Using SMS and Email to Engage Your Customers in 2022

SMS + Email: The Customer Engagement Duo

Chapter 1

Using SMS and Email Together

Using Email and SMS to Engage Customers

For companies around the world, email is the go-to channel for customer communications. Whether it’s logins, notifications, promotions, password resets, or policy updates, email is a tried-and-true platform with more global accessibility than any other medium.

However, email is only one part of the customer engagement experience.

Regardless of who you’re trying to contact or where they are, you can now complete the customer engagement package with another robust API: SMS.

Alone, SMS is a powerful engagement tool that allows businesses to send concise, timely messages to their customers. Combined with email, the two create a seamless customer communication experience that’s reliable, scalable, and downright powerful.

We’re refreshing this guide each year to provide you with the most up-to-date information and best practices. This year’s guide includes updates on:

We’ll walk you through how SMS can complement your email program, use cases, best practices, mistakes to avoid, how to get started, and more.

Fact:

Email is the most popular communication channel across the world, followed closely behind by SMS.

2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report

Up Next

The Need for SMS and Email

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

The Need for SMS and Email

When it comes to business communications, consumers have varying preferences. Some prefer to converse with businesses via web chat, while some use social media to get updates from their favorite brands. 

While every audience is different, our 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report shows that the vast majority of consumers across the globe still prefer email and SMS over any other communications channel. That’s why SMS and email both deserve a place in your communication toolset.

Most Engaging Communications Channels by Country

Using multiple communication channels creates a seamless user experience for your customers. With multiple mediums to choose from, customers can engage with your business on the channels they prefer, whether that’s email, SMS, or a mix of both.

Up Next

SMS: More Than Just Text Messaging

Chapter 3

Chapter 3

SMS: More Than Just Text Messaging

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of SMS is often short text-only messages, but this channel has evolved beyond such simplicity. In order to understand the breadth of this communication channel, we must first understand exactly what SMS is. 

SMS

SMS stands for Short Message Service and is a more technical term for what we know as a text message. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters and contain no images, making them a perfect way to communicate concise, time-sensitive messages to your customers. 

Sending your first SMS message is easy. Twilio’s SMS API bridges the gap between the Internet and the carrier network in order to send and receive SMS messages. Our documentation can help you get started in your preferred coding language so you can start sending and receiving texts in no time! 

Twilio’s SMS and SendGrid email APIs are perfect for when you need to let your users know what’s going on in multiple channels. In this video, we’ll send an appointment confirmation email using Twilio SendGrid. Then, on the day of the appointment, we’ll send an SMS reminder using Twilio Programmable SMS.

MMS

As the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” MMS, or multimedia messaging service, allows you to send images, GIFs, audio files, and even phone contacts to your message recipients. MMS messages can help you create visual customer experiences that are handy for marketing and customer service uses.

For example, you can use MMS to send your recipients an animated GIF showcasing your new product and an eye-catching promotion, or allow your customers and customer service agents to send photos back and forth for improved communication and a more timely resolution of their issues. 

Check out MMS messages for yourself, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your phone number, and have a MMS message sent your way in just a few seconds. If you like what you see, speak to a member of our team to learn how you can get started sending images to your recipients.

 

WhatsApp

With over 2 billion monthly active users, WhatsApp is the world’s most popular messaging application. Thanks to its extensive global reach, highly engaged user base, and rich communications capabilities, WhatsApp is a key platform any businesses can use to reach customers where they already are

The app also offers more features than SMS and MMS, so you can more easily create rich and engaging customer experiences for your users. Your business can share images, audio files, PDFs, locations on a map, and more with WhatsApp. 

Plus, it can be more trustworthy than SMS and MMS. Each WhatsApp account is tied to one singular number, so your prospects and customers will always know a message is coming from your business. Branded business profiles also allow you to list your social media links, store addresses, website URL, and additional business details or offers, so your customers can find and access more information about your brand, all within one app.  

If you’re looking to get started, Twilio makes diving into WhatsApp messaging simple. Sign up for a Twilio account (if you haven’t already) and navigate to the WhatsApp page in the Twilio console, or learn more about our Messaging API.

Chat

Messages don’t have to just be one-way. Chat allows you to send and receive messages to and from your recipients. This allows you to have in-depth 1:1 conversations with your customers to help answer their questions and push them towards making a purchase. Chat allows your customers to reach out to your team wherever they’re browsing, be it via web browser, phone browser, or phone app. 

