Email and SMS are among the most widely-used marketing channels for brands worldwide. Although many companies use both channels, many teams still don’t synchronize their marketing strategy across them.
For example, they often send product suggestions via email and follow up with SMS messages offering the same products, regardless of how people reacted to their email. They also don’t personalize their email and SMS communications based on customers’ on-site or in-app behavior, which creates an even more disjointed experience.
At the same time, using both email and SMS isn’t just about sending messages on different channels. It’s in the ability to use both touchpoints in conjunction and to personalize your messaging, content, and product recommendations to each subscriber’s preferred channel, behaviors, and interests.
In this article, we’ll explore the eight best email and SMS marketing software tools that can help you do that, including:
Before we dive in, note that the first four tools bring both email and SMS marketing features under one roof. This helps you streamline your marketing stack and create automated email and SMS campaigns.
The final four tools specialize in only one channel but can be integrated with other SMS or email tools. This approach typically takes more time and effort to set up and maintain but still allows companies to synchronize their efforts and run multi-channel campaigns.
Insider can help you create, personalize, and automate marketing campaigns across messaging channels like email, SMS, and WhatsApp, as well as on your website and mobile app. Visit our website or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.
These tools bring email and SMS marketing capabilities all in one place. This means you can use them to run cross-channel campaigns without integrating with other solutions and complicating your workflow.
Insider brings together the most extensive set of personalization capabilities for channels like email, SMS, on-site, WhatsApp, web push, and more.
Over 1200 brands like AVON, Burger King, LEGO, and Toyota use Insider to improve conversions, revenue, and lifetime value (LTV) by aggregating all their customer data in one place and personalizing every touchpoint along the customer journey.
Insider’s extensive channel support, personalization capabilities, and automation features can help you:
In the next sections, we’ll show you exactly how Insider’s email and SMS marketing tools work.
Insider helps you grow your email and SMS subscribers by running targeted lead-generation campaigns.
You just need to select where you want to run your campaign — e.g., on your website or mobile app — and choose who sees them.
For example, you can show an SMS opt-in campaign only to visitors browsing a certain URL, to customers who are logged in, to people who are just about to leave your site or mobile app, and so on.
You can also choose from various opt-intemplates — from simple opt-in messages to two-step opt-ins and gamified templates that entice users with mystery gifts.
These templates are customizable, so you can easily add your brand’s logo, colors, and messaging.
For example, LEGO offered first-purchase discounts to all visitors who subscribed to receive emails, which helped increase their subscriber base by 361%. Additionally, their regular email messages were received with an over 30% open rate and helped convert many leads into paying customers.
Insider has many options for building your email and SMS messages and adding dynamic elements to them.
For example, the screenshot below shows some settings you can tweak while creating an email.
As you can see, it’s easy to add dynamic content to your subject lines and preheaders, like the recipient’s name, their last browsed category, and much more.
The same goes for SMS — adding dynamic content is as simple as opening the editor and choosing from a list of attributes.
You can also design your emails with a simple drag-and-drop editor, create custom designs by editing the HTML directly, or select from our customizable email templates.
For example, the screenshot below shows how the drag-and-drop editor works.
Just like with the subject lines and preheaders, it’s super easy to add various personalization elements to the email or SMS body, like the user’s cart items, previously purchased items, or browsed items.
You can also start with one of many customizable templates for use cases like cart abandonment, browser abandonment, customer surveys, and much more.
Insider also supports AMP emails that create a more interactive email experience.
For example, say you have a segment of customers who bought a black shirt from your store a month ago.
You can have Insider send these customers product recommendations that complement that shirt — like gray and black shoes — and present them in a carousel directly in the email.
Besides providing a more interesting shopping experience, AMP can help you collect feedback from customers by embedding surveys directly into the email.
When creating your emails and SMS messages, you can set up different unsubscribe methods. For instance, SMS subscribers can opt-out by texting a specific word by clicking on a link that leads to a dedicated unsubscribe page.
Finally, Insider ensures you aren’t sending too many emails or SMS messages. Our frequency-capping settings limit the number of messages that subscribers can receive per day, week, or month.
This is essential, as it prevents you from overloading your subscribers and losing their interest.
While sending one-off emails and SMS messages can yield good results, Insider also ensures you can tap into the full potential of both channels by creating contextual, automated marketing campaigns.
This is possible thanks to our journey builder called Architect, which lets you trigger cross-channel campaigns based on:
For example, say you want to send transactional emails to customers after their purchase, then run a cross-sell campaign via SMS two weeks later.
You can instruct Insider to wait for a purchase event and send a confirmation email. From here, you can have Insider wait for two weeks and then send an SMS with relevant product recommendations.
As we showed earlier, your email and SMS message can easily be personalized based on customer behavior and preferences. For example, the SMS can contain recommendations for products that are usually purchased with the one customers bought two weeks ago. Or, it can include discounts for products that the customer browsed on your site in the meantime.
They built an email onboarding journey based on how users engaged with their brand. If users didn’t make a purchase one week after registering, they were sent an email to save their preferred search filters.
