MediaPost – Packing Light For Mobile Email Success
Packing light has never been my strong suit. I always seem to return from trips—be they business or pleasure—with way too many unused pairs of this and that. One might trace my excess to some Boy Scout-ish desire to be prepared; however, I was never a Boy Scout. The real reason for my overstuffed luggage is that I hate packing—and it’s much easier to pack the kitchen sink than it is to whittle down to the bare essentials.
I share this personal foible because it serves as an apt analogy for the email marketing practices of many in the travel industry today. Instead of packing their emails with personalized, data-driven offers tailored to each individual recipient, all too many companies are falling back on one-size-fits all promotions that stuff each email until it bursts at the seams with multiple calls-to-action. This approach may generate sales; however, it fails to reach the true potential afforded by a more personalized email strategy.
Just as the airlines’ introduction of baggage fees and weight limits caused flyers to rethink their packing behaviors, travel marketers are facing changes that should cause them to rethink the overstuffed, “batch and blast” email. Consumers are in the midst of “The Great Mobile Migration”—a massive shift from feature phones to smartphones and from single-device to multi-device, mobile email engagement.
According to comScore’s 2012 U.S. Digital Future in Focus report, the time spent by18-24 year-olds reading email on mobile devices has grown 32% while their use of webmail (reading web-based email on a computer) is down 34%. These users are not abandoning email, but they are shifting a significant amount of their usage to a device—the smartphone—which changes the way they engage with your email—and the way you need to message to them—in four significant ways:
1. Known, Trusted Senders Get Preference
If you have a smartphone, think about how you react when you receive an email from a colleague you know versus a stranger. With each message just an impulsive thumb-swipe away from deletion, building a reputation as a known, trusted sender helps you survive the recipient’s first moment of decision—whether to even open your message. The FROM line is the first place smartphone users assess whether a message is relevant to them, and you stand a far better chance of getting that email read if your brand builds a reputation for “packing light,” i.e., delivering only the most relevant content to each recipient.
2. Time Is of the Essence
The smartphone is a Swiss Army knife of the modern age, and email is just one app among hundreds of thousands at consumers’ disposal. The good news is that email is a default app on every smartphone and one of the most used channels on the device altogether. The challenge, however, is that your email is now competing with phone calls and text messages and Facebook updates and tweets and push notifications. As a result, those senders who can leverage subscriber data to craft timely, relevant messages that get to the point quickly will have the advantage over those who still load each email with the kitchen sink of offers.
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