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Email Best Practices

3 ways the Apple Watch will change email marketing

The Apple Watch has taken email to the fourth screen. Here's what to look out for.

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By David Andersen

With the unveiling of the Apple Watch last week, the upcoming smartwatch from, you guessed it, Apple, CEO Tim Cook showed off a product that is crammed with functionality and is set to change the way we use technology for communicating and interacting with others. One of the  apps that was shown off during the keynote presentation was, not surprisingly, email. While not offering a full-fledged email client, the Apple Watch will show new incoming emails and even allow users to respond to them directly on the stamp-sized screen. In essence, using the watch to handle email will be a minimalistic experience.

That doesn’t mean that the Apple Watch won’t be an interesting platform for email marketing purposes. But it will require marketers to think different and consider how they can take advantage of the limited screen space in engaging with their audience through email.

In helping you achieve this and prepare for the release of the Apple Watch next year, here are three ways we think the new smart-device will change email marketing:

**Leverage The Power of Short Notifications**

Apps like Yo have shown the potential of minimalistic notifications in interaction with users. Similarly, marketers can use short bite-sized emails as notifications to keep users updated and engaged about their product or service. Imagine short messages, similar to tweets, being sent to the Apple Watch display, with information such as news headlines, weather forecasts, product updates etc. The challenge here will be to use the limited space on the display as effectively as possible, which brings us to our next point…

**Embrace the Subject Line**

A 42mm screen doesn’t offer a lot space for the things you usually include in your marketing emails such as copy, links, images and call-to-actions. As such, the things thatare shown on the watch are of even greater importance. The first thing a user will see on their wrist when a new email arrives is the headline.

As email marketers already know, subject lines are the way to a high open-rate and the first step to a successful campaign. The importance of a strong subject line will be taken to new heights on the Apple Watch however, since the space and time you have to grab the attention of your users is limited. So be sure to put emphasis on creating subject lines that are short, precise and relevant to your audience.

**Understand the Handoff**

Apple showed off how the new iOS8 feature named Handoff works with their new watch. The feature is essentially designed for users to open new emails on one device, in this case the smartwatch, and then pull out their iPhone, where the same email will be open and ready for the user to respond or take action. This new two-step user flow presents marketers with new opportunities for getting their message across to users and encouraging them to take action. For example, the headlines and sub-headlines that are shown on the watch display could be used as teasers for the content of the email, encouraging recipients to grab their smartphone, read the full message and take action.

In the end, the launch of the Apple Watch and similar wearable devices will mark the start of a new era of email consumption, in which emails are opened and read on your wrist. It will be an interesting to follow how the wearable tech-trend will change not just how email is consumed, but also how email campaigns can be optimized to make for a big experience on even the most miniature devices.

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