By Simon Martin, Managing Director of Digital - Experian Marketing Services

There’s no avoiding the fact that mobile growth, and in turn mobile innovation is a hugely important trend that marketers can’t afford to ignore. Mobile is often the first touch point for consumers during interactions with brands - according to recent Experian Marketing Services research, half of all unique email opens occur on a mobile device and lead the way with click rates with 39% of all unique clicks. Smartphones in particular are often the device of choice when it comes to interacting with email content, with more than 50% of smartphone users now checking email each hour from 8.a.m. through to 9 p.m.

The proliferation of mobile devices has introduced more ways than ever to interact with email, and if messages are not configured to display properly on mobiles, customers will quickly disengage with brands who communicate with them using this method.

So what’s the best way to engage and interact with your consumers via mobile, and ensure that brand loyalty remains consistent across the device ecosystem?

Understand the audience: with half of all emails now opened on mobile devices, brands know mobile optimisation is crucial. But within this ecosystem are various complexities and nuances that relate to specific operating systems. Brands must build a richer understanding of their audience by combining various types of information (for example, consumer classifications) to be able to identify which devices they use and prioritise designs appropriately. In addition to this, the fact that Android, Windows and iOS handsets all have their own nuances, combined with the variations between in-built email software and other email applications means that each variation will need an entirely different approach to provide a good mobile experience must be taken into account

Tailor content specifically for mobile: Understand that when a user engages with emails via their mobile, they have different objectives and priorities. Take this on board and tailor your content to encourage engagement via mobile devices. This includes making messaging time sensitive, including click-to-call enabled telephone numbers, appointment scheduling, social sharing buttons and even GPS look-ups to make the content immediately relevant

Tailor design specifically for mobile: iOS and most Android devices adhere to CSS3 standards and as such allow designs to make use of the @media query function. This allows the html to detect the tool used by the user, whether the content is being read on a small or large screen, and can be used to adopt responsive design techniques to adjust the design for smaller screens, or serve differing content based on the device.

Close the loop: Ensure that mobile users are being directed to mobile content whenever possible. If mobile content is not available, try and redirect mobile users down a different conversion path (e.g. click to call to speak to a sales advisor).

Evaluate and tweak: Ensure you are measuring your mobile performance separately to your regular desktop performance. This will allow you make the necessary changes to maximise ROI in a developing channel. Whilst streamlining your conversion process for desktop users may seem like old hat, the behaviour of mobile users means many marketers need to learn how best to cater for mobile needs. The same process on desktop may not necessarily work on mobile.

What matters most in all of these this situations is the customer, who must be at the heart of your entire marketing strategy, mobile or otherwise. Any campaign that requires tailoring and adaption of campaigns should reflect this. What’s important for consumers is that they receive a consistent and relevant experience across all platforms – so don’t treat mobile as a separate entity and make sure you consider how your mobile strategy fits in with your overall campaign.