By Bryan Dreller, Senior Product Manager, Return Path
The iPad and tablet computing is a natural extension of the mobile revolution, but designing effective email campaigns for the iPad and its tablet cousins need a different strategy. The iPad isn’t a smartphone—neither in the literal sense nor based on its size—so it’s not quite as portable as a smartphone. But it’s still more portable than a laptop and used in different times and places then traditional computers.
Despite these qualities, designing effective email marketing for this medium and audience pose their own unique challenges. Here are three tips to help you along:
- Mobile “rules of engagement” don’t necessarily apply. In both iPhones and iPads, images are automatically enabled. This means you can expect a good open rate (if you’re measuring this with a transparent tracking pixel) and you don’t have to minimize your reliance on images. More, the iPad renders content very well. Send your emails with confidence that they’ll be viewed as intended.
- Apps change the landscape. Tablet and mobile computing have put apps front and center. When you send an email to a tablet user, don’t assume they are using the iPad’s native email client. For example, Gmail has a custom email app as well as a mobile webmail site that detects the reader’s device and redirects them to an iPad-optimized webmail client. The key here is testing email quality in a variety of popular viewing combinations.
- Mine your data – In order to optimize your email, you need to find out under which circumstances your audience is reading. In addition to, or in place of an audience survey or a focus group, consider data analysis on the information you’ve already collected from recent campaigns. Are there more opens from tablets on Sunday afternoon or on Monday mid-morning? This variance in date and time can point towards very different behavior. Design your emails and campaigns for the mindset and place in the weekly routine your audience is most receptive. Consider sending emails to the tablet segment in the evenings or weekends when the reader is relaxed, perhaps lounging in the yard or kicking back on the couch, and free of the urgency and demands of every day work life, and you have their full attention; at least in between bouts with Angry Birds.
When you incorporate these suggestions and continue to employ email best practices, the iPad may feel like an email marketer’s dream. However, unless you’re absolutely confident that the iPad-optimized email you’re sending to your readers will only be viewed on an iPad, it would be a mistake to neglect the tried and true technique of designing lowest common denominator content that results in a good reader experience no matter where or what its read on. Email marketers should continue to dive deeper and monitor their own audience to determine behavioral patterns, tablet adoption rates and campaign success.
Bryan Dreller, Senior Product Manager at Return Path, the world’s leading email certification and reputation monitoring company, is a seasoned database marketing expert with over 10 years experience designing both technical and strategic email marketing campaigns. Bryan is focused on ensuring email works effectively for all types of senders using the latest technology and industry trends.