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Customer Engagement Strategies Analysed for SMS, Apps and Email

Effective marketing is a core activity for any successful business, and for marketing to be effective, it needs to prompt optimum customer engagement in the right manner and at the right time. The choice between marketing via SMS, email and mobile apps is often a crucial one for businesses.

Customer Engagement Statistics

  • 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent.
  • Millennals are 40 times more likely to engage with SMS than email.
  • 98% of promotional SMS messages are ead, compared to 20% of emails.
  • SMS has a click-through rate of 19% compared to 2% for emails.
  • Companies who use SMS marketing report an average 25% increase in customer satisfaction and a 20% decrease in customer support calls.

There’ll be emails in our inbox and we will go back and say ‘Oh, answer that at the end of the day, I might answer that tomorrow, I might answer that in a week’, because with email, that’s our behaviour. That’s our natural behaviour with the medium. With SMS, you don’t get a text from somebody and say ‘Oh, I’ll answer that next week.'” – TY More, CEO of interactive media company Songwhale.

Principles of Customer Engagement


Although it is important to communicate regularly with your customer base, a balance needs to be struck so that you are not sending notifications to the extent that customers actually become annoyed at the volume of notifications being directed at them.


This will depend on the medium that you choose. Longer messages will require the use of email, although customers are generally more likely to read and engage with short messages that can prompt almost immediate interaction.


The medium you use for communicating with customers will determine when you send notifications. Messages that can be read and replied to instantly are ideal for busy daytime hours, whereas those which may require a bit more time for engagement are better suited to evenings.

Choosing an Engagement Strategy: The Pros and Cons of Each



  • Useful for messages which don’t need an instant response.
  • Easy to send longer messages and larger files as attachments.


  • Messages might not be read until several hours after delivery.
  • Low engagement rate.
  • Can easily seem spammy.



  • Good balance of instant notification without being an interrupting nuisance.
  • Ideal for short, timely notifications.
  • Low cost for business and customer.
  • Most apps have push notifications enabled by default.


  • Might not always elicit an instant response.
  • Push notifications can be switched off by the customer if they wish.
  • Can be almost impossible to reference after being opened.
  • Limited engagement rate.



  • Messages usually read instantly
  • High engagement rate.
  • Easy to send to large, targeted group of recipients.
  • Great for short, timely notifications.
  • Can link to a company’s app and website.
  • Perfect for “call to action” message, e.g. two factor verification, alerts.


  • Not hugely ideal for longer messages.
  • Can be expensive to send targeted messages to a large audience.

In conclusion

SMS offers the best balance of:

  • wide audience reach
  • timely response
  • high level of interaction
  • flexibility of messaging

to give customers:

  • the type of message that they want
  • in a succinct fashion
  • and at the right time

“Every cell phone does SMS. It’s the only standard compliant technology that’s on every cell phone out there. The reality is when you look at mobile marketing and engage it with a brand, you start with the biggest door. The biggest door is 100 percent wide and that is SMS.” – TY Morse, CEO of interactive media company Songwhale.

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