Hopefully, your holiday email marketing plan is well underway. You can’t do too much planning for those important shopping days for all the upcoming holidays. But the world is changing and with it the way people use their devices, so here are some thoughts for you to ponder as you design this year’s email campaigns.
THE DEVICE MATTERS
More and more, people are shopping using their mobile devices. The Movable Ink US Consumer Device Preference Report tells us some very interesting trends from October to December 2014. Marketers would be wise to pay attention to these trends:
- Opening email on smartphones hit an all-time high and is now over 50%.
- The type of device being used affects significantly the amount of time spent reading emails. Android users tend to read more and for longer while iPhone users tend to glance! We aren’t talking about a lot of time here to go over your carefully constructed email. The readers are reading for 15 seconds while the glancers look for 0 to 3 seconds. This means that more than ever, it matters where you put your call to action and offer details in the email. If you don’t get their attention right at the top of the email, don’t expect to get it at all.
- The most opens on mobile devices happen on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, compared to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for desktops.
- Smartphone opens tend to occur in the early morning from 6 to 9 a.m. while tablet users open up their mail at night. How many times have your reached over for your smartphone upon waking to give your email a quick check? I know I have!
- Time spent on the Internet has been steadily rising, so be sure your mobile campaign and mobile ad spending isn’t lagging behind.
There are some important emerging markets to think about this season as well. Smart TVs, and smart wearable devices such as watches and wristbands are on the rise. People are accessing retail sites on a variety of devices, so to capture their attention, you are going to need consistent experiences across a number of platforms for your campaigns. Envision how your customers might shop. Did you realize that smart watches have a web browser?
HOW PEOPLE SEARCH
Another very important insight is how people are searching for their products and services. Google’s Mobile Path to Purchase report has some interesting findings. They discovered that 26% of searches start on branded apps and that consumers are spending 15 plus hours a week researching on their smartphones.
- Of those surveyed, 69% expect businesses to be within 5 miles of their location.
- Immediacy is key – more than half want to purchase within the hour and of those, 93 percent of those using mobile devices to research went on to buy what they were looking for.
How many times have you grabbed your smartphone and bought something? It is so easy to get wrapped up in your identity as a marketer that it is easy to forget that you are also a consumer! Think about how you like to shop and how you like to buy.
APPS RULE THE DAY
Preference for mobile apps accounts for 89 percent of media time. If you don’t have an app yet for your business, consider building one. But make sure the website that your email marketing pieces take customers to works great. Too many mobile versions of websites have limited functionality.
And I hope you realize that in February of 2015, Google updated its search algorithm to give mobile friendly sites for smartphone and tablet queries preference. If your website is not optimized for various mobile devices, it will get buried under a mountain of search results. Give your website Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You may have a mobile site, but if Google doesn’t think it is friendly, you are out of luck. The Test will give you ideas about how to fix any issues.
TRIED AND TRUE ADVICE
Many best practices haven’t changed. As I mentioned last year, a sure fire way to get on Santa’s Naughty list is targeting customers who have already disengaged. Don’t assume that sending your campaigns to more people will result in more people seeing the offers. The addresses you’ve been suppressing throughout the year due to inactivity may include spam traps, and sending to spam traps and inactive addresses can lead to deliverability issues. And Adobe’s Mobile Benchmark Report cautions that bounce rates for referrals from social networks are much higher on mobile devices than desktops – 61% vs. 53%. Marketers are cautioned to track mobile ad bounce rates.
- Do A/B testing of subject lines, designs, and other elements of your campaign right up until the very end of the season. There is always time to make it better.
- Make your holiday campaigns a series. Remember, you’re lucky if 20% of the customers on your email list will open your emails. Send follow-ups. Build up to the action with a tease or hint at what’s coming.
- Have contests and engage your customers.
- Pick one call-to-action and use it at least three times before moving on to another.
- And the golden rule: people care about what your product or service can do for them, so tell them what they gain by using what you have to offer. Focus on benefits and outcomes.
Social networking, the meteoric rise of the use of mobile devices, and the rising dominance of online shopping have created new environments, and new assumptions are needed for businesses everywhere. As always, the bottom line is making it clear to the consumer what unique product or service you offer, how it will benefit them, and how to get your message to them above all the rest.
Good luck and happy upcoming holidays!
Alyssa Nahatis is the Director of Deliverability & Account Management for Adobe.