4 Alternatives to Email Marketing

Email marketing has been one of the most popular digital marketing tactics for quite a while now. Especially at its beginning, it was a fantastic way to directly interact with your audience. Open rates were great, click through rates were great; everyone was happy.

Today? It’s not quite the same story. While plenty of brands still use email effectively, there is no denying that it is not what it used to be. In fact, recent studies have shown an average 11% decline in click through rates and a 17% decline in open rates. Crowded inboxes make it hard to stand out, combined with what feels like an endless array of other platforms vying for your attention. Text messages, notifications, social media- it’s a lot for a customer to process.

These days, it is much harder to connect with your audience. Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you have to work a lot harder to both find your proper audience and keep them engaged. If you are noticing that your email statistics are declining, it might be time to consider switching to an alternative.

You’ve got a few great options to consider when it comes to email marketing alternatives. In this case, we won’t be talking broadly about other marketing approaches you can take. Instead, we are discussing other marketing tactics that allow you to engage directly with your audience. These newer approaches allow you to capitalize on what made email marketing so effective, and apply it to newer tactics that are likely to give you better results.

Even if you’ve been doing email marketing for years, check out these email marketing alternatives and see if it might be worth making the switch, or at least expanding your efforts, to better increase your engagement rates.

1. Messenger Apps

Messenger apps are some of the most popular apps when you look at downloads from places like the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. There are over 1.3 billion people using Facebook Messenger alone. Not only is this where a lot of your audience is spending time, they also enjoy communicating with brands here. Nearly 70% of people reported feeling more confident about a brand if they can message them via Messenger.

facebook messenger email marketing alternatives
Image credit(s): Facebook


What is great about using messenger apps is that users are able to respond to you as well. This makes it great as a platform for customer service as well as for marketing purposes. From a marketing perspective, it is a perfect avenue to send messages, as you know your audience is spending a lot of time there already.

You also have the opportunity in many cases to send rich media messages, which can help boost the overall effectiveness of the message (in the same way that images help boost the overall effectiveness of just about anything).

Whether you are sending a sale alert, letting someone know their order has shipped, or alerting them of your latest blog post, you can do so via a messenger app. This is one of the most convenient forms of marketing for your customers, making it very appealing for brands of all sizes and from all industries.

You also have a lot of bot opportunities when it comes to messenger apps, something that is only going to become more popular in the coming years. This allows you to automate a lot of customer conversations, something that will save you time and provide an even better customer experience. Similar to email marketing automation, using chatbots is a way to bring automation to the messenger world as well.

2. SMS Marketing

Another email marketing alternative to consider is simple SMS (or text message) marketing. You don’t need research to know that everyone is attached to their cell phones- just look around you. If you do want the research, the open rate for SMS messages is 98%. That should make sense- when is the last time you deleted a text message without opening it first?

sms marketing email marketing alternatives
Image credit(s): VoiceSage


While you certainly have a lot less options when it comes to SMS marketing, there are some clear benefits that make it an appealing option when looking at email marketing alternatives. What else is going to give you that high of an open rate? SMS messages are also some of the best in terms of speed. The majority of texts are opened within 3 minutes, with most opened in less than 5 seconds. Now that’s fast!

If you have a simple message you need to get across quickly to your audience, SMS marketing is one of the best ways to do it. If you are running a sale or have a new coupon code to share, sending it via text (like the above example) is a great way to ensure your audience knows about it. You don’t have the chance to include any visual elements, and you are pretty limited in terms of characters, so that is something to keep in mind.

While we don’t think you could totally switch from something like email to SMS, we do think it is a great alternative to consider adding into your overall digital marketing strategy.

3. Retargeting Ads

retargeted ads email marketing alternatives
Image credit(s): WordStream


While retargeted ads aren’t technically a direct form of communication like SMS or email, it is still a highly relevant form of communication that deals directly with a user’s activity, so we decided to include it on our list of email marketing alternatives. Showing up places like on their social media (like the Facebook example above) or on the web, these ads serve as an excellent reminder for your audience as to what they were doing at your website.

In particular, dynamic retargeted ads are highly effective at increasing conversions for ecommerce companies. Remind a user what items they were looking at, include a coupon code, and watch your sales rise! Retargeted ads also result in a 70% higher conversion rate compared to regular display ads.

While you can retarget users via email as well, you run into the same issues we discussed earlier. There’s a lot of inbox competition, a risk of ending up in spam, or simply getting deleted. Instead, take your ads out of the inbox and place them elsewhere where you know your audience is.

4. Web Push Notifications

Finally, web push is one of the best email marketing alternatives. You have a lot of the same options you have with email, plus the added benefit of delivering instantly to a user’s desktop or mobile device. Segmentation, personalization, automation, and more: Web push has got it all.

web push email marketing alternatives
This would be a great push notification to send to a segment of subscribers who have viewed content marketing articles.


The opt-in process for web push is also easier compared to email, which is a major benefit in today’s world. People are impatient, and as a result, it is much more appealing to have to only click one button as opposed to typing in their email, looking for the verification message, opening it, and more.

Web push is better than email in several ways, making it one of the best alternatives. There’s no worry of ending up in spam, it’s quicker and easier to produce campaigns, and it’s got higher visibility. What’s not to love?

You can use web push to interact with your audience however you want to. From more standard marketing messages advertising sales, to highly personalized campaigns alerting users of specific products they’ve looked at, new content alerts, and more, any business can make use of web push campaigns.

Pro Tip: If you are new to web push, make sure you read up on these 10 best practices.

Wrapping Up

Email might not be dead, but it sure isn’t alive and well as it used to be. Instead, businesses need to keep up with changing communication habits of their consumers. Engaging directly via messenger apps, text message, push notifications, and even with retargeted ads, allows brands to engage with their audience where their audience is. Sure, they may still have an email inbox, but they aren’t spending a lot of time in there.

What is your favorite email marketing alternative? Let us know by sending us a message!

If you are looking to try out web push as your email marketing alternative, head this way to start your 14-day free trial. You can also read up on all things web push in our Beginner’s Guide.


Tags: digital marketing, email, email marketing alternatives*, retargeting, web push notifications.
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