A growing proportion of EDMs are being opened on mobile devices. However, improperly targeted and formatted content will often result in churn — readers lose interest quickly if they cannot find useful and actionable information. This article shares some best practices in optimizing email messaging with a mobile audience in mind.
Mobile is at an uptick, and the trend seems to have no end. According to figures from Emailmonday, mobile email accounts for up to 70% of email opens, depending on target audience – a figure updated as of September 2015. Other statistics also cite that more emails are read on mobile devices than desktop.
Perhaps the more important usage statistic is the impact on conversions. According to email marketing platform GetResponse, 42% of emails will be deleted or blocked due to inappropriate targeting and formatting. Readers lose interest quickly if they don’t find useful or actionable information.
This underscores the importance of properly knowing your audience, and appropriately targeting your messaging to users of the correct segments.
In my years of experience in marketing, segmentation, targeting and optimized landing pages are among the key concepts brought up whenever clients discuss concerns and strategies in email marketing. This means you have a good grasp and coverage of your audience from end-to-end, thus ensuring a better chance of converting customers, reducing potential churn, and also keeping your brand at top-of-mind for potential customers who are not yet ready to make a purchase.
When it comes to email marketing, the one-size-fits-all approach is not an optimal way to reach the audience. While a majority of email readers now access messages through mobile devices, for example, there are those that still prefer desktops, laptops or other devices. Among desktop users, there is a disparity among those who prefer to access email through webmail and those who access through email clients. Even mobile users access their emails from different apps, interfaces and screen sizes.
And then there is the difference across time zones, geographies and markets. You cannot simply send a business-oriented email that will be received in the middle of the night. You will need to find the best times of the day that gets the highest response or conversion rates.
The best way to deal with this is to segment your audience according to different factors, so that you can deliver the best message at the right time. Segmentation involves using analytics to separate your audience depending on their preferences, geographic location, preferred device type, and other factors. This way, your EDMs are not all sent in one go and in one static formatting that does not conform to device size and type. Rather, you can choose which audience to target, depending on the appropriateness of your message. For instance, you can send a different message and call-to-action for repeat customers, and then send a different one for first-time potential buyers.
When dealing with mobile readers, it is also important to consider cultural factors. For example, programmatic ad network platform imonomy has discovered a disparity in weekend mobile usage between the U.S. and other countries like Argentina. In the U.S., there is a lower proportion of mobile traffic during workdays, while the reverse is the case with Argentina. This means it might be better to target EDMs at desktop users in the U.S. during the weekdays, instead of mobile.
It pays to know your audiences!
We are already familiar with responsive design, which is meant to automatically adjust to screen size. In designing an EDM with responsive design, you can be assured that the reader will receive the message with the right formatting, and will not lose out on any details.
However, consider length and positioning, too. Someone reading an email on their desktop will be able to easily skim for important details or highlights. A reader on mobile, however, will have somewhat limited screen real estate. Be direct-to-the-point. Highlight your call-to-action early on in the message.
Another consideration is the overall look and feel of your email. What is the impact you want from your messaging? What feeling and what effect do you want to evoke?
Color can have a very strong appeal to emotion. Take advantage of the different color concepts in designing your EDMs.
Herein also lies the importance of segmentation. To illustrate, pink-colored themes have been found to increase conversion rates among female buyers, thus improving revenues by 86 percent, as per a campaign by Conversioner. Thus, you can send differently-colored EDMs to male and female audiences, for example.
The same effect can be found on buyer type. Impulsive shoppers gravitate toward black, red, orange and royal blue. Budget shoppers are influenced by blue and teal. Thus, the ability to segment your audience properly and thus target your message plays a big part in successful clicks and conversions.
Lastly, your landing page will play a big part on whether clicks will result in conversions. According to data from GetResponse, a good mobile landing page is concise, with a visible call-to-action. The landing page should also include your logo or branding above-the-fold, ensuring that your brand is at top-of-mind.
Going back to our discussion on colors, a good landing page will also have enough contrast, with buttons and hyperlinks standing out compared to background text. The importance here is that users should know what exactly they need to do, and what next steps they are being asked of, if any.
To recap, an effective mobile email marketing campaign will involve knowing your audience, targeting your message correctly, and giving them an easy way to act on your message. This is true even for desktop users, but when targeting a mobile audience, you have certain limitations and advantages. You have a potentially bigger audience, with the prevalence of smartphones and tablets in all kinds of settings (school, work, home, commute). However, attention spans are thinner, and device screen sizes are smaller.
Of course, the best way to optimize your mobile email design and landing pages will be to conduct A/B testing on the elements that are most likely to affect the readability and actionability of your EDMs. These include headlines, color schemes, button design, timing, and the like. Even minute changes that seem insignificant will have a certain psychological effect to the reader. Thus, it pays to test, test, and test!