2013 was a watershed year for pocket power, with more than 1 billion smartphones shipped to consumers. The data also show us that users are also shifting more of their daily desktop functions to their smartphones – in November, mobile email opens crossed the 50% level for the first time ever.
With more smartphones in pockets, and more users using those phones to check and respond to emails, digital marketers may want to check back in on their content strategy and make sure their practices still apply for this attention-compromised reader.
Considering the mobile reader is now absolutely essential to your email marketing strategy. While the recipient may wait until they are back on the laptop or desktop to take action, we now know that their first interaction with your message will most likely be on a smartphone.
We know the team, and the client is going to spend the most time focusing on the layout of the email and the call to action, but there’s a quite obvious implication of this 50% mobile open rate for Team Copywriter.
You’re only as good as your last killer subject line. Consider character count and pre-header or risk compromising that open rate. Test, test, test. Of course, what REALLY matters is that conversion rate (which – again, Team Copywriter, you must be awake and alert for), but your customer has to open before they buy.
Here’s a personal example of why subject lines matter. I get a weekly email alert from an airfare tracker; and upon checking my email from my phone two primary actions usually happen: the email goes straight into the trash without being opened, or I’ll open and save the action for later, which means it quickly gets buried until my weekly inbox cleanse when I realize that the deal has long expired.
Here’s how the email looks on my phone inbox:
The biggest red flag in the left-hand photo is just choosing how I will allocate my time with seven unopened emails. That’s why I love great subject lines and pre-headers. For me, none of these emails were urgent, so they’ll likely stay unopened or go straight to the trash.
This week, I got around to opening the Airfarewatchdog a little while later, and a big surprise was waiting. Look at that delicious $98 airfare buried in the subject line! The problem with this email is a simple character count. Philadelphia is a monster energy hog with limited characters here, and that sweet, sweet price point easily gets buried. I know where I live and where I fly out of. Airfarewatchdog, why not use a more friendly abbreviation so I don’t miss out on the $98 fare to Boston?!
Email marketing is an exciting and dynamic challenge for today’s client and marketing team. Practices must constantly evolve, which means we must stay on top of user data and behavior. It’s easy to forget that we’ve really only been checking our email on phones for seven years, and just how much has changed in that time. We can’t predict what the marketing landscape will look like in another seven, but if we don’t adapt an email marketing strategy now, we might not be there.