A lot has changed in the past 10 years, but most email newsletters haven’t (apart from that the formatting has been made mobile-friendly). 2/3 of email newsletters are now opened on mobile devices, but conversion rates to purchase are less than half on mobile vs. desktop. Open rates are pretty consistent compared to desktop at around 20-25%, but users spend less time on each e-mail and don’t engage to the same extent.
So how do we get better open rates and engagement in a mobile world?
There are at least three possible alternatives:
- Improve the emails with better personalization, content and mobile optimization
- Copy what others like Quartz are doing with a unique conversational user experience (which doesn’t make sense though unless the newsletter is daily)
- Reinvent the newsletter for a mobile world (see below)
Start by Understanding the Problem
What does your target audience want? What will make them read and engage with your brand/business? How are you solving a problem, whether it’s boredom or staying informed?
Break down the Parts of the Newsletter
- Distribution list/recipients
- Subject line
- Links to content
- Spam filter
Then reconstruct it to solve the problems. There are at least one hundred possible iterations of use cases. E.g. email with video, notification with headline and link and so on. Sketch out and test them even if they might seem ridiculous at first. Pick out the top ones, prototype and test again with real users that have some type of preconceived interest in the service.
Once you’ve found a concept that solves the problem and resonates well with the users, prototype it and test it in a format similar to what the final solution will look like to the user. Test again with a few more users. Up until this point, no programming or technical work has taken place unless you wanted to do so.
Assuming that the concept is now proven with users, go ahead and develop the MVP (minimum viable product) and keep on testing with real users in every iteration. There is still no guarantee that it will succeed, but chances are very high.
The detailed methodology and tools we use is called DMI Action and has been used to successfully reinvent hundreds of businesses in a mobile world.
How Did We Reinvent the Mobile Newsletter?
Watch our 10-minute MVP of what a video version of the newsletter – prototyped in less than 1 hour – could look like. And yes, this is an alpha.
Chief Innovation Officer