Email to Text Notification for Critical Emails

January 31 , 2024

If you’re like us, email is NOT our preferred communication method, but we cannot control that many of our clients want to communicate that way. When we have a project or client that we know we need to be responsive with, we prefer an email to text notification nudge.  Rather than ask those clients to change their behavior, we have a few hacks to allow you to get your email to a text or SMS alert when those emails come in.

We will share three methods here today from simple to sophisticated:

Email to Text Notification - solving messy inbox issues
  • Easiest method – configure in your email client
  • Medium method – use a service like Zoho Flow w/ Twilio
  • Advanced method – use as a slick and fast text auto-responder when a web form is submitted

The Easy Method: Email to Text Notifications

Did you know that each mobile carrier provides an email address for your phone number, and if used with your email provider’s forwarding rules, you can set this up in a matter of seconds?

Give it a try – here are the formats for the three main carriers in the United States (in alphabetical order & you can search “email to text notifications {insert carrier name}” to find others):

  • AT&T – {3125551212}
  • T-Mobile – {3125551212}
  • Verizon – {3125551212}

Go ahead, replace the dummy number above with yours and send an email now and see what happens.  If you send a simple email, you’ll notice it comes through quite nicely, but if you send an email with graphics or heavy formatting, you’ll find you get quite a mess on the other end. 

Next, you’ll want to reference your email provider’s forwarding rules.  Here are links to references from both Google and Microsoft that should help 80% of readers who are unfamiliar with setting these rules:

The email forwarding rules allow you to do things like: when I get an email from (you can also use * to do this for anyone from that company), forward it to my SMS email address.

Medium Difficulty: Cleaning up that Email to SMS Alert

This next example will use a no-to-low-code integration platform called Zoho Flow.  There are other platforms out there that can do something similar, so find one that works for you.  We are also going to use a third-party SMS platform called Twilio.  Again, there are others out there, and you use another one, you’ll simply find it in the list of supported integrations.

Why do I want to set up my email to text notification this way when both services cost money? 

Remember in the previous example, I cannot control what comes through when a sender sends images or heavy formatting?  This solves that problem – we can not control what the text message says.


  • Zoho Flow Account: If you don’t have a Zoho Flow Account*, sign up for one at Zoho Flow.  Note that Zoho Flow is also included with Zoho One which also includes a whole host of other apps.

(*Disclosure: Plaidypus is a Zoho Authorized Partner)

  • Twilio Account: Create an account on Twilio if you don’t have one and secure a phone number.

Setting Up Your Email to Text Notification Flow:

  1. Log into your Zoho Flow Account
  2. Go to “My Flows” in the left sidebar
  3. In the upper right click on the “+ Create” button, then “Create flow”
  4. Name your flow (and also place in a new or existing Folder)
  5. Select “Configure” under the “App” icon in the screen below:
Email to Text Notification using Zoho Flow - Step 5
  1. On the next screen, try typing “Gmail”, “Office 365” or other email provider. We’ll use Gmail for G Suite.
  2. It will ask you for your “Gmail for G Suite Trigger” and you should select “Email Received” or “Email Received from a User”:
Setting up the Email Trigger in Zoho Flow
  1. Connect your email account to Zoho Flow and indicate the Mailbox you want and if the flow should exclude replies (and any other filter criteria)
  2. You will now see that the first block for your email to text notification flow is set up:
Step 8 - Setting up the Email Connection
  1. Now in the left nav, type in “Twilio” and drag “Send SMS or WhatsApp message” onto your flow.
  2. Connect your Twilio Account
  3. Select the To Phone Number and set the message – which CAN be whatever you like including variables from Gmail such as the “Label/Mailbox” indicating that you’ve received an email that met your systems filter criteria (we’ve dragged “Label/Mailbox” into the “Message” which shows as “${trigger.label_list} and will populate my inbox label (which is driven by gmail filters). It keeps my SMS/text message clean.
Converting an Email to become aText Notification using Zoho Flow - Step 12

Finally, you’ll see your flow like this and simply have to “test” your flow using the GREEN “play” button in the upper right. There you have it – a cleaner email to text notification alert to your phone. When your test looks good, simply toggle your flow on with the toggle in the upper right-hand of your screen:

A final look at the simple flow to convert an email to a text message

Advanced Level: Parsing Predictable Emails

Alright, you’ve either scrolled down here or you’re a glutton for more! While we will not be getting into excessive detail in this post on this, let’s lay out the use case example for an advance email to text notification:

  • This is for a real estate company that receives leads from a third-party
  • When a lead comes in from this third-party, the email format is consistent:
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • Phone
    • Email
    • Property Address
  • We take the email and parse out those pieces of data
  • We upload the lead to our CRM
  • Then if the lead has a phone number, we send them an immediate SMS text to schedule a showing AND we send the real estate property owner an SMS text to let them know that there is a fresh lead

We’re using Zoho Flow for this again and it looks like this:

Advanced SMS To Email Notification Flow

The main reason this is so advanced is that we actually have to write code to parse out the contents of the lead from the third-party provider. However, the SMS messages are highly targeted and fast to respond! So, whatever type of email to text notification degree of difficulty you’re looking for, you should be able to find a solution.

Have questions for us, feel free to drop us a line: