REACH ALL OF YOUR PROSPECTS –EVEN WHEN THEY’RE MOBILE
Many people now reach for their phones for email, so B2B marketers cannot ignore the fact that emails must be easy to read on a prospect’s mobile device or the opportunity to market to them may be lost.
Many B2B marketers have not dedicated time or resources to mobile marketing, finding that technologies like SMS marketing and Email marketing are better suited for B2C marketers focused on branding or awareness. But one area of mobile marketing that can’t be ignored is mobile email marketing. This is due to the many decision makers who are reaching for the phones to read their emails. And this means that marketers must follow new email best practices to ensure emails are easy to read on a mobile device, or the opportunity to market to a prospect may be lost.
In 2012, The Radicati Group put out a report that states that the total number of worldwide email accounts are expected to increase from 3.3. billion accounts to over 4.3 billion accounts by 2016, 730 million of these accounts access email via mobile or tablet devices.
What makes this tricky is that you can’t just prepare an email to be viewable for a Smartphone since each phone has different capabilities in what they can and can’t render from your email. The factors that affect this include the type of device, the email software program, the service provider, and the operating system the phone uses. Even with these variables, there are some things a B2B marketer can do.
1. SUBJECT AND FROM LINES
You should use a consistent name or names in the From line of your email. This will help the reader to recognize your email is from a trusted source.
For the subject line, as little as 15 characters may be viewable so you will want to make it as short as possible to ensure the most email opens. If your email subject line is longer, put the most important or relevant information in the beginning of the subject line to ensure it is read.
There are some email experts that suggest that your brand name should be mentioned in your subject line to ensure the mobile reader knows the email is from you. Other experts have disagreed and said that you are wasting valuable space in the subject line and should focus on making the subject more compelling. Don’t just rely on opinion. Test your emails to see if your brand in the subject line has an impact on the success of your mobile email marketing.
Send emails that are considered critical to your company in text. An example of this would be an upcoming service outage or change in subscription costs. This will ensure that anyone can read these messages without problems because of formatting.
Then, instead of just sending HTML messages, send emails in a multi-part MIME format, meaning the emails appear in both HTML and text versions. This means that the email will be deciphered in the most complex format, showing the email in the best way. The benefit to this is the recipient sees the email regardless of the device they are using and ensures that your email is clear and attractive on both their phone and their computer.
Then, as a next step, look at the results from your email campaigns to see if these text-only email messages get better results than other formats. Don’t just look at the aggregate of results, but also break them down into segments to see if one group prefers a certain type of email to another.
You can also consider asking subscribers how they want their email delivered. This used to be done by asking if subscribers would like a text only version, but a better practice may be to ask subscribers how they will be reading your email: on a computer, a mobile phone, or both. Then test your message format for each segment, finding the ideal for each.
Also, many people don’ t see their spam or quarantined messages in their mobile phone’s inbox, so you should work to make sure your email isn’t perceived as spam by the recipient’s email system. According to ReturnPath, more than 20% of permission email doesn’t reach the inboxes of intended subscribers. And this is even more drastic for B2B marketers since business email addresses are often protected by email monitoring tools causing you an increased risk of your email not getting into the recipient’s inbox. On average, 27.6% of commercial emails sent to business addresses don’t reach the inbox. And, while not all of this is in the spam folder, you will want to minimize this as much as possible by ensuring you have good deliverability.
3. THE MESSAGE
All marketers know they should make the email as relevant to the reader as possible, but with mobile email marketing this is especially important. B2B marketers who send messages that aren’t relevant won’t get read or even opened if they aren’t useful to the reader.
Plus, the email subject should be relevant to the email itself. According to MarketingSherpa, the average email reader only spends 15-20 seconds looking at your email (if it is even opened), so make sure the message describes what is promised in the subject line quickly and without much extra information.
Try to keep emails concise and clear to ensure that the message can be understood by those just skimming emails from their phone. Also, keep the email short as mobile
email readers will not want to scroll down to get to the crux of your message. And, lots of links or images mixed in with your email’s message may make the email appear longer, causing readers to have to do lots of scrolling. Only use the minimum needed to convey the main points of your email.
While it is suggested to test the format of the message, it is also recommended that you test the frequency of your messaging to see if opens differ for those using mobile devices versus reading from their office computer. Make sure you send your message at the frequency that is preferred by your readers.
A good rule of thumb is to stay between 500-600px wide to make sure emails are viewable on most phones, though keep in mind that some phones, like many Blackberrys, have even more limited displays that may limit the width to 320px. And, don’t put links and header graphics in the beginning of your email as the recipient may just end up seeing a bunch of links and may delete your email before getting to the meat of the message. This means putting your logo or other images below the first few lines of text. Don’t waste this valuable top text space on links like forward-to-a-friend and add-to-address book. And make the text small but readable. This will render best.
Use H1 and H2 tags in your emails so that it is clear to the email software which lines are headings, allowing them to stand out. And use alt tags to describe images, so if the image isn’t rendered the reader will still know what they were supposed to see. Fixed width tables will also be useful, as they will ensure that your emails won’t expand when images are blocked.
Messages should be small in file size as some email tools will cut messages off early if they are too large. Typically when this happens the recipient can retrieve the rest of the email if they click a link, but often they will not take the time to do this.
Include your phone number in the message. While an email received at a work computer may cause a reader to click through to a link, a mobile reader may want to call for more information. Having this click-to-call available makes it easy for the reader to reach out to you directly.
By following these suggestions your B2B mobile email marketing program is sure to be a success.
Edit by Lily HONG