strategies.
However, recently, email marketing gained a competitor which promises to be more efficient and to bring better results: SMS marketing. Being a newcomer on the market, this tool gained popularity quickly and has integrated in marketing strategies very well.
This is the moment when the battle between email and SMS marketing began. Both have their strengths that help businesses in their development. However, the differences between email and SMS make each tool special and represent great advantages in marketing strategies.
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Advantages and disadvantages of email marketing
One of the great advantages of email marketing is that it allows businesses to reach their target audience easily. If a company based in London, UK wants to reach their potential customers from New York, the distance between them is reduced to a matter of button clicks. This shows that email marketing enables businesses to reach their target audience globally in a matter of minutes. They can send newsletters, special offers or invitations to certain events.
Facility is another characteristic that describes email marketing. Due to the fact that it is highly used, marketers can choose from a wide range of email marketing services that will fit in their budget and offer features that will fulfill their needs.
Furthermore, because of these features, emails can be adapted to be interactive and catch the attention of the receiver. Marketers can add photographs, infographics and videos that will attract people’s interest.
Last but not least, marketers can measure the success of the email marketing campaigns. Email services offer the possibility to view open rate percentages and to compare the results of different campaigns.
It sounds so easy that it may seem too good to be true. Email marketing also comes with some disadvantages. First of all, the open rates represent a great issue. According to Hubspot, in order to have an open rate between 28 and 33%, businesses need to send between 16 and 30 campaigns per month. Thus, it shows that the process requires time and energy.
Because people are used to receiving large numbers of emails, they have transformed in an impersonal tool that marketers use. For this reason, catchy headlines and specific call to actions are vital when working on an email campaign. They need to attract the attention of the receivers and motivate them to fulfil a certain action.
Secondly, emails often reach the spam box. People receive great numbers of emails everyday which they do not open. The ones that enter spam are somehow condemned to a tragic faith.
Advantages and disadvantages of SMS marketing
Now that we have seen how email marketing functions, it is time to move to our other competitor. SMS marketing has identified the weak points of its competitor and has built itself in order to satisfy the needs that other party cannot.
The numbers illustrating the open rates of text messages speak for themselves. 99% percent of all received messages are opened. Moreover, people open them within the first 3 minutes after receiving them. This gives SMS marketing a great advantage as it somehow guarantees businesses that their target audience receives their message. In addition, businesses can obtain these numbers by sending between 4 and 6 SMS campaigns per month. This also shows the great difference in efficiency between SMS and email marketing services.
Also, the texts are generally limited to 160 characters. This can be seen as an advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Marketers need to write precise messages and get to the point quickly. They need to have immediate impact on the receivers or else, it can be perceived as an intrusive way of advertising products and services. Mobile phones are very personal items. People may need to pause an important meeting or interrupt their daily work schedule in order to read a message. This is why marketers need to make their time worth it. Nevertheless, if it is done properly, it will catch people’s attention and determine them to fulfill the desired action.
Furthermore, although we are talking about SMS, businesses can reach their target audience globally. Remember our example with the British company based in London that wanted to reach its customers from New York? They can easily use SMS marketing to achieve their goal. There are several SMS marketing services that allow businesses to reach customers from all over the world.
Due to the fact that it is a relatively new strategy, SMS marketing has its disadvantages. Comparing it with email marketing, one of its drawbacks is the difficulty to obtain people’s phone numbers. Creating a consistent database with the numbers of your target audience can be a difficult task which can take time.
What should businesses choose?
We have discussed both parties and seen what each of them is capable of. The next big question is how businesses choose between them. There are a few guidelines that can help them determine which strategy can fulfil their needs.
The tool must align with their objectives
This is a must when deciding to use a certain tool. In order to avoid losing precious resources, marketers need to ask themselves whether this would speed the process towards achieving their goal, whether it would open new doors and possibilities.
It should be easily integrated in the marketing strategy
Any new tool that marketers start to use needs to find its place in the marketing strategy. It needs to fulfill certain roles that will bring the business closer to achieving their goals and seeing successful results.
When in doubt, ask for advice
Businesses who have used a tool or have been in a similar situation are a great resource to take into consideration when making such a decision. They can give marketers an idea of the real possibilities of a tool and guide them towards making a decision in the benefit of the business.
In the end, who is the winner of the battle? Email marketing has a strong position in the marketing field and it is widely used by several companies. On the other hand, SMS marketing is a newcomer with a great potential and it promises to fill the gaps that email marketing cannot.
It is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of both tools before choosing to integrate them in the marketing strategy of a business. This will help marketers make a decision that will bring them closer to achieving their objectives and having satisfying results.
Who do you think is the winner of the battle? Tell us in a comment below whether email marketing or SMS marketing is a better tool.