Using SMS and Email to Engage Your Customers

Combining SMS and email makes your customer communications more powerful.

Chapter 1

Using SMS and Email

For thousands of companies, email is a critical communication channel for reaching prospects who have come to your website or app to sign up for a service or purchase a product. Imagine where you’d be without the ability to send password resets, account updates, shipping notification, or other messages?

We’ve been helping developers get the right message delivered to the right person at the right time for years. Our company was built by developers, for developers, and now you can benefit from another robust API. SMS adds another communication channel that you can use to reach your contacts.

Businesses using SMS and email together have the opportunity to reach their customers through targeted messages that will improve their overall experience. When determining which channel to message your customer through, you should consider a few different questions:

  • How time-sensitive is the communication?
  • Does it need to lead to a two-way conversation or is it only a notification?
  • Will the message need to contain rich media?

What’s an SMS?

SMS stands for Short Message Service, and is a more technical term for what we know as a text message. The SMS API bridges the gap between the Internet and the carrier network in order to send and receive SMS messages.

Fact:

9 out of 10 global consumers want to text with businesses, but only 48% of businesses are equipped with SMS.

Global Mobile Messaging Report 2016

Up Next

The Need for SMS and Email

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

The Need for SMS and Email

Just like email, SMS can be extremely useful for the operation of your business, and when you combine them, your ability to communicate with customers gets more powerful. The fact is, when it comes to business communications, consumers are often looking to have conversations in a few very specific forms: messaging (like SMS, MMS, and chat), email, phone call, and in-person:

By using multiple communication channels together, you can provide your customers with a much more seamless experience. Below are some of the most common uses cases for leveraging SMS in addition to email.

Reminders

A reminder is a perfect example of how SMS can enhance your existing communication plan with your customers. If your customers have already received a booking confirmation, sending another email the day before or the day of their appointment, trip, or reservation may be overkill. Unfortunately, customers that don’t receive a reminder may not show up, leading to lost revenue. A concise SMS can be the perfect prompt for them to check their calendar and follow through.

Alerts

SMS can be an excellent way to immediately inform your customers and account holders if security-related actions have been performed in their account, if there’s a public safety announcement, or if there’s a relevant neighborhood update. You may have received similar SMS messages in the past after changing your email or password in an online account. Alerts like these are not only wanted by customers, they’re expected. The SMS API even allows you to program repeat updates, like weekly account balances if your customers want them.

Confirmations

For many customers, a confirmation message is an essential communication that they want to receive after placing an order online or making an account update. It lets customers know that your company has received their order or has accepted the changes they’ve made to their account. What happens if that customer no longer uses their email address? Or perhaps the confirmation isn’t delivered to the inbox correctly? With an SMS, you can add an extra layer of communication, and text the confirmation to your customers.

Notifications

Like a reminder, a notification is a perfect email enhancement. It may be inappropriate or unwelcome to send yet another email to your customers if a shipment has been sent, or if an order is available for pickup. An SMS in these situations can be the perfect way to communicate a real-time update to your customers. For most people, a mobile device is on-hand all the time, which makes an SMS notification even more valuable if you’re looking to communicate with customers immediately.

Fact:

The global average open rate of SMS is 94%.

Esendex Blog "What is the open rate for SMS in 2018?"

SMS and Email Share Many Similarities

While both communication channels are often used for critical messages to your recipients, there are some key factors that differentiate SMS and email, as well as some they share:

 

 

Fact:

Nearly 7 out of 10 UK businesses think they’re communicating with their customers effectively, while only 2 out of 10 customers agree.

Twilio, Bridging the Communications Divide

Up Next

What to Consider When Adding SMS

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

What to Consider When Adding SMS

The most important thing to know when it comes to implementing a new SMS channel is that the most effective SMS program is used to enhance your emails, not replace them. SMS and email are used for much different types of communication, but ultimately, your customers want both.

The best way to determine how to include SMS into your communication strategy is to determine two things:

  • How quickly should the recipient receive the message?
  • How business-critical is the content of the message?

Depending on your answers to those questions, and how much imagery, branding, or design your messages require, you can quickly map how you should get your message to your recipients and by what channel:

In some cases, it may be necessary to send both an email and an SMS. In a situation where there’s been a potential security breach, you want to inform any affected customers immediately. This is a good example of where sending messages across both channels is necessary. For something like a Quarterly Marketing Campaign, however, you’ll need to have branding, refined messaging, and a clear call to action. This is where a marketing email is best suited.

Fact:

Businesses identified as leaders in customer communication tailor their communications to deliver the right information using the right channel at the right time.

Twilio, Customer Communications Report 2017

Up Next

See How to Send and Receive SMS

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

See How to Send and Receive SMS

Twilio provides quickstart docs and videos for all major coding languages, including Java, Node.js, Ruby, and Python.

Fact:

According to Gartner, 1.5 billion smartphones were sold in 2017 — each one capable of handling text messaging at a minimum

Gartner Press Release, February 2018

Up Next

Companies Using SMS and Email Together

Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Companies Using SMS and Email Together

See how some high-volume email senders at SendGrid are also embracing SMS:


Yelp Reservations gives restaurants the tools they need to manage their reservations. However, they needed a way for restaurants to reach their customers in the critical moments before their reservation time. Learn more about why Yelp chose to use SMS as the medium for those messages.
Instacart relies on Twilio’s SMS notifications to manage order confirmations, delivery ETAs, customer satisfaction surveys, and employee shift alerts. Most critical to the business, is the speed in which alerts reach their personal shoppers, so they can begin to process the order and deliver on their hour-or-less promise. Learn more about how Instacart uses Twilio for an excellent customer service experience.

Up Next

Conclusion

Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Conclusion

As the number of communication channels used by customers grows, it will be increasingly important that you’re able to send messages and information where those customers want to receive it. Implementing a strategy that uses SMS and email will be critical for any company looking to open up a conversation with their users. 

Getting started with SMS is incredibly quick and easy, no matter what language you’re coding with. If you have more questions, our Sales team is here to help!

Get Started with SendGrid

SendGrid helps you focus on your business without the cost and complexity of owning and maintaining an email infrastructure. And with a full-featured marketing email service that offers a flexible workflow, powerful list segmentation, and actionable analytics, all of your email needs are met in one simple platform.

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