The future belongs to marketers who believe in mobile, yet mobile is not the be all and end all of digital messaging. There are other forces at play here behind the scenes. Understanding each of these challenges, will be key to your overall success. Instead of waiting for the stars to align, deliver the experience your customers demand and deserve today. Count down to the launch of your next mobile marketing campaign with the 4 forces outlined in this infographic.

May the force(s) be with you!

Interested in more examples of how cross-channel communication can work in the banking industry? Check out our cross-channel banking webinar on Shifting Customer Behavior today!

Cross Channel Banking Webinar

Editor’s note: We sent our mobile marketing expert and Product Marketing Director, Jose Santa Ana out to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona where he had a blast… and came home with a multi-part series on what’s new in mobile! Watch this space as we reveal Jose’s adventures in Barcelona over the next few weeks!

Mobile World Congress - HOLA
HOLA, Mobile World Congress 2014!

It’s been just over a week since Barcelona welcomed 80,000 attendees to Mobile World Congress 2014, and many a post has already been published recapping the record-breaking (in terms of attendance) event, but I thought I’d share my two cents anyway on the largest mobile event in the world today.

Needless to say, it was a huge event, spanning 8 huge halls full of auditoriums for conferences, exhibitors’ booths both large and small, meeting rooms, networking pavilions, and places to find nourishment and libations after exhausting yourself walking the enormous venue.  The event is so large, in fact, that it would clearly be impossible to cover everything in a single blog post – unless the post was War-and-Peace long.  So I’ll stick to what I think stood out the most at the congress (which already spans several posts):

Mobile hardware: As Ned Stark learned, no leader is safe

It’s clear from market share and sales figures that the mobile hardware market is still ruled by two big companies: Apple and Samsung. However, one wouldn’t think this from looking at the show floor.  First (as usual), Apple didn’t even bother to grace us with her presence.  And second, unlike in previous years when Samsung stood out above the rest, this year they seemed to be just another among many.

Mobile World Congress_Samsung
We’re sure Jose had a nice invigorating 8-exhibition-halls-long walk

The other mobile hardware vendors: Sony, LG, HTC, Huawei, Xiaomi, Nokia, Lenovo are moving ahead, taking slices of the pie, enhancing their offerings and gaining a foothold in the nascent wearables space. The product gap between leaders and followers is almost gone. They showed powerful devices at competitive prices with complete lineups that included smartphones, tablets, phablets, fitness wristbands and smartwatches.

Speaking of smartwatches, MWC14 has shown that smart wearables are here to stay. Some might even say wearables stole the show at MWC14.

Mobile World Congress Smartwatches
We’re already out and running to the stores for this beauty. Who says you need the gym to keep fit?

Wearables began as one of those innovations started by a few disrupting companies a couple of years ago (Pebble, Fitbit, Jawbone) and questioned by the rest. Today however, it seems they are flourishing over expectations. Almost all big handset manufacturers in MWC14 have included wearables in their lineup, mostly as wristband fitness trackers and smartwatches.

In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit, unveiled at MWC14, was awarded as best-in-show gadget. Fitbit’s was also one of the most talked about devices at MWC14 because of its initiative #FitbitChallenge which o­ffered attendees the chance to experience the e­ffect of wearable technology.

Mobile World Congress - Soccer Players
Samsung’s moving into the wearables and fitness space. Jose’s hanging out with world famous soccer players. Everyone wins.

Conference Sessions: Now Playing Second Fiddle

Sessions where industry bigwigs and giant players talk about the state of the industry used to be the concept that drove the Congress.  However MWC today is more an opportunity to network: find partners and clients, unveil upcoming products and let the world know who you are and what your role is in the space.

Mobile World Congress Seminars
That huge screen would fit nicely in our home theatres!

So while there were still tons of scheduled keynotes and seminars with flashy titles aiming to explore interesting topics throughout the 4 days, Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote and Jan Koum’s speech captured the bulk of the attention. The recent Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook has been the biggest and most strategic market move involving mobile apps so far, so the whole world wanted to know what they had to say about it.

Mobile World Congress - Mark Zuckerberg & Jan Koum
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in conversation with The Facebook Effect author and analyst David Kirkpatrick, a past keynote speaker at our annual conference

Koum explained how his childhood dream of connecting people became a reality and announced that Whatsapp will finally support calls by the end of the spring 2014.  Zuckerberg focused on the potential of Whatsapp to get beyond 1 billion users and how successful Koum’s invention has already been at engaging people precisely where Facebook Messenger couldn’t reach. Zuckerberg also talked about the commitment big Internet companies like Facebook must make to bring connection and services to the emerging countries, though we all know the real motivation behind the acquisition – more users on his platform for marketers to target!

