Email Goes Mobile: Obstacles and Opportunities for Doctors

email smartphoneSmartphones — they’re not just for making calls, sending texts and playing Angry Birds anymore.

Turns out they’re increasingly being used to read email, a seismic shift that spells both challenges and opportunities for any doctor hoping to keep or increase subscribers to an emailed newsletter. Simply put, if your newsletter isn’t designed for mobile devices, you may be missing out.

Consider a few numbers:

In fact, when you put it all together, you can understand why new research from the email certification company Return Path suggests that email readership on mobile devices will surpass both webmail and desktop by the end of the year.

The future of computing is mobile, says Return Path CEO Matt Blumberg. Our data clearly shows the trend for email consumption: more and more people are using smartphones and tablets and moving away from PCs and desktops.

And, as goes the future of computing, so too does the future of email newsletters. Doctors who hope to reach these increasingly mobile, highly obsessive email checkers — and stand out from the competition — will need to mobilize, as well. As the folks at MailChimp put it,

Back in the dark ages before email, newsletters used to be a treat, a piece of mail that you could hold in your hand while you drink your tea. Today, personal and business lives are melding together into one device, and everyone is vying for attention.

If your email newsletter isn’t mobile-friendly, you won’t stand a chance.

Doctor Takeaways

1. Know where your newsletter readers are coming from

When people sign up for your newsletter (or otherwise visit your practice website), they leave a trail of digital breadcrumbs that shows the device used, operating system, etc. Using search engine tools, such as Google Analytics, you can track the proportion of users who visit your site from mobile devices and adjust your online marketing efforts accordingly.

2. Good content demands good design

Your newsletter may contain award-worthy prose — or an amazing deal — but if it’s slow to load, hard to read or otherwise not optimized for mobile devices, would-be readers quickly become deleters. Emphasize mobile-friendly design — short subject lines, minimal scrolling, no slow-loading graphics — and your open and clickthrough rates will likely increase.

3. Optimize the entire journey

“It’s not just about creating an email which is easy to read on a mobile,” says Graham Charlton of eConsultancy.com. “You need to make it easy for recipients to act.” If possible, include a click-to-call feature — they’ve got their phone in their hand, after all — but at the least, make sure any landing pages are also designed for mobile. And if more than 20% of your site visits are coming from mobile users, it should all be mobile-friendly.

About Rob Lovitt

Rob Lovitt is a longtime writer and editor who believes every good business has a great story to tell. He has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including NBCnews.com, Expedia.com and the inflight magazines of Alaska, Horizon and Frontier airlines.

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