Email Marketing

4 Mobile Email-Marketing Tips

There are many mobile devices that consumers can choose from: basic feature phones, smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Consumers have their own preferences as to what combination of devices to use and whether to use them on cellular connections, Wi-Fi networks, or both. For ecommerce merchants that cater to these consumers, there’s seemingly an endless combination of devices and potential connectivity arrangements, all of which affect consumers’ overall ecommerce shopping experiences, including how they receive and respond to emails.

Here are four basic tips to help ecommerce merchants better understand mobile email marketing. As you will see, consumer behavior on mobile devices has, in a way, simplified email messaging.

1. Your ‘From:’ Line Is More Important Than Ever

Many ecommerce merchants don’t think much about their “From:” lines. They agonize over the subject lines as being the most important element. However, when viewing on a mobile device, it is the “From:” line that gets the most attention. Making sure the From line is a basic representation of your company — and that your recipient will recognize it — is vital to your message getting read or simply being scrolled by. Never repeat what is in the From line again in the subject line. Many ecommerce merchants do this and it is a waste of precious subject-line characters. The recipient knows the email is from you; there’s no need to repeat it.

In this mobile screenshot of emails, the "From:" names are much more prominent than the subject lines.

In this mobile screenshot of emails, the "From:" names are much more prominent than the subject lines.

Also, consider different From lines for different types of messaging. For example, if you have transactional emails related to an actual order the customer placed, the From line should reflect that to differentiate it from normal promotional messages that the recipients may be receiving from you. In addition, using a recipient’s name as the From line always helps to increase the open rate and the ultimate response rate.

2. Design For Mobile

A few years ago, using beautiful images with Adobe Flash was popular for websites and email. Many large retailers wanted graphically appealing websites. However, in reality heavy graphics are not functional for consumers who want to just fill their shopping carts and check out. In terms of converting visitors, having a functional website that conveys information and is easy to use is the most important goal.

In short, web and email design is trending back to the original basics. This includes a balance of images-to-text and ensuring the most important messaging in the email is still visible with images turned off. In fact, when viewing on a mobile device, most email recipients will display only text-based elements, preferring the avoid the extra steps of downloading graphics.

3. Make the Email Appealing

More consumers are using their mobile devices to preview emails and delete those that are not valuable to them. They may then look at the remaining emails later, perhaps on their desktop computers. What does this mean? Bringing value to a consumer is more important than ever. Great offers, good products or a call to action that is time sensitive are all effective content strategies that will increase the chances your email makes it past the first-round cuts.

This also impacts your frequency strategy. Depending on how often your recipients are previewing their emails on their devices, you don’t want a large grouping of emails from you with no differentiator between them. Emails that look the same will likely get deleted.

4. Get Realistic about Measurement

Many ecommerce professionals have seen a decline in the overall open rate of some of their email programs. Remember, an “open” only registers with an image load. Therefore, with more people previewing on mobile, the likelihood of the images actually being loaded decreases. The reality is many more people have actually viewed that email than is actually stated on an open report.

So how do you judge success? As open rates have declined, conversion rates have conversely increased. This means the recipients that are opening and clicking are truly interested in your product and service and, oftentimes, follow through with an ultimate conversion. Open and click rates, therefore, are becoming less important in the overall measurement of the success of an email campaign as the use of mobile becomes more widespread.


With the increasing complexity of mobile devices and mobile connections, ecommerce merchants need to understand how consumers view and interact with their emails. This will ultimately dictate how to develop email creative content, messaging and frequency.

Carolyn Nye
Carolyn Nye
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