After a few days, they sent a second email with a list of brands available on the site and how to mark their favorites. Finally, a third email followed with ways to combine orders and save money on shipping.
This new automated email journey resulted in a 104% increase in first purchases compared to the previous quarter.
Since Insider also has A/B testing capabilities, you can compare different paths and channels against each other to see which one produces better results.
For example, you can test which version of your cart abandonment emails brings back more customers. Or, you can send an email to 50% of the users in a journey and an SMS to the other 50% to see which channel leads to more conversions.
With our Winner Autoselection feature, you also don’t need to worry about interpreting the results of your tests and changing the journey based on them. Insider will do that for you depending on the results you’re looking for — whether that’s more opens, clicks, conversions, revenue, or another KPI.
Insider’s journey builder and automation functionalities are very versatile, so if you want more details, check out our eCommerce marketing automation guide.
For a real-life example, refer to our case study with eCommerce brand NA-KD. They used Insider to consolidate customer data and deliver personalized customer experiences across email, SMS, and web push.
The result was a 25% increase in LTV and 72x return on investment (ROI) over the first 12 months of using Insider.
So far, we’ve mostly focused on the manual steps of creating email and SMS messages, campaigns, and automations.
But when it comes to improving the results of your marketing efforts, Insider’s powerful AI-powered algorithms can do a lot of the heavy lifting. They can help you find the right audiences and engage with them on the right channels with relevant messaging, content, and product recommendations.
Insider lets you segment your SMS and email lists based on any criteria you can think of — from users’ countries and devices to their purchase history, the events they’ve performed, the pages they’ve visited, the email engagement, and much more.
Plus, Insider automatically creates predefined audiences of users who:
However, you can also use our AI-powered predictive segmentation to make your targeting even more specific.
For example, when you click the “Predictive” button, you’ll see many automatically generated predictive audiences. These allow you to target people in your contact list based on their:
Here are some example segments you can create by combining our standard segmentation with AI-powered predictive audiences:
Oftentimes, marketing teams try to engage customers on a channel that simply doesn’t produce the desired results. When that happens, it can be very difficult to decide what to do next.
For example, say you sent an email with discounted products to customers who have a high discount affinity. For whatever reason, the email doesn’t bring in enough sales, so what do you do next? Do you wait for some time before trying again or try another channel like SMS, WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger?
With Insider’s AI-powered next best channel predictions you don’t have to guess. Instead, our platform automatically decides which channels to try next based on each customer’s behaviors, interests, and preferred touchpoints.
You can limit the types of channels Insider can choose from, e.g., select between only SMS or email, or include other channels like WhatsApp and web push.
Email and SMS are among the most powerful channels for product discovery. And with Insider’s AI-powered Smart Recommender, you can show your audiences dynamic product recommendations tailored to their interests.
This feature lets you take advantage of different discovery strategies by highlighting trending products, recently viewed items, location-based bestsellers, highest discounted products, and items purchased together. You can also create custom recommendation strategies.
Besides increasing conversions and revenue, this feature saves you tons of time, as you don’t have to worry about manually updating your product recommendations. Instead, our algorithms dynamically update recommendations based on each user’s most recent behavior at the moment they open your email or SMS.
The Smart Recommender is an essential feature for many of our customers:
“Insider’s Smart Recommender, their AI-based product recommendation tool, has been a boon for our business. Since we started using it on our website, we have witnessed a 3.6X increase in AOV by showing personalized product recommendations based on customer interests and previous browsing history. The algorithm that it works on is quite flexible and we are able to make changes easily whenever we need to.”
For a more detailed example, check out our AVON case study. They were able to increase AOV by 11% and clickthrough rates (CTR) by 13% thanks to our Smart Recommender.
Insider gives you key metrics for your SMS and email campaigns, including deliverability, open rates, CTRs, and conversions.
You can also track the performance of your sign-up strategy by subscriber growth and unsubscribe rates over time.
However, you’re not limited to monitoring just one channel or campaign. For example, you can see which combination of channels yields the best results in terms of reachability.
Additionally, every customer journey you create with Architect — customer journey builder can easily be analyzed. For instance, the screenshot below shows the live statistics for two touchpoints in a customer journey (web push and email).
You can also zoom out and focus on higher-level metrics for each journey, such as how many users entered, completed, and dropped from it, the total conversions and revenue it brought, and much more.
Lastly, we know that many marketing teams already have an analytics stack in place and want to track their results there. That’s why you can enable UTM parameters when creating email and SMS campaigns and continue tracking your results in your preferred analytics solution (e.g., Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics).
One of the biggest limitations of most email and SMS marketing tools is that they don’t support other channels. As a result, you can create a personalized experience for email and SMS, but not on all other touchpoints customers have with your brand.
For example, the on-site or in-app experiences won’t be tailored based on how users interact with your emails and SMS messages. The reverse is also true — your email and SMS campaigns won’t be personalized based on what users did on the site or in the app.
There are workarounds to this issue (such as integrating a bunch of systems) but they’re either expensive, time-consuming, or both.
