How Email Marketers Can Capitalize on Mobile Marketing: Insider Tips

Your email program is going strong and now your CMO is asking “what about mobile?” Let’s face it, the world and your customers have gone mobile, so your email program needs to follow suit.

Reaching your target audience today can feel like an exercise in virtual roulette—an assortment of options to choose from, each feeling as much a gamble as the next. Mobile has become a key component of today’s marketing venue, so you need to be prepared to enhance your email program to market to the exponentially growing numbers of mobile users and to introduce mobile messaging into your mix.

Be a mobile marketing maverick
Since your customers have adopted the ease and portability of handhelds and cell phones for media management, it’s time for marketers to adapt and customize their messages based on customer habits and preferences. As digital media adoption rates soar, customer demand for mobile engagement will skyrocket.

Be where your customers are

As an email marketer, it’s essential to be at the center of your customers’ attention if you hope to earn and hold their business. According to AOL Mail’s fourth annual Email Addiction Survey, 16% of survey respondents said they check their email from a mobile device. What’s more, 55% of respondents said they upgraded to a new cell phone in the last year so they could check email on-the-go. Crunch these stats and you’ve got a major trend towards mobile migration.
Clearly, to be successful in today’s market, your email program must adapt to meet consumer demand in the mobile stratosphere. Don’t think of mobile as a replacement to email—think of it as an enhancement to the strategies you already have in place today.

To get started, try out these simple yet powerful tactics for integrating mobile into your email strategy starting today.

Steps to mobile marketing success

Step #1: Create ‘mobile friendly’ formats for your email
Not all email layouts and styles are right for mobile media. As you target your traveling audience, be sure to think simple—design for tiny screens, mobile software, and use patterns most common to portable media devices. Mobile users spend mere instants accessing messages, so say it fast and focus on benefits.

– Craft clear and easily understood offers for the subject line.

– Put the most important subject matter at the top of emails for faster access to substance.

– If you include links, ensure landing pages are optimized for handhelds.

– Make messages brief, concise, and worth it… with clear action items and incentives.
Remember, the size, layout, and design features useful in standard email communication will not produce the same results in mobile messaging, potentially causing recipients to hit the delete key without bothering to read further.

Step #2: Have a plan and stick with it
Plan for success by identifying your goals and the tactics you’ll need to achieve them. Ask yourself, “How can mobile marketing help me build my business and meet marketing milestones?”
The first action item should include an assessment of the unique qualities of the mobile lifestyle. Content and user flow that informs via full-scale Web layout won’t necessarily scale on a Blackberry. Play to the strengths of this small, multifaceted platform and run campaigns that bring value to mobile users, e.g., click for ring tones, access mobile-only special offers.
– Build a mobile marketing strategy that integrates with your overall marketing plans.

– Outline campaigns and relevant offers that specifically appeal to mobile users.

– Set goals with incremental dates and milestones and track performance.

Step #3: Collect mobile data from your Web site visitors
Before you begin a mobile campaign, turn to your own captive audience—your Web site visitors—to see what, when, where and how they want to be communicated with on their mobile device. Within your website’s communications preference page, gather key data points, such as:

– Mobile number

– Mobile opt-in agreement

– Type of information users want from mobile messages

– Basic demographics, like age, gender, DOB, email, phone, zip (geo targeting), and interests

– Mobile phone type and carrier specifications

– Email address
If possible, offer incentives for completing the form to fuel sign-ups. While you’re at it, drop hints indicating that exclusive, top-list deals and announcements are coming soon in future mobile messages from you.
Remember, those who opt-in to receive mobile news are likely:

– Too busy to proactively obtain all their data from the Web, and

– Don’t want to miss the latest, greatest development about their favorite brands, hobbies, and heroes.
Maximize the medium by offering perks that save users time, give them useful tips, and sell them over and over again on your value.

Step #4: Create an infrastructure that’s industry compliant
Mobile marketing, like any medium, has its rules. The good news is, following these guidelines can afford you smooth travels along this new superhighway.
To ensure your infrastructure is up to snuff, first check with the Mobile Marketing Association (—their code of conduct and industry best practices cover essential protocol you’ll need to know to keep yourself in good standing.
Simple things like using compliant SMS aggregators and sending permission-based communications are big deals in the small world of handhelds. Just like in the email arena, there’s no spam allowed! Also take note: clear, accurate and age-appropriate messages are keys to fair game.

Step #5: Get down to details—develop campaigns, then track results
Since mobile marketing is actually a segment of your overall marketing strategy, sync it up with business goals and develop campaigns that mirror and compliment what you’re doing in other venues. Get your hands in the details, set quarterly goals, and outline the steps that get the job done.
Take stock of these integrated tactics along the way:

– Compliment current promotions with mobile-only offers.

– Encourage mobile user interaction by emailing, mailing or broadcasting special offer access codes that deliver a “gimmee” (e.g., song, ring tone, coupon, widget).

– Use mobile messages to: drive people back to your Web site, build your brand, and promote your services.

– Set up a testing calendar to try out SMS methods, calls to action, and audience receptivity.

– Measure response time: speed, time-of-day, day-of-week; and create a matrix of best times and types of messages to send.

– Test calls-to-action that incorporate coupon redemption, click-through rewards, and latest/breakthrough news; adjust tactics based on results.

– Send different emails to different audience groups; test which performs best and modify future sends accordingly.

– Ask yourself, “What makes my audience respond?” and do that.

Step #6: Analyze and apply campaign success
As you wage campaigns, your testing and tracking activity will reveal what’s working and what’s not. Now’s the time to fine-tune your methods and build a strategy that grows with your business goals.
If a campaign results in a high number of opt-outs, take note and analyze the demographics, subject lines, calls-to-action, times-of-day, and message offers to locate the source of failure. On the flip side, if a campaign hits the roof, boosts sign-ups, surges sales, and triples Web site traffic, try to identify the muscle behind the homerun—and create a few clones!
Criteria by which to analyze campaign success:

– What was the level of interaction on handsets?

– How many recipients unsubscribed?

– How many new users subscribed?

– How many recipients sent in the survey?

– What days of the week and times-of-day did users respond?

– How long did recipients wait to respond?

– How many coupons were redeemed, songs/ring tones/skins/widgets downloaded?

– How many recipients clicked the call-to-action link and/or clicked to my Web site?

– What other responses did the campaign yield?

Stay focused and get in the game
As the face of email marketing forever changes, take charge and evolve with the times. Integrating mobile strategies into your marketing mix will help you reach more customers, more often, and more reliably. With a few adjustments to your program, you can create scalable campaigns catered to mobile devices that get you in the game to win.

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This post was written by David Moceri