How 6 Successful Companies Use SMS in Addition to Email Marketing

July 16, 2019
Written by
Allison Jensen
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

How 6 Successful Companies Use SMS in Addition to Email Marketing

Brands that win over their audience and prospects don’t always create the best productsthey create a new way to engage with their customers. SMS and text message marketing gives businesses a chance to capture audience attention and communicate with their customers in a direct and personal way.

SMS messages have extremely high open rates: 90 percent of all text messages are read within three seconds of being received. As the use of mobile phones increases, brands who want to stay competitive can leverage SMS to build brand awareness and reward customer loyalty.

While the benefits of SMS are endless, texting should be used to complement email marketing, not replace it. Striking the right balance between SMS and email is the key to providing a seamless communication experience for your customers. To learn more about choosing SMS or email, take our quiz. 

Let’s take a look at 6 companies that are using SMS to enhance their marketing efforts and take their customer communication to the next level.

1. Airbnb

Airbnb allows people to list, discover, and book accommodations that suit their travel needs. Once guests have found a place where they would like to stay, they can communicate with the host through Airbnb’s website or mobile app to finalize the details of the reservation.

Airbnb uses email marketing effectively to send personalized messages to potential guests at each stage of the funnel. Before a customer even plans a trip, Airbnb sends customized vacation inspiration emails that are targeted by the user’s location

Once customers are inspired to choose a destination, Airbnb sends timely lodging recommendations that encourage users to book their trip. After customers finalize their accommodations, Airbnb delivers automated booking confirmation emails that state the details of the reservation.

Email from Airbnb containing travel inspiration

Airbnb enhanced their email communications with SMS by allowing hosts and guests to communicate in a more efficient and immediate way. Airbnb automated their mobile communications by sending hosts SMS messages with information about the potential guests who are looking to book their place. 

Hosts automatically receive an SMS once a guest requests to book their home, and they can then confirm or deny the request instantly on their mobile phone. Airbnb’s SMS program also allows hosts and guests to text each other directly about the details of the reservation through masked phone numbers to protect both parties’ privacy.

By adding SMS to their existing email program, Airbnb was able to streamline the rental experience for hosts and guests, leading to more successful bookings through the site, and a more positive user experience overall.

Airbnb SMS reservation confirmation text message

2. Lyft

Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in the United States, and is available to 95 percent of the U.S. population. Passengers can quickly request a ride using the Lyft mobile app and connect with a nearby Lyft driver within minutes. 

Lyft uses email marketing to attract new passengers, reward customer loyalty, and expand their Lyft ambassador program. Lyft kicks off their email marketing with an automated welcome email once users make an account. 

Lyft engages customers with milestone rewards, special promotions, bi-weekly newsletters, and “Win-Back” campaigns–all with captivating visuals, consistent branding, and clear calls-to-action. Lyft also sends automated ride receipts via email once a ride is completed, so customers can access the details of their ride at any time.

Lyft email marketing promotion

To complement their email marketing efforts, Lyft uses SMS to facilitate real-time communication between drivers and passengers. Lyft sends out automated text messages to passengers when a driver accepts their ride request, arrives at a location, or when their ride status changes. 

Lyft also uses SMS to allow drivers and passengers to communicate with each other without giving out their personal phone numbers, which makes it easier for both parties to share their locations. An innovative “Lost & Found” feature in Lyft’s SMS program also helps passengers report any missing items during their ride and coordinate returns. 

SMS allowed Lyft to cut support costs by 100 percent. By letting customers contact drivers directly, Lyft’s support team was freed up to be more efficient and address higher priority issues. Lyft’s integrated email and SMS communication ensures that both drivers and riders have a safe and positive experience.

Lyft SMS notification on iPhone

3. Yelp

Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with local businesses. Yelp users have contributed over 102 million reviews on businesses of all kinds, giving other customers the information they need to make their purchasing decisions. 

Yelp uses email marketing to meaningfully connect with both businesses and consumers alike. Through email, Yelp sends local restaurant recommendations and featured reviews to potential customers, engaging them with colorful templates and mouth-watering images. 

Yelp also provides personalized, valuable tips for businesses on how they can be more discoverable to their target audiences in order to expand their customer base and drive sales.

Yelp promotional email

To boost their email marketing, Yelp uses SMS to meet their users where they’re most active: on their phones. In fact, since 2016, over 70 percent of Yelp’s searches come through mobile devices. 

Through Yelp’s SMS program, customers can text restaurants to make, modify, or cancel their reservations. Businesses can send text alerts to update their customers on wait times and reservation availability, and they can even reply directly to their customers’ inquiries. 

Yelp’s use of SMS bridges the gap between businesses and customers through an immediate and real-time communication channel, creating better experiences for both businesses and customers alike.