Plus, with Twilio’s Conversations API, you can easily bring chat and all of the above channels—SMS, MMS, and WhatsApp—together in one place. Your customers can pick to engage with your brand on whichever channel they prefer, helping you build a better, more seamless customer experience. 

Up Next

What’s New for SMS & Email in 2022

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

What’s New for SMS & Email in 2022

What’s New for SMS & Email in 2021

While 2022 hasn’t shaken things up too much for email and SMS senders, here are a few key updates long-time veterans and new senders should be aware of:

 

For Email

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

In September 2021, Apple launched its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), a feature allowing iOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey users to anonymize their email activity. For users who opt-in, MPP prefetching and caching email content at the time of delivery, rather than waiting for a user to manually open an email. This will cause any tracking pixels to prematurely fire, marking the email as opened regardless of whether or not your recipient actually opened your email.

The downside for senders? MPP inflates open rates, making this longstanding key performance indicator (KPI) an unreliable way to measure recipient engagement. We encourage all senders to rely less on open data and more on alternative engagement metrics like clicks, conversions, and app activity. These metrics can give you a better understanding of which emails are actually engaging your recipients.

Another way to understand how MPP might be affecting your open rates is by using Twilio SendGrid’s Apple Open Indicator. On the Twilio SendGrid platform, if the field, “sg_machine_open” is set to “true,” this indicates that an open event has been triggered by Apple’s systems. Please note, the indicator can’t distinguish whether the open was triggered by the actual recipient or automated by Apple Mail. Still, this visibility can help you determine which open events weren’t triggered by Apple machines, so you can continue relying on them as user engagement indicators.

Apple's Mail Privacy Protection: How Email Senders Can Adapt

Learn how to remain a competitive sender amidst Apple's MPP update.
sg-apple-privacy-guide-blog-800x400

 

For SMS

A2P 10DLC fines begin

Last year, the US SMS messaging ecosystem experienced a once-in-a-generation shift. The country introduced new registration requirements for business messaging over 10-digit-long codes, or A2P 10DLC.

To jog your memory, US carriers created registration requirements to build and protect a spam-free, trusted SMS ecosystem that preserves customer engagement. For brands, A2P 10DLC aims to help improve deliverability, increase throughput, and improve long-term customer engagement. 

If you send more than 3,000 messages per day or use more than 5 long code numbers for messaging to the US, you must complete A2P 10DLC registration. Otherwise, your brand will face fines from carrier networks — fines that went into effect on March 1, 2022. 

While shared short codes will be banned under A2P 10DLC, no formal date has been set yet. The only exception to this ban will be shared short codes used to send 2-factor authorization (2FA) or one-time passcodes (OTPs) only. If you are currently using a shared short code, consider migrating to a number that will be used uniquely by your business so you’re prepared when a shared short code end date is finally established. 

If you are a Twilio customer using a 10-digit long code and have not yet registered, please visit the Twilio console to get started. 

What A2P 10DLC Registration Means for You

Up Next

Common Use Cases for Email & SMS

Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Common Use Cases for Email & SMS

 

Common Use Cases for Email and SMS

Common Use Cases for Email

While email has been around for what seems like ages, the way we use the channel is always changing. From confirming transactions to re-engaging users, here are a few of the most common ways companies leverage email to communicate with their customers:  

1. Transactional

Transactional emails are a great way to timely and securely communicate with users along the customer journey. Sending user-triggered transaction messages—like password resets and purchase or shipping confirmations—you can keep customers updated every step of the way. These emails are never promotional, rather they act as digital receipts for customers to track their actions on your site like order details, support requests, and shipping confirmations. 

 

2. Customer feedback

Another effective use of email is to use it to request customer feedback. You can set up a workflow to reach out to customers following the receipt of their order or redemption of a service and ask them to share their thoughts. Collecting customer feedback and reviews can not only help you identify areas of improvement for your business, but it can also help grow your brand recognition and credibility in the marketplace.

 

3. Engagement and storytelling

Odds are many users in your database won’t be quite ready to convert when they first discover your brand. Email marketing can build a stronger relationship with these users over time, helping to increase visibility and familiarity of your brand’s products and services, while reinforcing your brand’s reputation. Welcome emails, item restock announcements, product spotlights, promotions, and monthly newsletters can keep your brand top of mind for these customers so when it comes time to convert, you’re their first pick.

 

4. Reengagement

Lastly, sending targeted emails can be a great way to reengage customers who did not complete their journey on your website. You can send abandoned cart emails with the specific product they were considering buying and a personalized discount code to try to entice them to complete their checkout experience. Or, you can give them the option to resume an application or form they failed to finish. These emails allow your customers to pick up right where they left off and allow you to reduce customer drop-off.

 

Common Use Cases for SMS

Like email, SMS needs to be used at the right time and for the right message. And, because SMS has more immediacy than email, it’s often better suited for certain messages over others. Below are some of the most common use cases for leveraging SMS in addition to email:

 

1. Marketing

SMS marketing—also known as “text marketing”—is a favorite because of highly receptive audiences, unmatched open rates, and timeliness. When there’s a timely deal, an SMS message can create a sense of urgency and inspire immediate action. It also gives you a seamless opportunity to turn one-way outbound marketing into a two-way conversation.

Most notably, it can circumvent crowded and competitive email inboxes to help ensure your customers actually read and engage with your messages. The key to boosting engagement lies in building direct customer relationships via channels that are meaningful to customers. Sending email after email to a customer who rarely checks their inbox won’t do your brand any good. Meeting your customers on a channel they use and prefer, like SMS/MMS, can allow your business to effectively get your customers’ attention during key points in the customer lifecycle and drive loyalty. 

 

2. Alerts

SMS can be an excellent way to send alerts and 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 just 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.

 

3. Verification

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a popular way to add an extra layer of security to your company’s user login process. When users opt-in to 2FA, they can choose SMS as their channel of choice to receive a backup code to verify their identity, in addition to their personal password or biometrics (like a users’ fingerprint, voice, or face).

Once the user enters the numeric code from the SMS message in your website or application’s login flow, they are authenticated and can log in to their account. Because SMS is a channel many users find easy to use, it’s a great way to send your users a 2FA code. 

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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 directly to your customers.

 

6. 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.

Twilio’s SMS and SendGrid email APIs are perfect for when you need to let your users know what’s going on in multiple channels. In this video, we’ll send an appointment confirmation email using Twilio SendGrid. Then, on the day of the appointment, we’ll send an SMS reminder using Twilio Programmable SMS.

Fact:

The average response time for an SMS is 90 seconds, compared to 90 minutes for email.

Tap Into The Marketing Power of SMS, Gartner

Up Next

Email vs. SMS: Deciding Which to Send

Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Email vs. SMS: Deciding Which to Send

The most effective SMS program is used to enhance your emails, not replace them. SMS and email are used for many 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 ask yourself:

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

 

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

A chart showing business-critical need and timeliness so help you determine whether to use email or SMS for a particular business use case

In some cases, it may be necessary to send both an email and an SMS. In a security breach situation, you’d want to inform any affected customers immediately, so sending messages across both channels is advised. In other cases, sending over both channels should be driven by recipient engagement.

For example, a retail promotion might include both SMS and email messages, but you’ll want to use engagement segmentation to identify which channel each user is more likely to engage with. For some recipients that will mean complementary texts and emails, whereas others will only receive one or the other.

A Venn Diagram of Email and SMS Similarities and Differences

Up Next

Learn How to Send and Receive SMS

Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Learn How to Send and Receive SMS

Getting started with SMS is easy. Twilio provides quickstart docs and videos for all major coding languages, including Java, Node.js, Ruby, and Python.

In a few lines of code, your PHP application can send, receive, and reply to text messages with Twilio Programmable SMS.
Fact:

There are an estimated 6.5 billion smartphone users in the world today.

Number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide 2016-2026, Statista, 2022

Up Next

Email Best Practices

Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Email Best Practices

When it comes to sending strategic, effective email communications, you’ll want to make sure you consider adopting these best practices:

  • Be strategic about email collection: Never buy email lists—they’re a sure-fire way to harm your email deliverability and IP reputation and violate GDPR. Not to mention, they usually result in abysmal engagement rates. Instead, build your lists steadily over time to ensure you attract recipients who actually want to hear from your brand.