 

Up next week… mobile operating systems and a connected future at Mobile World Congress 2014! While you wait with bated breath, why not watch David Kirkpatrick and his take on how Message Systems’ clients are changing the way the world communicates.

 

Jose Santa Ana  and Julie Ask, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester team up to talk about mobile customer engagement in this free webinar. Are you ready to listen to what they have to say? We know that Your Mobile Customer Is Ready To Engage – Are You?

Webinar: Your Mobile Customer is Ready to Engage. Are you?

We may have celebrated our best email marketing blog posts in 2013 in January, but we’re not done with 2013 yet! That’s right, the fun’s not over. This week, we’re releasing the Top 10 Email Marketing Best Practices eReads in 2013 as indicated by our readers!

Well perhaps “email marketing” is a bit of a misnomer – after all, the list includes mobile marketing as well – serving as a clarion call and reminder that a comprehensive digital messaging strategy includes both email and mobile marketing.

But enough prattle, let’s move on to what everyone’s really here for! Without further ado, here are the top email mobile marketing downloads in 2013:

10. Transactional Messaging Best Practices eBook

Want some great examples of brands who are getting transactional emails right and effectively up-selling and cross-selling their products? This is the eBook for you. Find out how brands like eBay, Zappos and  Redbox are killing it on transactional emails!

9. How DMARC is Saving Email eBook

We saw DKIM authentication making several appearances on our list of Top 10 Best Email Marketing Blog Posts last month – little wonder that our eBook on DMARC is ranking in the 9th position! Here’s everything you ever needed to know about DMARC… and more.

8. 10 Steps to Mobile Messaging guide

And here’s our first mobile related entry on the list! When email went mobile messaging went supernova – there’s no excuse for the lack of a mobile marketing strategy, so here are 10 steps to get you started on mobile marketing.

7. The Six Secrets of Successful Senders guide

Pssstt… here’s something that isn’t a secret. Our Six Secrets of Successful Senders guide is free for download. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Get it now!

6. The High Cost of Free Messaging Software

Yea I know, the word “free” stops me in my tracks too. But unlike our eReads, not everything for free is a good deal. Yep, you heard it first from us… here’s why free open-source messaging software, may sometimes end up costing your enterprise a whole lot more.

… And that’s it for the top email mobile marketing eReads ranked from the 10th to 6th position in 2013! Up next week, your fave five email mobile marketing eReads!

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

Mobile has been in the news a lot recently, and no wonder. Studies are repeatedly serving up evidence that mobile is changing the way we consume information – right from the moment we wake up. That impact has changed the way email marketers go about doing their jobs as well and will continue to inform further efforts at customer engagement and retention.

Google.com was the top visited mobile site last week

Experian Marketing Services launched a new mobile product last week to provide marketers with more data and insights to behavior on the mobile. For the week ending Feb 23, Google was the top visited mobile site with 17.27% of the market share in terms of mobile visits. Second in place was YouTube with 4.55% market share, followed by Facebook with 2.65%.

Hitwise Mobile: Website rankings among all sites

website-rankings_030713

Source: Experian Marketing Services

Are We ‘Pushing’ The Messaging Threshold?

Over the next three years, email accounts are predicted to grow to 4.2 billion from 3.1 billion. 75% of these accounts will belong to consumers, and although spam remains in the media spotlight, 75% of the emails received will still be legitimate. It is also predicted that email will continue to be the top activity on a mobile device. Given the surge in email accounts, usage and behavior, geo-targeting and push messaging present great opportunities for brands to engage with consumers, if used responsibly.

41% of email is now opened on mobile devices

The proportion of email that is opened on mobile is set to exceed emails opened on the desktop by the end of the year. In the second half of 2012, 41% of email was opened on mobile devices. Smartphones account for 29% of the figure and tablets, 12%. Among smartphones, iOS triumph over Android in terms of platform on which emails are opened – iPhones account for 22% compared to 6% on Android. iPads took up 11.4% of the 12.1% of emails opened on tablets.

mobile-email-marketshare_030713

Tips for Real-World Marketing from SearchLove and LinkLove

The SEO experts at SEOmoz have compiled a list of tips from conferences they have attended and surprise surprise, there’s a section for the email marketing community! Here’s what the experts recommend:

Encourage people to reply to email marketing – Patrick McKenzie
Facebook retargeting to build advertising lists – Will Critchlow
Start your subject lines with “RE:” – Paul Madden
Send competitor’s email marketing to Evernote – Stephen Pavlovich

Do check out the full post for the entire list of actionable tips. They are a marketer’s dream covering a huge range of topics and touching on different specialties!

