Mobile is the new Inbox

By OctaneGo, July 6, 2011 | Tips & Resources

It is 8:30 AM and my alarm rings on my Blackberry. Along with the irritating alarm tone, the LED continues to flash. And flash it shall till I haven’t read all the emails from the previous day. I don’t have the time to boot my laptop as the clock clearly tells me I am LATE for work. So I ask the driver to step on the gas, while I make my way through the inbox and the driver through the 9 AM rush hour. How many of you have faced such a situation? I am assuming most of you have. The truth is that most of us face a time crunch and most of our emails either end up in spam, some are read on the move while only some of the important ones deserve our attention on the laptop.

So as mobiles capable of sending and receiving emails become cheaper by the day, naturally their proliferation will and in fact has increased manifold in the recent years. Today even a person earning 1/10th of an executive’s salary can and in all probability does own a blackberry or a push email device. What does this signify for email marketers? Another untapped opportunity, one which is rare in this space to come by and also one that must be tapped to its fullest.

Usually mobile marketing has beenused for branding such as display advertising, direct response messages, transaction and service alerts, so in that way it is very much similar to online marketing.A number of smart marketers have got the first movers advantage in this space and are already using mobiles to connect with customers and prospective customers. No I am not referring to the annoying, pesky real estate developers who harass you 24*7 through texts. Airlines use text messaging and emails to inform passengers about flight delays, boarding gate changes, etc.Then you might have also seen billboards or ads in magazines with those strange black and white pixelated short codesknown as QR codes that you can send by sms to get more information about a certain product But the smartest marketers are the ones who develop mobile version of their websites and emails both.

However, if you are going to use the mobile as a medium to send and receive messages to consumers, you better make sure to get their permission first. This is the golden rule that we at Octane at least live by and for us this applies to mobile emails as well. The mobile phone is our most personal device, one that some carry with them 24/7. Almost all office goers have their inboxes configured on their smartphones, mostly with multiple email accounts. As more and more consumers start using mobile phones with Internet access, you should start including mobile in your marketing mix where appropriate. One research stated that 52% of the respondents had access to the same email account through mobile and computer and 48% maintain a unique mobile email address. So the key point here is to design for the 48% who are not going back to the office to view their emails in pretty HTML.

Here are four tips that we suggest you could apply and implement for your mobile email campaign:
1. Reformat text
HTML is fabulous, no doubt about that. But you should offer a text option as an alternative to HTML for your readers.You might remember us having stressed this point earlier in one of our blogs. Make sure you send this version to your mobile readers, but do not forget to reformat it to make it show up better on the smaller screen.

2. Rethink tracking URLs
What applies to text also applies to URLs. Tracking URLs can also consume four to five lines per screen. Try and keep them as short as possible so that they are easy to key in. No one wants to or has the time to enter long URL’s; they might just give up on the idea on viewing the site on the go.

3. Be Concise
You only have the reader’s attention for a few seconds at max. To make sure you don’t let that opportunity slip out of your hands, message length is of key importance. The most annoying feeling for a reader is to see the words – “message truncated due to size”. That should only happen incase of heavy attachments, not your emailers.

4. Validate your Web site, too.
If your email makes it to the mobile inbox, and given that your campaign is well designed you will get a few conversions right there on the mobile browser itself. The question you need to ask yourself is whether your website is optimized for the small screen or not. If not, make sure there exists as well, which is nothing but a mobile version of the same site.
So when you have devices with powerful processors such as the BB, the iPhone or even an Android you can possibly open and read, reply to and even attach whatever you wish to on the go. Therefore as an email marketer it makes economic sense to account for this segment of an audience, which is growing rapidly. And as the Vodafone Blackberry Boys ad stated, the Blackberry is not just for the office guys anymore and that holds true for mobile email as well. So what are you waiting for? Start thinking about the 48% of the people we discussed about or to be on the safer side, leave it to us guys here at Octane.

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