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More than half (52%) of 18-34 year-olds have clicked through to a website from a mobile email, so it’s therefore imperative for email marketers to ensure their communications are suitably optimised for all mobile devices.
This stat comes from all the way back in 2012. Since then different studies by different companies have revealed similar numbers: 68% of people use their mobiles for email; 41% of emails are opened on mobile devices; the latest study I could find is by Litmus revealing that in 2013 48% of all emails were opened on mobile.
So how do marketers manage this progressively more popular channel effectively?
I’ll be taking a look at our recent report Bridging the Gap in Email Marketing, written by Morag Cuddeford-Jones, in which interviews were conducted with digital marketing professionals across a range of businesses, exploring the challenges and opportunities for marketers who are committed to taking their use of email to the next level.
Although many marketers make sure their communications work well from a technological and aesthetic point of view, carry mobile specific calls-to-action and very importantly direct recipients to relevant and mobile optimised landing pages, for many this remains a work in progress.
As you can see, the numbers are great for mobile email opens, and it's worth noting the 30% who also make a purchase when clicking through on their mobile emails.
There is also a significant rise in the percentage of marketers optimising email for mobile. Our 2013 Email Marketing Census showed that only 25% were already optimising email for mobile devices and 45% planned to, but nearly a third (30%) did not yet look at mobile optimisation.
However in our 2014 Email Marketing Census these figures rose to 47% currently optimising emails, 34% planning to do so and a drop down to 19% for those not planning on mobile optimisation in the near future.
One option for dealing with mobile email is responsive design, which uses one code that renders the same email differently when viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. This means that the user experience is optimised regardless of where the recipient decides to open the email. Here’s David Moth’s helpful round-up of 15 excellent responsive email templates.
However marketers are aware that although opening a responsive email is great for immediate effectiveness, it’s not necessarily the end of the customer journey and for retailers reliant on rich content, this can pose ongoing problems.
Boden’s email marketing manager Lawrence Tatlock had this to say on the matter:
We don’t do particularly well in terms of mobile user experience. The mobile site is functional and the customer can shop product but the email journey falls down. Boden is traditionally a very visual brand, many of the emails on desktop link to rich media features that don’t work on mobile. The long term answer is to create a responsive experience but we need to bridge that gap in the short term.
The key to getting this right is ensuring that landing pages are optimised for mobile just as well as the email. The experience should be as seamless on mobile as it is on desktop.
Research from MailChimp reveals that new subscribers have the best open and click-through rates on email. Although this study isn’t mobile specific, as Morag Cuddeford-Jones points out, if a new customer clicks on your mobile link “it would be an act of self-sabotage on the brand’s behalf to provide a stuttering, less-than-intuitive experience.”
Here’s the head of ecommerce at Financial Times, Fiona Spooner’s stark policy: “If it’s not responsive, we don’t send it.”
Optimising landing pages is a big part of increasing conversions as mobile users, due to their likely circumstances (away from Wi-Fi, in a rush, data caps) need to be able to access the relevant content within just a few clicks and with a minimal loading time.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Don’t make users pinch and zoom.
- Make sure typefaces are legible and stand out from the background.
- Content should be as concise as possible.
- Images should be large and distinct.
- Mobile web pages should load in under a few seconds.
- Call-to-actions should be large and colourful for our clumsy thumbs.
- Forms should require minimal information and be large enough to see the text your inputting.
There are lots of much more detailed tips in this guide to optimising mobile landing pages.
For the complete report, download Bridging the Gap in Email Marketing.