What Marketers Need to Know about Wearables and Email

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Before marketing departments and agencies have even even gotten comfortable formulating strategies for engaging mobile users, another  disruptive technology has already arrived to make their tasks even more challenging: wearable devices. This new wave of tech promises to influence nearly every aspect of digital marketing, including (and perhaps especially) email.

Wearables aren’t an upcoming trend; they’re already here, and they’re growing fast. We’ve already seen the emergence of wearable gadgets like Google Glass, Apple Watch and Fitbit. Wearables are indeed the next big thing in the tech world, and they present tremendous opportunities for clever marketers. However, they’ve also caught the industry largely unprepared.

How exactly wearables will continue to evolve and influence digital marketing staffing is uncertain. But one critical facet of digital that will almost certainly be drastically affected is a tried-and-true staple: email. Digital marketers of all kinds should be keeping a close eye on how email and wearable tech interact, and preparing their tactics and skillsets accordingly.

The Endless Challenge of Working in Email Marketing Staffing

email marketing staffing trends

It seems that with each new marketing trend or emerging technology, email is one of the tactics that has to adjust the most. Email marketers have had to constantly adjust and update their skillsets and execution drastically over the years to adapt. The emergence of wearables will likely be no different.

At first glance, wearables might initially seem to be bad news for email marketers. Most of the existing technology does not allow users to easily send or view traditional emails, and effective tracking of device-wearing user engagement and other ROI-oriented metrics has yet to be developed.

See It In Action: How Emails Render on the Apple Watch

Video from Real Magnet

If the wearable UX guidelines provided by Google/Android are any indication, we are unlikely to see anything beyond the basic ability to browse the inbox to postpone, flag and delete emails on wearable devices, based on the email’s subject line and preheader text–at least in the short term.

This indicates a likely change in user behavior should wearables becomes widely adopted more or less in their current state. Users are more likely to engage with your email campaigns in the following ways:

  • They’ll quickly scan, organize and prioritize emails with a wearable device based on sender name and subject line
  • Read only their prioritized emails on their smartphone for further interaction and basic responses
  • Potentially use a desktop computer or tablet for more elaborate engagement or making purchases

But that’s not necessarily a bad adjustment, at least from a marketing standpoint. In fact, wearables open doors for mobile marketing staffing to send extremely relevant marketing messages based on the wearer’s location, physical health and proximity to others.

Starbucks has already experimented leveraging the technology with its wearable Android app, “Wearbucks.” Designed for smart watches, this app not only allowed the wearer make purchases at the store digitally, but also sent targeted marketing messages if there was a Starbucks store nearby, reminded you to have a coffee-break and to redeem your reward points.

Wearables may eventually reach a state where more elaborate email interaction is possible, and innovative apps may emerge to facilitate the interaction. For instance, Google is already redesigning its signature product, Gmail to make it more wearable-friendly. But that’s still a little way off.

In the meantime, marketers need to start exploring ways to optimize their email campaigns for wearable devices before the technology becomes ubiquitous. Here’s how wearable technology will affect email marketing and what you can do to adapt:

Convincing consumers to engage with “wearable emails”

Take the example of Starbucks’ wearable app experiment. Imagine you’re walking past a Starbucks at the mall, when you suddenly get an email notification right on your smartwatch reminding you to redeem your points at the store or prompting you to visit the shop to enjoy their new delicious new seasonal latte.

Such triggered emails, based on geographical and temporal context, are great weapons in the battle against the challenges posed by wearable technology. But in order to find success, behavioral email marketing staffing will have to change tactics with their subject lines. Compelling, immediately relevant effective subject lines for your email marketing messages will be more critical than ever in grabbing the glancing interest of your target audience.

While an effective subject line is essential for any email marketing campaign, it is even more crucial when your message is being read on a wearable device. Due to the smaller screen size of these devices, the first (and often the only) thing users will see is the subject line. It is therefore your best chance to get their attention as well as convince them to engage with your email immediately or in the near future.

Focus on wearable email design

Wearable email design is quickly moving from theory into practice. Though there are no dedicated wearable email clients yet, the concept and potential are inevitable. Expect a return to a prioritization of brief copy over images and rich media, with a focus on minimalist, easy-to-read text.

The concept of basic, straightforward emails is nothing new and is already an integral part of many successful email campaigns. But what is new is the other aspects of the wearable email designs. According to Android’s developer documents, the best practices will probably be to provide short bursts of information and easy response via voice command.

So successful wearable email campaigns will probably include:

  • Extremely efficient subject lines and preheader text, optimized for the small screens of wearable devices. In addition, they should offer extreme brevity to compel people to take desired actions.
  • Email interactions integrated with wearable applications such as providing directions to a nearby store.
  • Users engaging with emails via voice control: “Ok Google, prepay for and order my latte.”
  • Simple plain-text emails that quickly are readable on wearable devices.

Article source: Memeburn

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