Communication Effectiveness: E-mail | SMS | Push Notifications

Communication conundrum: What brands need to know before opting for E-mail, SMS Marketing or Push Notifications?


Over the years, Mobile has seen a massive growth and has become the most impactful communication platform, clocking in an impressive 85% penetration rate. The ability to reach customers directly on their smartphone can help boost visibility as long as their devices are powered on.


Today, E-mail, Push notifications and SMS are most accepted methods of customer communication. However, the main concern for many companies is evaluating the best communication technique to increase customer engagement. In order to keep customers coming back to your business, the means of communication must provide higher value offering. Hence, let us figure out the benefits of each medium, and decipher which is best as per your requisites.


SMS as Communication Channel

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Approximately, 90 percent of SMS are read within the first 3 minutes of delivery. This messaging channel should be used to deliver business-critical information, providing a superior user experience to your customers.

Sending an SMS when delivery is arriving or when the item is ready for pick-up, keeps customers in the loop and allows them to feel more at ease. Several players like Ola, Uber, Zomato etc have already utilized SMS for the same.

In addition, SMS APIs can be used to facilitate two-way communication between companies and their users in a comfortable and hassle-free environment. The combination of a high engagement rate (open and read) and global reach also makes SMS an attractive choice for user authentication.

Scenarios such as number verification and two-factor are prime uses for SMS because of its ubiquitous and familiar reach. The same functionality has been exploited by several tech-giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple, amongst others.

However, SMS shouldn’t be used for information that users will need for later reference, such as receipts or confirmation codes. Compared to e-mails, SMSs are easier to delete and harder to search through. Any information sent by SMS should be readily actionable in a short timeframe.

Lastly, if your users are scattered around the globe, make sure that your campaign provider is capable of sending SMS messages globally – without delay and in the right timezone.

E-mail as a Communication Channel

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E-mail should be used for communicating basic information that is not time-sensitive. Use e-mail for communication that users would need to access at a later point. This includes successful signups, confirmations, reference codes, orders and receipts.


Anything account-related and changes in service should be communicated via E-mail. User achievements or milestones can also be sent via e-mail, as they may want to keep them as badges of honor.


However, for urgent actionable communication, e-mail is perhaps not the best platform. Zipstripe found that the average time for recipients to view an e-mail message is as long as 6.4 hours. Hence, communicating time-bound promotions or deals via e-mails should be avoided. Lastly, ensure that your app/company is properly labeled as the sender, so users don’t think of it as spam. Also, ensure that e-mails, especially the ones containing links, are compatible with mobile browsing.


When in doubt, ask yourself the question, “ill the user need this at some point down the line for reference?” If the answer is yes, then e-mail away.


Push Notification as Communication Channel



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Both, mobile app and web push notifications have a wide reach, with reportedly 90% of mobile users being active on various apps. Hence, push notifications have a chance to reach 9 out of 10 smart device users. Push notifications work by sending a message to the notification center or status bar and is the default way of communication for mobile apps and web browsers.


Also, considering the fact that Chrome, Safari and Firefox browsers now support web push notifications,when combined together, these browsers take about 73% of all market share. It means that web push notifications can reach 7 out of 10 Internet users. Hence, whether we are talking mobile app or web, push notifications not only have a potential but also an ability to reach wide audiences.


Recent research by push technology startup Urban Airship shows how push notifications can lead to:

540% increase in daily app opens.

3x faster response time than e-mail.

30% increase in social sharing on Facebook and Twitter.


When used effectively, push notifications achieve higher engagement results than popular channels like e-mail. The key to getting notifications right is giving customers the information they want. If the message doesn’t add value to the user’s day or include a compelling CTA, you aren’t going to draw them in.


Furthermore, brands can go creative with push-notifications, sending messages that not only informs but also engages. For instance, while sharing a weather forecast, instead of saying “cloudy sky,” think something on the lines of ‘Bring an umbrella! It will rain today.’


Finally, don’t overexploit notifications, since that would definitely annoy the users.


Timing is the Key


While value can be extracted from each of these three forms of mobile communication, ultimately, timing is the key.


It’s becoming increasingly clear in the marketplace that SMS is the most effective option for many companies globally. In addition, consumers, particularly millennials, expect their customer interaction to be easy, relevant and quick – which is exactly what SMS provides.

According to available statistics, over 350 billion text messages are exchanged throughout the world every month. Around 15% of these messages are classified as commercial or marketing related. As customers become more familiar with business-related texts, the power of SMS is set to only increase.


However, while sending information to existing customers about your product, push notifications and e-mails are the ways to go. In all certainties, now is the time to get ahead of the curve and establish your mobile presence.


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