top of page

Email vs SMS Follow-Up

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

In the fast-paced world of digital communication, businesses and individuals are constantly seeking efficient and effective ways to stay in touch. Two popular methods for follow-up communication are email and SMS (Short Message Service). While both have their merits, deciding which channel to use can be a crucial decision that significantly impacts the success of your message. We'll explore the strengths and weaknesses of email and SMS follow-up, helping you make an informed choice.

Person sitting in font of a laptop with hands on the keyboard and pop up photos of and envelop floating above it.

The Power of Email Follow-Up

1. Versatility

Email has long been the primary mode of communication in both personal and professional settings. Its versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of purposes, including follow-up messages. Whether you're reaching out to a potential client, sending a job application status update, or just checking in with a friend, email can handle it all.

2. Content Richness

One of the most significant advantages of email is its ability to accommodate extensive and detailed content. You can attach documents, images, links, and even videos to enrich your message. This makes email follow-up ideal for conveying complex information or sharing resources.

3. Formality

Email is generally seen as a more formal medium of communication compared to SMS. It's a common choice for professional correspondence and is often perceived as a respectful way to approach follow-ups in business settings. The formal tone can help maintain professionalism and build trust.

4. Archiving and Searchability

Emails are automatically stored in your inbox, and most email platforms offer robust search features. This makes it easy to retrieve past communications, important attachments, or reference details from previous exchanges. For individuals and businesses that require a record of their interactions, email is a reliable choice.

5. Scheduling and Automation

Email allows you to schedule follow-up messages or automate responses. This feature is particularly useful for businesses that want to maintain a regular connection with their customers, for example, sending out newsletters or product updates.

Person holding an iPad with the words follow up and other icons floating above it.

The Efficiency of SMS Follow-Up

1. Instantaneous Delivery

SMS messages are delivered almost instantly. This real-time communication makes SMS an excellent choice for time-sensitive follow-ups or urgent notifications. If you need someone's attention right away, an SMS can be the most effective way to grab it.

2. High Open Rates

Compared to email, SMS messages typically have higher open and read rates. People tend to check their text messages promptly, making it more likely that your follow-up message will be seen. This is especially valuable for businesses trying to engage with their customers in a cluttered digital environment.

3. Short and to the Point

SMS messages are brief and to the point by design, making them a suitable choice for concise follow-ups. You're limited to 160 characters, which can help ensure that your message is clear, concise, and not overwhelming to the recipient.

4. Personal Touch

SMS messages often have a more personal and informal feel compared to email. This can be an advantage when reaching out to friends, family, or customers you have a closer relationship with. The personal touch can make your follow-up message more engaging and relatable.

5. Opt-In and Easy Opt-Out

With SMS follow-up, recipients usually need to opt in to receive messages. This means that the people you're messaging have expressed an interest in hearing from you. Additionally, they can easily opt-out by replying with a simple keyword, which respects their preferences and helps maintain a positive relationship.

Icon photo of a person confused and looking up at a sign pointing in opposite directions.

Choosing Between Email and SMS Follow-Up

Deciding between email and SMS for follow-up communication depends on several factors, including your specific goals, your audience, and the nature of your message. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed choice:

1. Nature of the Message

If your message is long, contains attachments, or requires a formal tone, email is likely the better choice. However, if your message is brief and time-sensitive, SMS may be more appropriate.

2. Audience

Consider the preferences of your audience. If they have opted in to receive SMS messages and are more likely to respond to them, go with SMS. For a professional audience or when formality is crucial, opt for email.

3. Urgency

If your message is time-critical and requires immediate attention, SMS is the way to go. It's difficult to beat the instantaneous delivery of text messages when urgency is a factor.

4. Content Richness

If your follow-up requires sharing detailed information or resources, email is the better choice due to its support for attachments and links.

5. Relationship

Think about the nature of your relationship with the recipient. For close connections and more personal communication, SMS can feel more genuine and engaging. In contrast, email is well-suited for professional or formal relationships.

6. Compliance and Regulations

Make sure to adhere to relevant regulations and legal requirements when choosing between email and SMS for follow-up messages. Some industries and regions have specific rules governing electronic communication.

Email and SMS follow-up messages are both powerful communication tools, each with its unique strengths and use cases. The key to effective follow-up communication is to choose the channel that best aligns with your goals, audience, and the nature of your message. By considering the factors discussed in this blog, you can make an informed decision that ensures your follow-up messages are both efficient and impactful. Whether you opt for the versatility of email or the immediacy of SMS, the key is to tailor your approach to the needs and preferences of your audience.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page