Without a doubt, mobile technology has changed the way businesses function internally, and more importantly, how they approach and interact with customers. Many have predicted that mobile usage would overtake other types of technology among consumers, and recent data from Return Path supports that claim, finding 51 percent of all emails opened in December 2013 were on a mobile device. At the same time, a study conducted by IBM found tablets were the source of 11.5 percent of all online sales during the last quarter of 2013. Accordingly, businesses need to ensure their marketing and communications strategies are optimizing email and online content for mobile devices.
Why Mobile Matters IBM's "Digital Analytics Benchmark" study uncovered the fact that consumers are increasingly completing online transactions from their mobile devices. In fact, 35 percent of all traffic on the Web during the fourth quarter of 2013 was from a smartphone or tablet. This is a 40 percent rise in usage year-over-year. At the same time, the study found mobile online sales have increased 46 percent continuously every year, arriving at nearly 17 percent of Web-based transactions. This should provide sufficient incentive for businesses that are looking to expand their e-commerce offerings to include mobile devices.
However, it's not enough to simply push your existing e-storefront - likely optimized for use on desktops or laptops - onto the relatively diminutive screens most mobile gadgets provide. You can't get ahead of yourself either, meaning you'll likely first need to reevaluate your email design and messaging.
Scaling Down: Make Emails Digestible While it's extremely intuitive, any marketing effort rests on your ability to raise awareness of a product or service before customers will make a single step towards making a purchase or even interacting with your brand. Accordingly, you'll need to invest some time into optimizing your email outreach for mobile devices.
With tablets, you'll have a bit more leeway, as the screen size doesn't dramatically differ from a laptop. But smartphones, which the IBM study indicated were used more than 21 percent of the time to browse for products and services online during the fourth quarter of 2013, are much less forgiving when customers sort through your offerings. This means the content of your email shouldn't be packed with text, nor should you make consumers scroll for 10 minutes to reach the bottom of your message. As Forbes confirmed, mobile emails must be able to take the meat of longer form content and break it down into pieces that customers can absorb quickly.
In the same vein, leading with a strong headline can yield robust rewards. Forbes recommended providing a title that grabs readers' attention and refuses to let go by incorporating wording packed with imagery that appeals to people's emotions. At the same time, strong visuals that link to your e-commerce store is an effective alternative to linking to text. While compelling content provides essential information, people are inherently drawn to images, making a connection to your landing page is a smart strategy.
Be Social! It's important to remember that mobile users tend to frequent social media sites, which means your email appeals should include links to social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Why? Because social is a channel that influences your customers' product choices and the amount of money they'll likely spend. In fact, the IBM study found that consumers who were referred to a specific business through Facebook spent an average of $60.48 per order. Pinterest drove even higher revenue, with nearly $110 per order based on referrals from the image-heavy social networking site.
While mobile technology is changing the way customers interact with brands, it shouldn't be a source of anguish for companies. Far from it, as this trend gives businesses ample space to improve the way their business operates and communicates with consumers.
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