I get separation anxiety if my mobile phone isn’t hooked to my body or within arms reach, and the data seems to indicate that I’m not the only one. Perhaps my favorite study of late, conducted by AOL, indicates that people who use mobile devices to check email exhibit almost compulsive-like tendencies. According to the 2007 study:
- 59% are checking email in bed while in their pajamas
- 53% are checking email in the bathroom
- 37% are checking email while they drive
- 12% are checking email in church
The million-dollar question is: Will people who check their email constantly on mobile devices contribute to a higher conversion rate when you create email campaigns specifically tailored to their device and their behavior? My internal research tells me that consumers are only checking email on mobile devices so they can decide which emails to deal with immediately and which emails are better addressed in front of a computer at a later time.
This kind of ‘prioritization’ behavior doesn’t compel me to advise an overhaul of your email marketing strategy. Unless you can make every message so concise –and your click-through purchasing process so easy—that your audience would rather act on their mobile immediately instead of waiting for a richer experience in front of a computer later. (more on that in another blog).
That being said, I’ve been testing some mobile email tactics so I can help you avoid the learning curve and successfully communicate with mobile email users. The following five quick tips should help get you thinking about how to message to mobile email users.
- Tip #1: Start asking for mobile preferences at signup. Find out whether your audience uses Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, an iPhone, or a Blackberry. They might not know – but if they do, these systems are most likely to support decent-looking html-based mobile emails.
- Tip #2: If you think you have a lot of mobile-savvy subscribers, try creating a 150 pixel-wide mobile summary version of your email and link to it at the top of your email instead of sending a separate mobile email. (Constant Contact’s archive feature is great at changing the width of the archive version to 150 pixels using the advanced editor. You’ll have to delete some pictures and use a one-column template.)
- Tip #3: Try using a mobile landing page for simple offers. For example, you could create a mobile coupon and link to it in your email so your audience can click through and simply show the coupon on their phone’s screen to redeem the offer. (You could also ask your audience to show the email if they can’t click through, but clicking through allows you to track the responses so you’ll know which subscribers have access to mobile web browsers.)
- Tip #4: Don’t use an email service that converts emails into SMS text messages unless they make sure your messages are compliant with text messaging laws. The laws for text messaging promotions are different from the laws governing email promotions.
- Tip #5: Avoid mobile hype. New technology doesn’t necessarily equate to drastic shifts in consumer behavior. Remember that successful marketing depends on evolution before revolution.