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How to send a message via email to text

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Advanced SMS guides Tips, tricks & hacks 8 min read | Amanda Ranville wrote in blog on April 22, 2024

Did you know you can send an email as a text message? This handy hack isn’t only useful for private messaging, but also changing the game for many businesses. We’ll show you how it works.

What’s email to text, and why is it useful?

With email to text, you can send an SMS message anywhere in the world. It works for traditional email clients like Thunderbird or Outlook and web-based clients like Gmail or Yahoo.

Without getting too technical, email to SMS uses Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) and a gateway or SMS API to convert emails into SMS format, before sending to the recipient’s mobile number.

WHAT IS SMTP: SMTP is a set of rules (the protocol) for sending emails from one email account to another over the internet. The emails get sorted by an SMTP server, a bit like mail gets sorted at a post office, before being sent off to their destination.

There might be several reasons why you’d want to send an email as an SMS.

  • You’re using SMS for marketing because it gets you higher engagement and more conversions than other channels, but your team prefers using an email client.
  • You want to reach people on a universal messaging service that’s already on everyone’s mobile phone.
  • You’re sending out important alerts or notifications that need to reach everybody, regardless of carrier, iPhone vs. Android issues, preferred instant messaging service, or operating system.
  • You’re somewhere where you don’t have cellular coverage, but your data plan works and you need to reach somebody via text.

That’s exactly when an email to SMS service comes into play. Private users can work with their carrier gateway email services. Businesses should use a professional SMS gateway provider like Sinch MessageMedia.

Email to SMS

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Using a carrier gateway to send a text via email

In the U.S. and Canada, phone service providers have email gateway addresses that you can use to email a text message. This works by adding the recipient’s 10-digit phone number and their corresponding carrier gateway to the “to” line in your email client, for instance: This method only works if you know the recipient’s carrier.

When you use this method, keep in mind that you still have a 160 character limit. If your message is longer, it’ll be sent as a Multimedia Message Service (MMS), if available. Some carriers also offer email-to-MMS gateways. These allow you to send messages that are longer than 160 characters and (very!) low resolution images.

We’ve put together an overview of SMS and MMS gateway emails from the most common carriers in Canada and the U.S. By the way, many carriers also offer special apps that let you manage your messages from your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

CarrierSMS gatewayMMS gateway
Metro by 
Rogers WirelessThis service was canceled in 2023.This service was canceled in 2023.

Using carrier gateway email to text as a business

Using a carrier gateway email is a nifty solution for private users. For businesses, however, this isn’t very practical. Here’s why.

  1. You’ll have to know each recipient’s carrier and then either type every email address manually (a lot of work) or program an automated solution (a lot of resources). For reaching a large number of customers or sending out bulk SMS, this isn’t exactly a swift approach.
  2. Since these methods aren’t meant for businesses, you can’t integrate relevant business software like HubSpot, Salesforce, or NetSuite. There’s also no way to manage all the messages from a central interface.
  3. You can’t send high quality images, which will hurt your SMS marketing.

Bottom line: if you want to use an email to text service for your business, you’ll need a professional solution through an SMS gateway provider.

Sending an email as text message through an SMS gateway

With an SMS gateway service provider like Sinch MessageMedia, your business can send email to text to individual contacts and contact groups.

Here’s how this works.

  1. Sign up for an account with MessageMedia. You’ll get 25 free credits to test email to text.
  2. Register an email address or your company domain.
  3. For sending messages to a single contact, go to your email client and in the “to” field enter the SMS mobile number, followed by (e.g. If you want to send a bulk SMS to multiple people, you can set up email groups with the contacts of your choice and then pick the group you want to text.
  4. Add the content of your message to either the subject and/or body of the email.
  5. Hit send!

Replies to the SMS will appear in both the email client inbox and also in the Sinch MessageMedia Hub inbox. You can use any standard email client, like Gmail, Outlook, or Hotmail. You can send emails as text messages to both mobiles and landlines, with landline SMS messages converted to voice that’ll reach recipients as a phone call.

What to keep in mind when sending a text from an email

Here are some things to look out for when sending a text from your email client.

  • When composing messages, remember that the recipient will see it on their phone. Keep it under 160 characters to avoid using extra SMS credits.
  • Make sure that you use the tags {end sms} or {end} at the end of the message. Otherwise your email signature will be included in the SMS.
  • You can write your message in the subject line or the body of the email. If you write the entire message in the subject line, add {end sms} or {end} at the end of your subject line or at the top of the email.

  • Only subscribed recipients can receive messages from email to SMS.
  • Sending to an unsubscribed contact will result in a send failure.

Before you start sending to customers, it’s a good idea to test it out using your own mobile phone number. Also, try sending an SMS to the email address by texting back to check if everything’s set up correctly.

Then, you’re good to go. It really is that easy.

Take our email to SMS service for a spin

Try Sinch MessageMedia for free, plus get 25 SMS credits.

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Three useful business scenarios for sending email to text

There are so many powerful ways for businesses to use email to text. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Sending one-off messages. Let’s say your sales agent hasn’t been able to get in touch with a client via email. With email to SMS, they can send a quick message without leaving their email inbox. Or, say you’re waiting on a colleague to send you something so you can complete an important project. Instead of sending an email (which can get buried in an inbox), use SMS to give them a nudge.
  2. Reaching your team in the field. If your company typically uses email to communicate, but you’re trying to get in touch with employees on a job site, text them. With email to SMS, you can still use your email client and reach your team faster.
  3. Making life easier for your users. Schools, non-profits, and other organizations with distributed teams love the speed and simplicity of sending text messages from an email address. For example, teachers can quickly send SMS to parents right from their inbox. There’s no need for them to learn how to use another software platform. You simply teach the teachers how to send SMS through email.

Given how easy it is, it’s no wonder that businesses of all shapes and sizes send email to SMS. For example:

  • Non-profit organizations with volunteer groups  
  • Clinics with multiple GPs, doctors or specialists 
  • Multi-brand businesses
  • Salons, hairdressers, beauty therapists 
  • Hospitality venues like bars, restaurants, cafés 
  • Fitness businesses like gyms, studios, therapists

One simple solution, many big benefits

Sending text messages via email is quick, easy, and cost-effective. Think of it like a short-cut. With the right authorizations in place, your team can bypass the SMS portal to get urgent messages out to customers using the email platform they know and love.

And, because it saves time and isn’t more expensive than sending SMS via the web portal, your business gets an additional benefit.

Ready to roll?

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