Why text my contacts when I already have the ability to email? (texting vs emailing)


It's probably no surprise that both text messaging and email are two of the most common forms of communication. Texting vs emailing, which is better? Each comes with advantages and disadvantages. Let's explore some of the reasons you and your organization might want to consider enabling text messaging instead of always relying on email for your digital communications.

In this article:

  • Real-time vs. delayed messages Go
  • Increased open rates with texting vs emailing Go
  • Short and concise, personal instead of formal Go
  • Multimedia capabilities Go
  • Response rate and speed Go
  • Delivery and read receipts Go
  • Bulk messaging Go

Real-time vs delayed messages

Text messaging is typically more instantaneous than email. Texts are generally delivered and read quickly, making text messaging more ideal for urgent or time-sensitive messages. For example, most people would prefer things like appointment reminders & confirmations, differing store hours, weather alerts, and service outage notifications via text message so they're seen right away. This allows recipients to plan accordingly without delay. This also means that businesses and organizations need to be aware that their text messages will likely interrupt the recipient (as they'll receive instant notification) so texts should be pertinent and abide by their contact preferences in terms of frequency.

Increased open rates with texting vs emailing

There are many studies that have examined the difference in open rates between a variety of communication channels. Focusing on the difference between texting and emailing, one Gartner study found that text messages have a 98% open rate while email has only a 20% open rate. This further enforces the drive for awareness by businesses that their text messages will be seen, quickly, by customers and businesses should not overuse texting by sending non-pertinent messages.

Short and concise, personal instead of formal

In the world of text messaging, most people have seen that friend or family member that sends a lengthy message via text that really should have been an email. The message gets split into multiple deliveries and oftentimes leads to confusion. This is due to the fact that texting, or SMS (short message service), allows for 160 characters or less per message - it's literally in the abbreviation, "short".

With texting, it's a best practice both personally and professionally to keep the message to-the-point and customized to the recipient so they have clarity on the purpose of your message. Lengthier, more formal, communications are better sent via email where it won't disrupt someone in-the-moment and often requires additional attention to develop a response.

Multimedia capabilities

While both texting and emailing allow for sending images, videos, and emojis, those features are often specifically built into mobile messaging applications like Messages. This makes sending and receiving visual elements via text even more convenient than email. It's worth noting that large files (or many files) are sometimes too much to send directly via text or email. That's where you'd want to upload your images or videos to a cloud site and share a link instead - and text works just as well as email for that too.

Response rate and speed

According to a Gartner study, text messages have a 45% response rate while emails only have a 6% response rate. This is generally due to contacts receiving many non-urgent emails that are simply extra "noise" that gets filtered out. Contacts typically view and react to text messages within just a few seconds as they're expected to be pertinent and not spam.

Organizations with plans to market their products or services via text without first obtaining each contact's explicit consent to receive those marketing communications will be sorely disappointed. The mobile network operators (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc.) have developed vetting processes for organizations to protect the texting channel from unwanted spam. This all leads to easier opting out of unwanted text messages than email campaigns and therefore keeps response rates high and response speed quick for contacts in the texting channel.

Delivery receipts and read receipts

It may go without saying that once you send an email, you risk the message simply disappearing in a sea of "noise" that the recipient is tasked with filtering through. There's typically not a way to tell if your recipient has seen or read your email. With text messaging, there are built-in features to verify your message was delivered - your messaging app will generally tell you a message was "delivered" successfully after you've sent it (assuming you have a decent cell tower or internet connection). Whether or not you receive a read receipt for text messages largely depends on the recipient having that feature enabled in their settings.

Bulk messaging

If your organization sends the same message to multiple people at once, it's possible via email as well as text message - it just works a little differently. With email, for example, you could either include all recipients in the "To" field, then every other contact can see who else the message went to and allows any recipient to "Reply all" to send their response to the full group. This can be advantageous in certain situations but also comes with drawbacks in some scenarios. Another option with email is to "BCC" all of your recipients so any responses only come back directly to you and none of the recipients see who else the message was sent to. Again, this may be what you desire in some situations and not in others.

With text messaging from a mobile phone, the concept of group messages is more like the former example of email where all recipients see each other and replies go to everyone. With text messaging from applications like Rather Text, bulk messages are delivered to recipients individually (and responses come back only to the application) so there's no need to "BCC" groups of recipients or fear ending up in an all day spiral of your group members "replying all" just to tell everyone else to stop "replying all". If you want to stop there, that's fine! There are more features you could take advantage of, but they aren't required for you to receive texts from customers. Rather Text has a configurable notification system so you won't miss any messages that come in. You could start using Rather Text today.


When it comes to digital communication methods, email may seem like the easiest since it's readily available, and it may work fine for some of your messages. However, think of all the phone calls and voicemails you and your team handle that could have been much easier as text messages. Texting isn't for the lengthy, more formal, or delayed messages, save those for email. Don't miss out on opportunities to engage your contacts via text for the short, personalized, real-time messages they'd prefer to receive directly on their phone. Rather Text specializes in helping you make it happen!