Consumer Email Behavior: Leveraging Mobile in Email Marketing

This is the third column in a series that features insights from a consumer survey conducted by my firm. This survey was completed in May 2012 and features results from nearly 400 respondents. The previous columns address “Using Images In Email Marketing” and “The Impact of Relevancy and Frequency.”

While consumers continue to have a great appetite for email, as 97 percent check their personal email account every day, we can all recognize the popularity of mobile phones and mobile messaging. While email remains the leading text-based consumer communication channel, my firm’s study found that 74 percent of consumers state that they send text messages to friends, family members, and/or colleagues.

The convenience of firing off short bursts of text with our thumbs is not only an increasingly popular alternative to writing long missives via email, but also is gaining ground as a way for consumers to connect with brands. My firm’s survey reveals the following:

  • 57 percent accessed their personal email account from their mobile device.
  • 44 percent accessed their business email account from their mobile device.
  • 20 percent opted in to get email updates, but did so using their mobile phone.
  • 19 percent opted in to get SMS/text mobile marketing offers on their mobile phone.

I suspect that we won’t see the number of consumers that want SMS/text marketing offers on their phones to grow dramatically in the coming years, however, mobile usage is strong enough for email marketers to embrace the channel to further augment their audience acquisition efforts.

Here are a few suggested tactics to get your email programs optimized for the mobile era.

  • QR codes are rather inexpensive to set up and are becoming very common with consumers. These codes can be used for customer acquisition to drive the consumer to a form to gather contact details. There are numerous free QR-code generators, and a quick Google search for “QR code generator free” reveals several viable options.
  • SMS email acquisition. Utilizing a dedicated or temporary SMS code that allows consumers to text that code with their email address to get on an email list is a practical way to capture the 20 percent of consumers who are opting in to email marketing in this manner. Temporary short codes are good for events or a short-term promotion for items such as white paper downloads, time-based coupons, and other time-sensitive offers.
  • Utilizing mobile applications to drive customer acquisition and engagement can be very effective as many vendors offer a cost-per-lead solution so that you only pay for the leads acquired. In this column I point out several acquisition topics, including how to best use mobile to your advantage.
  • This column discussed the importance of formatting email marketing images for mobile devices. Be sure to be mindful of your use and formatting of images as well as your landing pages.

Try some of these approaches and be sure to test how your email programs are rendering on mobile devices.

Until next time, all the best,

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