Customers Are Mobile -- Is Your Email Marketing?

There would seem to be a paradox in email marketing. A mobile consumer base is checking their phones more than ever, making them easier to reach and target than ever before -- yet at the same time, there is a 10% drop in people reporting to Adobe researchers that they find branded emails interesting enough to engage with.

So on the one hand we have three in four -- as a rough average -- checking their mobile inboxes more often that their desktop equivalent, stating they much prefer to deal with email on the phone. Yet when they get to that inbox they are not engaging less with branded messages.

So what has changed? Did consumers just get 10% less interested in what brands have to say? It's possible, but it's likely to be only a partial answer to the question. If you ask me, the drop-off in engagement means that email marketers are not fully prepared for a mobile-first world.

This manifests itself in many ways. Subject lines can be very long. They may scan well on a PC, but on a mobile phone they can fail to inspire. Also -- and it still amazes me -- many campaigns are not optimised for the device they are displayed on. We have all opened emails on a smartphone and immediately switched to another message because the first was rendered in tiny print. It's one thing to ask us to notice your offer, and quite another to pinch and pull text and images to get an idea of what it is. 

There is, of course, another inconvenient truth here. Smartphones are more about the moment -- not always but far more than desktop. Sure, there are still times when people are in the home looking for a distraction on their mobile device, which could easily be a tablet or laptop. Nevertheless, mobiles are the device we expect to be able to get thing done on. The likes of Uber and Airbnb make booking services as simple as pressing a button, and so when we are out and about we really don't want to have to remember account numbers, reservation codes and so on. And logging in? Come on brands -- we could have used any one of several potential passwords and we're getting used to just using our thumb to unlock a screen and get our bank balance. 

So just ask yourselves -- how easy do you make it for customers to engage with you on mobile via email? Do your messages render properly? Are they eye-catching and worthy of engagement on a tiny screen? If someone does want to interact with your message, how many obstacles do you throw in the way of tempting them with a new pair of shoes and them actually checking out? Here's a hint -- go look at the competition, namely Amazon. It's "click," "click," thanks very much.

If you can't say the same, then you will undoubtedly be among those brands that find the shift to mobile widens the target but narrows engagement levels.

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