BtoB

Making email tablet-friendly

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Mobile marketing is experiencing a big upswing these days. According to Forrester Research, total mobile marketing spending will reach $561 million this year, a 43% spike from 2009. Even more important, 45% of b-to-b marketers think mobile marketing's effectiveness will increase in the coming years, according to a January 2011 report, “Is Mobile Right for B2B Marketing?” While a mobile strategy in recent years has expanded to include smartphones, a new entrant in the category—the Apple iPad—and the market that it spawned are giving many marketers pause, said Tom Sather, director-professional services at Return Path. Sather spoke to E-Mail Marketer Insight about what marketers need to know to make their email marketing shine on the iPad and other tablets. E-Mail Marketer Insight: Is the iPad really any different than the iPhone Sather: It's different depending on how you look at it. The iPhone and iPad use the same rendering engine, so the way you look at emails is going to be the same—with one major difference: You have more real estate on the iPad. As long as it's not Flash, everything is going to render beautifully on an iPad. However, marketers need to keep in mind that a lot of people view their emails as an app on their iPad. Gmail offers a webmail version for iPad that's optimized for the device, and the same goes with Yahoo; so a lot of people might be reading with those applications. Because of that, you need to do additional testing to make sure your email renders on those applications. EMI: How have tablets changed email marketing so far? Sather: It's changing the way people read their email. A lot of times, b-to-b marketers are ingrained to send email first thing in the morning so that they reach people when they get to their desks; but with a tablet, much like with a smartphone, people are going to be checking their email at all times of the day and night. Another thing: People with tablets are often more likely to want to click through and read an email newsletter on a Web page rather than reading it in their email program. If someone with an iPad clicks through and is brought to a page that's Flash-based, they are going to miss your message. I'd remind people that both Internet Explorer and Firefox support HTML 5; so, if you're looking to create a landing page, you might want to do so in HTML 5 so whatever you create can be read on any device. EMI: What does HTML 5 mean to email marketers? Sather: There are some really cool things you can do with HTML 5. You can view video within the email in the inbox. Considering that there have been studies by Forrester and the (Direct Marketing Association) that say emails that include video are likely to double or triple the click-through rate, this is something to be aware of.
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