THE FROM LINE EXTENDED: Email Rendering on Mobile Devices Poses New Challenges and Opportunities

The mobile phone continues to rise in popularity as a primary communications device making email rendering on mobile devices a serious issue. According to data from MarketingSherpa, approximately 64% of “key decision makers” are reading messages on a BlackBerry or other mobile device. Let’s find out why this issue is finding its way to the top of many a priority list.

What is the problem?

Right now, mobile devices only display text emails. Basically, they make a mess of a finely crafted HTML message. They are fussy about font size and the user is often scanning, not reading, the text. Email marketers will also have a challenging time separating their mobile users in email databases from traditional computer receivers. The segmentation will be necessary, however, to ensure proper rendering of messages to non-HTML-friendly email clients. Another snag is that mobile devices also make it more difficult for email marketers to determine the true open rate of their campaigns. Metrics, we know, are key to evaluating success and implementing positive change.

How do email marketers solve this problem?

There is no simple answer to this question, yet. But, there are questions to start discussing with your email design and marketing teams. The first step is to make sure you’ve considered your audience demographics. Are they using BlackBerrys? Why? Many mobile-device devotees are checking email for urgent issues and will pass over anything that looks disposable. Another consideration that will play a key role as email marketers update their strategies for this new medium is the nature of the campaign. For example, if the information is time-sensitive, can the campaign be targeted to mobile users (and not computer receivers) with only text and short, concise messages?

Naturally, we must also consider how we are gathering information in data collection methods such as surveys, landing pages and other tools. Do your sign-up forms include a mobile phone perference? Do recipients have a way to tell you that they use their mobile device as a primary communications tool? Start by addressing these issues and keep mobile devices on your radar screen as the challenges and opportunities unfold.

—Elie Ashery of Gold Lasso

–>Read other posts in The From Line Extended series.