Mobile devices may give us new ways to read and browse, but email remains a powerful marketing tool. If anything, its effectiveness has increased as a result of these changes. For example, a survey of 1,500 consumers revealed email as the most effective mobile purchasing trigger: 56 percent of buyers had been prompted to do so by email marketing received on a smartphone.
Combine this with the rapid growth of smartphone use throughout Asia and the rest of the world, and marketers have a golden opportunity. It's one we can't afford to neglect. A 2013 report showed an increase of almost 50 percent in the number of email subscribers reading only on their mobile devices.
Here's how to make sure your email marketing campaigns are reaching mobile users:
Be an attention-grabber. Mobile devices mean smaller screens and more distractions from the outside world. Your subject headline needs to be short and snappy to make an impact. If it's longer than around 60 characters, it's time to rewrite.
Have a compelling first line. Email clients often use the first line or so of text to display a message snippet. Users can scan this before deciding whether to open the message or simply hit delete.
Let subscribers know you are genuine. Email users have a low tolerance for spam, with around 80 percent deleting unread messages based on the sender and title alone. Make sure it's clear who the email is from, especially if you have a recognized brand.
Keep your brand consistent. Use responsive design with your brand elements to give mobile email marketing a clear identity across different devices and platforms. Logos and color themes can be used to emphasize your brand. Clear branding can make it be easier to win readers' trust and avoid being sent to the spam folder.
Optimize for mobile. Large images and bandwidth-hungry media are out. While not every subscriber will view emails with images enabled, be sure that they display quickly and at an appropriate size for those who do.
Make readability a priority. Avoid a scaled-down version of the same email campaign that you use for desktop users. The result can be a font that is too tiny to read. As a rule-of-thumb, keep your fonts at least 12 pixels, with important text larger. A single column layout is also a good idea.
Think tap targets. Getting subscribers to read is only half the battle. They need to be able to click easily on your links with a fingertip. Aim for buttons with a clickable area of at least 44 by 44 pixels.
Test on different devices. Forget a one-size-fits-all approach – mobile devices have a variety of screen sizes and formats. What looks just right on your smartphone won't necessarily work for another device. It's important to preview your message on as many devices as possible across Android, iOs and Windows platforms. Keep an eye on the top 10 best-selling list of smartphones for your target region or market, and test on your customers' preferred devices. In 2013, Sony Xperia and Samsung Galaxy models led the field in Asia, taking 6 out of the 10 spots. Apple's iPhone 5, the HTC Desire, and LG Optimus 4X HD also all ranked highly.
Get to know your mobile customers. If you can identify user preferences via your analytics statistics, you’ll be able to create niches and target your campaign accordingly. Amazon is a great example of this kind of email marketing.
Target by location. If your customer-base is global or is located across a wide geographical area, it's important to geo-target your campaigns. Tailoring them to different regions or countries makes them more relevant to your subscribers. It also makes it easier to accommodate different currencies and to localize for timezones, dial codes and other information that can improve the buying experience.
Schedule email sending carefully. Plan for your emails to be delivered when your mobile subscribers are likely to have time to spare. Office hours will mean competing demands for many, and most devices are switched off or to silent past midnight. If your customers are global, this is where having separate geographic campaigns can be helpful.
Keep landing pages mobile-friendly. Usability doesn't stop with emails. Those valuable click-throughs need to take customers to a page that has been optimized for mobile users. Again, be conscious of bandwidth with page elements. Use HTML5 rather than Flash, and make page elements responsive for smaller screens.
There's a lot to consider when optimizing email campaigns for mobile subscribers, but this is effort that will pay off. Smartphone penetration continues to grow in Asia-Pacific, with mobile commerce already a way of life in developed Asian markets. As more customers in Asia and globally opt for mobile over desktop browsing, effective mobile marketing is becoming an essential way to connect with them.