Yelp SMS notification on iPhone

4. Doordash

Doordash is a food delivery service that delivers restaurant food right to customers’ doors. Through the Doordash app and marketplace, people can purchase food from local merchants and have it delivered to them in 45 minutes or less

Doordash uses email marketing to attract new users and reward customer loyalty. From offering exclusive online discounts to garnering attention with fun, captivating subject lines and images, Doordash effectively uses email marketing to make it easy for customers to satisfy their cravings. 

While Doordash’s emails are creative and show loads of brand personality, they are also a great resource for new and existing customers to receive special promotions and discover new restaurants.

Doordash promotional email

Doordash uses SMS to streamline communications between their dispatch, drivers, and customers to provide speedy and reliable service. Doordash’s SMS program allows dashers and customers to text each other through masked phone numbers, upholding both parties’ privacy while ensuring that orders get delivered to their correct recipients.

Doordash also relies on SMS lead alerts to help convert interest into sales, track orders, and provide real-time customer service. 

By using SMS in addition to email, Doordash is able to generate new sales and cut down on their delivery time, sometimes to less than 15 minutes. Doordash’s dependable communications program allows them to instill confidence and trust in the eyes of their customers.

Doordash SMS notifications on Android phone

5. Instacart

Instacart is an on-demand delivery grocery service, delivering food and supplies to customers in as little as an hour. Instacart serves over 375 cities across the United States, and aims to take the time and hassle out of traditional grocery shopping.

Instacart uses email marketing to simplify the grocery shopping experience for its customers by sending personalized, timely offers and promotions. Instacart effectively crafts their emails with fun anecdotes, exciting images and gifs, and high levels of personalization, guaranteeing that each customer has a positive experience with their service. 

Whether it be a welcome email for a new account signup, or an exclusive discount for a returning customer, Instacart keeps their emails concise, simple, and visually pleasing.

Instacart promotional email

To complement their email marketing, Instacart uses SMS to manage their order confirmations, delivery ETAs, customer satisfaction surveys, and employee shift alerts. The company also utilizes the two-way communication capabilities of SMS by allowing shoppers to text customer service representatives in real-time about the status of their groceries. 

Mobile numbers are masked for both shoppers and delivery workers, so both parties’ are able to communicate efficiently while keeping their personal information private. 

By adding SMS to their email marketing, Instacart is able to provide customers with quality service while also keeping their delivery quick and efficient. With a combination of email and SMS, Instacart is optimizing the grocery shopping experience for their time-crunched consumers.

Instacart SMS notifications on iPhone

6. Trulia

Trulia is an online residential real estate site, connecting home buyers, sellers, renters, and real estate professionals. According to Twilio Learn, over 31 million homebuyers visit Trulia each month to search for homes and connect with local real estate agents. 

Trulia uses email marketing to provide valuable information to potential homebuyers and position themselves as a thought leader in their field. As customers are looking to buy and sell properties, Trulia sends industry trends and insights to their subscribers to demonstrate their expertise and dependability in the real estate market. 

Trulia also uses email to inspire homebuyers with potential properties and announce new service features (like their augmented reality browser for mobile). Through email, Trulia is able to grow customer loyalty by establishing themselves as a go-to source for real estate tips and trends.

Trulia email newsletter

Trulia’s SMS program allows real estate agents to instantly connect with new leads. The company found that if a real estate agent returns an inquiry call within the first 5 minutes, the lead conversion probability increases 100 times. 

Knowing this, Trulia adopted SMS into their communications program to immediately notify agents when a new lead comes in. Even if real estate agents are busy on calls or assisting other clients, they are still able to receive leads instantly through SMS, allowing them to respond promptly to new customers in need of assistance.  

Using SMS, Trulia was able to convert 60 percent of their online leads into customers. Trulia’s combination of email and SMS marketing enables them to position themselves as a leader in the real estate industry and enhance their customer service communications.

Trulia SMS lead alert


These 6 companies show that SMS communications have the power to streamline customer interactions and allow brands to send personalized, targeted messages. Here are the key takeaways that you can learn from their success: 
  • SMS messaging can enhance your existing email program by allowing you to engage your customers on the channels they prefer.
  • With SMS, you can initiate two-way conversations with your customers and respond to inquiries in real-time.
  • SMS can be used to send appointment reminders, tracking updates, lead alerts, and delivery notifications.
  • SMS should complement your existing email marketing, not replace it.
By adding SMS to your existing email program, you can capture your customers’ attention like never before and support them at every stage of their relationship with your brand. SMS can empower your business to send messages effectively and immediately, and start meaningful conversations with your customers. 

To learn more about how to incorporate SMS into your existing marketing efforts, check out our SMS and Email Guide.

Recommended For You

Most Popular

Send With Confidence

Partner with the email service trusted by developers and marketers for time-savings, scalability, and delivery expertise.