Don't Forget the Smart Phone!
We've all heard the now familiar and slightly gross statistic pictured to the right: 4.8 billion people worldwide own a cell phone, while only 4.2 billion own a tooth brush. It's shocking just how much mobile phones are taking over our lives. Smart phones and internet-enabled devices are experiencing the largest area of growth. The phenomenon of iPhones has grown 10 times faster than the last technology revolution, America Online. If you're using email marketing to nurture your leads into clients and your clients into repeat sales, you can't ignore mobile optimizing.
Over 75% of smartphone users are reading emails on their phones regularly. If you fail to send out emails they can open and read, chances are they might not open the content in the future. We've compiled several useful tips and tools to ensure the 91% percent of American adults who keep their cell phones in reach 24/7 won't miss your message:
1. Ditch the Tiny Links
Unlike the days when a cursor was the primary means of web navigation, your leads' fingers are going to be their primary method for smart phone navigation. If you want your links to get clicks, they can't be difficult to access or hard-to-see. Make your links visible and accessible by prominently placing call-to-action buttons that even the clumsiest smart phone user can't avoid clicking.
2. Get Your Timing Right
It's probably not hard to realize that email marketing efforts sent out on a Monday morning might get buried. Timing is everything when it comes to email marketing, and research by Return Path has found that your open rate could very well correlate with smart phone usage, particularly if your buyer personas tend to be pretty plugged-in. Mobile email typically remains steady during the work week, though usage is highest on Fridays and Saturdays. Use tapers on Sunday. It goes without saying that only you can determine what days and times work best for your market. Track your open rates, click-throughs and other analytics to determine when your segments easiest to engage.
3. Test and then Test Some More
Do your images load correctly? Can you easily open the links and does the layout display well? Check it on a variety of different devices - if you can test out both tablets and smart phones, all the better. Just because your email marketing effort looks gorgeous on your graphic designer's computer screen doesn't mean it's going to be quite as appealing on a much-smaller smart phone. Some experts recommend keeping your images between 500-600px wide, though some Blackberries can't display anything larger than 320 px. Make sure no one is stuck waiting for your email template to load, because they'll likely lose interest during that period of time.
4. Don't Beat Around the Bush
Put yourself in the shoes of your smart phone-using buyer personas. They're most likely pretty busy, enough so that they're multi-tasking and opening emails on the go. You can't afford to waste their time with extraneous language or irrelevant information. If you haven't ditched the boring company newsletter, built buyer personas and started segmenting your email list, don't delay these crucial steps and risk the hit to your sender score if someone marks the message as spam. Wondering how to really hit a home run? Let them know your offer or discount is only available for mobile users. e-Dialog research has found that maneuver results in an 18% mobile opt-in average.
5. Keep Your Subject Lines Really Short
35 characters. That's less than 1/3 the length of a Tweet and it was typically the recommended length for an email subject line in the days before mobile was so predominant. It's hard to communicate much in such a short phrase, especially considering that research has found that your open rate will soar if you describe your offer in an accurate and enticing way. Are you starting to sweat? Too bad, because mobile-optimizing your email marketing dictates even shorter subject lines that jive well with smaller screens. 15 characters is thought to be a good target by some email marketing experts.
6. Test the Text, too
While most smart phones can read and display an email marketing campaign in HTML, some aren't quite smart enough to open that format. Make sure you text out the text version of your email. Make any necessary edits you need to ensure that the links are big enough to use and images have been removed.
Mobile email is not going anywhere. As smart phones continue to get smarter and their owners continue to become busier, the rate at which we check, read and send emails from our phones will keep soaring. Radicati Group estimates that by 2016, over 730 million accounts will be regularly accessed from smart phones. Don't ignore the impact this segment could have on your bottom line! Optimize with clear Ctas, clean text and short, snappy subject lines.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/chawalitpix