Texting and emailing — who doesn’t do either nowadays? Finding someone who isn’t using either communication channel is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But while using email for business is pretty traditional, using text messages for marketing and collaboration is still a growing practice. Comparing the benefits of texting vs email can help you decide if you should make the switch, stick with the traditional, or use both.
Here’s our breakdown of the pros and cons of business text messages and email.
Open rates of texting vs email
Average open rates are highly important when choosing a business communication tool. The channel that offers a higher open rate gives you the best chance of getting your message across.
This is where text messages excel. While the average email open rate is just 20%, SMS messages have a whopping 98% open rate. Plus, most of those opens occur within just three minutes.
Whether you want to launch a marketing campaign or collaborate with a team member, text messaging helps you break through the noise faster — and decreases the likelihood of your message going straight into the trash.
Your consumer opened your email or text message. But how many will actually engage with it?
When you’re promoting your business, SMS campaigns produce response rates up to eight times higher than email marketing campaigns. Text messaging is a highly conversational channel.
On the flip side, when was the last time you actually thought about replying to an email newsletter? And with all the businesses with “no reply” email addresses out there, did you even know you could?
Texting a business also feels more personable — like you’re chatting with a real person, instead of being lumped into an email list — which can help you achieve higher conversion rates.
Both texting and email can be valuable for internal communication, but texting definitely drives a conversation forward quicker. Leaving coworkers on “read” (or even taking an hour to respond to a text) is poor business texting etiquette, whereas waiting a day (or more) to respond to emails can be perfectly acceptable. It’s no wonder why plenty of professionals struggle to reach the much-coveted Inbox Zero.
Plus, you’ll probably have time to fully read through a 160-character SMS, whereas far too many emails are deserving of a “TLDR.”
Reliability of texting vs email
To ensure all your messages actually go through, comparing texting vs email reliability is crucial.
Though both are pretty reliable as team communication channels, deliverability can be a massive hurdle when it comes to email campaigns. Spam is such a big issue for email users that service providers work to combat just about any email that feels spammy. This means it’s easy to get filtered out of clients’ inboxes.
With emails, anything from the size of your attachments to the content of your email can lead to a bounce. And unless you’re using an email marketing tool with a built-in spam tester, it’s hard to say if your email will actually land in customers’ inboxes.
Text message delivery issues exist, too. Since SMS is a much more personal channel than email, text messaging services and governments are cracking down on invasive marketing messages. Spam filters for texting are getting smarter, and businesses need to take care to get opt-ins and follow regulations to avoid losing text messaging privileges.
Keep in mind that email recipients — whether they’re customers, team members, or business partners — need an internet connection. With text messaging, internet service is only needed to receive picture messages (MMS).
Functionality is where email stands out. Though different service providers offer different features, email generally allows your team to:
- Organize messages with folders and tags
- Add attachments of a wide variety of file types
- Send long, highly detailed information as a single message
- Use well-designed email templates to brand your message
- Blind carbon copy (bcc) customers to protect contact information in a group message
- Reply and reply all to email threads
Text messaging sticks with fairly basic features, some of which can replace email to a point. For example, you can loop everyone into a conversation with group texts, automate responses, or send images, videos, and audio files with MMS.
With a business phone service like OpenPhone, you can even share phone numbers with ease — and see exactly when your team members are typing to avoid double messaging.
Keep in mind: Text messaging is deliberately simple. When you just need to get a quick message across, you don’t need the complex interface of an email service. It’s far more convenient to just jump on your texting platform, tap on a contact, and type out a short message. No need to type out an email address or subject line every time. ⌨️
One big perk of using a platform like OpenPhone is the ability to seamlessly manage phone calls in the same place. Most email providers are highly focused on emailing, so it isn’t quite as easy to implement any other form of communication.
User experience of texting vs email
Whether you want to retain customers or retain employees, choosing the business communication channels that offer the best user experience matters.
So which channel do customers prefer? If the differences in engagement rates didn’t make it clear enough, texting is a clear winner. As much as 85% of smartphone users would rather receive a text than an email. Texting is a much smoother experience than email.
Similarly, since most (if not all) of your employees are using user-friendly apps on their mobile devices every single day, they’ll appreciate a less clunky communication channel than email. They also can still text from a computer.
Though asking customers for phone numbers can feel a little more intrusive than asking for an email, the fact that texting is preferred means that customers may be growing less averse to it.
There is some overlap between the two nowadays, but in general, email tends to be the channel for ultra-professional communication. Emails start with a greeting and end with a signature, and they’re more likely to include a “best wishes” than a quick “ttyl.”
When you’re looking to communicate something particularly serious or something you need a reliable record of — for example, a job offer or a severance package — you’ll want to stick with email.
Text messaging is a bit more relaxed. Emojis and GIFs are typical. It’s conversational. This makes it the perfect channel for forming authentic relationships with the people who matter to your business. And since it’s quick, texts communicate a sense of urgency and allow you to chat in real time. ⏱️
Texting vs email: Which one is best for business?
There is a need for both text messaging and email for business communications. Texting clearly holds a significant number of benefits compared to email, and yet we’re not quite at the point where we can get rid of email yet.
Which one you should use — and whether you should consider an email vs phone call— really depends on the use case. Though if you want to work from an email inbox, you can automatically forward your texts to your email.
Email offers broader functionality and a heightened sense of professionalism. It’s great for touching base with business partners and investors, documenting liability-related incidents, and sending a variety of files in one send. It can also help you send branded marketing messages to your customers.
But when you want to improve open and response rates, and your message will fit within the 160-character limit, texting can be more reliable. It’s also the ideal channel for time-sensitive messages, like flash sale promotions, appointment reminders, and quick questions for your employees.
The benefits of text messaging for business are clearer than ever. And with services like OpenPhone continuously adding new features — from HubSpot integrations to intelligent contact merging — there’s no better time to implement VoIP texting as a business communication channel. Try out OpenPhone with a free seven-day trial.
Emily is a freelance business and marketing writer based in the desert, though her writing is anything but dry. Her passion is writing compelling, human-friendly content that helps growing businesses perform better.