Mobile Devices Spell the End of Email Marketing Subscriber Text Entry: How to Adjust by Denise Keller @benchmarkemail

Mobile Devices Spell the End of Email Subscriber Text Entry: How to Adjust by Denise Keller @benchmarkemail

Mobile Devices Spell the End of Email Marketing Subscriber Text Entry: How to Adjust

The policy of asking your email subscribers to write lengthy reviews, comments, or even customer service requests has faded to extinction due to the proliferation of mobile web-enabled devices which make extensive data entry painful or outright impossible.

Thanks to these changes, email marketers should be vividly aware of the restrictive nature of text and data entry on smartphones and tablets, to ensure that they don’t frustrate their customers into unsubscribing. Here’s more on that:

Windows 8 will kill the desktop? Not likely!

Many observers cited the beta launch of Windows 8 as the death of the conventional desktop paradigm and point to a future where all computing will be done on handheld devices. Unfortunately these claims ignore the reality of the majority of desktop PC users who apply their devices for conventional office productivity purposes.

In other words, desktop users respond with, “You give me a way to enter type on a tablet at 90 words per minute while seeing two textbook pages side-by-side in actual size as I do on my 27-inch monitor, and I’ll toss my brand new liquid-cooled overclocked Intel Core i7 2600K with 16 GB of RAM and twin SSDs into the trash.”

Yes, tablets are wonderful to watch a movie or read a novel while sipping your favorite cinnamon half-caff latte at Starbucks but just try to write a manuscript or a report on one and you’ll be tossing it in the trash along with your cardboard cup.

The “Achilles’ heel” of mobile devices

The “Achilles’ heel” of all current mobile web-enabled devices, such as tablets or smartphones, is that the options they offer for data entry are mostly laughable:

  • Pecking away at an onscreen keyboard slows the fastest touchtyper to a crawl.
  • Using auto-text-complete recently caused a high school lockdown when “Gunna be at West Hall” became “Gunman be at West Hall”.
  • Adding a conventional keyboard to a tablet’s dock eliminates the reason to have a tablet in the first place.
  • Voice Recognition is ‘grape tiff ewe donut mined righting non cents’.

The physical format of mobile devices is also not conducive to data entry. Your ‘big smeary sausage fingers’ are hardly precise styluses, and unless you hold your device in front of your face, you’ll soon be visting your chiropractor for neck work.

Efficient mobile data entry is still a dream

Given that the current data entry standard is the QWERTY keyboard which has been around for nearly a century and a half, it would seem obvious that if there was a way to enter data into an electronic device in a more efficient manner it would already be on the market.

Speedy and efficient data entry is the better mousetrap of the 21st century and whoever comes up with it is guaranteed a spot alongside Warren, Slim and Bill in the billionaires’ highest echelons.

Until the advent of that future data entry Einstein, the burgeoning millions of mobile users will be stuck in a data handicap ocean where truncated ‘txtspk’ rules the waves and full paragraphs have sunk to the murky depths below.

Distill the demands on your subscribers to simple clicks

This mobile data entry reality presents a clear and present challenge to all email marketers. Your mobile customers may be able to efficiently read your incoming emails on their devices, but you had better distill your requirement for their actions down to little more than clicking on a Call-to-Action link that’s at least 44×44 pixels, or you might as well be sending your email newsletters directly into their Trash.

Given that your mobile customers will find it nearly impossible to reply coherently, enter an essay contest, or provide a comprehensive review on their smartphones and tablets, it is wise to avoid such requirements.

Takeaway: When composing your overall email newsletter strategy, keeping in mind the data entry restrictions of your mobile customers can help you craft a campaign which is mobile-friendly by strictly limiting the demands you make of your subscribers. Your customers will reply positively to your efforts to make your email requests and Calls-to-Action easily clickable by ‘big smeary sausage fingers’ without requiring any text entry at all!


Meet the author:



Denise Keller is COO and founding partner of Benchmark Email, one of the world's leading email marketing services for small businesses. Keller served as Vice President of Finance for restaurant chain Market Broiler and CEO of Accor's Ticket Services Division before transferring into the COO position at Benchmark, where she has been instrumental in bringing in numerous small business customers, as well as high-profile clients that include Mercedes Benz, Siemens, and Kaiser Permanente.

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