Have you adapted your marketing automation and email messaging programs for the Age of Mobile yet? If not, it’s time to catch up with the times.

After all, more than 50 percent of email opens are via mobile devices these days. So mobile is your most important channel at this point.

But just what steps should you take to adapt your programs? There is much you can do beyond making your emails look good on mobile devices. Think of it in terms of three buckets of opportunities:

  1. Optimize fit for mobile usability
  2. Optimize fit for a mobile context
  3. Maximize relevance

Let’s dig into each.

Optimize Fit for Mobile Usability

We are talking about the bare minimum here, without which you might as well stop sending emails since more than half of your messages would go to waste.

Responsive design for mobile

Responsive design allows you to change the way email is displayed depending on the size of the viewer’s screen. It gives you an enormous amount of flexibility to add, remove or rearrange the email's content so that subscribers will have the very best experience, no matter what devices or email clients they read your email on.

If you don’t have the in-house resources to code email templates in this way, no problem -- most email marketing solution providers can help.


Example: Responsive Design

Mobile pre-send testing

The fastest way to get fired as a marketing automation or email marketing professional is to launch your campaigns without making sure that the messages look as good as intended on the many devices used by your readers, ranging from phones and phablets to tablets and desktops. Pre-send testing across all mobile devices and email clients is something your email marketing solution provider can typically automate for you.


Optimize Fit for a Mobile Context

When marketing automation programs first became popular they were often synonymous with nurturing B2B leads by sending a series of big PDF whitepapers. Who is really going to read a lengthy document on a mobile device these days? Whether you are in B2B or B2C, it is critical to rethink your messaging programs so that they make sense for the mobile experience.


News publishers, for example, can automate pertinent news alerts. With responsive design, when the reader opens a message on mobile, she sees the alert. When the same message is opened on a larger screen, additional content may be promoted.

Scrolling is OK

Before the mobile age the mantra was that expecting users to scroll down to find content was inefficient. Nowadays, scrolling -- a.k.a. “swiping” -- is back in fashion. Instead of sending a lengthy PDF, just include your salient points within the message body, even if it requires scrolling.

One-click call to action

Make your call-to-action suitable for readers on the go. You have their email addresses, so why make them jump through hoops and complete cumbersome forms? Enable one-click responses -- e.g., letting readers register with a click or ask to get a reminder for something they can open when they are back to a larger screen.

Maximize Relevance

The top currency today is your audience’s time and attention. They are not going to waste it on anything that isn’t valuable to them. You aren’t going to be happy with marketing automation results if you haven’t maximized the relevance of message content.

Thankfully, the hardest data challenge for customer-centric marketers in the mobile age is relatively easy to solve for email marketers. Cross-channel marketers often struggle with identifying clients across devices. But email marketers have it relatively easy because the email address identifies the individual customer regardless of whether the message is being read on a phone, tablet or laptop.

Location-based targeting

You already know that mobile apps and websites can retrieve individual's location in order to personalize content and recommendations accordingly -- e.g., walking directions to your closest coffee joint. But did you know that email marketing can also be geo-targeted based on where your audience have read their messages? Ask your email solution provider for help. And don’t stop at location-based targeting. Combine it with all other customer insights you have to better segment, target and personalize messages.

Automated content personalization and recommendations

Maximum relevance means that each recipient of your email messages will see different content based on his or her unique interests and current intent. For example, an email from your favorite cooking site may show you and me different kinds of food and drink recipes based on what each of us likes to eat and drink.

But how can you possibly write masses of personalized messages for millions of individuals? Email messaging automation solutions can help facilitate this based on machine learning and predictive intelligence. These algorithms take into account each individual’s past interactions with emails and clicks on your website. Based on that data, the solutions automatically identify and promote the content within email messages that each individual is most likely to engage with.

The mobile experience requires a big step forward for marketing automation programs and supporting technology. It is no longer enough to drip-nurture prospects with targeted and timely emails. Instead of the old static email content, message content needs to be automated dynamically in order to achieve the relevance that is needed for success in the mobile channel.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicenseTitle image by  Dana C. Voss