    You’ll also want to keep in mind how you’re adding recipients. Storing as much user information at the point of collection as possible—like IP address, date, time, form, URL, etc.— can be useful down the road and come in handy if you need to resolve issues with blocklist operators and internet service providers (ISPs).
  • Stay compliant: Email is one of the best, most commonly used communication tools in the world. If you’re sending emails to recipients in other countries, make sure you’re following any and all applicable laws. Whether it’s CAN-SPAM or GDPR, make sure you’re practicing safe emailing.
  • Other inbox providers: Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail may be the most commonly used inbox providers, but there are many others out there that you may want to consider. Mail.ru, Live, and GMX may not be common inbox providers in the United States, but they’re much more common in Russia, Germany, and Canada. If you’re sending email to other countries, make sure those messages are optimized for those inboxes.
  • Build better segments: Every audience is unique. Focus more on building smaller, more targeted audience segments, so you can cater your messages to your recipient’s specific interests and needs. That can help you drive engagement, improve your relationship with customers, and, ultimately, boost sales.

    You can even take your segmentation a step further using Twilio Segment. You can send your recipients personalized emails, text messages, ads, and more based on how they interact with your brand.
  • Test, test, test: Every email program is different, and the fact is, what works for one company (or industry), may not work for you. It’s important to be agile, test new things, and keep an eye on all your engagement metrics to make sure you’re always improving. A/B testings can help you experiment with new visuals, messaging, send times, senders, and more to compare results and see what resonates with your audiences, helping you incrementally improve your email program. 
  • Find your engagement sweet spot: Think of your engagement metrics as a scale. As you increase the number of messages you send each month, your open and click rates will likely go down. Try testing different send frequencies or mixing up the content of your emails to find the right number of messages to send each month while maintaining as high a click-to-open rate as possible.
  • Create a preference center: One of the top reasons recipients unsubscribe from emails is because they hear too frequently from a brand. A preference center lets your subscribers determine how often they’d like to hear from you or choose what content they want to receive.
  • Practice good list hygiene: Periodically, take the time to “scrub” your email list, or remove inactive, invalid, bounced, and non-engaged email addresses. This practice can help you improve your sender reputation, boost engagement rates, and reduce the chance of landing on an email deny list.

Up Next

Common Email Mistakes to Avoid

Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Common Email Mistakes to Avoid

We’re all human—mistakes happen! But, while your recipients might be willing to overlook the occasional spelling error or broken link, they might be less forgiving when it comes to certain email faux pas, like send frequency and a lack of personalization. Here are the most common email missteps we see brands make and how to ensure your brand doesn’t fall victim to them:

  • Losing the personal touch: Ditch the batch and blast mentality and replace it with hyper-personalization. Segmenting your lists by demographics, engagement levels, or even recent activity can also help you send more valuable, relevant content and offers to your audiences, which can increase engagement and boost conversions. 
  • Including broken links: Broken links not only frustrate your users, but they also hurt the ROI of your email program. Before hitting send, make sure you double or triple-check every link to ensure every link works. It never hurts to implement and follow a consistent pre-send routine so that you can check these factors before you press send—our Pre-Send Email Checklist can get you started on creating your own.
  • Sending too many emails: Our 2022 Global Messaging Engagement Report revealed that 52% of recipients said they would unsubscribe if they started receiving emails daily. Experiment with different send frequencies, but be cautious of email fatigue. Better yet, create a preference center so recipients can set how frequently they want to receive your emails.
  • Not optimizing for mobile: With recipients opening emails on their smartphones throughout the day, you need to ensure your emails maintain their visual integrity on smaller screens. If your messages aren’t responsive and don’t render correctly, you’ll create a poor user experience and increase the likelihood of your email getting deleted. Responsive design is certainly the ideal, but if it can’t be incorporated into your messages, we recommend at least approaching design from a “mobile-first” mentality.
  • Ignoring GDPR: As of 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) made it so companies cannot email individuals who have not explicitly opted-in to receive their communications. Just because someone does business with your company, doesn’t mean they’ve agreed to receive your marketing emails. You need their explicit permission to email them, otherwise, you can face hefty fines.
  • Not analyzing email performance: Every email you send is a direct link to your customers. Every action they take (or don’t take) is a strong indicator of what they like (or don’t like) about your email strategy. Tracking open rates, click rates, influenced sales or conversions, and A/B test results can allow you to hone your email strategy and continue to send messages your audience loves.

    Need some help tracking your email performance? Twilio SendGrid’s Email Statistics and Deliverability Insights offer real-time dashboards that make it easy to track your customer engagement, identify positive or negative trends, and take action to perfect your email campaigns. 

