How can you keep your email marketing relevant this year?
The rise of mobile and social media has changed the way consumers view content. It has also elevated our users' expectations. Just like marketing tools have adapted to the way consumers view and receive content, email marketing will make way for an increasingly mobile and more personal user experience.
Let's start with the facts:
Over 80% of people are using their smartphones to read and send email (Google 2011).
In the second half of 2012, 40% of emails were opened on a smartphone or mobile device (Knotice).
Two-thirds of businesses will integrate social media and email marketing this year (Strongmail).
Increasing subscriber engagement was considered the top email marketing initiative by 50% of businesses.
It's clear that email is becoming an increasingly mobile experience. It is also a tool for marketers to engage their readers and build relationships via social media integration.
Here are four keys to forward focused marketing:
- Email marketing should be MOBILE friendly
Because of mobility, content should be USABLE
To increase engagement, content should be PERSONAL
The user experience should be SIMPLE
It is likely that your customer's relationship with your company will not only evolve online but also through mobile. Mobile content should create a positive experience for the user every time they interact with your brand.
For email, layouts should be optimized for mobile reading. Send emails that are device agnostic and responsive to screen size. Mobile also means time sensitive. Create concentrated content, allowing users to hone in on key aspects of your message and easily engage in calls to action.
Because of mobility, email should also be highly usable. Create links that are designed for touch screen capabilities (larger buttons, larger font). If the email is linked to other websites or landing pages, ensure that those destinations are also optimized for mobile.
The email should not be fully dependent on graphics or outside links. There is often a lag time between opening the email and the images loading.
Provide more than an email personalized with a name. With the rise of social media, users are searching for a company that can deliver messages more personal and relevent to them.
Tailor the message to targeted segments. Make use of data that provides information on who your readers are and what they are interested in. Use these insights to create content that is meaningful, relevant and informative.
Don't let the impact of social media overshadow your efforts, but use it to your advantage. Integrate social media into your emails, including social links and create opportunities to share content using chicklets or widgets. This allows users to connect with you on their preferred channels while expanding your reach.
To paraphrase, "A designer has achieved perfection when there is nothing left to take away."
We love things that make life simple. Keep your message clear. Keep the call to action obvious and minimize distractions.
Nothing like seeing good practice in action, check out these 10 Simply Awesome Examples of Email Marketing from the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Blog.
Responsive website design is more than just delivering pretty eye candy. It's creating an experience that delivers maximum usability agnostic of the device that the user is consuming your content with. Learn why responsive design is important.
Does this sound familiar?
While searching on your phone Something Interesting! shows up and you decide to click on it. This leads to a minuscule website requiring a combination of creative mobile gestures (press and zoom, swipe, drag, tilting the phone a different way) to help you sift through content. You zoom in, "No, that's too close." You move up, "Argh, that's too far up." After a while you have already forgotten what the Something Interesting! was and an incoming text message reclaims your attention, leaving the hard-to-navigate website in the dust.
This is where responsive design comes in.
Responsive design is an adaptation to the way we use devices. It presents users with a consistent experience whether they are viewing content on a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
A website featuring responsive design will adapt to the appropriate size and layout depending on the device being used. While apps provide a way for companies to produce mobile-focused content, responsive design offers an optimum browsing experience on each device. Instead of having to download an app, or come up with creative gestures, you get instant access to highly usable content.
Why is Responsive Design Necessary?
Why is this important? Consumers are buying a variety of devices and using these devices to access online content.
As of January 2013, 87 percent of U.S. adults own a cell phone, 45 percent own a smartphone and 31 percent own tablets. (Pew Research Center)
Tablet sales are expected to reach 100 million by the end of this year and eventually exceed notebook sales by 2016. (NPD)
Tablet shipments are predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 28% over the next five years.
Consumers are also using their mobile devices as they would a notebook or desktop computer.
Close to 60% of tablet owners prefer to read news articles on the web rather than through an app. (Pew Research)
31% of mobile phone owners go online almost exclusively with their mobile devices.
Mobile internet traffic makes up 13 percent of all global internet traffic. (KPCB)
When searching on a PC, the difference between a responsive site and a non-responsive site can be seen when adjusting the size of the browser. Here is a comparison of Mashable's responsive site and The Wall Street Journal. We adjusted the browser to fit the screen resolution of a laptop, tablet and mobile screen.
From the Mashable website you can see that content adjusts as the shape changes. The narrow mobile model has an entirely different layout, so a user can browse by clicking a pull down menu and view article previews by swiping.
The Wall Street Journal site simply cuts off content when the size and shape of the browser window changes. Only a corner of the website shows up on the mobile model. And if opened on an actual phone, the site shows up as a tiny - less usable version.
We live in a world where people want to access information on any device, at any time, from anywhere. The purpose of a responsive design is to create a seamless transition between these devices. Having a responsive site will ensure that your content keeps people engaged via a device of their choosing.
Want to test the limits of responsive design for yourself? Check out some of our favorite responsive sites.