Email Mostly Mobile

Our partner ReturnPath’s latest mobile study shows that email open rates on mobile have gone up by 300% from October 2010 to 2012. If you haven’t optimized your email for mobile yet, the results suggest it’s time you do.

return-path-email-mostly-mobile

What tips for mobile and email marketing would you provide if you had your say? Tell us in the comments section! And if you need more insights into leveraging on mobile behavior, download our white paper on The New Communications Standard!

The New Communications Standard

 

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

Last week’s biggest tech news was arguably from Facebook. Days before Tuesday’s announcement, the industry was buzzing with anticipation. Was Facebook going to launch a phone or a redesigned interface for mobile?

It turned out to be social search. While Facebook’s Graph Search continues to be in the spotlight, what else is new in the world of email marketing?

5 Automated Message Don’ts

Marketing automation may be the rage, but like all things in business, there’s a way to misuse the tactic and cause damage to your brand reputation. Here are 5 things to remember with marketing automation:

  • Frequency of event triggers: (a) Don’t annoy customers by sending too many messages based on event triggers. (b) Don’t train them to expect discounts each time they abandon shopping carts.
  • Length of time: Take into account that the length of time between a trigger and an email in the customer’s inbox can vary in effectiveness depending on time of the year. Test frequently to find the duration that gets the best results.
  • Personalization: Calling a potential “Dear Valued Customer” sounds robotic. Find a way to make the greeting more personal.
  • Mobile optimization: Ensure that even automated messages are rendered properly on mobile screens.
  • Time of the year: Coordinate messages especially in times of increased holiday traffic to ensure customers have a positive experience.

SMB Marketing in 2013: 85% of SMBs to increase use of email

Email is the most effective marketing channel for SMB marketers, with 77% of marketers reporting that it increases their revenue. Every $1 spent creates $40 dollars. Need some visuals? AWeber has created a great infographic to illustrate the results of their survey.

AWeber-Email-Mktg-Infographic

Smartphone owners more likely to read emails than make calls: stats

79% of smartphone owners use their device for email, underscoring the importance of optimizing emails for mobiles. Research by Adobe also shows that more respondents shopped on a tablet (44%) than a smartphone (20%). Respondents using the tablet were more likely to purchase a product on the device while the smartphone users were more likely to use the device for comparison shopping.

1 in 5 Marketers Say They Use Pop-Ups to Collect Email Addresses

A survey reveals that 22% of marketers are capturing email addresses through a pop-up box on their website. Most of these pop-up boxes are only displayed to new visitors. Other ways of capturing email addresses include:

  • Dedicated email page – 58%
  • Home page – 56%
  • Header – 15%
  • Footer – 38%

9 Reasons Why Your Email Marketing Campaign WILL Fail

Email is 7 times more effective than social media but if it’s not working for your business, here are 9 possible reasons:

1. Give the Impression of Spamming
2. You’re Not Cleaning Your Email Lists
3. Fail at Personalization
4. Don’t Optimize Email for Mobile Phones
5. Don’t Segment Your Email List
6. Don’t Provide Value
7. Buy Email Lists From Disreputable List Companies
8. Exclude Contact Information
9. Don’t adhere to CAN-SPAM
9. New List Members Are Not Properly Welcomed

If you’re interested in making your campaigns more effective, try evaluating it from the technical side of things. Our partner Return Path explores possible reasons why your email is not making it into the inbox of your customer.

Struggling with bounces, blocks and other incidents? Check out our white paper on Adaptive Delivery® to see how it auto-tunes your outbound email delivery parameters in real time to optimize delivery, safeguard your reputation and improve manageability. 

Adaptive Delivery Whitepaper

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

It’s the weekend before Christmas, and we hope you’re just as excited as we are!

Big news this week with Instagram’s change to their terms of service and resultant uproar in the online sphere. Clearly, corporations need to be mindful of how protective people are of personal privacy as that continues to be an emotional trigger point for online users.  Instagram reverted back to their original terms days later with a blog post announcement by co-founder Kevin Systrom. Not to belabor the point, but here’s another privacy gaffe making the rounds.

FTC Complaint Says SpongeBob App Violates COPPA

Marketing and children. Replace “and” with a “to”, and that line is enough fuel to spark lively debates about the need to protect children’s data from being exploited. The Center for Digital Democracy has filed a complaint that the popular Spongebob Diner Dash mobile app has violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Its crime? Collecting the email addresses of users without first requiring parental consent. The Spongebob Diner Dash app has since been removed from the iTunes store.

Mobile marketing serves as an attractive option for marketers in generating new leads due to its prevalence and effectiveness, but caution is clearly needed. Mobile is one of the most private user experiences. While it exists as a unique opportunity to reach customers, it’s easy to cross the line and become too intrusive. When children are involved, things get even trickier.

Does your company overestimate the value of an email address?

More on the issue of privacy.

