Email readership on smartphones is rocketing. But the biggest implication isn’t for email

email copywriting for mobile campaigns

Email is enjoying a resurgence. Despite being often maligned and left to gather dust, as marketers play with their shiny new social media toys, email continues to generate responses and sales. Social media ‘gurus’ might tell you that nobody reads stale old emails anymore, but the figures tell a different story. Readership of email on smartphones has rocketed 300 percent since 2010, with no sign of it slowing any time soon.

Return Path’s global mobile email report found that more people are opening emails on mobile devices (37 percent) than through webmail (30 percent). This was backed up by Litmus’ ”Email Analytics” (Jan 2013) report which found open rates of 42 percent on mobile – higher than both desktop and webmail.

Want some more stats? This emailmonday post is packed with them. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 78 percent of US smartphone users now access email on their mobile (Forrester Research)
  • 71 percent of mobile purchases are influenced by email, surpassed only by recommendations from friends (87 percent) (Adobe “2013 Digital Publishing Report: Retail Apps & Buying Habits”)
  • 38 percent of recipients said an interesting subject line led to them reading a mobile email (STEEL – “Are your emails ready for mobile devices?”)
  • 57 percent check their emails on their smartphone or tablet while watching TV (“State of the Media”)
  • 56 percent of US smartphone users have made a mobile purchase in response to an email, compared to 41 percent in response to text, 35 percent due to a Facebook message and 20 percent in response to a Tweet (ExactTarget “Mobile Dependence”)

So the figures are clear: email is on the rise and marketers need to respond. But with 48 percent of marketers admitting they don’t know how many of their emails are read on mobile devices (eConsultancy – “Email Marketing Industry Census”), a lot of sales opportunities are being missed.

Optimising your emails for mobile

So how should you respond to email’s resurgence? Firstly, you need to ensure your emails are optimised for mobile: make it readable without having to scroll across the page, keep your copy short and concise and check images render correctly.

Thankfully, many email marketing service providers, such as Mailchimp, are ahead of the curve and provide templates optimised for mobile. But what they can’t help you with is the larger implication of the rise of mobile email – and that’s the effect on your website.

Email is great for sending special offers, product announcements and friendly messages to build rapport. But when it comes to selling, emails seldom convert on their own. Instead, your emails need to act as step one in a ‘two step’ marketing strategy. Their aim is merely to get attention and to encourage them to click on a link to take step two to your website. Here is where the real selling takes place, where you have more space and time to provide more information and to tell the story about your product.

The implication of this is that not only do your emails now need to be optimised for mobile but so does your website.

Two thirds of internet traffic will soon be on mobile devices

It’s been predicted that soon one third of internet traffic will be on desktops, one third on smartphones and one third on tablets. A realistic guess when you consider that 12 million people in the UK now own a tablet, accounting for 30 percent of internet connected adults.

But how can you ensure you are providing a smooth experience on all these devices?

The answer, my friends, is responsive web design, where your website’s elements automatically adjust to suit the screen size of your visitor. People’s internet habits are changing, and are going online more often on a mobile devices. So having a responsive designed website will ensure you’re ready to greet mobile visitors when they arrive and to profit from email’s resurgence.

5 thoughts on “Email readership on smartphones is rocketing. But the biggest implication isn’t for email

  1. TC/Writer Underground

    Nice post, Matt. I’m finding that a lot of folks are using mobile to “triage” their email stream, often setting aside the important ones for later action (often on tablets or conventional PCs).

    In any case, those of us who stuck with email during the lost years of social media hype are now enjoying the new focus on a supposedly “dead” media channel (it’s been killed at least four times by my count).

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