Think Mobile-First: Tailoring Email Marketing to On-the-Go Consumers


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Smartphones, home to more than a third of our daily media interactions, are like a 21st century Swiss army knife. They’re single tools that serve various functions such as planning, entertainment, and communication—all activities that can start and end with email.

As mobile email has become the #1 smartphone app, marketers have tried to adapt to this evolution in consumer preference. While many efforts focused on adopting mobile email design techniques, this new whitepaper sheds light on the importance of thinking mobile-first when it comes to strategy.

Download the whitepaper today to learn how to:
-Build trust and answer “what’s in it for me?” from the start of a mobile email
-Encourage customer engagement and generate revenue through mobile-relevant calls-to-action
-Measure mobile email success through specific key performance indicators (KPIs)

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Think Mobile-First: Tailoring Email Marketing to On-the-Go Consumers

  1. 1. pg. 21.877.YESMAIL | | Mobile Dependency Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Each day, how much time do we spend with our mobile phone on hand? According to a Qualcomm survey, 34% of people said they could go just a few hours without their mobile phone and a similar segment (37%) checks their device at least every half hour. What’s more, IDC reports that most smartphone users (79%) have their device on them for all but two hours every waking day. To put this figure into perspective: at the end of 2013, it was predicted that more than half of the U.S. population (57.3%) owned a smartphone. The math—about 142 million people in the States are attached to their smartphone. Now, let’s reflect on the few moments that we don’t have our device in a pocket or purse, on our desk, or in short, within arm’s reach. Have you ever experienced “phantom vibrations” or “phantom ringing”? That is, the relatively recent phenomena in which you think your phone is vibrating or you hear it ringing, when it isn’t actually doing so. You’re not the only one. In a 2012 study, almost 90% of undergraduates in a sample of Purdue students experienced phantom vibrations. A high percentage of medical staff in a separate survey reported feeling the same sensations. (NPR) Me Location of phone 10 feet Too far away NOT OK Great OK ehh... Panic! Nomophobia: fear of losing signal, running out of battery or losing sight of [one’s] phone; fear of no mobile phone (The Telegraph)
  2. 2. pg. 31.877.YESMAIL | | Just why are smartphones, home to 38% of our daily media interactions, so popular? They’re like a 21st century Swiss army knife: a go-to device that serves several functions. Smartphones are often used for short spurts of time for various reasons, including: • Planning—as a map for devising trips, calendar for organizing time, wallet to budget finances • Entertainment—use apps, play games, listen to music, surf the web, read books and magazines, use social networks • Communication—connect with others through voice, text messages, social media, and most frequently, email GPS Mail Phone Entertainment Internet Music Camera
  3. 3. pg. 41.877.YESMAIL | | Mobile Email A Nielsen study found that three in four smartphone owners in the U.S. use mobile email, which is, coincidentally, the #1 smartphone app (IDC/Facebook). Yesmail recently published a report that also sheds light on mobile’s role as today’s primary platform for email: after evaluating more than six billion messages from Q4 2013, the company found that 55% of all emails were opened on a mobile device. This figure was a stark contrast to 2012, when many of Yesmail’s clients had a mobile email open rate as low as 30%. Given the drastic jump in mobile email opens within just a year, more marketers should be adapting to consumers’ rapidly evolving behavior. When Econsultancy surveyed professionals involved in e-commerce and e-business, 42% said that mobile is “important” to their business objectives. However in the same survey, only 30% of businesses thought they provided a “good” or “excellent” mobile user experience. 94% Think mobile is at least quite important 32% critical 41% important 21% quite important 6% not important Thinking about your customers, how important is mobile to your business objectives? respondents: 362 | Econsultancy
  4. 4. pg. 51.877.YESMAIL | | You never get a second chance to make a mobile-first impression. It is in email marketers’ best interests to take advantage of the unique format and functionality of mobile devices. Don’t know where to start? Take these four steps. Optimize for the mobile inbox Design for the mobile screen Include content for the mobile context Leverage mobile functionality
