Mobile is celebrating a major milestone this year: the Apple App Store’s and Google Play Store’s 10th birthdays. In the last decade, mobile has become one of the most popular channels for marketers to reach consumers, and email has adapted and evolved alongside it. Though apps and new messaging tools have threatened it, email remains a powerful channel for retailers’ interactions with shoppers. In fact, many consumers prefer email for brand interactions.
Moving into the next decade of mobile dominance, marketers should optimize their campaigns with tools and features that leverage the best capabilities offered by mobile devices. As retail marketers adopt a mobile-first mentality and create new email campaigns that align with consumers’ needs, there are a few key components to consider in order to encourage clickthroughs, gain new customers and drive return on investment.
Drive Campaigns With Data
The mobile devices that have become deeply ingrained in consumers’ lives have created vast pools of data on user behavior, including their browsing and spending habits. Retail marketers that capitalized on this channel in its infancy now have the opportunity to create targeted campaigns based on knowledge, not assumptions, about their customers and their preferences.
Smart retailers should tap into these data sources and develop distinct campaigns based on what the data has revealed. Frequent shoppers should receive a different email campaign than occasional browsers, for instance. And loyal customers who regularly shop on their mobile devices should be rewarded with coupons accessible through a one-tap link in an email. Mapping marketing efforts with concrete data points can eliminate the guesswork and paint a better picture of the shopping base.
Responsive Design for Retailers
Other functionalities designed for mobile take the inbox to the next level, making email less static and more interactive for users, whether that’s for shopping online or browsing a brand’s website. This is known as responsive email design, which uses fluid images and tables to control the layout of an email across many different device sizes. That means when a consumer opens an email on an Android device or an iPhone, the email should render properly and be easy to read.
Since a majority of consumers are using their mobile devices to check email, retailers need to be aware of several things if they want to see more interactivity in the marketing channel. For instance, they should avoid long emails, multiple calls to action, overcomplicated designs and small fonts. Opt instead for one clear call to action, bold fonts, simple banners and a clear design. Retailers that use responsive design and follow mobile best practices will provide a better user experience, ultimately leading to higher conversion rates.
Integrating Social Media
Beyond responsive design, there are endless ways in which retail marketers can get creative with their campaigns. For instance, brands are now shifting their focus to platforms like Snapchat and Instagram in order to better interact with their customers. According to research, more than 3 billion people around the world now use social media each month, with nine in 10 of those users accessing their chosen social platforms via mobile devices.
With this many mobile users on social media, retail marketers should be seizing the opportunity to cross-promote and build their audience. Consider incorporating social media links or buttons into email campaigns to increase follower count and engagement across various platforms, or tweet and post links to email sign-up forms to build out a mailing list. Today, there’s also a common practice of including social media icons into email headers or footers to redirect readers to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Pairing a compelling email campaign with social links makes it easy for interested readers to follow a retail brand on social media with one simple click.
Mobile first is still the way of the future. With today’s features and integrations specifically designed for mobile consumption, it’s even easier to test out new things in customers’ inboxes. And since email is still an essential part of how people communicate both professionally and personally, retail marketers should ensure they're delivering responsive, integrated campaigns that need and deserve attention.
Seamas Egan is vice president and general manager of Campaigner, an email marketing automation service provider.
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