There’s no doubt about it – the number of people using mobile devices to access their email and the Web is rapidly exploding. You need only to look around such areas as airport waiting areas, subways and buses, coffee shops and shopping malls, to see it for yourself – people engrossed in silent conversations, their thumbs tapping away on handheld gadgets. Until recently business professionals were the primary group using this technology. However, now more and more consumers are getting in on the act, too, as web-enabled phones and mobile devices like the Blackberry become increasingly affordable.
What does this mean for you and your company’s email and Web marketing program? That all depends on what percentage of your target audience uses mobile devices for accessing the Internet. So an important first step is to find out.
Ask your customers if they use handhelds to read their emails – perhaps by conducting a poll in your next e-newsletter and including the question on your email sign-up.
What You Can Do To Make Your Promotions More Mobile Device-Friendly
If a large portion of your customers read promotional emails and e-newsletters on mobile devices, then you need to be aware of the constraints of this medium and design interactive campaigns that deal with the issues head-on. First of all, you need to take into consideration the huge difference in the display on a desktop monitor compared to the tiny screen on mobile phones. Plus, keep in mind that the way people handle emails is different when they’re on-the-go versus sitting in an office or at home.
A study conducted by ExactTarget involving more than 4,200 mobile phone users, for example, found that only 54% of respondents click on a web link in a commercial email on their handheld devices, while 88% typically review emails on a desktop or laptop after noticing them on a mobile device. In other words, people tend to use mobile email to stay current with their important messages, leaving the rest for later.
With these considerations in mind, we offer six tips for creating effective, mobile device-friendly promotions:
- Subject lines should be short and sweet, as well as a compelling call-to-action. Remember that the character space available on mobile devices is limited, so make the first 15 to 25 characters count.
- Keep the messages succinct and use minimal graphics. Because mobile device users tend to scan rather than read their messages, you need to really grab their attention within the first 25 words.
- Make your promotions permission-based, opt-in. Just as in any email marketing campaign, messages sent unsolicited – or too frequently – will get deleted quickly.
- Create a text-only version of your HTML newsletter and make it available at the top of your email. Many mobile platforms still don’t render HTML properly. Thus, a text-only version would allow that option to customers who want to read your newsletter from their handheld device.
- Offer a Send Me This Page link on your Web site. This will allow recipients to have a Web page sent to an email address for later review after mobile browsing.
- Include handhelds in your email testing. Though it may seem obvious, check out your emails on a smartphone or Blackberry just to see how the mobile browsing crowd perceives your interactive promotions.