Mobile-Friendly Email Marketing in China

A new report conducted by Custora found that email had brought more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined since 2009 and the number kept growing in the following four years. Email marketing is the opportunity that marketers cannot miss. Think one step further: a mobile-friendly email will help you read more customers more effectively as there are more people managing their email by mobile phones than ever.

Do we see the same trend in China? Is there a necessity to design mobile-friendly email in China market? The answer is a definite “yes”. A report released by CNNIC in 2014 revealed that the percentage of mobile internet user base has overtaken PC internet user base. With this high growth in mobile internet, we can see more people will access their e-mail with their mobile devices.

Meanwhile, mainland developer NetEase (Hangzhou) Network released an Email app “Mail Master” in 2014 and a much refined version a few weeks ago. This app supports a wide range of email services provider, such as 163 Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, QQ, and more. Users can manage email account easily and quickly, just like native Gmail app. It is obvious that there is good opportunity on mobile email for a well-known internet company to enter this market and keep on investing on the app.

Mobile-friendly email marketing is descriptively designed for mobile users, users can see the content clearly without scrolling up and down is hardly the case. With mobile-friendly email reaching your customers, they are more willing to continue to receive your email as it looks better on their mobile devices. With relevant content (time / location), it also encourages users to forward your e-mail, causing a viral effect. Know more about how to make a mobile-friendly email marketing from this article. (7 Tips to Make Your Email Marketing More Mobile-Friendly

Besides being mobile-friendly, move one step further and deliver mobile responsive email to gain an edge. You can create a mobile responsive email by applying responsive images and layout.

If you are interested in email marketing and want to explore more, you can see our other blog article on email marketing. ( )

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This blog article is contributed by Tanya Wong, our Marketing Intern.

Utilize Social Data or Ignore It

No one will doubt the power of social media, but not every marketers knows how to make a social media campaign successful and effective by making good use of social data efficiently. A recent research also indicated that there are 39% marketers believe that social data is not yet useful to their business.

The main reason may be the posts and comments in social media are highly qualitative data which require professional expertise and resources to analyze. Although some sentiment analysis1 tools could help, limitations still exist. Most analysis algorithms use simple terms (i.e. keywords) to assign sentiments of a product or service, the context, cultural and linguistic factors will be eliminated in analysis. Even sentiment analysis using algorithmic approach does not yield promising insights.

Seemingly, we can’t find the key to unlock the social data to actionable information. We come up with one simple equation may help — Brand mention + location + time + people. For example, travel plans and certain airlines are frequently mentioned in social media by universities’ students during summer holiday. The airline therefore could make sales opportunities at campus right before the summer holiday starts. They could also base on the popularity of destination mentioned to adjust the supply of different routes and offer different packages. The real time customers’ opinions and reactions on social media help you understand how people respond to your brand and marketing initiatives.

It may be hard to deal with the social data as we can see the current sentiment analysis is not yet ready (at least for Chinese/Cantonese). Do try on other approaches to discover insights, but do not ignore the valuable social data. We are looking forward to hearing your success in utilizing social data.

1 Sentiment analysis (also known as opinion mining) refers to the use of natural language processing, text analysis and computational linguistics to identify and extract subjective information in source materials.

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Think twice when we deploy algorithm-based marketing

While we are excited to follow the emerging big data trend for providing smarter, more relevant and personalized content to our customers, we must be careful to decide when, where and what are we showing them. From a recent HBR article, we all can learn a lesson from Facebook’s bad example: their “Year in Review” app showed a father his dead daughter’s photo last year and being bombard by public on their “thoughtless” design.

What happened to this tech giant suggested that our marketing algorithms may still not be sensitive enough to context. To let our digitized engagement activities to be more “humane”, a wider variety of information that matters (affects how the target audiences perceive the content) will be needed. In the case of Facebook “Year in Review” app, the algorithm might need to include semantic analysis so that the system may know to avoid posting a sad memory of a person. We would like to pay special attention to occasions that might easily trigger people’s negative emotional responses, as reminding people of their unhappy experience not only adds no value to the business, but also ruin the relationship between the brand and customers. To start with, you may proactively check if customer would like to update their personal profile on your database annually (e.g. if one of them get divorced, you will not want your system to send them wedding anniversary promotions).

Besides educating our systems to be more “considerate” on selecting content, we shall also need controlling the level of smart interaction to prevent creeping someone out. Privacy is always customers’ concern. It is important to make our customer trust us when they know what we know about them and be well informed on how we are going to use these data. We might be collecting data from various channels while planning to make good use of these efforts in the marketing strategies, but we shall also beware of “surprising” our customers with an unexpected personalized experience.

Here are a few useful tactics suggested by the article that can help:

  • Field experimentation and observational research:
    Testing the impact of different factors and generate more flexible algorithm
  • Introduce unpredictability:
    Avoiding customers being habituated to regular marketing activities by adding excitements / surprises
  • Identify key customers decision and experience points and encourage human interaction:
    Combining the power of technology and flexibility of human to discover new needs or handle exceptional situations

Are you collecting data now for your next smart campaign? It can be very interesting to embrace algorithms in our marketing strategies and it worth for a cautious planning to start. Make sure you consider your customer’s point of view.

Top 2 SEO tactics: Keywords AND Content


A recent survey to marketing professionals has evaluated both effectiveness and difficulty on different Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tactics. It indicated that relevant content creation and keyword/phrase research would be the top 2 most effective measures for SEO implementation.

Given the evolution of search algorithm, there is no surprise that these 2 tactics ranked the highest in this survey. The quality of content of a website is getting more important when search engines support semantic search, focusing more on users’ intent and contextual meaning of terms.

Meanwhile, we can see that in terms of execution difficulties, “relevant content creation” ranked as the second highest in the list, following “relevant link building”. We believe such difficulties are caused by companies implement their SEO plan through outsourcing. (according to the survey, 81% of the respondents outsource some or all of their SEO work). Outside SEO experts, who lack domain knowledge, may not be able to provide lots of assistance for content creation if they cannot work closely with their clients.

Instead of just inputting meta keywords in the HTML codes (which is an outdated practice now) and repeating keywords in content, marketers need to tackle the challenge of content creation by drafting content that attracts target audiences’ attention. The keyword/phase research reports can mainly act as a good source of reference for marketing team.

Take a French restaurant in a 5-star hotel as an example, we find target customers are more interested in cuisine, classy dining environment and signature dishes after researching. We shall then highlight those content on our web copy, e.g. describe the dining environment in more details, add more visuals of the restaurant’s interior design / cuisine.

Marketing teams can also arrange more discussions with the SEO agencies on content strategies. By exchanging the knowledge of both parties, the content created will bring more values to target customers and hence, better ranking in search engines results page.

The tactics we choose are important, but to push things forward, we need to execute them in a right way with careful planning, efficient communication and concerted effort from different parties.
Talk to your SEO agencies and discuss how the content could be improved for better search results. We hope by starting this conversation, you can maximize your return on SEO investment.

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