With the long-awaited Apple Watch finally making its debut, email marketers should start preparing a plan on how to incorporate the growing “wearables” category into their marketing mix. More specifically, we’re concerned with how they will affect their email programs. Below are a few quick predictions for the almighty Apple Watch:
1. Long live the plain-text version
Yes, it’s true; we hate to say it, but if you want to reach your subscribers that are opening on an Apple Watch you’ll have to make sure you have a plain-text version. With a limited number of characters available and the inability to render HTML, the Apple Watch makes plain-text once again a contender.
2. Less is more (always)
It’s true with most things in life; so goes it with email and wearables. Given the smaller screen and the inability to rely on HTML and imagery, optimizing your emails for condensed, digestible content will be critical. Furthermore, since email recipients won’t be able to click on links to launch a browser via the watch’s interface, marketers will need to provide immediate value as well as very clear instructions as what to do next.
3. Subject line: “Hey…”
We anticipate a shift in how email marketers approach the language and content of their messages; an approach that encompasses a much more personal message and tone. Instead of “click here to learn more” we envision marketers asking customers to “stop by [insert closest location here] to check it out for yourself.”
4. Real-time triggered messages
With Apple Watch geo-fencing features the ability to send email and SMS notifications to nearby Apple Watch users presents marketers with a huge opportunity. For example, when an Apple Watch user walks near your store, restaurant or business, you can notify them of product information and deals, and even guide them directly into your store.
5. “View on iPhone” will replace “View in browser”
Reminisce back to the days when we worried about recipients not being able to fully view an email because images were not displayed. What did we do? We sent them to their browser. That’s what marketers will have to do with Apple Watch users: send them to view on their iPhone. One key difference and barrier to success will be ensuring the content is so compelling that they will change viewing device (aka pick up their iPhone) to take action versus just clicking a link to open up their browser from their desktop, like they would have done back in the day.
6. Decrease in email engagement metrics
Depending upon the number of your subscribers that are also Apple Watch users, you may notice a decline in your Open Rates, Click Through Rate and overall engagement. Due to the fact that most ESPs use image rendering to track opens (reminder – images won’t load on Apple Watch) and the inability to click on links from an email viewing on Apple Watch, we anticipate that we may see a drop in engagement.
The short of it? While we feel that from a high level the Apple Watch will impact email, how it specifically will impact your own email program will ultimately be determined by your subscribers. Leveraging a tool like Litmus to see the breakdown of your subscribers by reading environment will provide a great indicator of how likely the Apple Watch will become a reality for you.