The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Designing for Mobile Can Boost Your Bucks

Designing for Mobile Can Boost Your Bucks

According to to Litmus “Email Analytics”, 55% of all email is opened on mobile devices. It’s time for publishers to face the fact that information is being consumed more on the go, and email that is not designed for the mobile world first is doomed for failure.

User Experience
It’s all about the user experience. Understanding what is pleasing to the eye and attention-grabbing to subscribers is vital. There is a lot to be learned from the layout of the email design and how it is interpreted -- to ensure a second glance and not an immediate dump into the trash.

For starters, it’s imperative to create a responsive design that will optimize viewer traffic. We’re all familiar with responsive web design, and email is no stranger to this veneer. The methods to generate responsive email design are practically scientific. A effortless change of the font size, layout, adding padding, modifying color, navigation, scaling of images, hierarchy, and alteration of content can make all the difference. 

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Publishers' Missed Opportunities With Mobile Email Have Wider Consequences

Publishers' Missed Opportunities With Mobile Email Have Wider Consequences

I'm a news junkie! I admit it! I can't get enough news and analysis on Middle East conflicts, stock market trends, sports picks, and celebrity gossip. I almost always have two news channels running simultaneously in my house and at my desk at work. To continually feed my habit every waking hour, I subscribe to no fewer than 137 daily email newsletters, from big-name publishers to small niche bloggers, and I scan almost all of them on my four-inch iPhone 5s screen.

In general, my daily email newsletter habit saves me a lot of time. It's quicker than jumping from app-to-app or site-to-site to satisfy my fix. However, at times I get frustrated and stumble from the routine of using my right thumb to scroll down and click.

This frustration usually happens when I encounter a mobile-unfriendly newsletter, forcing my left index finger and thumb to start pinching and stretching across my iPhone's screen. My eyes dilate to discern the extra small fonts, while my genetically oversized thumb has to switch from a vertical to a horizontal scroll.

After I get a taste of the initial snippet of an interesting story, my desire to indulge in the rest takes over my brain. I use my thumb to forcefully scroll right, then left, frantically searching for the "read more" link or button, finally seeing the little blue words seducing me into action. As I take a deep breath to lift my thumb, I subconsciously notice the edge of a social media sharing image positioned nanometers from my objective. My thumb hits the screen, and a cold feeling immediately overcomes me with the thought that I missed. Sure enough, my Facebook app opens, with a prompt to share the story I that I'd just wanted to finish reading. "Crap!" I say. After repeating this narrative between 50 and 60 times daily, I've started being more selective with the publishers I interact with.

The phenomenon of online media not accommodating mobile email is not isolated to a small percentage of the industry, nor to a segment of its respective demographics. It's a systemic issue that's a disservice to publishers' subscribers and brand. In an era of fragmented audiences and shortened attention spans, publishers can't afford to marginalize the power of mobile email by ignoring responsive design. More importantly, publishers' lackadaisical interest in mobile email is counterproductive to their cries of low CPM rates and quality traffic.

When I ask publishers why they don't embrace responsive design, their answers range from technical ignorance to outdated design ideology. Whichever their answers, most fit in the confines of a flimsy excuse and are akin to shooting one's self in the foot, purposely!

Fortunately, adopting responsive design is easy, and can be fully integrated into a publisher's repertoire of daily email. The publishers who do eventually make the responsive design jump notice a substantial increase in engagement and monetization. It's not unheard of for open rates to increase by 20% or 30%, and CPMs to reach up to $8 or more for standard display ads alone. Given these tangible benefits, it's baffling why publishers aren't there yet.

The economics of a widely used, open platform like email are such that when there's an issue with functionality, the market rushes in to correct it. Uniform rendering across disparate email clients is a byproduct of trying to fix broken HTML. Publishers should expect similar efforts from developers trying to dictate subscriber experience to their email clients.

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Top Five Conversion Optimization Tips

Conversions either in the form of sales or in the form of lead generations are the lifeblood of most e-commerce sites. Conversion rates vary by industry but it is generally agreed upon that 2% is an average for most e-commerce sites. Unfortunately, most business get lost in the small percentage numbers and fail to realize that raising a conversion rate of 2% by a mere 1% can improve profits by a whopping 50%! That 1% can be a definite game changer for an e-commerce site, therefore conversion optimization of your site should be a top priority.

As such, we’ve created a list of the top five conversion optimization tips, which if implemented even partially, should result in an improved ROI. These are not in order of priority but instead we’ve placed them in the natural order of a typical e-commerce transaction.

