As most of you have heard, “The money is in the list.” As small business owners, we know that and we continue our focus on building an email list, and promoting our content, products, and services via email marketing.
What’s changing at a very rapid rate, however, are the number of our email subscribers who are using mobile and smartphones to read their email and access the Internet. This brings to mind a couple email marketing mistakes that may be impacting the effectiveness of your email communications. But first, consider these statistics from the 2011 Pew Internet Project and its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership:
- 83% of American adults own a cell phone
- 37% of cell phone users use their phone to send or receive email
- 35% of cell phone owners are using a smartphone
- 87% of smartphone owners access the Internet or email on their handheld
- 66% access the Internet or email on their handheld in a typical day
- 25% of smartphone owners say they go online using their phone as opposed to their computer
I can back this up by saying that my own website analytics show a 60% increase in visitors accessing my site via mobile devices. I see a consistent increase in my clients’ mobile traffic as well.
This increased mobile access has many implications for our marketing, but for right now I want to focus on two areas that specifically impact your email marketing. These are problems you may not even be aware of, but they’re also simple things to fix.
Mistake #1: You’re not sending in both html and text.
Many small business owners I speak with are only sending their newsletters, ezines, and general communications in html. (These are the beautifully formatted emails with graphics and other images.)
The problem with this is that many cell phones only accept emails in text format. When they attempt to view your html email on their cell phone, they simply get a link to read the email online. That doesn’t make a great impression in my book, and it may annoy your reader. Plus, you get other issues if the web page they’re sent to isn’t optimized for viewing on a cell phone. But that’s another article.
Be sure that you or the person preparing your html email communications creates a version in text only. All email publishing services (1ShoppingCart, Aweber, Constant Contact, etc) will allow you to do both.
When I say “properly formatted,” I mean make sure that the text message is narrow enough to be read in a cell phone window without annoying your readers by having to scroll to the right to read it.
I find that a width of 30 characters will fit in just about any cell or smartphone window. A great tool that I like to use to format my email at this width is at www.formatit.com.
You don’t have to worry that your subscribers will receive two emails. They will receive one appropriate version (html or text) depending on how they are accessing the message. They’ll probably get the html version on their laptop, but they may get the text version on their cell phone.
Mistake #2: You’re not staying “above the fold.”
We often talk about keeping our most important information on our websites “above the fold” so that visitors don’t have to scroll down to see it. The same holds true for email communications.
You want to keep the most important information (enticing copy that keeps them reading; a call to action; or what’s included in your ezine) in the top third of your email. Why?
A 2007 study by JupiterResearch (now Forrester) discovered that 66% of email recipients that have preview panes use them to determine whether they’re going to continue reading a sender’s message.
Mobile devices have an area “above the fold” too. Your reader sees only a portion of the message, and then they see a link to read the rest of the email. You want to be sure that they click and keep reading!
Your Action Step
Get busy and make these changes to your email marketing this week! They’re very easy to implement, and they may increase how often your content is read and the number of click-through’s to your website. When you’re done, let us know and tell us your thoughts in the comments below, or on the Navigator Network on Facebook.