Make ‘Email Everywhere’ Work for You

Written on
Jun 5, 2013 
Vin Turk  |

ADOTAS – Email marketing may have been upstaged in recent years by social, mobile and other “sexier” channels, but although it may not be the cool new kid anymore, it definitely still drives results. In fact, with the growing adoption of smartphones, “mobile everywhere” effectively means “email everywhere.” Consumers have greater access to email than they’ve ever had before, giving marketers a wider window to reach their audiences. Currently, more email is read on mobile devices than on the desktop, causing a surprising phenomenon: Smartphone users are more likely to read email than make a phone call… so, use it to your best advantage.

So, what are the best practices for preparing email for the next wave and returning it to star status? Well, there are a few new rules, but the basics still apply.

The very basics:

Subject line should be succinct but enticing. Most mobile phones cut off at 35 characters. In fact, according to Marketo, as little as 15 characters may be viewable, so keep your subject lines to the point.

Permission! Double opt-in, or making the user confirm his or her email address after submitting to a newsletter or online form, is a best practice to ensure that  your readers want your messages. Follow CAN-SPAM compliance.

How often are you allowed to mail your customers? Remember—you’re there at the users’ will, and you want to be present until they are ready to convert into buyers. Test mailing frequency to see if there is a difference with mobile users.

Keep emails short and to the point. Use a pithy tone to maintain interest.

“Chunk” content. Organize your information for easy scanning and reading. The limited space on your smartphone needs clear, quick information. Lead with “hero” content, the most important message on the page and a call to action button. Then offer a few other content blocks, well-spaced and eye-catching.

Mobile specific:

  • MIME format will display HTML and text for mobile.
  • Avoid extraneous images/text links, which will elongate messages and discourage viewing.

How do your customers interact with their mobile devices?

If you’re marketing to a B2B audience, they might receive your initial message and then want to follow up on a laptop with all their resources available.

More advanced tips for stellar results:

Make it personal. Personalize greetings and use a friendly tone. After all, customers are reading your messages on devices that rarely leave their sides.

Keep it relevant. Leverage data to keep images and offers specific to audience segments.

Provide a strong call to action. A call to action should be tied to an offer-specific landing page. Given the medium, one of the most effective calls to action is providing a phone number.

Measure results and learn for next time. You have more information about mobile users than old-school email because you can track location, behavioral patterns and intent data, and gather information through your customers’ devices. Use this information without abusing CAN-SPAM rules of course.

Design for mobile. Make sure your content is readable and finger friendly. Use a vertical (single column) layout because a mobile user will scroll through, rather than pan across a wide, horizontal shot. Provide tap-able buttons and an online version of your message. Use .alt files to describe images in case users have them shut off. Avoid flash or layered images. Design with small screens in mind. Instead of making a different version for every phone and device out there, test across various devices before sending.

  • Use fixed with tables: this allows images, when blocked, don’t expand
  • Stay under 600 pixels wide
  • Verify that the landing page is viewable

Take advantage of social opportunities. Empower readers to share an image or file via top social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.

Mobile email marketing should be part of your overall strategy to meet your business goals. Because of the ubiquity of users reading their mail on their phones, it is crucial that your email marketing strategy be optimized for readability and action, contain valuable content and link to functional, relevant landing pages that continue to serve the customers’ needs. As always, deliver relevant information that provides value to your readers to keep them interested in your services.

As Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Audience Development at Madison Logic, Vin is responsible for creating strategic data partnerships as well as guiding and growing the company's leading Business Intent initiatives. Vin brings over a decade of expertise in strategy and design of digital media platforms.

Prior to co-founding Madison Logic, Vin provided senior account strategy at IndustryBrains, successfully signing and building digital advertising programs for some of the largest technology organizations including Microsoft, Dell, EMC, and Intel. Before IndustryBrains, Vin engineered business continuity processes and disaster recovery solutions for the Department of Defense at Hanscom Airforce Base in Massachusetts.

Vin is an advisor to a number of Internet startups in New York City including Gliider and StoryDesk. Vin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts.

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