Six point nine billion. There are six point nine billion people in the world today. That is a lot of people. As impressive as that number is, this number makes me think twice: five point two billion. Of the six point nine billion people on the planet today, seventy-five per cent of them (5.2 billion) own a mobile phone. Whew (exhale), that is a lot of mobile phones.
A few weeks ago I was in the crowd at eConsultancy’s “Future of Digital Marketing,” held here in London, UK. The second keynote delivered that day was by David Wieneke, Digital Strategist at UsefulArts (Boston, MA). Dave was on-hand to talk to us about his thoughts on “Web 3.0: The Rise of the Mobile and Application Era.” You can review his presentation here.
Dave was the one who shared those audacious numbers on all the world’s mobile phones. At the end of Dave’s presentation, he implored us to “put ourselves (our marketing) on mobile.” If the global stats weren’t enough to convince you, consider the other numbers Dave shared: of the world’s population, one point six billion people have a TV, one point two billion people have PCs and one million people have cars. Compare those numbers to those that own mobile devices and Dave has a good case.
If your marketing strategy isn’t on mobile – you may want to rethink your plans.
One marketing channel that is on mobile is email. The proliferation of smartphones has elevated email’s role in the always-connected consumer daily life. Google recently released a stat that would seemingly confirm this: of eighty-nine per cent of surveyed smartphone owners that always stay connected to the mobile web, eighty-two per cent checks and sends email regularly (slide 11). This was the highest-ranking activity performed by these smartphone owners.
The London e-Dialog office recently produced a report that took a look at the relevance of email with mobile users in the UK. The findings tell us that checking emails on mobiles is becoming habitual with smartphone users, particularly the within the younger crowd. We also find out just what content mobile users are checking their email for. There is a cautionary part of this tale as well: marketers should take extra precautions to focus on ensuring that usability and rendering of email on mobiles are priorities.
Here are a few of the standout takeaways from the research:
1. The higher the engagement consumers have with their mobile devices, the more relevant email marketing messages become.
2. Smart-phone owners clearly showed much higher engagement with email marketing messages than feature-phone users.
3. Younger audience segments proved consistently to be more likely to check emails on mobile devices and more often.
4. Email marketing messages that focus on delivering value (pre-purchase) and providing a utility (post-purchase) are most relevant to consumers.
Message usability issues decrease the tendency to engage with email marketing messages.
Have a look at our infographic (below) that demonstrates this story. Feel free to use and share this as you wish.
The last image that speaks to “utilisation vs. usability” is an important one. People expect that if they check their email on a (any) mobile device, that it will be optimised for that device – that they will be able to read it. The tolerance of the mobile-savvy for second chances when it comes to checking email on mobiles is low. If your emails aren’t meeting expectations they may go unread or ignored, which greatly impacts deliverability and your brand’s reputation.
Of the reasons why people found checking mobile emails to be a chore, the most common complaints were: having to scroll across a page to read all the information, too much textual content, images not rendering properly and a failure for all the information to download.
These responses are telling as they are concerning. If your mobile emails can’t be read then they are irrelevant. If they aren’t relevant than you may lose a subscriber, let alone a single sale opportunity. Mobile emails must be tested for optimisation to accommodate different variables that stand in the way of usability: different devices types, platforms, connection speeds, image rendering, etc.
There are many steps we can take to capitalising on the mobile opportunity; here are a few to think about.
1. We need to focus on relevance by crafting the right marketing message for the right audience segment and tailor it to the individual’s mobile needs, e.g. devices, platforms and usage occasions.
2. We need to focus on creating sustained consumer engagement, by having tools such as email preferences centres in place.
3. Improving usability is key and can be achieved by developing custom templates to allow email creative to be rendered optimally across a range of mobile devices.
So, what does all of this tell us? It tells us that, as marketers, we need to understand the growing importance of having a mobile email strategy in place. If you already have a mobile email strategy in place, you are ahead of the game. If you do not and you need convincing as to why you might want to … I can think of five point two billion reasons why you should.
Judd Marcello, Director of Marketing & PR, Europe
Please feel free to download the full report and offer up any comments or stand-out experiences you have had with your mobile email strategies.