Commentary

Is Europe Ready For Mobile-First Email Marketing?

Are we seriously ready for a mobile-first emai marketing era? I'm really not so sure we are. It's an interesting question to ask in the U.K., where the latest figures from IBM show that 55% of emails are viewed on a smartphone, just ahead of the United States' proportion. It may come as a surprise that this is way ahead of the "rest of Europe" figure of just 32% of emails being opened on mobile devices.

What's clear, then, is that the EU has a mobile wave coming its way and email marketers will have to get smarter to surf it, rather than get drowned. Put simply, email marketing in the EU will have to seriously up its game if messages are going to be engaged with on the small screen of a smartphone. Although I'm a typical British consumer receiving and access just over the majority of my emails on my iPhone, I have to say the experience is not always comfortable and seamless.

Mobile demands convenience. People really can't be bothered to click through several links, cut and paste order numbers and pinch and zoom in on content on the small screen. It has to be intuitive, and most of all, it has to all be done with the tap of a finger -- a thumb even. I'll give you an example of how not to do it from an unlikely source, Adidas. I recently tried to track an order from an email which you would just imagine would feature a link that would take me directly to my order. it didn't, instead I had to find the right URL and cut and paste my reference number. All this, just to find out what i already knew. There was no further information -- it was just kind of "on its way," whatever that means.

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If your organisation has been talking about digital transformation rather than actually doing it, mobile email should be a trigger point because if your order systems can't 'talk' to your CRM, then you're not going to appeal to a mobile customer. Same thing for stock levels. if you're not dynamically serving email content that is personalised to a person and taking them straight through to a purchase page of an item that is in stock, then you're just frustrating prospects.

Short and to-the-point headlines are a given, as are emails being optimsed for the small screen through larger fonts and clearer calls to action. Those things are just self-explanatory. It's the other stuff, the things that kick in when someone tries to engage with you via a mobile email campaign, that will need you to dig deep and accelerate that digital transformation story. As this happens, the simple question email marketers must be asking at every stage is whether they are truly helping a customer to take the intended action with the press of a thumb. Will systems talk to one another so all the consumer has to do is press a button to order an item or be in a position to find out more about the product or service?

if not, you can forget it. There is no more cut and paste. Clicking through several pages to find the right information has gone too -- they're consigned to desktop era. With every email campaign you plan and then execute, if everything you were hoping it would do cannot be done with a thumb click, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Already over half of UK emails are now mobile and it can be very frustrating to be on the receiving end of campaigns that are not mobile optimised. The rest of the EU is a little behind the UK so there is still time to get that digital transformation programme kick-started and focussed on a tiny screen and a single press of a customer's thumb. Are we ready? Right now, I'd have to say, there is a lot of work to be done.

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