Up Next

SMS Best Practices

Chapter 10

Chapter 10

SMS Best Practices

To get the full benefits of SMS communications, you’ll want to make sure you follow a few best practices:

  • Get permission: Like with email, you’ll need to get permission before sending SMS messages to your customers. Customers can opt-in to receive your text messages through an online form or by texting to the message with a keyword or phrase. For example: “Text MOBILE to 75757 to subscribe to our weekly discounts!” If you don’t have permission, don’t message a number.
  • Check your list: Double check that the phone numbers on your list are correct and can receive text messages. Invalid numbers (like landlines) will cause message delivery problems, and changed (or fake) phone numbers will fail to reach their destination. If someone requests to stop receiving SMS messages from you, promptly remove them from your list and honor their opt-out. If you’re a Twilio customer, our Programmable Messaging API comes with built-in phone number validation, so we’ll save you money by automatically rejecting invalid numbers.
  • Use a short code: Use either toll-free numbers or short codes—both support higher sending volumes and reduced filtering. Short codes are 5 or 6 digit phone numbers made specifically for mass mobile communications. Wireless carriers individually approve short codes, so they’re less likely to be blocked and can send at a faster rate compared to regular mobile numbers. Consider using a unique, brand-friendly short code for mass SMS messages. Note: Toll-free numbers and short codes aren’t available in every country.
  • Improve deliverability: Follow country, state, local regulations, and wireless carriers’ messaging policies to improve your SMS deliverability. A reliable API will help you send and receive SMS with custom short codes, engage in two-way conversation, and use RCS (Rich Communications Services) to send images and attachments that are automatically optimized for mobile. For help with your email deliverability, reference our 2022 Deliverability Guide.
  • Keep it simple and concise: Text messaging is intended to be short and sweet. Keep your messages simple with clear-cut CTAs and relevant content.  
  • Control your frequency: How often you send is just as important as what you send. Less is more. Excessive content, deals, and updates can cause annoyance and even increase opt-out rates. Data shows that opt-out rates tend to increase significantly when businesses begin sending more than 10-12 SMS messages a month.
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

Common SMS Mistakes to Avoid

Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Common SMS Mistakes to Avoid

SMS is a powerful tool, but it can be equally destructive when used incorrectly. Here are the most common SMS mistakes and how to avoid them:

  • Sending unsolicited messages: Permission, permission, permission. Like with an email preference center, be transparent and let your customers know what to expect. Better yet—let them decide the specific messages they receive, the frequency, and the timing.
  • DTR from the start: A common mistake with SMS communications is not laying the foundation for future messaging. Failing to let your customers know when and how you plan to stay in touch can leave them angry and confused when they receive your next SMS blast. DTR (define the relationship) from the beginning with a welcome text after users opt-in to explain the terms of your communications.
  • Using the same messages for SMS and email: While it might save time to copy/paste the same email and SMS messages, you’ll lose out on the benefits each channel offers. Due to its 160-character limit, SMS is perfect for short, time-sensitive promotions and information. Email, on the other hand, is great for longer messages with important links and images. Sometimes you’ll send the same information via email and text, but make sure you optimize the message to fit the medium.
  • Poor timing: Whether you’re sending to locals or a global audience, a poorly timed message is an unopened or irrelevant message. SMS is best used to encourage urgent action, so timing means everything. To account for a global audience, use an API provider that systematically scales and optimizes for different countries’ mobile regulations. Since no one wants to receive brand texts at 1 AM, use a provider that automatically delivers your messages to your audience at the right time in the right time zone.
  • Sending long messages: SMS is meant to be short and sweet. Longer messages on mobile go ignored, so make sure your message length matches the medium. If you can, condense the message to fit the 160-character limit—if you can’t, determine if the message would be more appropriate as an email.
  • Forgetting a clear CTA: Because SMS messages are so short, there should never be more than one CTA. Whether it’s completing a task, subscribing to your mailing list, entering a contest, participating in a sale, or responding to a survey, limit your messages to just one ask.
  • Sending too many messages: Less is more when it comes to SMS. Sending multiple messages a day is a good way to earn unsubscribes and blocks—limit marketing texts to your customers to once or twice a week.
  • Using link shorteners: While you can include links in your SMS/MMS messages, try to avoid using URL shortening services as they can be flagged as spam and impact message deliverability. Some spammers use these services to hide the true destination of a URL, which can flag these services on spam filters and blacklists, ultimately impacting your message deliverability if you use the same system.
  • Not thinking of the customer first: Think about what messages your customers actually want to receive on their phone. They may have opted in to receive important updates from your company, but they likely couldn’t care less about your new product when they reached for the phone expecting a personal message from friends or family.
  • Only using SMS: Don’t hop on SMS to replace email or your other channels—use it to complement your entire communications strategy. SMS and email don’t compete with each other—they’re used hand-in-hand to create a seamless communication experience for your customers.

