Email is the juggernaut of the digital messaging systems…period. Recently, a lot has been published about email’s decline, aging user base, and more. Social media and texting have their place for marketers. However, email remains a tried and true, steady performer when executed properly.
Email + Texting + Social = A Force for Marketers
Texting can’t show imagery (unless you’re using MMS) and is limited to 160 characters. Social is mostly meant for sharing, entertainment and updates. Email is the marketer’s solution that allows for text, social, mobile engagement and instant gratification. Whether it’s for acquisition, cultivation or retention based messaging, email delivers clear relevancy with an option for more engagement. Each of these message systems can stand alone on its own, but when they’re coupled together, they become a force that is not only interesting, but drives a cohesive conversion result…a.k.a. ROI.
Today, one third of U.S. mobile phone users have a smart phone—cell phones with operating systems resembling computers.* Marketers need to understand the percentage of their audience/list using a smart phone for opens on a mobile device. Once this information is known, there are several options for catering to the audience of smart phone users. The goal is to identify your plan and begin executing it. And…if you don’t, you will be left behind as this group continues to grow and grow. Here’s what we know about smart phones;
* The Nielson Company, 3rd Quarter 2010
Today, your mobile email options include;
1.) Doing nothing and continue producing emails with best practices (i.e. 600 pixels wide) and make your recipients suffer.
2.) Creating a text version that links to a Web hosted version of the email. Simple…yes. However, there are multiple issues with this approach. Most notably, it requires an extra click and relies on the smart phone connection to load a Web page in a browser.
3.) Designing emails for both desktop and mobile users. While this is the best of both worlds, your budget might not handle it well. As well, it might drive confusion within your marketing team as you try to keep track of two versions of every email campaign and its versions.
4.) Creating scalable layouts (leveraging a meta tag to change the logical window size) that look good on desktops, laptops and smart phones (i.e. 480-320 pixels wide). Today, this solution seems to be best for iPhones. However, scaling emails to fit the mobile screen is trending and should be the norm in the future.
Designing a scrolling, scalable email for mobile takes some communication hierarchy skills coupled with a solid single columned template. Leveraging the inherent scrolling behaviors of the smart phone enable marketers to stream long-form email content in a thoughtful and usable manner. To learn more ways to optimize your mobile email strategy, design and engagement, contact Ira Dolin, V.P. Digital Strategy and Email Services, Aspen Marketing Services, firstname.lastname@example.org