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The mobile email statistics show it; growth. More and more people are reading their emails while “being mobile”. Even if being mobile means sitting on the couch watching tv. Mobile email has it’s own set of rules though. Your recipients interact differently with email on their mobile. The screen is smaller, the interface is different and many of them are touchscreen. So emailing for the mobile masses is a different ballgame.

If this is true and 10 to 30 per cent of email is opened on a mobile device. Why aren’t all emails optimized for mobile yet? If YOU haven’t yet done so, see if you fall into one of these categories:

No mobile email by choice

This is the easy one. You can simply choose not to optimize your email for mobile devices. As with any choice though, there should be a reason why. It might be that your audience opening on mobile isn’t large enough (yet) or that the added value of a changed and optimized design isn’t apparent. One of the more striking arguments would be, that it doesn’t have priority at this moment. Many email marketing programs have very big other fish to fry. Getting triggered email campaigns up, for instance. Marketers are busy, busy people. So by choice, is definitely understandable as long as it doesn’t wander off the radar completely.

Famous hand model Alex Wiliams shows us that not all pre-headers are optimized yet.

Many emails aren’t optimized for mobile yet

Knowledge about mobile optimization

Because of the explosive growth, mobile email is a relatively new point of attention. So it is logical that a lot of marketers are still trying to find out how to actually optimize for mobile devices.

Displaying emails correctly is one thing, creating a mobile email strategy is another. The lack of experience might also be a part of it. Marketers just don’t know how to optimize for mobile devices yet. The answer? Get reading and talk to your Email service provider or other partners in crime you might have.

The market needs investigation

Although general statistics seem impressive, the average doesn’t always apply. So you might want to check your own figures. Your message, brand, audience, type of emails, region, time and day sent, etc. They all have an influence on your own email marketing metrics. Be sure to check the statistics of your last few campaigns and see how many opens your mobile version got. But also be aware how to read and explain those mobile email statistics.

It is on the roadmap

In somewhat larger organisations, change doesn’t happen overnight. So mobile email is on the roadmap, but it just takes a while before it will get implemented. Plans and budgets were made at the beginning of the year or a redesign is already planned for in a few months. So we will see more mobile adapted email designs, probably also in b2b over the coming half year. It is one of these things that you should be asking your ESP about mobile email.

Reasons to get started

So there are several categories and reasons why designs aren’t yet optimized for email on the mobile device. Luckily not all mobile email optimization requires a complete redesign. It is still a shame though, because until your messages are optimized, the added conversions isn’t adding up either.

In the time I have been in email marketing I have seen literally thousands of email campaigns pass along in email clients, from shameful to brilliant and from questionable to thought provoking. After seeing so many of them you get sort of a hunch what could be wrong or right with one within a few seconds after viewing one (with images on, in this case). But I never view a message once: always take a second or even third look, to see if first impression will stay or will change. The rare, medium or well done points to how ‘digestable’ an email is: does it view and read easy, does the message actually come across to the viewer? If a message is in the rare category, it is not necessarily a bad thing: it could mean people have put in effort to make it worth reading instead of glancing, which could mean no fancy graphics and more text as content, but that text is presented in a good manner. Well done in this comparison doesn’t (have to) mean it’s a great message: just that you can digest the content in a matter of seconds, so to speak.

To put my thoughts into perspective, here’s an example of the last category: well done. It’s a recent message from Ralph Lauren showing new Spring collection pieces:

As you can see, almost all of the message space is taken up by two pictures to lure in the audience to click through to the product. No pricing, no order now buttons: just shop and visit – the bar is low for entry. Not much to read and a low impact on one’s time: well done, fast food. Is this a bad thing? In this case it certainly is not: the faster and clearer the message is brought across the better, a viewer will feel it hasn’t taken too much of their time.

Now that it is clear what I mean with well done, let’s take a look at the other side of the email spectrum: a rare message, one that is not easily digestible. This one is a reminder for a webinar, with images taking a back seat to the text:

There are only 4 images here: two logos, an example of stats and the register now button. There’s quite some text here, but is that a bad thing? In this case I think it’s not, because the text is informative and tells you why you should register for the webinar: it tells you what you will learn from it for example and that is quite important to convey in a message. A different product to sell than Ralph Lauren’s example above, but it’s just as important that the message comes across. The Ralph Lauren email will roughly take a few seconds to take in and land (unless you’re on a slow wireless connection) while the above example will probably take half a minute to a full minute. Quite a difference in time, so the value for the reader should be clear as soon as possible. One big plus for the ‘rare’ email is that the register now button is top left: one surefire way to get as many people registered for the webinar as possible, compared to just putting a text link at the bottom of all the textual information.

To summarize, it depends on your message whether you as a sender will send a rare, medium or well done email: not all brands, products and topics can be covered and presented by imagery. However a good balance between text and imagery is needed to make it worthwile for the reader to read it in full and most importantly get your message across.

