An e-mail marketer's guide to an increasingly mobile world

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The fast adoption of e-mail-friendly mobile devices and the increasing receptiveness of mobile advertising by consumers presents a big opportunity to e-mail marketers. In fact, e-mail is one of the most popular mobile functions today, with 31% of mobile phone owners checking personal e-mail on their phone and 21% checking work e-mail.  

E-mail is the single key that opens all digital doors while acting as an enabling technology – driving traffic and revenue both online and offline. Smart phones make it easy to read and interact with e-mails strengthening the importance of e-mail even more. The visual displays, interactivity of mobile apps and the overall integrity of e-mail creative and mobile-friendly sites allow people to shop, search, evangelize and socialize just as easily as they would from their computer. This convenience, combined with the tech savvy, cash sensitive consumers that exist today, means that people are more aptly signing up to receive e-mail promotions from the brands they love. 

So what's an e-mail marketer to do in this increasingly mobile and highly connected world? Here are a few tips for ensuring your mobile and e-mail marketing campaigns are optimized to work together for increased ROI.

Make the connection

At the very least, link to an e-mail version that mobile users can read. To ensure consumers can view your message on their mobile device, create a text-only version of each e-mail and link to it at the very top of the template, above any logos or images. Accompany this link with copy such as, “Viewing on a mobile device? Click here” or simply “Mobile friendly link.”

Test and target

Most technology offered through e-mail service providers allows you to identify a target segment of your customer file that are more likely to open e-mails on a smartphone. Start by isolating the group of subscribers that click on a mobile optimized version of your e-mails and, if you have an SMS program, the group of SMS subscribers for whom you also have an e-mail address. Combine these two groups to create a mobile segment. Take this segment and a test group from the remainder of the file to run a head to head test of an HTML template optimized for mobile phones against the template you use today. The test should be run over time and across different types of campaigns to get a significant and unbiased response. The results will help determine if open and click rates are influenced by mobile usage.

Timing translates into relevance

To reach young audiences likely to be heavily dependent upon their Web-enabled mobile devices, consider sending short, time-limited promotional e-mails at the time of day and day of week they might be out shopping to drive traffic into stores.

Test again

Go further and look at your channel mix and response rates overall. Now is the time to start testing whether e-mail drops coordinated with SMS generate a higher response with your customer segments versus a single channel effort, for example.

Act mobile

Many clients ask me for advice on optimizing e-mail for mobile or what they should be doing with SMS – these are great topics of consideration, but e-mail is just a part of the equation. A single channel like e-mail or SMS will provide larger returns with a more holistic approach. For example, your website also needs to be optimized for mobile browsers. If not, the customer won't move further into your site. 

Becoming more mobile can be achieved by taking small steps

First, test the effect of adding an SMS component to an existing campaign. E-mail should be a key player in the effort to drive awareness and opt-ins for the SMS component. Running this type of coordinated campaign will most likely provide good baseline metrics, build a segmented subscriber base and help make informed decisions about the future marketing efforts. 

The bottom line is that mobile trends do not translate into e-mail inefficiencies. Surrounded by constant change and innovation, marketers should focus on how one channel helps the other and remain focused on the customer.

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