The mobile internet is now a reality. The use of mobile data services via mobile phones has seen a massive increase in the last few years. A trend for which many companies, who use email marketing, seem insufficiently prepared. Display handicaps, as well as special user preferences of mobile recipients are a challenge, which email marketers need to deal with, if they do not wish to alienate this important target group. A checklist recently published by ECRM technology provider artegic offers support. It explains the key aspects to take into consideration when starting your mobile email marketing.

It is estimated that by the year 2010 more than 20 million Germans will access the net with mobiles, Smartphone, etc. According to a study by Deloitte, this is twice the number recorded in 2008. Gartner predicts that by 2012, around 20% of emails globally will be sent from a mobile.

Also a survey by the Federal Association of Digital Economy (Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft BVDW) corroborates: Currently, every third mobile owner (35%) uses mobile internet services such as email. In the management sector, this figure is twice as high (Marketing Sherpa; Visto).

Mobile Email Marketing: Usage situation, technology, issues

The continuous development of mobile end devices provides for a better handling of mobile internet services. The use of emails, in the past, between the different types of devices demonstrated the difficulties, which needed to be overcome. Only 13.1% of mobile owners use mobile email, however, this increases to 35% with users of Smartphones and 75.4% with users of iPhones. (ComScore).

“Modern Smartphones and Netbooks with integrated HSDPA access have meant a break-through for the use of mobile internet”, says Friedrich Joussen, Board Member of the Hightech-Association BITKOM.

For mobile email marketing, however, still inconsistent technology can cause serious handicaps. The small display size, limited number of displayable characters, capability of displaying HTML text and response options are a marketing challenge. These parameters depend on the operating system used by the mobile end device, as well as the email client and browser – ultimately, even the settings of individual recipients play a role.

However, not only technical restrictions distinguish mobile email marketing from the traditional equivalent. The mobile arena creates, above all, different user preferences for mobile recipients and therefore different requirements to content and layout.

“Those who think, mobile email marketing just means reading a newsletter on a mobile, are wrong. Mobile email marketing is confronted with an entirely different user situation, such as technical restrictions, which can be a killer for traditional email marketing. However, from this challenge emerge other particular possibilities, which make mobile email marketing a highly interesting channel”, says Stefan von Lieven, CEO artegic AG.

Practical checklist for companies

The checklist created by artegic highlights the correct procedure for the planning and use of mobile email marketing. It explains a total of 19 different aspects, which are critical to success. For example, why email marketers should first assess how many mobile recipients they really wish to reach. Other tips include:

Presentability – Many mobile end devices can only display HTML emails incompletely or not at all. It is therefore recommended to offer a text version of the email newsletter, for example, as a multipart.

Mobile landing pages – Landing pages should be mobile-compatible and not contain Java script. Refrain from complicated response options, such as form inputs.

Mobile ready – Not all emails are read on a mobile device. However, the relevance from the subject and the first visible content may decide whether your message will grab enough attention to be read on a PC later.

Mobile RSS (the alternative) – An interesting alternative to mobile emails are mobile RSS feeds. RSS accommodates the requirements of compact information even more than email. In addition, the individual messages come within the context of the corresponding feed and do not have to compete with a number of other incoming emails. Many mobile devices now support RSS, as it is independent from a platform.