I credit my wife with passing this message along. Here’s what she told me:

“So here is email marketing awesomeness for you. I signed up for this website back before we were married and I JUST got a welcome email. Literally.”

My wife and I have been married for almost six years, so you can imagine her surprise when she got this in her old pre-married Gmail account:

I’m honestly not even sure what to think of this. My thoughts are centered around two possibilities for why this message is seven years late:

1. MyNewPlace switched to an ESP and imported all of their data and treated everyone as new subscribers. (Not Good)
2. MyNewPlace bought a list that my wife’s old Gmail account is on (Terrible, for countless reasons)

The message itself? Not bad. But timing is everything for a welcome email, and while seven years is OBVIOUSLY too late to send one, waiting seven days isn’t a great idea either.

I’d love to know what others think about this. It’s a crazy example, I know, but still, maybe there’s a good explanation.

82 emails since November 7th.  61 emails in December and it aint over yet. Would love to know that the complaint and/or engagement rate is.  At one point, I was getting 3 day….would love to know your thoughts.

Is it just me or do some email marketers not test their HTML architecture before sending? What did I do to deserve your HTML throw up all over my inbox?

I’ve been waiting in the shadows for a good one to point out and today – win. It’s been a few months since my last post so I wanted to make this post a good one, I feel that it is given the company that sent this email and the shock and awe I got when I opened to see this:

This is rough ...

Let’s look at this image above  for a quick review. What’s wrong with this email? …  Well, the body is bigger than the content without images on, the first 1000px are images with non-compelling alt text, preheader text would have been magical (due to the size of the images and lack of text in the message), however; it’s non-existent and at the end of the day as a user I have absolutely nothing compelling to get me clicking. Truthfully, I’m being a snob here, but I don’t want to download images after seeing this. I want to call the CEO and ask for a job.

Now, I’m not an email expert, I have a certain skill set that I have honed over the years that was founded on HTML architecture and multi-client rendering for email. Before design, strategy, dynamic content, trigger based sends, multi-variate testing, voice, subject lines, time-of-send, etc. It’s IMPERATIVE to test the code and know the nuances and styles that work in email clients. I don’t care how big the list is, how fancy the email design looks, how much revenue this is expected to garner or how badly this email needs to be sent ASAP.  Without proper tests for rendering and the appropriate architecture for the recipient base’s clients, you’ve already lost a large portion of your success to frustrated users. Not to mention the unsubscribes and potentially future (lack of) opens due to bad experience with this email. Patience really is a virtue, rushing emails out won’t do anything but allow the marketing manager to check another to-do of their list.

Let’s scroll down the email a little more, shall we?

OMG ... Really?

As you can see the fiasco continues. This email is far from legible, the alignment of the content as well as the placement of the images and alt tags is badly coded. This was either rushed out of production or the person who created this email needs to follow the #emailmarketing tag on Twitter. It saddens me to see fundamental errors in email marketing when it’s been around for a while now, this email should not have happened this way, not from a company that’s in the tech space and as large as this one.  So, without further adieu, Ladies and gentlemen, I give you *drumroll* O’Reilly.

Not the nicest email, but at this simple of a design it should have been bulletproof.

Lesson and Take-away: Test, test, test. Know your recipients client base. Learn to code for those clients. Without a clean solid architecture you’re proactively shooting yourself in the foot before the send button is even pressed.  The email should look the same with and without images as far as layout.

Thanks for reading.

Viva la Email.

eRoi Survey Study

I was able to read a pretty fascinating study today by my good friends over eRoi.  The study is called The Current State of Social, Mobile and Email Integration and in it you will find the results of a survey they did earlier in the spring about how marketers are prioritizing social and mobile and what they are doing about integrating it with email.

One of the things that fascinates me and makes me chuckle a bit is that the survey indicates that the number one social media metric measured is the increase/decrease in friends/followers which tells me that all they want is eyeballs as well as equating social media to a popularity contest.  One metric that no on is tracking in social media is engagement amongst brand and customers.  It’s almost as if companies are looking at social media as another advertisement channel and that is the very reason why I almost never follow brands on FB or Twitter.  Without giving too much of this great study away, I also find it super fascinating that 63% of the people said that they are not measuring the prevalence of mobile devices for their email subscribers.  That to me is crazy since I truly believe that a good portion of subscribers triage their email on a mobile device and decide to back later if interested.  Why would you not want to measure and then adapt your program to mobile. To me…you don’t know what you don’t know and there are plenty of tools out there than assist in this.  Its all about subscriber intelligence and the more you know about what/how they are doing, the better your program can be in terms of providing relevant content in the form that your subscribe wants to consume it.

This is a must read for all you digital media nuts.  You can download it here.

Enjoy.