We all know how valuable email marketing is to companies. It’s been known as the best tool to nurture a lead, and reports of its demise are greatly exaggerated. Email guru, David Daniels stated in a recent webinar that social media does not replace email, but rather complements it. Obtaining a potential lead and building up one’s database for email marketing is necessary for marketers, but how this is done matters. Gaining personal data without customers filling up a form and requesting more information or making a purchase, strays too far into the nebulous ethical grey area. It’s like waving a red flag in the face of bulls.

Email Marketing: Factors that influence open rate

A/B testing continues to be one of my favourite reading topics. It’s fascinating to see how simple tweaks to colour and font can influence clickthrough rate.

Designers all over the world despair, but as Obama’s campaign staff discovered, a personal tone and gawdy design is sometimes the key to brand engagement. As far as I am concerned, if I’m getting conversions through ugly design, then I’ll stand behind ugly design!

Aside from design, here is a comprehensive list of elements that continue to affect open rates:

  • Event triggers
  • Sender recognition
  • Subject lines and relevance to content
  • Urgency
  • Word count
  • Forwarded emails
  • Time of day

lp-form-test

The creation of personas allows for subsequent messages to be tailored to customers’ needs and this has seen to be more effective than normal emails in driving clicks.

Email Inspiration: Six Great Responsive Email Designs

Look how well the design below works when it is opened on a mobile phone.  Lyris has highlighted 6 brands that have created some great designs that work across multi-channels. Also check out this cool presentation on responsive design.

british-airways-emails

Email is most important channel for driving Christmas sales: infographic

And finally, to put everyone into a Christmas mood here’s a lovely infographic about driving Christmas sales. Email is seen to be the most effective at 43%, SEO and SEM tie at 33% and social media comes in fourth at 21%.

ecircle-infographic-2012

Capitalize on mobile to increase your open rate in your marketing campaigns with our 10 Steps To Mobile Messaging Guide!

10 Steps To Mobile Messaging

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins unveiled her annual compendium of Internet trends and statistics last night, and it’s been getting a lot of attention – deservedly so – in the media and on Twitter throughout the past couple of days. What jumped out at me is that the report fleshes out in great detail some findings published earlier this year in MIT’s Technology Review. In that piece, author Michael DeGusta argued that judging from available data, smartphones were spreading faster than any consumer technology in human history, reaching market maturity faster than radio, TV, the commercial Internet and many other devices and technologies.

It took landline telephones about 45 years to get from 5 percent to 50 percent penetration among U.S. households, and mobile phones took around seven years to reach a similar proportion of consumers. Smartphones have gone from 5 percent to 40 percent in about four years, despite a recession…

internet-trends-stanford2012-graphic1

DeGusta goes on to float the idea that adoption rates for tablet PCs could outstrip even the eye-popping numbers we’ve seen with smartphones. While his assertions drew fire from several commenters who argued that tablets debuted long before the iPad (point taken, but the iPad is certainly the first instance where the tablet concept was first fully realized), the Meeker report provides rafts of data to back up DeGusta’s original observations. Let’s take a look at slides 12 and 9:

Microsoft PowerPoint - Internet Trends @ Stanford 120312 FINAL

Citing Pew Research Center numbers, Meeker shows that tablet sales are in fact experiencing explosive growth. Just as interesting, looking at numbers from Apple, adoption rates for the iPad tablet category device far outstrip those of the iPod and the iPhone:

Microsoft PowerPoint - Internet Trends @ Stanford 120312 FINAL

Meeker provides a lot more data to support her case that mobile computing is fundamentally reshaping the way humans live their daily lives, but I’d like to call out a couple more slides that marketers should play close attention to. First up, a quarter of all Internet shopping traffic on Black Friday last month was from mobile devices. It was 6% just two years ago. If this trend continues on its current glide path, shopping traffic could be close to or over 50% by this time next year.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Internet Trends @ Stanford 120312 FINAL

It goes without saying that for online retailers and ecommerce sites, the implications are enormous. So many of the processes and methodologies that have grown up around Internet commerce – email marketing, fat-browser-oriented site design, engagement strategies – are very much based on the assumption that the consumer is interacting with the business through a desktop PC with a mouse and full-sized keyboard attached. What we might call the customer journey for online consumers was a fairly well understood concept within most vertical industries. That world is fading away very quickly and we’re entering a new communications environment where marketers are going to need to rethink the ways they interact with and engage customers through mobile devices. How will we know when we’ve reached the other side? Let’s look at one more slide:

Microsoft PowerPoint - Internet Trends @ Stanford 120312 FINAL

In some countries, including India, mobile Internet traffic already outstrips desktop Internet traffic. It’s inevitable that the Internet experience will soon be largely a mobile one for most individuals worldwide.