The Small Device Having a Very Big Impact on Your Email Strategy

With smartphone penetration in excess of 50% in Australia, and mobile internet usage continuing to surge – spare a moment to think about the impact that this could be having on your email marketing strategy. Although it is not one of the more sexy digital topics, email is still a very important staple in the digital toolkit – and now more than ever the channel needs love to adapt to the change in consumer behaviour bought on by mobile.

So what are some of the most important things to think about?

When was the last time you tested send times?

Time of Day
A recent study conducted by Pure Profile (which surveyed over 1,000 Australians) found that 41% of Australians check their mobile phone at or before 7am, with almost half indicating they check their phone as soon as they wake, even on weekends. Whilst a report released in September by ExactTarget found that 71% of Australians checked their email as their first digital priority of the morning. Research by Pure Profile also found that 45% of Australians, check emails on their phone as the last thing they do before they go to sleep at night, even on weekends. This opens up new opportunities for marketers to trial sends before 9am and after 5pm in an attempt to kick start declining open and click through rates.

Is Saturday & Sunday the new “in” days to send
For years email marketers avoided Saturdays and Sundays like the plague as consumers moved into leisure mode. But unsurprisingly email viewing via mobile devices is highest towards the back end of the week and on the weekends – as consumers switch away from desktops. With bricks and mortar retail trade often highest towards the end of the week and on weekends – this represents a significant opportunity for retailers as inboxes are largely uncluttered.

Email and Social Media IntegrationShould you be thinking mobile first when designing email templates – you betcha!

According to Return Path, by the end of 2012 more emails in the US will be read on a mobile device than via a desktop / webmail experience. As Australia’s smartphone penetration is the second highest in the world (second only to Singapore) it is safe to assume this trend is as equally as relevant. The implications of this are fairly self explanatory – those that aren’t optimizing their emails for mobile devices stand to lose out. But what are the most important things to think about when designing the ideal mobile friendly email template?

eDialog reports that around 80% of all users find it harder to read email on their phones and sums up the biggest complaints (so you can ensure you avoid them):
• Having to scroll to read all information (15%),
• A surplus of textual content (9%),
• Images rendering badly or not at all (8%)

Are mobile devices for viewing or subscribing?

One of the hotly debated topics is whether or not consumers go to the trouble of subscribing to emails via mobile devices – given subscription forms can be difficult to complete on a mobile device. According to a study conducted by The Relevancy Group, 20% of consumers have used their mobile device to opt in to emails – demonstrating that mobile isn’t hampering consumers desire to sign up to email communication. As a result, brands need to ensure not to do away with sign up functionality on mobile sites when attempting to provide a more simplified mobile version of their desktop website.

Here’s a video from Hubspot on Social, Mobile, and Email Marketing Updates:

References
http://www.themultichannelretailer.com/news/7064/marketers_need_to_embrace_changing_email_habits/
http://www.returnpath.com/resource/email-in-motion/
http://www.startupsmart.com.au/online-and-email-marketing/four-in-10-australians-check-their-phone-before-7am-report/201210057791.html
http://www.startupsmart.com.au/online-and-email-marketing/three-top-email-marketing-trends-revealed/201209137559.html

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Email & Social Media – Bed Buddies Not Arch Enemies

Since the explosion of social media, email marketing has been put on the endangered species list. If we venture into the wild world of email we find it is still thriving and has done so particularly since the economic downturn, however many are sceptical about its life span. The email vs social media argument has been re-ignited in 2010 with a recent Gartner report signalling bleak times for email. However a recent post on eConsultancy interviewing many of the leaders in the email field see it very differently.

So is it time to start preparing for emails devise? Hardly rather social media is probably giving email a new lease on life, giving email a new partner in crime!

So how is the landscape changing and how can marketers leverage the link between social and email to improve communication and response?

Convergence

Whilst each channel provides its advantages and draw backs – industry software leaders know that convergence is going to play a big role in the evolution of the 2 channels.

Facebook knows that email plays an important role in its future and as such is currently investing in a full webmail service – called Project Titan. Whilst Google & Microsoft are also rapidly integrating social functionality into Gmail and Outlook. These changes in functionality will mean that email becomes the start of a conversation from a brand, one which can then continue amongst a subscribers’ network and peers.

Email and Social Media IntegrationCollaboration

Social media provides email marketing with the vehicle to enable one to one communications to become many to many. Providing the ability to share content from email however is not enough. Good online content that is topical will be rewarded and discussed within the social space outside of the confines of email. The viral nature of social media provides the element that email needs to ensure this information is being given to those who will benefit from it most (not just those subscribed to receive it) – and this is what pull marketing is all about.

Database Extension

One of the most valuable tools social media provides for email marketers is the ability to gather new subscribers. Fan pages, groups etc provide brands with the notification that they have a loyal base of followers. However if these consumers subscribe to receive email information it provides the brand with the direct connection with the user to foster a deeper relationship. Advocates that are empowered with this information then become the brand vehicle and gateway to access a wider audience in the social space.

The above demonstrates that in a web 2.0 world it is not a channel fight of the titans but rather a teaming up of email and social that is going to take email marketing into the next decade as a discipline and also important strategy for your organisation.

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