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3 keys to optimizing the email experience

3 keys to optimizing the email experience Brian Deagan

Within a few years, it's very likely the majority of emails will be viewed on a mobile device. Recent reports from eMarketer reveal that checking email is the most popular mobile web activity. In fact, nearly 75 percent of mobile users have viewed or sent email on their mobile device.


The importance of optimizing email for mobile devices has been addressed several times in the last few months; however, a vital element is often overlooked: customer data.


Using customer data help raise the bar of the overall customer experience when it's integrated into optimization for mobile. If you do it well you provide an enhanced user experience, with overall positive brand interaction.


Here are three keys to optimizing your email for mobile with the integration of customer data to power the experience.


Key 1: The right email service provider
To do mobile well, you need the right email service provider (ESP). Most traditional ESPs are simply not equipped to handle mobile analytics or a mobile experience. Here are a few qualities your optimal ESP must have:


A mobile-friendly format: Mobile-friendly ESPs have the functions necessary to optimize the customer's mobile experience. They can provide marketers with the information they need so they're not left making assumptions about who is viewing their content on a mobile device.


Device detection: When optimizing email for mobile devices, your ESP should be able to track and display the types of mobile devices being used to access your emails. And because the mobile universe is advancing at lightning speed, it is important that the mobile device list your ESP is tracking be updated daily to include any new devices that may surface.


Useful analytics: Your ESP should have mobile analytics included and easily accessible, as well as device association integrated as part of each recipient's profile. Once you connect the mobile device data to each profile, you can use that data to send the specific email to the right target. By knowing the type of mobile device being used, you can "serve up" the appropriate email template for a seamless interaction.


Device penetration within your audience can also dictate your mobile email strategy. For example, if more than 10 percent of your email recipients are viewing content on a mobile device, it makes sense to include a "view on mobile" link that takes users to a device-optimized version of the email. Details, like knowing what emails your customers are opening, on what type of device, and even the time of day the email was viewed, can help you increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.


Key 2: Optimizing landing pages and microsites
Once you're aware of how much of your audience views email on their mobile device, it is vital to optimize your landing pages and microsites for each mobile device as well. Use your customer data to improve the complete experience, from email to landing page and beyond. If a big part of your online message is based on Flash, it can be a dead-end for mobile users if not optimized effectively. Once armed with the right mobile analytics from your ESP, you can quickly encode the Flash components to a format that is easily viewed on a mobile device.


Optimizing the landing pages and microsites you send customers to can be as important as optimizing the email itself -- especially when the email is part of a conversion event. It's quickly becoming essential to provide a seamless mobile experience to drive conversions and further established the relationship with your brand. When optimizing for mobile, do it as an end-to-end experience.


Key 3: Don't forget the desktop computer
Though the number of people checking email on a mobile device is quickly increasing, it is important to keep in mind that consumers still read their emails on a desktop computer. Some mobile users may open an email on their mobile device then look at it later on their desktop. With that in mind, you probably don't want to send mobile-device optimized email as the default format, unless your customers have indicated they prefer to receive email via mobile. It's also important to note that users should have a good experience with both desktop and mobile. The right ESP provider should be able to offer up both experiences without doubling the amount of work on your part.


The bottom line is that by having good device recognition and optimization within the platform, you can seamlessly support the entire mobile experience. As the trend of mobile-device use continues to soar, mobile optimization based on real data is key.


Brian Deagan is the co-founder and CEO of Knotice.


On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

Brian Deagan co-founded Knotice with the simple objective of helping marketers communicate more effectively with their customers. Knotice is the third technology-based company Mr. Deagan has guided in the past decade. Since the early 1990s, he has...

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