Given the stunning conclusion of a recent A.C. Nielsen study that “if all time spent on the mobile web was condensed into a single hour, U.S. internet users would have spent 25 minutes in June 2010 checking email” it is obvious that far from being “dead” as many of its Web 3.0 detractors like to claim, email is experiencing a renaissance within the new online mobile paradigm.
Email marketing is more important than ever as a primary and integral part of any brand’s promotional campaigns even as the onus shifts from emails read on 22” flatscreens to ones viewed on a dizzying plethora of tiny mobile screen sizes, formats, operating systems, and interfaces. Here are some of the best ways to ensure that your next email campaign is not only readable but equally effective on every device from basic monochrome cell phones all the way to the most powerful desktop PCs.
Edit, Edit, And Then Edit Some More
Email marketers are well aware that their content should be “shaped” in the inverted pyramid style and mobiles make it more important than ever to keep that pyramid concentrated and very sharp. Your mobile prospect on the go is not likely to sit and scroll through voluminous treatises about your latest SEO discount offer, so keep it short, keep it simple, and get to the point quickly and powerfully. Your window of opportunity is as small as the size of the screen itself!
A/B Is Your Best Friend
In the mobile space, split testing becomes not just desirable but mandatory. Every aspect of how your email is delivered and displayed should be tested literally ad infinitum. If there is definition as to how much testing constitutes overkill, it can be confidently stated that no email marketer has ever accomplished it. The variances of how and what is displayed in the myriad devices is enough to fill an encyclopedia and although it is a lugubrious and labor-intensive task, each must be tested and tested and tested. Keep in mind that it’s not just the devices that you have to test but the quirks of the specific email clients and even addresses. Users of Facebook’s new email-messaging hybrid won’t see a message’s subject line!
An ASCII Tells A Thousand Pictures
Mobile email has turned the state of the art on its head, and while the long standing advice to keep your content as graphically visual as possible still applies to the messages read on “conventional” computers, the diametric opposite applies to email reading on the go. Images increase loading time on all but the hottest 4G phones and some devices will display them in uncomplimentary “onion-field” pixilation. If you absolutely can’t get away from including images in your content, try to keep them as small as possible (in physical as well as file size) or provide your customers with an option to view them. Also make sure that you have clear text descriptions for each relevant image for the “images off” customer.
Correlate Your Frequency To A Time Zone Map
You’ve just sent out your email campaign to hit at 9 am so that your East Coast users will have time to react to it through the business day. That’s great until you realize that it’s being received at 3 am in Honolulu! Your Hawaiian customers being woken up in the middle of the night by your latest SEO missive will likely provide you with a 100% response… of unsubscribing. Your West Coast subscribers reading it at 6 am might not be too thrilled either. A simple correlation of area codes vs. time zones will ensure that your email campaign impacts your customers when they’re awake and ready to respond positively.
A Landing Or A Crashing Page?
You have a phenomenal email campaign which displays properly on everything from a Core i7’s widescreen to a Motorola StarTAC 3000 (!!!), but when your customers respond to your call to action, they are taken to a page that is only readable on a minimum 1440 x 900 monitor. Congratulations, you’ve just lost sales and lots of them. Since it may well be beyond the capabilities of the most gifted web designer to concoct a single landing page which suits the needs of the Sandy Bridge crowd equally as well as the mobile masses, the most desirable hi-tech solution is to create device-sensing links. Failing that, providing an option to click through to a “full size” or mobile-friendly landing page is the best approach.
From: Here To Eternity
Many mobile devices only portray your From: line as the sole information which the customer must use to base their decision of whether to read or delete your message, so that line has taken on far greater importance than ever before. Resist the temptation to get cutesy or sly and make your From: line a substitute for your Subject line. Your brand’s name should be sufficient to inform the subscriber that it’s from you and that it should be read. If they are deleting on your brand name, then you’re likely never to convert them anyway so they’re better pruned from your list.
The burgeoning mobile market is not free from its share of pratfalls for the inexperienced or unsophisticated email marketer. The staggering spectrum of devices and contradictory standards can be seen as a mine field to tiptoe across. Instead of fearing this diversity it should be embraced and encompassed in every aspect of your email campaigns regardless of the effort expended to cater to every element in the display rainbow: No pain, no gain!