Email doesn’t replace SMS (& Vice Versa)

Email does not replace SMS, otherwise known as texting. It's easy to understand how these two could be confused. They're both language platforms.

If language wasn't my core competency, then I would simply pick the easier of the two for me to use. For a lot of gym owners, that's SMS.

  • Fast
  • Easy 
  • And doesn't take a ton of effort

The truth is that email marketing also doesn't take a ton of effort. Let me in on a little secret about email marketing, it's not rocket science.

Making claims to the contrary is a little bit like saying I don't do squats because I do tons of running. The two are not mutually exclusive.

There's a benefit to both marathoners on doing squats, and to Olympic-level squatters doing a little bit of running once in a while. You know this. You understand this.

Isn’t Email Dead?

Statement's like email is dying? They don't stand up against the data. Email has absolutely changed, but it is not dead. It's not any more dead than texting is... or will be.

All you have to do is consider your own usage, professional or personal. How many times a day do you check your email? How often are you in your inbox? And it's the same goes for SMS. These are just two aspects of modern living. We check our texts, we check our inboxes.

There are ways in which SMS absolutely dominates as a communication tool. And there are ways in which email marketing does a much better job. The two work together beautifully.

Let's talk about that. Let's start with SMS.

What's rad about SMS

What's rad about SMS? Well, it's quick and easy. It saves time for both parties. And open rates are like 98% compared to email, which is like, what maybe 30, something like that.

I can't argue with the first two points, but about those open rates... They include people who open those texts open simply to see who sent it, and delet it or send a “STOP” command. The truth is about open rates, whether we're talking about SMS or email, is that they’re a bit of a vanity metric.

Nobody. Is getting their bills paid on open rates. Imagine...

Marketing: We had a hundred percent open rates with our emails last month.

Boss: Great! How much money did that program generate?

Marketing: Zero


It’s a vanity metric that tells us something, but. It doesn't pay the bills.

Don't hear what I'm not saying. You should absolutely continue to use SMS and texting as a means of communication with your existing clients or your prospects.

Where SMS Struggles

A few ways that SMS struggles... It can do these things, but email does it better:

  • Connect act with recipients in a deep and personal way 
  • Value building when trying to sell to existing clients or prospects
  • Deep diving into educational information
  • Presenting promotions or events
  • Building a community

Like I said, it's not that SMS can't do these things. There's somebody reading this right now screaming, “I've done all of these things with SMS!” Of course there are exceptions. But, email could just do thse things better.

Consider for a moment that if SMS is your chosen route through this path, then of course you're getting everything you can out of it. You are going deep, you are getting personal.

What you're not seeing is the opportunities that are being missed. For a lot of people, this writer included, SMS from a business is a kind of a cold splash of water on my face. I don't react well to them.

Now I'm just one person. You may find that a lot of people that you contact or connect with on SMS are warm and receptive to that. But what about those that are not?

Now, all the ways that SMS is great?  Email struggles.

Where Email Fails

If you're stuck on an email track, and all you want to do is connect with people via email, you will be challenged to move efficiently, to send messages quickly. It would be really terrible to message somebody, something that needs to be communicated right now via email.

They probably won't get it unless they're really on top of their inbox. I don't know anybody who's actually that on top of their inbox

But, there are some ways that email can fill in the gaps where SMS just doesn't do the job. A couple off the top that are obvious are clients who don't want you to text them or even call them. Some people simply don't like to be communicated with in that way. With people like that, sending them an email is ultimately going to be better.

The other side of that is there are people who are actually engaged with email. They probably are the same people as the first ones that I mentioned that don't want to receive texts. But if you have people that are engaging or emails, then those are the people that you want to be emailing. I know it seems obvious, but if you're not trying, then you don't know what you're missing out on.

There are some other ways in which email marketing simply does a better job

Lead nurturing. Now you can nurture a lead with SMS, but not in the way that you can do it with email where it's automated, and it runs in the background without you really having to do much to manage it.

Welcome sequencing, which also was done through email marketing beautifully. It's done across many industries and it just runs no oversight.

Win back strategies for ghosters, people who were working out avidly and suddenly disappeared in not picking up their phone and are not responding to their texts. You have an email sequence that sends automatically to those people. It's beautiful.

The last thing that email does well, that SMS simply can't do — not in any kind of automated and genuine way — is, personalization. I mean, any system can drop a first name into a message, but that's really not personalization, not in 2020.

Personalization nowadays is about knowing a person what matters to them.

That's really hard to do even within email, but I don't know anybody doing that with SMS in any way that's actually genuine and works.

SMS or Email?

One last point that I want to make about this, and I think this is really important. Here's the best possible lens that you can use to know when to use SMS and when to use email.

Ready for this?


Ask people how they’d like you to communicate with them. You segment your audience, and then you pay attention to those preferences when you're sending them communication.

There are going to be obvious exceptions to that, where it only makes the most sense to send a quick message via text. There are going to be other exceptions where somebody doesn't generally like email, but it makes more sense to send them an email anyway.

But, if you're generally appealing to the ways they want to be communicated with, then you're meeting their needs and wants. When the two come together, you get top performance, like top athletic perform, but in a marketing framework.

I'm going to let you in on one more secret. SMS and email. Are not really that different. Like the way jogging and squatting both use your legs.

It's easy to understand why somebody who doesn't have competency could be confused. And it's easy to see that when you compare squatting and jogging to say... a peach... they are practically the same thing. From the outside, from a completely different perspective, they seem like the same thing. The truth is, is that they are quite similar, but they're not.

The beautiful part is they work well together.

Where email and SMS really shine

Scenario 1: Let's say your putting together a sequence of emails to promote an event that you have coming up. Maybe you shoot out a text to everybody that you emailed to let them know to check their inbox.

Now your open rates go up, but who cares about open rates? You want to know that they did something? Did they then click on it? Well, they can't click on anything within your email or get excited about the content if they don't open it.

Open rates might not pay the bills, but they still matter. And you can drive that with texting.

Scenario 2: Another way the two work together is let's say the actual event that you're planning comes up. Sending an email, as you get close to the actual hour of the event, probably won't work to remind people.

But a quick text is a great way to say, “Hey, don't forget. You've got that thing coming up in the seat or tomorrow morning or whenever it is.”

If texting is replacing anything, it's not email, it's replacing phone calls. In fact, for most of you, it's probably almost completely replaced phone calls at this point.

  • Texting is your short and fast, convenient communication.
  • Email is your personal and penetrating, but not cheap and easy, form of communication.

Both require that you know your audience, you know their pain points, you know what they want, and you know what they believe. And you speak to those.

Whether it's through texting or if you call it SMS, whether it's through email, whether you're running a gym or an online business, or one on one coaching, or you're selling fitness widgets... SMS and email will require slightly different attention from you, but they're going to leverage the same skills, knowing your audience and talking to them about the things that matter.

They have questions about that. If you want to talk more about that, if you want to tell me I'm a total idiot and I have no idea what I'm talking about, please contact me. I love those conversations.

Thanks for reading,


 Damon Re Mitchell © 2021