As seasoned email marketers know, the arrival of sunny summer days means that it's time to start planning your holiday campaign strategy. This year, take heed of all the multichannel buzz -- especially around the mobile channel -- when considering your holiday sends. Smartphones currently account for about 15% of total email opens -- a percentage that's sure to increase -- while 50% of people reported using mobile phones to aid their shopping in 2010, a number that's also sure to rise as smartphone use grows.
Now is the time to start thinking about how your email campaigns can support subscriber mobile use in ways that add value to shopping experiences and boost conversion rates online and in-store.
First, how are subscribers using mobile phones during their holiday shopping? Get the numbers.
Of smartphone owners who used their phones to help shop in 2010:
· 60% of browsed for gifts.
· 50.7% checked store hours or locations.
· 32.5% received text messages and offers
· 34.6% read product reviews
· 26% made purchases
Think about what each of these behaviors look like for your brand and how your email program can support them.As your subscribers complete their holiday shopping, they'll check their phones while waiting in lines, while waiting for planes and quite possibly while walking around the mall. Your placement in the inbox during those moments helps you make a strong impression and stay at the forefront of their minds.
Our Top-Three Tips for Using Email to Take Advantage of Mobile Behavior:
1. Give subscribers what they're looking for, including store hours and price comparisons. From the numbers above, we know that a large section of mobile phone users check for locations and browse for price comparisons while shopping. Include your actual store addresses in emails - dynamically populated based on location - so that subscribers can easily click to see your store on a map. Relatively few subscribers report making purchases from their mobile devices, and driving them in-store can lead to bigger and better purchases.
If it fits with your brand strategy, also consider including comparison-pricing information that shows how your deals beat out the competition
2. Keep subscribers in the inbox and play off scrolling behavior. We know, we know. This goes against everything we've ever said about email - -and it might in fact be a bad idea for your brand. But if you have a subscriber base with a large percentage of mobile users, sending long-form emails that include all the essential info can be a way to engage subscribers while they shop. Clicking through on an email can take people out of their mobile inbox and into a Web app, potentially losing them on the way. Organizing your email so that it's easily scrollable can help keep subscribers' attention and add value to their shopping.
3. Offer a mobile-friendly click-through experience -- possibly not to your site.
What experience are you enabling when subscribers click through? Is your site optimized for mobile browsing? Purchasing? If not (yet), it could be especially important to keep subscribers in the inbox longer, or lead them to download your app directly from an email.
This could also be a good time to start thinking long term, working with your development team to create better mobile experiences. For a fantastic example, check out Amazon.com, which allows subscribers to purchase with just one click by storing shipping and billing information.
The best strategy, as always, is to keep your finger on the pulse of how your unique subscriber base shops and how they're interacting with mobile phones (or tablets). By building email campaigns that sync with subscriber behavior, you can both take advantage of their mobile use and shape their expectations of your brand.
Let us know what you think. How do your subscribers use their mobile devices while shopping? If you're a smartphone user, how do you use your phone while shopping?