Mobile e-mail marketing — Tapping into the epidemic

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In the past few years, there has been an explosion of consumers using mobile devices for messaging – leading to almost obsessive mobile phone use among many consumers. According to a 2007 study conducted by AOL, people who use mobile devices to check e-mail exhibit almost compulsive tendencies, such as:

• 59% are checking e-mail in bed while in their pajamas
• 53% are checking e-mail in the bathroom
• 37% are checking e-mail while they drive
• 12% are checking e-mail in church

With mobile messaging drastically increasing, marketers need to catch up and learn how to communicate with these rabid mobile e-mail users and quickly find ways to tap into this audience by creating e-mail campaigns specifically tailored to their device and their behavior to improve conversion rates. Most consumers are predominantly browsing e-mail on mobile devices as a way to decide which emails to deal with immediately and which e-mails to address on their computer at a later time, so it is important to think mobile when designing an e-mail's call-to-action.

Based on informal testing of mobile e-mail tactics, the best results come from including a concise call-to-action within your message and a simple click-through purchasing process so your audience would rather act on your mobile email's offer immediately instead of waiting to get in front of a computer later.

Below are a few mobile e-mail marketing tips to help marketers start tapping into this growing audience of mobile phone users and start getting results.

First, ask for mobile preferences at signup. Find out whether your audience uses Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, an iPhone, or a Blackberry. They might not know — but if they do, these systems are most likely to support decent-looking html-based mobile e-mails.

Next, if you think you have a lot of mobile-savvy subscribers, try creating a 150 pixel-wide mobile summary version of your e-mail and link to it at the top of your e-mail instead of sending a separate mobile e-mail.

Also, try using a mobile landing page for simple offers. For example, you could create a mobile coupon and link to it in your e-mail so your audience can click through and simply show the coupon on their phone's screen to redeem the offer.

And, don't use an e-mail service that converts e-mails into SMS text messages unless they make sure your messages are compliant with text messaging laws. The laws for text messaging promotions are different from the laws governing e-mail promotions.

While it is important as marketers to continue to innovate and keep up with new technologies, it doesn't necessarily equate to drastic shifts in consumer behavior. Mobile e-mail marketing is still in its infancy, and we are still testing and refining to determine the best methodology for tapping this growing market. Remember that successful marketing depends on evolution before revolution.

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