  5. 5. pg. 61.877.YESMAIL | | 1. Optimize for the mobile inbox. Our attention span is now 8 seconds—shorter than a goldfish’s (9 seconds). Capture customer attention by laying your stake on prime inbox real estate: the “from” name, subject line, and pre-header text. As always, don’t forget to personalize your complementary subject line and pre-header text. Enhanced relevance will encourage customers to interact with your brand. It’s important to note that the mobile inbox experience varies across different operating systems and email clients*. Marketers should run reports to gauge their unique customers’ email preferences, but here are benchmarks based on mobile email activity for Yesmail clients. * Having multiple options puts more power in the hands of users: while people can filter through their inboxes to find value, it’s also easier for them to passively opt out of your messages. Meaning, even if customers don’t technically unsubscribe, they might tune out and become inactive. So marketers will have to work even harder to generate customer engagement during their many windows of opportunity. From Name Subject Lines Preheader Text Apple 82% Android 17% Other 0.81% Microsoft 0.33% Blackberry 0.08% • Be easily recognizable • Build trust • Avoid truncation by limiting it to 20 characters • Succinctly answer WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?” • Be concise and use fewer than 30 characters to prevenet truncation • “Make sure it is relevant, valuable, and the message is clear to you subscribers “ (Litmus) • Test, test, and test some more to make optimizations • Treat this like a ‘second subject line’ • Elaborate on WIIFM to preview value enclosed in the message • Keep symbol and character counts in mind: limit them to 60-70 characters total
  6. 6. pg. 71.877.YESMAIL | | Inbox Differences It can be dizzying to determine the possible combinations of mobile operating systems and email programs, especially if you factor in variations in screen sizes. Eliminate the guesswork and check out this graphic to envision how your email could appear on several common mobile devices.
  7. 7. pg. 81.877.YESMAIL | | 2. Design for the mobile screen MarketingProfs recently reported that 63% of U.S. subscribers would close or immediately delete an email that wasn’t optimized for their mobile device. To promote readability and therefore interaction with your messages, regardless of your customers’ device, you can implement scalable design and responsive design. These two techniques allow email marketers to tailor campaigns to their mobile audience without compromising the viewing experience for desktop users. Scalable design employs a single email layout that’s not only compatible on a computer monitor, but also completely readable and clickable when reduced to half its size on a mobile device. A grid system ensures that components within this layout are proportional and aligned properly to one another. Stacked columns also help streamline text. Lastly, scalable emails follow a “bigger is better” approach: • font size is larger (think 14+) • call-to-action buttons are large enough to be clicked by a 44 pixel-sized fingertip • there’s generous negative space to avoid clutter On the other hand, responsive design uses CSS code to render two different layouts to adapt to the type of device the email is opened on—mobile or a computer. The message becomes more visually appealing as the campaign elements adjust to the screen size. These adjustments can include turning off areas of code that contain less pertinent images or copy, using an alternate logo, consolidating the navigation bar, and resizing the page width. While it may seem like scalable and responsive designs are “this or that” options, the two techniques are not mutually exclusive and marketers can incorporate a combination of the two in their campaign efforts. Either way, both email design strategies strive to highlight the most critical elements of the message (copy and creative) and draw attention to the call-to-action. This brings us to the question: What should you include in your mobile email communications? Inbox Sent Drafts Spam Saved Compose Search... Forward to a friend | Web view Home | Services | Our Company | Contact What does it mean to be Responsive? Fermentum cursus dolor, eu plac mauris pellentesque faucibusa. fermentum tortor mi. Donec vitae massa tincidunt. Fermentum cursus dolor, eu plac mauris pellentesque faucibusa. fermentum tortor mi. Donec vitae massa tincidunt. Read the Full Article Buy Now! What does it mean to be Responsive? Scalable emails use a balanced relationship between big type, big buttons, and bigger white space to be readable and asthetically pleasing on both computers and mobile Forward to a friend | web view HOME SERVICES OUR COMPANY CONTACT US
  8. 8. pg. 91.877.YESMAIL | | 3. Include content for the mobile context. Learn about your customers and shape your messaging accordingly. Increased relevancy will lead to better email opens, click-throughs and other engagement rates. To develop more complete audience profiles, ask questions such as: What’s important to my customers? Where and how do they interact with my brand? Does their location impact their interactions? This latter question is especially important since given email’s unique format, it has multiple purposes and adds value to readers’ lives in different ways in the mobile context. As a result, there are various tactics marketers can use to engage subscribers. Consumers often use smartphones for short periods of time to seek information quickly and immediately. In addition, they’re utilized at home and out-of-the-home 60% and 40% of the time, respectively (Google). People frequently start online activities—surf the web, shop, watch videos, and more—on their smartphones and then continue on to a computer or tablet. Take this smartphone usage behavior into consideration and carefully define your campaign objectives i.e. what you want mobile email readers to do. Highlight calls-to-action (CTAs) based on your goals. Smartphones are the most common starting place for online activities (Percents for users who start on a smartphone then moved to another device) 65% 60% 4% 63% 58% 5% 65% 61% 4% 47% 45% 3% 69% 56% 3% 66% 58% 8% 56% 48% 8% Search Browse Shopping Trips Finances Social Videos Source: Google
