Smart Watches

Like it or not, people are going to be staring at their wrists more and their phones less. Smart watches, despite not being the must-have accessory quite yet, are making waves. With their recent rise in popularity comes an effect on how your company approaches email marketing.

Smart Watches are starting to sell…

Android Wear, Google’s solution to the watch question, has been around for the better part of a year now and Apple’s own watch went on sale a few months ago with prices ranging from $349 to $17,000 with pre-order numbers estimated to be around the two million mark. Android Wear’s numbers are similar but the sales are spread across seven different devices (as things stand), though the device manufacturers have announced new models that are coming soon. Outside of Apple and Google, there are companies like Pebble, who have sold over one million of their watches as of February, 2015, and added a further 100,000 in pre-orders of their latest device, the Pebble Time, as part of a Kickstarter campaign in March.

The numbers show that there are quite a few of these devices already out in the world and it’s thanks to one of the major smart watch selling points: the ability to get and control your phone’s notifications without having to fumble for it in your pocket or bag. These notifications include, but are not limited to, text messages, Facebook updates, Twitter mentions, and email. While most notifications come through as they would on your phone, email is a different beast (you can stop me if you’ve heard that one before).

… But they cause problems with email

Email marketing campaigns tend to be big, graphically rich, and are meant to get you out of an email client and to another piece of content like a landing page, blog post, or full website. Smart watches, which tend to have tiny screens and lack built-in browsers, ignore all of that. This all makes the plain-text version of your email essential and, perhaps even more importantly, signals the need for a very strong introductory message.

If your email does not have a plain-text alternative to the fancy HTML and CSS code that makes everything look good, your message will be rendered more-or-less useless. Smart watches are not intended to be full-featured computers. Instead, they are more or less an extension of the notifications that your phone already has on it while giving you a little bit of extra control over the apps that are sending said notifications out. In terms of email, this means that your smart watch will get an extended preview of the message with options to archive, delete, or open that message on your phone. Without a text version, Android Wear watches will go right to your email’s code to preview the message without actually rendering any of it, making for a really ugly string of characters that looks something like:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xmlns:v="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:vml">...

That is… not good. Apple’s solution for their watch is a little different and arguably (at least a little) more eloquent. Instead of showing you the raw HTML, the watch tells you that “The full version of this message isn’t available on Apple Watch. But you can read it on your iPhone,” forcing the user to get off of the watch and onto their phone if seeing the sender’s name alone is enough for them.

This makes it even more important to engage readers as early as possible. Make sure that you’re getting the point of your email right from the off in order to keep your users from becoming just another bounce statistic.

When we create your email campaign at Haley Marketing, we take all of this and much more into consideration to make sure that you get the best results possible. Want to learn more?

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