E-mail secrets & lies: Mobile marketing

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According to audit and consulting company's Deloitte's “2011 TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) Predictions” report, which was released in January, more than 50% of computing devices sold globally in 2011 will be non-PC devices such as smartphones and tablets. For b-to-b marketers, that means that having a mobile strategy will be absolutely crucial if they want to avoid being left behind.

“We find that between 10% and 20% of our clients' emails are viewed on a mobile device, and that number is only poised to grow,” said Sara Ezrin, senior director-strategic services at email service provider Experian CheetahMail. “You want to make sure you're optimizing the customer experience so you know they will view rather than delete your emails as they come in to their mobile devices.”

EMI asked Ezrin to identify one “secret” and expose one “lie” to help marketers gain traction with their mobile strategies.

Secret: You can code your emails so they render properly based on a recipient's mobile device.
Proper coding will enable your email to be properly framed, whether it's read on an iPhone, a BlackBerry or an Android device, Ezrin said. (An ESP or internal IT person may have to do the coding). “When the email isn't optimized, you can still see it—it's not broken—but someone will probably have to scroll up and down or sideways [to see all of it],” she said. “By optimizing the email it will automatically adjust the magnification of the design for the appropriate width of the end user's viewing device. The user will be presented with an email that looks aesthetically pleasing and clean.”

Lie: You can't easily identify which customers and prospects on your mobile/SMS list are also on your email marketing lists.
“Everyone keeps saying that it's really hard to link a [cell] number to an email address, but that's completely wrong,” Ezrin said. “You can, but you're going to have to coordinate efforts across mobile marketing and email.”

Ezrin suggests asking for email addresses during an SMS signup, and vice versa. If you need to match up emails and cell numbers, you can do it in several ways, she said. “You can ask them to text you their email address to sign up for your email newsletter or to sign up for a contest,” she said. “You can ask for this information under the guise of a poll.”

The benefit of doing this is it allows you speak to your users in the most appropriate way, she said. If you don't know, for example, that one of your best customers is receiving both your email newsletter and SMS messages, you might not be giving them the VIP treatment they deserve on both platforms, Ezrin said. “When you can combine the databases, there are tons of opportunities to test and see what provides higher returns and a more relevant experience for your users.”

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