That’s why Insider brings together the most extensive set of personalization capabilities and channels under one roof. This lets you personalize every touchpoint — from your site and app to channels like email, SMS, and WhatsApp — and deliver a consistent, individualized customer experience.
Here’s how this process works:
First, Insider’s Actionable Customer Data Platform (CDP) aggregates all your customer data in one central database and creates 360-degree profiles of all your customers.
Our CDP can combine data from all online and offline sources — including analytics tools, survey platforms, customer relationship management systems (CRMs), point-of-service (POS) devices, and much more.
Note: If you’re not familiar with CDPs and their importance for creating personalized cross-channel campaigns, check out our detailed article on the 7 best CDPs in 2023.
Then, with your customer profiles in place, you have all the data you need to create personalized cross-channel marketing campaigns, including:
Insider also creates profiles for anonymous visitors and automatically populates them with behavioral data. This means you have valuable personalization data before visitors have bought anything from your business.
For example, say you have a segment of subscribers who have shared their email with you but haven’t bought anything yet. Insider keeps track of all their behaviors on your site, so you can send them relevant product suggestions via email.
You can also try to collect their phone numbers (with help from our templates, as we showed earlier) and unlock another communication channel to see if they prefer to interact over it.
As these subscribers browse your site and interact with your marketing communications, their profiles get continuously enriched.
For instance, their last browsed or abandoned products change. Their discount affinity and likelihood to churn may lessen or grow. You can use all this information to create even more targeted marketing campaigns with higher open rates, conversions, and revenue.
Finally, thanks to our broad channel support and cross-channel automation capabilities (via Architect), you can create personalized marketing campaigns across all customer touchpoints, including email, SMS, WhatsApp, web push, and on-site.To see Insider in action and learn how it can help you create individualized, cross-channel marketing campaigns, book a live demo with our team.
Klaviyo is an SMS and email marketing platform for eCommerce businesses. It offers various personalization, automation, and contact management features for both channels. It also has segmentation capabilities that help marketers break down their contact lists by standard and custom properties and attributes to ensure their messages get sent to relevant audiences.
Omnisend is a cloud-based eCommerce automation platform for email and SMS marketing with pre-built templates and automations for both channels. Besides email and SMS, teams can use Omnisend to send web push notifications, build signup forms and popups, and sync their audiences for social media and Google search ads. Omnisend also integrates with popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento.
Sendinblue is a platform that combines various marketing and sales tools. Its email, SMS, and WhatsApp marketing tools are some of the most important aspects of the platform for marketing teams. For sales teams, Sendinblue offers a shared inbox, CRM, and a meeting scheduling tool.
These final tools are focused either on email (Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign) or SMS (TextMagic and SlickText). They can be integrated with each other and with other email or SMS tools via pre-built integrations, APIs, or third-party apps like Zapier.
As a result, teams can use these tools in conjunction, although that requires more work to set up and maintain than using a platform that supports both channels natively.
Mailchimp is a cost-effective marketing, email, and automation platform. It’s one of the pioneering email marketing software tools for small businesses that still exists as a standalone product after its acquisition by Intuit. While Mailchimp doesn’t have native SMS capabilities, it has integrations for SMS tools like SimpleTexting and Burst SMS.
ActiveCampaign offers an email marketing solution and tools for sales teams. It comes with various features and capabilities, including email automation and personalization, a CRM, a landing page and form builder, and a lead scorer. ActiveCampaign has integrations with various SMS marketing tools, including SlickText and TextMagic.
TextMagic is a simple text message marketing software. You can use it to send all types of text messages — including alerts, notifications, and confirmations — and set up SMS marketing campaigns. TextMagic also has a feature for converting your emails to text messages and sending them to any mobile phone number. As we said, it can be integrated with ActiveCampaign, as well as with Mailchimp and other email tools (via Zapier).
SlickText is an SMS marketing platform that helps teams deliver targeted messages to the right audiences. It comes with both beginner and advanced features like SMS shortcodes, autoresponders, MMS marketing, text surveys, automated workflows, and opt-in popups. SlickText can be natively integrated with ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and other email marketing tools.
Insider can help you maximize your digital marketing budget by syncing your email and SMS campaigns and tailoring them to your customers’ behaviors, interests, and preferred touchpoints.
Our platform can also:
Email marketing software is a digital tool that simplifies the creation, management, and automation of email marketing campaigns. It offers features like designing visually appealing emails, managing subscriber lists, segmenting audiences, automating email sends, tracking campaign performance, and conducting A/B tests.
SMS marketing software enables businesses to reach their target audience via text messages on mobile devices. It typically provides tools for composing SMS messages, managing contact lists, scheduling sends, tracking delivery and engagement, and ensuring compliance with regulations.
Email marketing software provides analytics that tracks key performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and subscriber engagement. These insights help assess the effectiveness of email campaigns and guide optimization efforts.
I am passionate about helping retailers and brands to acquire, understand, retain, reward and grow their customer base in e-commerce, hospitality, retail and service sectors. Working with CX and digital marketing strategies. Currently working with the worlds first integrated GMP - Growth Management Platform to manage all customer touch points with an AI powered unified data layer, creating a true single customer view.