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Mobile Implications and How-To for Email Marketers

Posted by Jitendh Naidu

02/04/13 15:52

Email Marketers - take a mobile-first approach

Unsurprisingly, reading email is one of the primary activities of smartphone owners. Indeed, several reports over the past year have indicated that more and more email interaction is happening on mobile devices. The PC still dominates most email interaction and sees 64 percent of opens overall. However, mobile (tablet + smartphones) sees the other 36 percent. That’s up from 27 percent at the end of last year. Patently, the PC email interaction is mainly driven by the emails circulating in the workplace where users are still using archaic email clients. If the current pace of mobile email growth continues nearly 45 percent of “on the go” consumers will be reading email on their smartphones or tablets by this time next year1.

Why exactly do people read marketing emails on their mobile devices? 

Why do you read marketing emails on mobile?

Implications of Mobile for email marketers:

  • 'Mobile Tipping Point' is quickly approaching - Recognize that now, by default, email marketers are effectively mobile marketers. Email and mobile marketers need to plan their campaigns with mobile users as their majority audience.
  • Demographic of Email readers has changed due to mobile - It doesn’t matter how old they are, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to receive marketing via email and there’s no close second place channel. Social media barely registered a sign that even as consumers like and follow brands, that’s not how or where they want to be marketed to. For starters, the younger the individual, the less likely s/he is to prefer to get marketing messages via e-mail. Respondents between 15 and 34 years old all preferred e-mail at a lower rate than the overall 77 percent average; this audience was more willing to get marketed to via text message and social media than older consumers2.
  • Email should be Mobile optimized - Consumers today see a subject line. If they open it, they want to act on whatever call to action is presented to them. If they don't act in that moment, only about two percent will reopen that email on another device – whether on their desktop device, smartphone, or tablet.
  • The Right Timing by Device - The Knotice report indicates that the distribution of email opens occurring on phones is more heavily concentrated within the first 3 hours following email delivery. Also, email engagement by phone is significantly higher in the first 90 minutes, with negligible differences between phone, tablet and desktop email engagement after approximately 5 hours1.

In a new benchmark study from Silverpop: E-mail open rates are falling, but click-through rates are on the rise. The implications of all this is fairly straightforward: take mobile seriously and be ready to optimize email campaigns for an increasingly large mobile user base. For marketers that are complacent or skeptical of mobile, there’s a chance that email campaigns not optimized for mobile will simply no longer be seen.


So where should you start?


Understand what percentage of your customers/prospects interact with your organization's mobile email message. Apparently 31% of email marketers do not know their mobile email open rate3One rudimentary way to find the mobile email opens is clickthroughs at an aggregate level is to see which Web browsers access your site. 


There are four types of transactions you can ask people to take:

  • Viral = Share with a friend.
  • Discussion = Leave a comment.
  • Lead = Enter your email address or fill out the form.
  • Sales = Enter your credit card number

What is important to understand is that Mobile-friendly emails also tend to be reader-friendly for PC users. So if you design your emails that use a narrower width, single-column design, streamlined content, finger-friendly buttons and larger fonts - the end result is a 'scalable' email design. 


It's not enough to drop your subscribers onto your home page and then expect them to fend for themselves. The landing page you create for your email campaign must reinforce your email offer and direct visitors to follow your call-to-action to conversion.

Incentivize customers/prospects who frequently open your emails or engage with your brand more often to download your app. This makes your app the new email marketing landing page. This not only enables you to engage them better but also improves conversions for you and their experience with your brand. Consider developing links that will launch your app with the appropriate content. 


These messages are delivered to subscribers who have given permission to receive them when they downloaded your app. 

When done right, these messages have high engagement rates. But, if you abuse the service, you will encourage users to delete your app. Push notifications can help marketers build an ongoing dialogue with consumers, especially when orchestrated with email, social, and display advertising. Every push notification should be relevant, data-driven, and triggered based on specific customer information and behavior. Use what you have learned about your customers to tailor messages and boost relevance: what they have purchased, downloaded, or shared, and where they're located.

In summary, taking time and effort now to think about the mobile email experience from apps to push notifications and getting your mobile optimization strategy in place will help you remain nimble and continue to grow your digital marketing program.


If you want to learn more about "How to Engage Your Customers/Prospects through Mobile", watch the webinar recording.

View the Webinar Recording


Knotice, Mobile Email Opens Report, September 2012

2 ExactTarget, 2012 Channel Preferences study, feb 2012 

MarketingSherpa Mobile Marketing Benchmark Report 

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Topics: mobile marketing, mobile customer engagement, mobile web, mobile apps, Mobile email marketing, email marketing