Thumbing Around BMA Engage 2010

The Business Marketing Association's Engage 2010 conference held in Chicago the first week of June was an exciting gathering of some of the best thinkers in marketing today.  As each speaker took the stage, the audience found another great nugget to take back to the real world and implement to make their marketing programs better.

Delivra attendees were struck when they looked around the room and saw that nearly every person was engaged not only with the speaker, but was also busy tweeting, emailing, blogging, YouTubing, Foursquaring, or interacting in some other way with their smartphone.

According to a study by comScore, about one in five cell phones in the United States is a smartphone.  I'm just guessing that roughly, oh... 100% of the phones at BMA Engage were smartphones.



If most smartphone users are like me -- and I'm betting they are -- their smartphone ranks a close second to their computer as an important business tool.  If I could easily type a document on my smartphone, I might think seriously of replacing my PC.

That's why it's shocking to me that so many email marketers don't design their emails so they look good on smartphones and so the content can be used by smartphone apps.

I can't count how many times I have referred back to an email for a phone number or address.  With my smartphone, I can call someone simply by clicking on the phone number.  Likewise, I can map an address by clicking on the address.  You'd be surprised how many marketers leave this information off their emails.

Make sure you think about the mobile user when you're crafting your email design and content.  Here are some simple tips to make sure your emails are mobile-ready:

1.    Instead of terms like "Call us today," including a phone number.  Don't say "Visit our store" -- put an address on your email.  Also include an email address to make contacting you easy.

2.    Use both images and text, since images don't render on some devices, including BlackBerrys.  Put the text behind the images.  Text and HTML will automatically hyperlink on mobile devices.

3.    Keep your most important information "above the fold."  Although mobile users are used to scrolling, you will lose their attention span the more they have to scroll.  Scrolling more than two pages is not a best practice.

4.    Keep navigation on the top left.  The smartphone view can change from vertical to horizontal, so keeping navigation on the top left and your most important content on the top of screen will ensure your most important messages are read.  Keep the bulk of your calls to actions so they can be seen by all platforms.

The last day of BMA Engage 2010 featured Chris Brogan delivering an inspiring keynote from his book "Trust Advisor."  One of his tips was this: Subscribe to your own email newsletter on multiple mobile devices to ensure that it's viewable. Go back and look at your stuff on all of them.

Wise advice.

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