  9. 9. pg. 101.877.YESMAIL | | Sample Goal 1: Engage with your brand Possible CTAs: Encourage subscribers to… • Download or launch an app, or visit the device’s app marketplace (e.g. iTunes) • Search for a product • Connect with brand via social media • Read ‘sticky content’ such as tips, social media updates • Watch a video • Take a poll When Marriott rolled out a Mobile Check-In option in its popular smartphone app, the brand drove Marriot Rewards members to download the app with prominent CTAs in an email campaign. 51% of all clicks in the email were on the iTunes app download button and 20% were on the Android app download button.
  10. 10. “Shoppers who use mobile more, buy more.” (Google) pg. 111.877.YESMAIL | | Sample Goal 2: Generate revenue Deal Closers: 41% of mobile owners have made a purchase as a result of an email viewed on a mobile device. Make the mobile shopping experience as easy as possible by offering… • One-click purchasing • Mobile-friendly and/or mobile-specific product selections For instance, Yesmail adjusted the layout in a responsive holiday email for Toys R Us for eBay in order to feature all twelve toys per the client’s request. When you’re on a mobile device with a small screen or if you decrease your browser window on a desktop, the grid of toys in eBay’s email goes from a 4x3 to a 2x6. A 1x12 was a design option, but that would have required too much scrolling and provided a less-than-optimal user experience. Also consider directing people to a brick-and-mortar store. Smartphones influence the path to purchase and the in-store shopping experience has evolved as a result. Customers are showrooming—meaning, researching product information and comparison shopping on their smartphones while at brick-and- mortars—but that doesn’t have to cannibalize sales. “Smartphones lead to more impulse purchasing.” (comScore/PayPal) In addition, Yesmail’s latest benchmark report notes that in the last quarter of 2013, the number of mobile orders increased by 57.8%. What’s more, mobile revenue went up by 52.1% while desktop revenue grew by a relatively moderate 17.9%.
  11. 11. pg. 121.877.YESMAIL | | 4. Leverage mobile functionality As mentioned before, mobile devices are like a modern-day Swiss army knife in that they are extremely versatile. They act as a compass, calendar, concierge and more. Email marketers can encourage customer engagement by leveraging mobile devices’ unique features. For example, calls-to- action can direct readers to: • Maps – Help customers find a store or class • Add to calendar – Allow people to add sale and event dates to their calendar as reminders • Mobile apps – Ask users if they’d like to open an email link in a mobile browser or smartphone app; if the latter, possibly reward them for using the branded app
  12. 12. pg. 131.877.YESMAIL | | Conclusion: Did you leave a good impression? Analysis is a crucial component of every email marketing campaign. This step is even more important when you factor in consumers’ ever-evolving mobile usage. If you think mobile-first when planning and executing an email campaign, you should be able to effectively engage with mobile users and encourage them to take action. Measure the success of your marketing efforts by evaluating increases in the click-to-open rate (CTO) for users who opened and clicked your email on a mobile device. Then compare this figure to the desktop CTO and performance results for status quo email programs. Other key performance indicators (KPIs) include: • Open rates – Was there an increase in the ratio of email opens to messages delivered? • Activity level — What percentage of your audience has engaged (opened, clicked) in the past 3 months? 6 months? And so on. • Web traffic — Did an enhanced mobile user experience improve mobile and overall traffic? • Conversion — Did a superior email experience increase overall revenue? • Mobile revenue — Did responsive design boost mobile revenue? Use these KPIs to identify new mobile opportunities and to test, test and test some more. Mobile click-to-open rates are, on average, over 50% lower compared to desktop CTOs: 10% vs. 22%, respectively.
  13. 13. marketing@yesmail.com877.YESMAIL About Yesmail Interactive We power intelligent customer interactions. We give you the insights to recognize and understand your customer to deliver contextually relevant digital communications- while respecting their preferences and privacy. We help marketers evolve their customer relationships through intelligent interactions via technology, insights and services in a near real time multi-channel environment. We help you compete in the age of the customer. For more information, visit About Yes Lifecycle Marketing Yes Lifecycle Marketing is a solution provider that brings together multichannel marketing platforms and data, with creative and strategy services honed on the optimization of delivering relevant marketing messages. This gives marketers the ability to source best-of-breed technology and creative and strategy services from a single vendor at a cost-effective price point. For more information, visit