5 Tips for Preparing Your Holiday Email Program for Mobile Users
The holidays can be a stressful time of year — for consumers and marketers alike. By now, your holiday marketing programs are in full swing, but there are still several things you can do to make sure this season is a success. Capitalizing on mobile shoppers is a good place to start since consumers are increasingly more likely to make purchases on smartphones and tablets. Marketers can expect mobile dominance in email viewership this season as well. According to Yesmail's third quarter benchmark report, more than half of all mobile sales are being completed on a tablet. Here are five tips to help your email program take advantage of this trend:
1. Know your mobile-centric subscribers. It's important for marketers to accurately identify the extent of their mobile customer base. Based on the 2012 holiday season, the top three ways consumers found a shopping website was by either being an existing customer (61 percent), receiving an email from a retailer (27 percent) or using search engine results (22 percent). Yesmail found that 56 percent of mobile sales driven by email are completed on a tablet, with iPads accounting for the majority. Mobile shoppers are a growing group, and are likely to be repeat purchasers. When mobile users click on an email, they seem to be closer to purchasing than desktop shoppers. Yesmail's report finds that mobile clicks lead to purchases more frequently than desktop clicks. It's important for marketers to identify their subscribers’ device preferences and usage patterns.
2. Consider mobile behavior to personalize content. No one likes receiving blatantly obvious mass email messages. Marketers need to get to know their mobile customers! Tablet users spend 54 percent more per transaction than smartphone users, and 20 percent more than desktop users. No matter the device used, marketers should make each correspondence catered to that specific audience. For smartphone users, design quick access to store locators, location-sensitive offers, check-ins and add to calendar options. For tablet users, create easy access to apps, customer reviews and an easy checkout option
3. Implement mobile email design. Messages should be easily readable and encourage interaction. Truth is, 75 percent of consumers are highly likely to delete an email that doesn't render correctly on a mobile device. It's recommended to update email templates to feature scalable and responsive design, especially since users seem to be shifting from desktop to tablet as their primary devices. Interestingly, this shift is happening not only on the go, but at home as well. Marketers can carry out creative rendering tests prior to campaign deployment to ensure the email formats correctly in all web clients and environments. Optimize email subject lines and pre-header text for mobile inboxes and make calls to action easier to complete.
4. Timing is everything. The three biggest holiday sale days are Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Thanksgiving. Send Thanksgiving emails after dinner (and hopefully before the football game) to catch early Black Friday shoppers. On Black Friday, pay special attention to optimizing for mobile in order to catch those shoppers using digital coupons or check-in perks.
5. Test, test and test again! The only way to know if messages are making it to the inbox is to continually test. The average business user receives at least 70 messages per day, and mobile device users are 50 percent less likely than desktop users to interact with an email. As a marketer, you don't want to be in that number. Try subject line testing to optimize open rates for both desktop and mobile devices. Preview emails to multiple clients prior to deployment. Also, test different holiday offers to gauge customer response rates and preferences.
Email remains among the most preferred channel for brand interaction. Consumers are continuing to opt in at consistently high rates despite the rise of social and mobile channels. As long as relevant marketing messages are distributed that speak directly to consumers and provide value, email shows no signs of slowing down.
Michael Fisher is president of Yesmail Interactive, a provider of enterprise email marketing software.
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