Are you a tech-obsessed nerd like me? When it comes to the latest phone, tablet, computer, gizmo, gadget or wearable device – I want it and I want it now.
I began following the Apple rumor mill intensively back when everyone referred to the forthcoming smartwatch from Apple as the iWatch. And being the geek I am, I felt like I just had to have one of these shiny new watches that did so much more than tell me what time it was and remind me that I was late for a meeting…again.
Honestly because of my excitement, it never occurred to me just how the latest whizzbang-gizmo from Apple might affect human behavior, communication and personal interaction.
Now that the Apple Watch has launched and many of us eagerly await our smart-timepiece to arrive on our doorstep, it’s a good time to take a deeper look to see how this new device could impact our dealerships digital marketing in general and email marketing specifically.
Entirely new ways to stay in touch
One of Apple’s stated benefits of the Apple Watch is that it gives it’s users a new way to communicate:
Apple Watch makes all the ways you’re used to communicating more convenient. And because it sits right on your wrist, it can add a physical dimension to alerts and notifications. For example, you’ll feel a gentle tap with each incoming message…
Think about how this will work for a second. You send a customer a typical email, and if they’re wearing an Apple Watch they get a taptic notification letting them know that they have a new message.
The assumption is that the user could then view your email right on their watch and take action accordingly. Seems pretty straight forward, right?
On pixels yes, but perhaps not so much in the real world because it turns out the Apple Watch doesn’t handle email the way we might expect.
How The Apple Watch Handles Email
When a new email message comes in to an Apple Watch user, they feel a tap on their wrist to notify them of it’s arrival. That’s all well and good, but the question is what does the user see when they check that email on their watch?
That’s right, plain old-fashioned unformatted text displayed on a watch face less than two inches wide. No images, no color, no bold, italicized or underlined text and most importantly no clickable links with two exceptions Addresses and Phone Numbers (addresses when tapped will open in the Maps app and tapping a phone number will initiate a call on the users iPhone).
Take a look at a sample of the emails your send your prospects and customers and imagine how they might be displayed on an Apple Watch.
Mentally strip out the images, logos and formatting and see what’s left. Is there actually a personal, compelling and easily consumable message behind all the fluff? If there’s not, then you may want to start thinking about the content you provide in your email communications now.
Another interesting side effect of how the Apple Watch handles email is that open rate tracking is not possible because the Apple Watch can’t load or display the 1×1 tracking pixel.
Understanding the Shift in Time
Now I know there are probably more than a few of you who are thinking “why on earth would I change anything about my email marketing just to satisfy what amounts to a small percentage of people using a smart watch?”. Without a doubt that’s a very valid question, but consider this….
During the first day of the Apple Watch becoming available online, over one million orders were placed. To put that in perspective, in all of 2014 there were approximately one million Android Wear devices ordered – meaning Apple effectively did in a day what it took Android Wear to do in a year.
And while there’s some doubt that once the early adopters and nerd types have their watches on their wrists that Apple Watch sales will flatten out, I wouldn’t count on it. On average, industry analysts are predicting Apple will sell over 22 million smart watches in 2015.
That’s a lot of wrists that will be wearing an Apple Watch in the very near future.
And let’s not forget what happened prior to Apple launching the iPad. There were plenty of people who questioned Apple’s entry in to a market segment that had a history of failed consumer products.
Conceptually, a tablet device is appealing…But given the saturation of mobile phones and laptop computers, particularly in the consumer market, is there a place for the tablet? Not many of us would want to lug a 10-inch tablet around all day — what benefits would it provide to the average user?
Jeff Bertolucci – PCWorld
250 million iPad’s later, I don’t think anyone is questioning Apple’s decision as they redefined and dominated the tablet space with the iPad.
The same thing can hold true for the Apple Watch. Sure they weren’t first to the market with a smart watch (or an MP3 player, or a smart phone) but Apple certainly looks to be on track to redefine and dominate the smart watch market going forward.
Watch or no Watch it’s Time to Change
Smart Watches aside, Apple or otherwise, I feel there’s an important lesson to be learned here about tailoring our email communications to align with consumer behavior in 2015 and beyond.
Keeping our messages simple, personal and to the point will probably get us a lot more traction with our customers regardless of which device they read our emails on.
Are you ready to rethink and redefine your email communications with your customers? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.