Mobile technology continues to develop. The number of consumers with mobile devices capable of retrieving and viewing email continues to increase rapidly. The early adopters of the Blackberry have given way, in numbers at least, to those using what are fast becoming fully functional internet-ready devices.
With multiple mobile platforms on the market and mobile phone companies vying for the sale of not only the devices but also the data plans that supply the bandwidth, these "mini-messengers" are in the hands of millions of consumers.
Could your email be more mobile friendly?
Are your email messages ready for the move to mobile? They had better be: Over two-thirds of B2B emailers regularly read your emails on their mobile device.
If you haven't tested how your emails are rendering across multiple handhelds, you might be very surprised, and not in a good way.
Here some things to think about when considering email on mobile devices:
- Communications that rely on image-heavy content, special font treatments, tables, or other advanced coding will not translate well without optimizing the message for the mobile user.
- If sending mobile campaigns, be sure to be honest and very personal. Use the name of a real person if possible.
- HTML links can be used but should be used sparingly and only if the call-to-action link is also enabled for mobile devices.
- If your communication boasts a lengthy terms-and-conditions section, it may be better rendered as a mobile-formatted landing page for the user.
- Opt-out rules still apply. One-click opt-out works best.
A few basic formatting rules for mobile devices:
- Coding fonts may or may not work on the user's device. Most mobile devices allow the user to select a preferred default font. Although the link to the mobile communication is actually a web link, simple (default) font coding or basic fonts are best. Font size consideration: Keep it small. Work with your messaging provider on the appropriate size.
- Screen size is limited. Design for easy word wrap. The list should be kept short (in regards to width), as odd wrapping will occur on the smallest of screens.
- Keep the message short and keep your call to action in the top area of the communication. Being "front of mind" for users, even if they do not view the entire message, may prompt them to save the message and view the full HTML version when they get to their computer.
- Simple black text with color action links work best on smaller screens and make it easy to view and navigate.
- Images should be small and few. Depending on the connection speed of the device, images may take some time to render. Small logos for brand recognition or small but viewable images that support content should be used, if at all, sparingly.
- Do not replicate your website navigation in email. Place it at the bottom of the message if at all.
- Use full images, not sliced. Sliced images will wrap and appear jumbled.
- Design in columns and plan for content to wrap after a couple of hundred pixels.
- Include a click-to-view-online link and take users to a mobile-optimized landing page.
- Include a click-to-call link, if applicable.
- To test rendering across different handhelds, download a free tool at Opera (www.opera.com).
How to start: Use email to promote mobile marketing
So you've made your emails mobile friendly. Now lets look at marketing via SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia message service)—aka mobile marketing.
Using wireless networks to reach consumers on personal phones and mobile devices has come a long way over the past few years, and consumers are warming up to the emerging technology.
But how do you start?
What better way to introduce the mobile option than through an already established email relationship? Email is the perfect vehicle to introduce your audience to an alternative form of communication such as SMS or MMS.
Permission is just as important in mobile marketing as it is in email. Rather than starting from scratch or purchasing lists, build your mobile list organically: Engage your current base of email subscribers who have already requested a relationship with you. Provide a choice to receive mobile communications where it makes sense, especially for timely messages.
Mobile campaigns are great for the following:
- Same-day reminders
- Special events
- Meeting confirmations
- Product delivery confirmations
- Flight status
- Financial alerts
- Data collection
Use your primary email template when introducing the mobile option to your users. This helps maintain familiarity and instantly establishes trust. The copy should be brief and personal and should direct your customers to a landing page where they can submit their mobile phone number. You can also include the option on the registration page so they can sign up for mobile messages right from the start.
Not ready to jump head first into the mobile arena? Then optimize your email messages for handhelds, as described above. Or simply include a link at the very top of your email to "View on Handheld." Then link the user to a mobile-optimized landing page of your message. Use rich text to be safe.
There are many ways to approach the growing propensity of mobile users to engage with marketers' messages. Experiment now and find the right fit for your business.