With more and more consumers using smartphones and tablets to engage with brands, mobile has quickly become an essential part of the customer experience. But are marketers keeping pace with consumers' wants and needs in the mobile marketplace?
Not necessarily—especially when it comes to email marketing. Although more than half of all brand emails (52 percent) are opened on a mobile device, many marketers continue to ignore the importance of responsive emails—and it's having a serious impact on their brands' relationships with consumers.
Why Marketers Need to Send Responsive Emails
Email marketing is still an effective channel for connecting with consumers. But in general, marketers aren't incorporating mobile strategies into their email campaigns. The latest benchmark report from Yesmail highlights several alarming trends and underscores the need for improvements in responsive email layouts.
1. Responsive Emails Improve Campaign Performance
Emails that include responsive design have a 21 percent higher click-to-open rate than emails that lack responsive layouts. That's a significant difference, because the majority of emails are now being opened on mobile devices.
But across all industries, 44 percent of marketers send responsive emails less than half the time, and 31 percent of marketers do not utilize responsive email layouts at all—demonstrating the widening gap that currently exists between consumer preferences and marketers' mobile capabilities.
2. Hybrid Email Viewership Is Rapidly Declining
Marketers who are counting on hybrid viewership (the opening of emails on both mobile and desktop devices) face an uphill battle. Hybrid viewership is quickly disappearing. In Q2 2013, 30 percent of consumers were hybrid viewers; by Q1 2014, that number dropped to less than 8 percent.
The drop in hybrid viewership signals consumers' growing commitment to mobile as their preferred and only channel for opening emails.
3. Purchases Originating From Smartphones Are Plummeting
Consumers want the ability to seamlessly transition from brand emails to shopping carts. But from Q4 2013 to Q1 2014, purchases made on smartphones dropped by 13 percent. Conversely, purchases made on tablet devices increased by 7 percent during the same time period.
Marketers need to take the decreased use of smartphones for purchases seriously, because it shows that non-responsive emails are detrimental to smartphone-based purchase experiences. On the other hand, the moderate rise in tablet-based purchases may show that larger size screens make mobile purchasing less cumbersome.
Responsive email design has moved from an optional feature to a fundamental component of successful email marketing campaigns. Here's how marketers can take advantage of it:
- Tailor Content to the Consumer: While personalization should occur throughout the customer experience, tailoring email content to the mobile consumer is even more important. They are on the go. To improve open and clickthrough rates, make content specific to not only that consumer, but the mobile consumer.
- Design Emails for the Mobile Inbox: Consumers receive more emails than ever before, and with more than 50 percent of consumers checking email exclusively on their mobile devices, it's imperative that emails are optimized for the mobile inbox. It should be clear who the email is from and what the email is about in the subject line. Remember, on an iPhone, the subject line hovers around half a dozen words. If you fail to capitalize on the subject line, readers may hit delete. Worse yet, frustrated consumers could mark it as spam, leading to further inboxing issues
- Make It Easy to Read Emails: Again, consumers receive a lot of email to read and have very short attention spans. They are not likely to spend time scrolling across screens or zooming into emails. Ease of readability is key to getting messages read.
- Leverage Device Attributes: Mobile devices are a category of their own, but they're also small computers. Email marketers should make the most of that by including strong calls to action and options to incorporate information into other components of the phone. For example, add the dates of a sale to consumers' calendars or find a store near the consumers in their map app.