Archive for January, 2013

Email readership on mobile devices is growing so fast that soon it will be the predominant platform for email consumption, and mobile email consumption may overtake all other platforms even sooner. We are way beyond just ‘planning for mobile’ – it is now imperative to design your campaigns and landing pages to be easy to view and work well on a mobile device.

Return Path’s Tom Sather, senior director of email research, says:

“Looking at the trend lines of our clients, we’ll probably see mobile overtaking web-mail and desktop by the end June as the preferred platform, but definitely by the end of the year.” As a result, Sather said: “Marketers need to wake up and think about their mobile strategy. More than half of all marketers have no idea if people are reading their email on mobile devices.”  

He goes on to say “A lot of people talk about optimizing email for mobile devices, which is kind of a no-brainer, but a lot of people don’t think beyond the email. If they do click on a link and they come to a landing page, is that optimised for mobile as well? Studies have shown that less than 2 percent of people will revisit an email on their desktop or laptop, so you really only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

 However, Sather cautions against discounting other platforms. “But just because mobile is the rage, don’t forget about desktop email clients such as Outlook, as well as web mail,” he said.
We agree Tom. To back that up, here is our list of the most important mobile email design considerations and best practices:

Make sure you optimise your emails and landing pages for mobile. Email open rates have increased since last year and last quarter, but click-through rates have declined. This is most likely because they are abandoned after consumers open them on mobile devices and the messages are not optimised. With mobile you only have 1 chance to get the recipient to read your email and to click through to landing pages. If you are directing people to your website or landing page and it doesn’t look good or load or operate well on mobile, people will leave – and find another site that does work.

Think about where, when and how people read emails on mobile. In a recent survey, it was discovered 70% of users read emails in bed before going to sleep or first thing before waking up. So be mindful of this in terms of your design, and don’t use bright images which might be hard on the eyes for those reading your emails in the dark or as they are just waking up.

Reduce the template width to fit a smaller screen. We recommend you set the width of your email template to 640 pixels or less. Smartphones have screens between 320 and 480 pixels wide, so if your email is 640 pixels wide it is both suitable for desktop viewing, and is suitable for viewing on smartphones too.

From name and subject line become even more important for mobile. We know the from name is important already – but it becomes even more so due to the fact that the very first thing you see on your mobile, is your from name. So this to me becomes the most important facet of the mobile email. This is closely followed by your subject line. Make sure your subject line is punchy, strong, and we recommend no longer than 35 characters. This is how many characters you see.  

Space is at a premium so make it simple and save on real estate. Use one-line pre-header text. Pre-headers are usually 1-2 lines of HTML text at the very top of the email. They are ideal for hand held devices to highlight an enticing offer, making it the first thing prospects read before they even consider downloading images. Keep key content above the fold. (This will be the top 200 to 250 pixels). This area is prime real estate for the 3 to 5 seconds a prospect is focused on your email message, so it needs to have useful, readable text, or a very clear image. Be mindful to incorporate branding and offer-driven text above the fold.

It doesn’t have to be brevity central… if it’s good enough, it will be saved for later. On a mobile you obviously have less space so eliminate unnecessary content and put the focus on the key parts of the message. However don’t strip everything out – creating mobile friendly emails is a balancing act, where your shorter message should be comfortably able to be viewed, read and actioned on a small screen. Longer messages can always be saved for when subscribers get home and can read them in full on a larger screen. Mobile users will delete any long emails that are ineffective, but they will save your email for later if it’s well designed with great content.

Bigger, Bolder call to actions – think of the thumbs! It is crucial you increase the size and padding of text links and call-to-action buttons throughout your emails. A typical adult finger covers 45 pixels, and it is no accident Apple makes all their app icons 44 x 44 pixels! Make sure your calls-to-action are padded by at least 10 to 15 pixels to avoid frustrating and accidental finger tapping errors.

Because it’s on a smaller screen, you can use larger fonts. This is where we do recommend you use a slightly larger font to keep things easy to read. However still stay with web safe fonts, and use a font size of 12-14 point for body copy and headlines at 20-22 point. Keep in mind that the larger font means you’ll have even less space, so keep your content brief.

Please do download the Jericho Mobile Email Whitepaper here now and share with your colleagues.

 

There is obviously a plethora of mobile infographics, links, resources, tips and advice everywhere you look however this is really intended as our list of vital mobile email design considerations that we really want you all to know….

If you have any queries please contact us, and remember we have an expert in house design team that you can contact for advice at any time.

New Zealand mobile internet use:

*Smartphones users are in the majority in New Zealand, with more than half of all kiwis using their mobile phone to access the internet, according to government figures.   (In the 12 months up to June 2012)… the number of mobile broadband subscribers rose 34 percent, so there are now over 2.5 million mobile broadband users in New Zealand.

“We’ve seen data usage on our network roughly quadruple over the past two years,” Vodafone’s external communication manager Emma Carter said. “As more and more people move to smartphones – as almost 50 percent of our customers are now doing – they start using the internet on the move for everything from maps to Facebook to researching products and services.”

Two Degrees Mobile, the newest entrant in the mobile phone market, has continued to grab sales from bigger rivals Telecom and Vodafone New Zealand, boosting its market share to 1 million customers, or 21 percent of the country’s mobile market, in August.

Vodafone is still the biggest local carrier with 2.37 million customers.

New Zealand mobile device market share:
See our previous blog posts on market share here: and the long running post which helps you to see changes over time is found here.
NBR updates their post but not for a whole – read the latest they have,  here.

