Email, Push Notifications or SMS? The 5 Key Questions You Should Ask

email marketing push notifications sms text messaging

Marketers have three main channels to reach out directly to their users on a mobile device: email, SMS and push notifications. But how do you know which mobile marketing channel is the right one? And how do you use your omnichannel marketing powers without pestering your audience so much that they hurl their device into the nearest active volcano?

It comes down to 5 key questions. Decide what you’re trying to communicate to your users, and then answer these questions to help you decide which medium is the best vehicle:

  1. Is this piece of information something they might want to refer back to later? If so, a text or email might be your best bet since push notifications can be difficult to track down after that initial view.
  2. How much room do you need to convey your message? If it’s short and sweet, text and push notifications are the way to go. If it’s something more longform, like a daily digest or full article, email is a better bet.
  3. Do you need to send images? If so, email is the winner.
  4. Do you have an app? If you do, push notifications are a good default for short bursts of info.
  5. What’s the level of urgency? If it’s something the user needs to know about right now (breaking news alert, flash sale, etc), push is probably your best option, followed by text. Emails are great for breaking news too, because you can include more information, but they’re less likely to be seen immediately.

Now that you have these 5 questions in mind, here’s a handy chart you can also use to help you decide which medium is the best one for your kind of communication:

Email, Push or SMS?

Now, you’ll notice in the chart above that there are several cases where you COULD use any one of these three channels to convey your message, and in fact, you may be tempted to combine all three into one giant tsunami of communication. DO NOT DO THAT.

As you can see here, it is absolutely possible to use your omnichannel marketing powers to pester and annoy rather than to help, inform, delight, and entertain. There are in fact only 3 cases where it is permissible to use all three channels at once:

  1. World War III has broken out.
  2. Godzilla turns out to be real and is rampaging through your user’s city.
  3. A large asteroid passes by the moon, upsetting its gravitational balance and causing it to hurtle towards the planet where your user is currently residing.

All kidding aside, the best way to avoid annoying your users is to ask them which is their preferred channel and try to drive as much communication through it as possible. Yes, it may not be suitable for everything, but it’ll be a good starting point.

PostUp offers our clients the ability to text, email and send push notifications all from one platform. We also offer you the ability to track across all three channels, and if you have any questions about how to get started, we’re here to help. You can read more about our omnichannel marketing platform here, request a demo to see it in action right away or just contact your Account Executive for more information. And remember: use your omnichannel marketing powers for good!

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