Are SMS and Push Notifications Replacing Email?

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For as long as there has been email, there have been people predicting its downfall. I can’t tell you why.

Perhaps the early naysayers had a bad experience trying to make the jump to near-instant communication with their coworkers. Others may have jumped on the bandwagon after marketers got their hands on email and turned into a non-stop promotion machine. Invasive spammers certainly caused their issues but the email service providers have essentially eliminated that from our experience with email these days.

Every new technology since email has at one time or another been described as an email killer. None of those predictions is worth very much today.

That said, in a world with more ways to connect with people than ever before, companies should always question whether their preferred channels of communication with customers are still the right ones.

Companies Using SMS

Companies have been using some form of text messaging for marketing for the last decade. For people who found the intrusion of brands into their inbox, SMS was probably not the solution they envisioned. Nowhere is a promotional message more intrusive than on your phone, right?

But many consumers actually prefer the convenience the channel offers to email. In many ways, it’s more immediate, and more intimate. With brands you already have some connection to, an SMS can inspire action in ways an email won’t.

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It’s most commonly used as a way to communicate with existing customers about special promotions or location-based offers.

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Companies Using Push Notifications

Mobile apps opened up a whole new channel of communication that companies have been excited about for some time. Push notifications from apps come in the form of banners on the lock screen, drop down alerts on the home screen, and red dots above app icons.

They are announcements to the user that there is some action they need to take.

Push notifications were designed as a way for apps to communicate with its’ users when they were not in the middle of using the app. Rather than send an email or a text message, they can use the phone’s notification system to “send a message”.

Companies use these as a subtle nudge to get customers to engage with their apps more frequently than they otherwise would.

Is There Still Room for Email?

As you may have guessed from the introduction to this article, there is and always will be room for email. SMS and push notifications are good ways for brands to communicate with customers. But they supplement email, at best. They will never replace.

Email continues to be the marketing channel with the highest return on investments. No one is predicting that SMS or push notifications will take that honor anytime soon.



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