Australia Market Share of mobile smartphone sales :

Market share of mobile OS for smartphone sales in Australia in 2012

**This statistic shows the market share of the leading operating systems for smartphones sales in Australia from June 2011 to October 2012. From July to October 2012, Android had a 62.2 percent share of the Australian smartphone market.  Android is far ahead, but has ceded some ground because of the iPhone 5 launch. Apple’s gain has been sharp in Australia. Windows Phone’s performance is flat indicating no impact of the launch of the Lumia 920 or other WP8 devices.

SmartCompany says: Android has claimed a dominant lead in the Australian smartphone market with a market share of 62.2%, with the platform pulling ahead of Apple.  The figures, compiled by ComTech, examined Australian smartphone market share by platform during the quarter ending October 28, 2012.  Read their whole story here.

 

*Source: Business Desk via Sharechat.co.nz

**You will find more statistics at Statista

When someone receives an email they skim the From Name, and then the Subject Line in quick succession, which makes these two areas the ‘gatekeepers’ for each message.

If you are a marketer relying on email to communicate with your audience you need to get past these ‘gatekeepers’.

Firstly you need a From Name that ticks three boxes: it must be recognised, trusted and relevant to the reader right now.  An email from my mum ticks all three every time.  With a business it’s a little more complex.  Even if I know ‘Air New Zealand’ and I love travelling with them, this year I am on a tight budget and so right now you are not ‘relevant’ to me. I might think ‘I have no intention of being tempted into reading your email offers no matter how good they are, and I will delete every email you send.’

It’s good to bear this in mind when you review your email campaign reporting as there simply will never be 100% of your database read your message – I’m on holiday, the dog died, this report is due – basically life gets in the way.  I suggest a rule of thumb that the ‘top mark’ possible is closer to 75% so if your open rate is 35% then that’s about half of your possible audience – a great result.

From another angle, it’s good to bear this ‘triage’ behaviour pattern in mind when you undertake engagement analysis of your database – Who reads every email? Who has stopped reading?  It’s important to make sure the ‘zombies’ who are effectively dead to your brand are cleaned out on a regular basis for email deliverability, so we do actively encourage this exercise.   But.  Just because I’m not opening your emails right now doesn’t mean I don’t want you to keep sending them.  I may well just be on a tight budget for a few months.  Arrgggh!  Why does email marketing have to be so complicated!

Assuming your email has passed the above gatekeeping/triage process of the From Name, next up your reader is looking to the Subject line for indication of a value exchange that is in his or her favour.  Their time is worth an awful lot to them.  Your email must deliver more value in order for it to be open and read.  And so your subject line needs to hint at that value as clearly and quickly as possible.

To get a Subject Line right, there are many many many possible approaches to take. The subject line is often promoted as a good thing to ‘test’ and see if your readers respond better to a particular set of words, or tone.  The reason testing is good idea is that the answer to the question ‘What works best?’ is almost always ‘It depends’.  I have seen tests show more words work better to get clicks in the email, and I have seen tests show that less words work best.  Similarly I have seen marketers use a set format for every campaign of a similar ‘type’, and I have seen people change the format for every single email they send, to good result.

Focus on clearly describing the value that is within your email, and then make sure you deliver that value in a way that makes sense and is easy and intuitive to action for your reader.  We have written about good subject lines before – read those posts here and an older post about the importance of your From name is here.

Now you are fully equipped to get past the first two hurdles of a successful email campaign, how do you ensure it makes you lots of money?  That’s fodder for the next article or ten.  See you then.


Even though it’s likely you are still focusing on your Christmas ‘recovery’ and easing back to work, it’s never too early to think about your 2013 email marketing program.

For some this year might be about reviewing your budget and allocating more resources towards your email communications program in order to set in place the best of the basics.  If you are already more established and ‘mature’  in your approach to email then you are continually reviewing your email communications program and are evaluating it to see how you can enhance what you’re doing.

Either way if you really want to power up your email marketing, below are some of the biggest shifts and trends at the moment that you should now seriously be thinking about how you could make this work better for you.

1. From mobile optimised to mobile first
Given that most email opens now happen on mobile devices, simply optimising your email message for mobile devices is becoming more of an outdated notion. On the other hand – while optimising designs for mobile is now crucial, don’t forget that context is just as important. And a mobile first approach means that landing pages and your Web site are also designed to convert mobile readers of your email.

2. From dry to juicy
Things have changed in the way customers expect to communicate with companies and what they want from them. Gone is the notion of editing content to within an inch of its life to take out any human presence and get it past the lawyers. It’s now about taking a different approach that involves sending content that educates, informs, engages and entertains. This doesn’t mean you abandon your professional corporate speak for the ‘LOL’-speak, however it’s about balance – customers just want to know they are dealing with humans that care.

3. From 1-1001 to 1-1
Batch and Blasts (where everyone gets everything) should have died out along with the Spice Girls. So it is really time to shift to automating more parts of your email program, where the subscribers themselves determine the frequency and cadence of the emails they receive through their own purchases, check-ins, behaviour and interests. It is those smart cookies that use the data they have to deliver real-time emails with truly dynamic and personal content.

4. From welcome message to boarding program
There is a shift away from firing out a ‘welcome’ message and then dumping subscribers into your main communication feed, to gently warming them up with a series of on-boarding messages that are tailored toward new recipients.

5. From one-off to email series
Did you know cart abandonment follow up emails get the highest engagement rate of all emails? Followed by birthday series emails.  Reports show a three-part birthday or cart-abandonment series always significantly outperform a single email. We have heard of people getting average conversion rates of 22%, 15% and 24% with a three-part cart-abandonment re-marketing series. How much money would it have lost if it had stopped after the first message?

Worth thinking about…. Email or call us if you want to talk strategy and email communications planning for 2013, we are elbow deep into work with many clients already and in the coming months they will be very pleased we did!