Google Search On Apple iPad2 - mobile marketing for retailersThere’s a lot of talk about the need for a responsive website, but the email template can be overlooked which makes a mockery of having a responsive website.

The number of browsers using mobile handsets to search the web is on the rise, but there is a larger percentage of users accessing their email messages with smartphones than there is browsing.

Fortunately, responsive email templates are readily available from email service providers and are easy to configure. Most also have a function which allows you to view what your template will look like on a mobile screen before you launch it. No need to send yourself an email!

If you are engaged in an email campaign or replying to a request via email and linking to a page on your site, your email template also needs to be optimised to make it easier for mobile users to view the content and take the next step.

Creating an email response

Customer feedback surveys show that online buyers want to be able to make quick decision, easily navigate a site and purchase a product with little fuss. All these ingredients should be included in an email response.

There is no harm in thinking that an email response is a promotional ad, or even a deliberate step in your purchasing process, but it should not read like an advert. Keep it personal, helpful and friendly.

The only giveaway that your reply is an ad should be the call to action, so think about how you are going to do this first.

Ideally it should be placed at the bottom of your reply and in a position where it can be easily reached with the thumb when holding a mobile device in your hand.

Keep it simple

Mobile shoppers do not have time to read through a long list of instructions. Email responses should be kept short, sweet and simple so that the customers has a simple decision to make.

Do not write long introductions. A brief sentence stating the reason why you are sending the email will suffice – something along the lines of, “In reply to your question about ________, will do.

The content of your email obviously depends on your reasons for your reply. If it is in response to a question, rather than answer it fully in the email, give your opinion and refer the user to relevant content, either on your site or a third party site.

If the email is part of your purchasing process, you should have ready-made responses crafted relating to the response of the recipient. Again you may only need to include a link to a relevant landing page on your website.

The key rule to remember here is keep the message personal and genuinely helpful. You want the prospect to take the next step so make the decision easy for them, but most of all provoke a desire for them to take action.

The content itself therefore should not read like a sales promotion, but offer genuine advice from an expert. Imagine you are advising a friend. You genuinely want to help the customer rather than extract money from a stranger.