Make sure your email signup process is simple and clear

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Jordan Cohen, VP, business development, Pontiflex
Jordan Cohen, VP, business development, Pontiflex

This year marks a pivotal inflection point in the evolution of personal computing. According to research from Morgan Stanley, it is the first in which consumers will purchase more smartphones and tablets than desktop and laptop PCs. Mobile has taken the world by storm and quicker than anyone had predicted.

The effects of the mobile revolution on email marketing are numerous, and start at the very beginning of the customer lifecycle: opting-in. Brands intent on accelerating database growth can ill afford to wait and pray for people to come find them and opt-in on their websites alone. It is imperative to make signing up on mobile devices easy, clear and ubiquitous.

Traditional Web-based approaches to subscriber acquisition won't naturally translate to the mobile space. New approaches are needed that are specifically tailored to smartphones. Here are a few approaches that cutting-edge marketers are using to get consumers to sign up on mobile devices.

  • In-app signup advertising. According to IDC, consumers will have downloaded more than 183 billion apps by 2015. Smartphone users spend more time on apps than the mobile Web and even more than on making phone calls. Brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Lilly Pulitzer and the ASPCA are getting users to opt-in to their email lists through signup advertising within an ever-growing variety of gaming, entertainment and utility apps.
  • Text to opt-in. Southwest Airlines is the poster child for smart, effective SMS-based email signup. The airline promotes its popular “Click ‘N Save” email program at every chance it gets: posters in the airport, online and print ads, and even on in-flight cocktail napkins. “Sign up online or text your email address to #” and voila, you are added to Southwest's email list.
  • Mobile website optimization. Betty Crocker is an example of a marketer that's doing it right. If you're on a smartphone and go to BettyCrocker.com, you'll land on the Betty Crocker mobile website. At the top of the homepage, you'll see a prominent link to sign up, which will take you to a registration page that's optimized for easy data entry on the small screen.

The key to successful marketing is speaking to customers and prospects on the platforms and media they are using. As people continue shifting time away from the tethered PC and to the liberated smartphone, marketers must follow suit with intelligent strategies for meeting them there.

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