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Five Ways to Optimize Email for Mobile

“New and improved” might be the most overused catchphrase ever . . . but it also might be the most effective. Whether it’s a “new and improved” shampoo, diaper or menu, the slogan has staying power because there is always, always room for – and excitement about – improvement.

These days “new and improved” is also the mantra for smart email marketers. Call it agility, nimbleness or responsiveness, optimizing and re-optimizing your emails for new (and newer!) devices is quickly becoming the new normal. As technologies evolve, so do users’ expectations – and that means your tactics have to keep evolving, as well.  How you design your email messages, what content they contain, when they arrive, etc. all factor into whether customers will stay loyal to you or turn to a more appealing “new and improved” approach.

According to a study by Litmus, more email is now read on mobile (36 percent) than on a desktop (33 percent) or via webmail (31 percent), and opens in mobile devices have increased a full 80 percent in the last six months. With more and more people reading their emails on the go, it is now critically important for marketers to understand how to create an effective (read “new and improved”) mobile email.

Do you know what your email campaign looks like on a mobile device? Are you making it easy for customers to read and understand the information you are sending them?

You’ll increase your response rates (and nurture brand loyalty at the same time) if you keep these five proven techniques top-of-mind:

  • KISS your content. The old “KISS” principle (“Keep it simple, stupid!” or more kindly, “Keep it simple and sincere”) never was more applicable than for mobile email messages. We all know how easy it is to delete an email on a mobile device, and this “read or delete” mentality means you need to keep your emails short, sweet and to-the-point. In particular, a short subject line is key; several studies have shown that shorter subject lines dramatically outperform longer ones.
  • Test, test and test again. Are you images loading correctly? Are links easy to open? Is your layout mobile friendly? To make sure your message is delivering properly, check it on a variety of different devices/formats. Your email might be a creative director’s dream, but it also needs to be easy-to-read, no matter what screen it’s viewed on. Subscribers will lose interest if they have to keep scrolling to understand your message or if they get stuck waiting for data to download.
  • Link smart. If you want a link to get clicks, don’t bury it in clutter or hide it among other links. Set the link apart and make it accessible. (This is especially important on touch screens.)  Frustration with links leads to deletion or departure, which defeats the purpose of your email. One more point here: If you have mobile apps, be sure your emails include links to download them (probably best located toward the end of your body copy).
  • Define your call-to-action. Your mobile email recipient is usually multitasking, very distracted and on the move –so you need to be direct and unobtrusive. Deliver quality content containing compelling offers, relevant information and clear calls-to-action. Use segmentation and targeting so you can deliver the right message to the right customer at the right time. (The last thing you want is to for your customer to tag your email as spam.) According to e-Dialog, the key driver for mobile opt-in among US consumers are special offers or discounts available only via mobile messaging (18 percent).
  • Timing is everything. A study from Return Path found that mobile email use shows a fairly steady pattern through the week, but then starts to rise beginning on Thursday,  and then continues to increase on Friday and Saturday before it starts to taper off on Sunday. Monitor your results to learn what days/times are optimal for your customers. Also, watch as technologies develop to empower you with information about customer location and purchasing patterns in real-time.  Analytics like these can help you deliver messages that impact point-of-sale.

What can you do to boost response rates for your mobile email campaigns?  Remember, even seemingly small changes can significantly boost your results and help you create a “new and improved” approach to revenue growth.

Image courtesy of Email Tray

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