When I started working there were never any mobile phones. Even in late 1990s mobile phones were indeed a luxury as they were expensive, bulky and few in numbers. It took another few years before Blackberry started in India and people were able to use the mobile phone for work related emails. And the work life balance has completely gone haywire! Today India has more mobile phones than there are toothbrushes!
Marketing today cannot be complete without mobile module. It is therefore critical for business-to-business marketers to include a mobile marketing strategy in their plans. Email marketing can be optimized for mobile use and also modify websites for mobiles. It is not difficult to customize emails for mobile but it needs to be simplified and have relevance for that platform. If you want the attention of a busy executive during his hectic day packed with meetings as it is in India, you need to be short, crisp and simple. His attention span will be very short and you need to be able to creatively communicate your idea to him in the shortest possible time.
In order to optimize your email marketing campaign to mobile devices there are a few best practices you can follow.
- Understand the platform:- For instance most developers use Flash for a long time for embossing video and images in email but with IPhones and iPads not supporting it, this has become a problem for marketers. HTML5 seems to the norm then but Blackberry does not support this one. So as a marketer you need to determine what kind of devices your prospects are using in general. It is really important to start with where people are reading their e-mails. That is going to give you the best direction of how you need to optimize your mobile marketing plans. If your audience is predominantly BlackBerry users than iPhone users then images should have plain text describing them so that your message comes through even if images are blocked. It is always a good idea to use plain text of your e-mail as informative and just as clean and neat as a full HTML e-mail, you have a better chance to reach out to a varied user base with one design. If you are linking to your website through your e-mail, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices. You should also make the layout simple, and avoid multiple columns and data tables. According to experts, you should ensure that the email is no more than 600 pixels wide. Most mobile devices have screens between 320 and 480 pixels wide, but tablets, which are larger, are becoming more common and therefore should be considered when designing and developing your mobile e-mail strategy. Also, keep images to fewer than 70 dots per inch (DPI) so that they can load quickly. Experts advise the use of “media query,” which is a line of code embedded within the e-mail’s design that can recognize what kind of device the reader is using and then alter the e-mail content accordingly.
- Select subject line carefully:- The art of succeeding in email marketing and indeed in mobile marketing is in the selection of words on the subject line. It has to offer some strong value or importance to the business audience who is receiving it. Limit the number of words to five or seven in the subject line to ensure that the message is not cut off. One should spend around 10 to 15 minutes building the subject line, keeping in mind how to get your point across from a teaser standpoint. The best subject lines are the ones that aren’t really a sentence; it’s definitely more of a teaser. Make use of the pre-header text which can be two to five lines in length to draw readers in. If you use a subject line like “Four Tips to Get More Prospects” and people will know exactly what to expect from the mail. You should also include a phone number in the pre-header so that readers can call directly from their mobile devices if they so desire.
- Position your call for action right:- When you design the emailer for mobiles, the call for action theme should be clearly planned near the top of the mailer whether it is about downloading a research paper, completing a survey or read an article. In a mobile device scrolling down is painful and you just may miss the key action button altogether. Any forms that you want recipients to fill out should be kept to three fields or fewer.
- Simplicity is the new success mantra:- I don’t think I need to emphasise this any more. Easy to open, scan and understand is what we all look for when we use mobile devices. People prefer smaller bits of information so they can decide if it is of interest to them or not. A good balance of text and images is key. And if your email’s text is smaller than 12 points, iOS will automatically scale up the size. To avoid inadvertent changes in the layout when a reader opens the message, increase your text size to between 15 and 22 points. Avoid cluttering the message with flashy images that don’t serve a purpose.
- Distinguish between external mouse in a PC and fingers in a mobile:- The recipient’s finger functions as the mouse on a mobile device, so links should be made into easy-to-use buttons and any scrolling functions need to be large enough to navigate with average fingers. According to Apple, the comfortable minimum size of tappable user interface element is 44 by 44 points. Keeping buttons to that size ensures that readers can use links without accidentally clicking on something else.
- Timing is important:- Be mindful of what time of day you are sending your e-mails, which, according to experts, is the largest determining factor in what device a reader will use to view the message. Mobile e-mail views spike before and after normal business hours, while browsers and desktops still rule 9 to 5.Remember that your mobile marketing strategy shouldn’t stop at the e-mail inbox. Think about where you are directing clients to go on the Web through their handheld devices and what they will see when they get there.M Muneer is the CEO and Managing Director of CustomerLab Solutions and a well-known author. Customerlab has collaborated with leading minds of the world for strategy execution and service excellence. Feedback and queries may be sent to him at email@example.com