Ready For The Mobile Tipping Point?

We’ve been talking about mobile for several years — and for good reason. Mobile is chipping away at desktop engagement, but many brands still aren’t meeting critical customer expectations for the pocket screen.  

In 2016, a larger percentage of email opens will take place on a mobile device than on a desktop, according to predictions. 

What does this mean for email marketers? It’s time to put forth a better experience. Here are five awesome ways to enhance the customer email experience on mobile phones.

Responsive design.  This is the most prominent way you can immediately address the needs of your customers on a mobile device.  If you need help getting started, begin with predefined templates and skin your configurator to fit with your branding.

Many resources exist to help email marketers code emails in a responsive format. If you are serious about getting started in responsive, check out Responsive Email Resources: an information source for those who are just getting started, or those with experience who want to improve their coding.

Content hierarchy.  Because a mobile screen is very small, content hierarchy is incredibly important. Not much can fit above the fold. Thus, think carefully about the order and size of content to enable ease of use, so users can quickly scroll through your emails. The idea is that the first content area will be enough to hook a recipient — either by garnering a click or tap at the top, or a scroll to view more content. An even better scenario is if this content hierarchy can be dynamic based on an individuals’ needs. 

Useful UX.  Nothing gets me more excited about email than when it provides good utility and user experience. For example, a store locator should show the nearest physical location, wherever the user is, at the time of open. The address should be hyperlinked and tappable to allow for easier transition between the email and a GPS app like Google Maps. Why should your recipients have to type an address when your emails provide the location to your nearest store? They need the most efficient way to get directions to your store so they can buy more! Think through the many ways you can make life easier for your customers. No more bad UX!

Clicks = taps.  I’m just waiting for the day that we reference clicks as taps. When you consider the amount of space needed in emails for a finger tap versus a click, the difference in space can be staggering! To prevent frustration from erroneous taps on the wrong link, be sure to give all links in your email some breathing room. This will ensure that taps are intentional and not because of a spacing issue between links in your emails. You should also be mindful of Apple’s 3D Touch, which brings a new dimension of interactivity to phone screen touches based on the pressure of the touch.  

One-two punch of email and push.  Few brands are using email and push in tandem, but I love it when I see it. Gilt does a great job of timing push notifications with email sends. The push notification often drives me to check my email to see more details on the items in the current day’s flash sale, which will provide a better picture of sale events for that day. I’d love to see more brands testing the power of the one-two punch of email and push notifications.  

Is your brand already prepared for the mobile tipping point in email? If not, how do you plan to address it this year? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

This column was previously published in The Email Insider on January 21, 2016.

1 comment about "Ready For The Mobile Tipping Point?".
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  1. Michael Elling from IVP Capital, LLC, February 11, 2016 at 2:23 p.m.

    One thing not at all mentioned was TIME.  Half-step law of demand says add another step/delay to a process and lose half your addressable audience.  For a start-up that means 100%.  For entrenched providers that means customers who are on the brink of churning/disconnecting and new customers to make up for natural churn.  So 3 steps means 1/8th (YES 12%) of what you thought was the addressable market, let alone frustrating existing users.

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