Up Next

Leveraging SMS to Improve Email and Vice Versa

Chapter 12

Chapter 12

Leveraging SMS to Improve Email and Vice Versa

Leveraging SMS to Improve Email and Vice Versa

Some tasks can be accomplished via email but not SMS, and vice versa. However, the pair don’t just benefit each other in a roundabout way. SMS and email have different purposes and use cases, but they can be used to directly benefit the other.

 

  • Grow your lists together: Use your SMS list to cross-pollinate your email list, and vice versa. Periodically encourage your email list to subscribe to your SMS messages and your SMS recipients to opt in to your emails, so your customers don’t miss out on timely messages and exclusive deals from your brand.
  • Cross-promote campaigns: Some campaigns don’t need to be email or SMS—they can be both. For example, at a hiring event, Twilio had interested applicants submit their application by texting a number—quite different from the traditional email registration approach.
  • Segment your audience: Learn from both SMS and email engagement holistically to create customer personas that transcend channels. If a customer always opens emails about new hats but not shoes, they’ll likely respond similarly to SMS messages featuring the shoe content.

Up Next

Companies Using SMS and Email Together

Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Companies Using SMS and Email Together

It’s one thing to talk about using email and SMS together, it’s another thing to see it in action. Here’s a closer look at how top brands, like Airbnb, Uber, Yelp, and Instacart, use email and SMS in tandem to engage their customers.

 

Airbnb logo

When hosts receive a reservation request through Airbnb, they only have 32 hours to accept or decline the request. While Airbnb quickly shoots the host an email once a guest submits a rental request, the company knows hosts aren’t always at their computers and able to respond quickly to email.

To facilitate a better user experience, Airbnb turned to text messaging. If a host doesn’t respond to a booking request, they receive an automated SMS message with info on the guests, dates requested, and prices for the booking. Hosts can then easily accept or decline the booking from their phone with a short text response.

Learn how Airbnb uses SMS to improve their user’s experience →

 

Uber logo

Uber’s emails weren’t providing the speed and reliability riders needed in order to know if a ride had arrived or canceled on them. To deliver the level of communication its service demanded, Uber turned to text messages.

With Twilio SMS, customers can stay up-to-date on their Uber ride with real-time text alerts for when a driver accepts the request, is less than a minute away, or has to cancel for any reason.

Learn how Uber created a fantastic ride sharing experience with SMS →

 

Yelp logo

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 →

 

Instantcart logo

Anytime a Yelp user makes a restaurant reservation, they receive a confirmation email containing the details of their booking. Unfortunately, even with reminder emails, many users would forget about their bookings and miss their reservation.

In order to curb reservation abandonment, Yelp started using SMS messages to reach their customers. Now, Yelp users could easily confirm or cancel their reservations via text, so restaurant partners could reliably know who to expect and plan accordingly.

Learn how Instacart creates an excellent customer service experience with Twilio

Want more examples of how businesses use email and SMS to engage customers?

Check out "How 6 Successful Companies Use SMS in Addition to Email Marketing" for more inspiration.
mta-hero

Up Next

Conclusion

Chapter 14

Chapter 14

Conclusion

Between email, SMS, WhatsApp, Instagram, and video, today’s customers have a growing number of communications channels at their disposal. In order to stay relevant, you need to send messages where and how your customers want to receive them. That’s why having a communications strategy that uses both SMS and email is critical for any company wanting to engage its users.

To build a successful email and SMS strategy, you need to follow best practices and listen to what your recipients want. Every audience is different—some individuals prefer email, some SMS, and some want both. The key to building engagement and lasting customer relationships lies in creating a communications strategy that reaches your recipients where and when they want to hear from you.

Getting started with email and SMS is incredibly quick and easy, no matter what coding language you’re using. You can sign up for Twilio SendGrid for free and start sending today. Or, if you have questions on how to get started, our sales team is here to help!

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