  1. Relevant Traffic – Relevancy is a word you will see consistently in any e-commerce marketing discussion. As it applies to internet traffic it refers to visitors that are actively interested in what you have to offer. This means your traffic should be focused and targeted, two traits delivered by Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click campaigns. Purchasing generic traffic will generally result in extremely low conversion rates, if any at all. For optimal conversion optimization you should use targeted traffic, though more expensive, is actually more cost effective and will generate more conversions.
  2. Intuitive Navigation – Assuming you managed to get relevant visitors to your landing pages, you want to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. Your product or service offerings should be divided into groups, each one with an easy to find navigational link. Your site should have an easy to use search option and don’t forget to enable breadcrumbs, so visitors know exactly where they are within your site.
  3. Unique Content – Visitors looking for specific products will most probably have already visited a few of your competitors. Make sure your product descriptions are not the same OEM descriptions your competitors are using, that will only cause your visitor’s eyes to glaze over. Instead use unique descriptions with a different angle or twist not covered in OEM descriptions. If you can provide more information about a product, a visitor is more likely to become a customer.
  4. Focus on Benefits – List your product specifications and features, those are always useful. But forconversion optimization you need to have your visitor imagine the benefits of owning that product. They need to see themselves using it, and reaping its benefits. This is why a test drive is so important in car sales. Take them for a drive and the sale is almost in the bag.
  5. Third Party Trust Seals – The last item you need to focus on is consumer confidence. Your potential customer needs to feel safe passing personal and financial information to someone they’ve never met. Third party trust seals are those logos and icons found on checkout pages designed to instill trust. Examples include logos issued by the Better Business Bureau, SSL certificates from your hosting company and Verified Seller logos from credit card processing companies.

There you have it. Implement these five conversion optimization tips and your revenue as well as profits should soar. Remember that some of these changes will result in instant changes, while others will definitely take longer. Should you have any questions about implementing some of these tips, feel free to shoot us a message and we'd be happy to chat with you.
 

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Email best practices for mobile devices

As more people use their mobile phones to check their email during the day, email best practices for mobile devices is becoming more important. According to Marketing Pilgrim, a poor email experience leads 30 percent of consumers to unsubscribe.

Marketing Pilgrim columnist Cynthia Boris said companies need to get up to speed with email designed for mobile devices:


A year ago, mobile email wasn't that common, so it was easy to forgive a  company for not getting on board. Now, though, there’s no excuse for a  poorly executed email.


Emails that display poorly on mobile devices will prompt 30.2% of consumers to unsubscribe, accoding to a report from BlueHornet. Only 6.3% of consumers would read the email despite its poor display, the report said.

Email frequency and relevance is another common reason for consumers to unsibscribe. Offering subscribers flexibility in how many emails they receive can combat this and keep subscribers from leaving. Many firms ask subscribers if they want one email a week instead when they attempt to unsubscribe from email subscriptions. Giving subscribers options will improve their relationship and help retain them in the long run. 

Best practices for mobile emails
One way to endear your emails to mobile users is to make coupons and special offers usable on their mobile phones. Instead of requiring users to print out e-mailed coupons, design the offers so they can be displayed and redeemed on mobile phones. The ideal mobile coupon can be scanned directly from the phone by a barcode scanner.

Designing emails for mobile devices can be accomplished through responsive design. The design queries the device that the email displays on, so that one email can be formatted differently for display on mobile phones, tablets and personal computers. For mobile phones, graphics should be streamlined for easier viewing.

For more information on crafting an email campaign that works on mobile devices, contact us today. Don't let your customers unsubscribe from your emails due to poor displays on mobile phones!

 

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Capable Mobile Marketing Dependent Upon Understanding User Behavior

The era of the smart phone is fully ascendant in 2013. This year Deloitte estimates that the billionth such device will be activated. However, mobile marketing success going forward will be about much more than just numbers. Anticipating how user behavior will evolve will be absolutely crucial to a well-managed mobile marketing budget.

Linear No More

For example, consider the 'second screen' phenomenon. The old paradigm, first on laptops and then on mobile devices, was linear. That is, users would move through channels in succession. Linear consumer behavior is relatively easy to track as one moves from point A to point B to point C.

Now, a new behavior pattern is emerging. For example, more and more smartphone users are active while simultaneously watching TV. Key questions arise. To what degree will smartphone usage relate to the 'second screen,' the TV? Will TV viewing and smartphone activities be related or not?

Smartphones may become popular as a means for further interaction with a television program. Should such consumer behavior proliferate, mobile marketing can respond with a more cross-channel, holistic approach. In fact, in ideal scenarios, the impact on advertising may almost be counter-intuitive. That is, the successful advertisers that truly engage such cross-channel users may gain their attention in very relevant ways.

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The Email Monetization Playbook
Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!

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Email Monetization Playbook
69 Must Scan Pages For Publishers!