If you’re using email campaigns to acquaint new members with your chamber benefits or you’re using email campaigns to recruit, in addition to persuasive copy and subject lines that beg to be opened, you need to consider one more thing.
According to research from Hubspot, more than two-thirds of people these days are opening email on the smartphones or other non-desktop devices. That means there are a few things you can do to make those emails more appealing and more likely to be opened.
Aren’t Smartphones Just Portable Pocket Computers?
Smartphones have many of the same capabilities as our desktops from a functionality standpoint. However, there are vast differences from a user experience perspective.
Because they are “portable pocket computers” their screens are smaller. This creates the need to scroll more often and smaller screens also mean smaller buttons. And since most people use their fingers to navigate their phones, size matters. On a computer, your mouse and cursor can help you get into small spaces. This is harder to do when fingertips are involved.
So while functionality capabilities may be similar on a desktop and mobile device, usability requires special design, which we’ll go over in this article.
Edit Down Your Subject Lines
Subject lines are one of the most important things you’ll create in your email campaign. Along with the sender, it’s one of the largest influences as to when, or if, the email gets opened. A compelling subject line can hurtle you into the email open hall of fame or ensure that your email has a very short life in the recipient’s inbox.
But you already knew that, right?
Of course, you did. But mobile-friendly subject lines are even more of a challenge because they must be teeny-tiny and yet still be effective in communicating the “what’s in it for them.”
The average mobile email app shows about 25-30 characters, not words. That’s about the first four words of the previous sentence. Creating effective copy in that space is difficult but essential to your email open success. Take the time required to write a compelling subject line.
Do that by:
- Communicating what’s in it for them.
- Using emojis if it fits your audience or the type of email you’re sending (An events email works well with emojis. An invoice reminder, probably not).
- Using personalization tokens (we used to call them
formfields in mail merges).
- Personalizing subject lines based on what you know about the recipient using a segmented list. For instance, you could craft a different subject line to people who always come to that type of event (based on your data) versus people who came in the past then missed one. “We missed you” can be very effective in driving opens.
- Tell them what’s inside.
- If it’s time-sensitive, communicate that. If it’s not, don’t pretend it is just to get them to open. They will open it, but only once and will likely remember your trickery in the future.
That’s a lot of info to fit into a small space but you needn’t use all of those in every email subject line. Choose those ideas that fit what you’re trying to accomplish or communicate. Keep in mind, if you only have room for one tactic, always write with a “what’s in it for them” mentality. People don’t have time to figure it out. Be blunt and brief about why this information is important.
Craft Awesome Pre-header Text
If you’re using email marketing software like Constant Contact or MailChimp, you have the option of adding pre-header text. This is extremely valuable real estate.
As mentioned earlier, subject lines on mobile devices are really short. The pre-header text allows you to add a little more information or context for improved open rates. This is a great place to summarize offers. For instance:
subject line: No more member-to-member savings
pre-header text: Your chamber membership expires 1/5. You saved $50 last year w/
Which brings us to…
Do you screen phone calls? Do you look at
Be honest. Of
Maybe not every time, but most. If you know the person, you pick up. If you don’t, you wait to see if they leave a message. Right?
People do that with emails too, it’s just a little more subtle. People will open an email from a trusted source even if they think it might be salsey because of the trust they have for the sender. But that trust can erode if there are too many cases where it’s abused.
Personalizing a subject line can mean more opens. While personalizing the content can mean more action. Personalizing the subject line can draw attention and make people feel like this email is just for them. It contains important information that you knew they needed.
Once they open it, continuing the personalization makes them feel like you know what’s best for their situation and that it is not just a blanket statement meant for everyone.
Returning to the event email reference from earlier, consider that you likely have data of everyone who attended your last chamber event. You know what they
Use this data to customize your message. If they did attend, remind them of what an amazing event it was. Speak to them like they were there because you know they were. If they didn’t attend, tell them what they missed out on. If they attended before but not the most recent event, tell them what has changed since they last attended. What have you improved? Invite then to check it out.
You can also use personalization to make suggestions on new membership tiers based on past usage data or suggest an event based on their interaction with the chamber or other events. This type of “looking out” for members or potential members can have a big effect on driving the desired action.
A note about personalization gone wrong: Personalization is an amazing thing but it can also fall apart quickly. When it’s used incorrectly, it can be obvious and stir up a hornet’s nest of emotions. Here are a few things to double-check before launching a personalized campaign:
- if you’re using personalization tokens (like first names), make sure you’re not missing any in your database. An email that reads “Dear First Name” or “Dear .” isn’t
- It’s fun to use history to shape your messaging but don’t get too personal unless you know every recipient. If you do, you can create some very awkward situations. For instance, sending out an email that contained information about last year’s guest like “We hope you and Mike had a fabulous time at our mixer” can create an awkward situation if the recipient and “Mike” have parted ways.
- It can be creepy. You want recipients to feel like you get them, not like you’re stalking them. Use your data to improve their experience. Include things that will help them remember the value you gave them. They should never feel like you’ve had a private detective following them.
Concentrate on a Clear Call to Action
People on phones are skimming. They might be waiting for someone or sitting at a red light (hopefully not). Whatever they’re doing, they’re often multi-tasking and you’ll be vying for their attention. That’s why it’s critical to your success to be clear what it is you’re hoping they’ll do.
From a design perspective, you want:
- big, bold buttons (URLs in inline text are harder to click with a finger).
- no more than 4 words on a button, preferably 2.
- the reason they should click on the button or a clue as to where the button is taking them like “save your spot” or “renew now.”
- if it’s a short email, add the button close to the top. If it’s longer, add several buttons throughout so that whenever they decide they want to click they don’t have to scroll up again or scroll to the end.
- one clear call to action. If each button is inviting them to do something else, recipients won’t end up doing any of it.
- the button color should stand out without clashing. While a color like neon green will get attention, it should fit your chamber branding. If it doesn’t, select a color that does. Shaking up your branding in button form can make people wonder if the email is truly sent by who they thought it was. You don’t want your email to look like you’ve been hacked.
Use Mobile-Friendly Design
In addition to larger buttons and less in-text URLs, you want to make some modifications for faster load times and easier navigation. These include:
- an images off option. Allow recipients to see the email content without images for a quicker load time and less distractions. If you go with this suggestions, review your copy to ensure it still makes sense without the images and nothing is lost.
- leaving space around buttons. While it’s not likely that you’ll have multiple buttons next to one another, if you do, ensure you have plenty of space surrounding them to accommodate selection with the finger tip. Keep in mind your mobile users may be in a moving vehicle and ample space will ensure they don’t click on the wrong thing when they’re jostled. That can be very frustrating.
- create a responsive design. Screens come in different sizes these days, even mobile screens. Recipients will access the chamber emails on a desktop, laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone. They may also access the email over multiple devices as people have their screen life synced across many platforms. Try out your emails on all sorts of devices before finalizing and sending.
If you’re worried that this all just seems like too much work creating a mobile-friendly email and a desktop version, there’s no need. The advice in this article easily applies to all email campaigns. Shorter subject lines that are personalized, good mobile design, and a clear call to action are all good practices regardless of how your community is accessing your chamber’s email marketing.