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Want To Reach Mobile Users? Try Their Inbox

Sales calls on a smartphone are unheard of. Texting is reserved for friends and family. Apps only reach select audiences. Social media is fine for listening -- but not for selling.

But if you want to really want to have a relationship with mobile device users -- soon to be another name for the majority of Americans --  the channel that works best is email.

Think about it. The one thing everyone does on their tablets and smartphones is check their email, as a recent Merkle study confirmed. Moreover, if you use mobile email to deliver value in the form of information and personalized offers, it has a longer shelf life. People will navigate away from a mobile Web site or forget an SMS message, but they’ll hang on to a useful email.

Like any other media channel, there are good ways and bad ways to use mobile email. Clearly spam is never justified. But the mere fact that customers can send and receive mobile email while on the go gives you an unusual advantage. Encouraging prospects to opt in to your email distribution list while in a store, at a dealer showroom, at an amusement park, trade show or other public venue, for example, allows them to receive discounts and promotions in the moment, while instantly building your database with qualified sales leads.



The easiest way to offer an email opt-in is for people to sign up via text message. Ask them to opt in immediately in order to take advantage of a reward they can redeem while they are still on site.

Mobile email can also complement your mobile app. You can increase downloads of your app through email notifications, and build your mobile email list through the app itself. For messages delivered through mobile email, consider formatting them for the device experience, not for the desktop. Many successful mobile email campaigns are formatted specifically for mobile devices.

If your business allows you to know when and where your customer is -- travel and hospitality brands are prime examples -- you have further opportunities to connect. Many times people will leave their laptops at home or in their hotel rooms when they travel, but rest assured -- they have their smartphone with them every moment. Linking your customer to local offers, in-house specials and other cross-promotions is an excellent way to generate add-on revenue and increase your brand’s value.

Mobile email isn’t just an alternative to the desktop experience. Today, it’s a complement, and soon it will supplant it as the way people receive business and personal email. Morgan Stanley, Gartner Research and other firms are predicting that within the next four years, mobile devices will be the number one access point to the Internet worldwide. It’s also the way the average person experiences music, video, news and an increasing array of services tailored to location.

The real-time availability of mobile email means that your messages can have an instant response. They can prompt behavior and build sales at the moment your audience is most interested. To be successful, however, you need to leverage the mindset and motivation of mobile users when asking for email participation, as well as in the messages you send.

If you do, the revolution that is moving the digital marketplace is one that can move your business forward as well.

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