Did You Know???
- U.S. smartphone adoption grew more than 50% in the past year.
- 36.1% of Americans, 13 and older, use a smartphone as of October 2011.
- Mobile email open rates have increased 34% in the past 6 months.
The email marketing world isn't what it used to be. With the explosion of smartphone usage, emails reach their recipients 24 hours a day. This presents digital marketers with great opportunity – providing, of course, mobile email is designed and sent correctly.
How email is viewed on a mobile device is significantly different from on a desktop computer. Some of the defining differences between the two platforms are: smaller screen, limited data plans, slower internet speed, email client or program layout, touching to select and shorter recipient attention spans.
Because of these differences, many businesses are looking to scrap their old email layout to adopt a new mobile-friendly one. Here are a few of the measures that need to be taken in this transformation.
Design for a Small Screen:
Because of the nature of a smartphone display layout, there are a few things to keep in mind when designing your mobile email:
- Avoid making a reader scroll horizontally by keeping your email a single column;
- Your fonts should be properly sized for a mobile device since zooming-in on an email is not a standard option for all smartphones yet.
- Make sure all links are obvious. Keep them underlined and a different color than the rest of the text to ensure the reader is able to pick the link on a small screen.
Additionally, be sure that whatever website your email links to is mobile-friendly as well. It’s a frustrating experience when you receive a simple, well-designed mobile email and then end up on a hideous, outdated, scrolling website once you click on a link within the email.
Here are a few more handy mobile email design tips.
If you already have an email layout that isn’t very mobile friendly and you don’t want to completely overhaul it, one thing you can do is create a second mobile friendly version and link to it on your existing email layout. This isn’t ideal since it requires more work (almost a duplication of effort) on the part of the sender and it will require the recipient to make an extra click before they can consume your content. But it is an option.
Image Size is Critical:
Keep your files small and easily downloadable. Smartphone (and most tablet) owners these days have limited data plans. Avoid large image files that will waste precious data usage to download. The last thing you want is to have an email recipient feel like reading your email is costing them money.
Another consideration for keeping your images small in size is the amount of time that a large image file takes to download. Wireless networks are better in some parts of the country than others and mobile users tend to have a shorter attention span when it comes to email. Email readers don’t generally tolerate waiting for an email to completely download before they read it.
While we are discussing images in emails, something to keep in mind is that most smartphone email browsers do not have images turned on. For many phones, you have to enable images each time you look at an email. One trick I like to do is to play around with the image alt text when I am designing the email. By doing this, I am able to put a fun and catchy little statement in the blank spot where the image should be, instructing the recipient to enable images.
Focus on the Sender and Subject:
Mobile email browsers tend to put more of an emphasis on sender name and/or subject line than email body in their display. Make sure your recipient will easily recognize the sender on your email and craft the subject line in a way that will entice the recipient to open the email.
Be sure that the subject line relates to the email content. You don’t want to be written off as a deceptive spammer. Also, try some personalization in your subject line to entice the recipient to open the email because of the customized feel to the email.
Organize Your Content Properly:
Keep your content very brief and make sure your message/call to action (CTA) is close to the beginning of the email. A popular mobile email technique is to make the CTA a button that is larger than any other imagery.
You certainly do not want your message getting lost in a bunch of rambling text. As mentioned earlier, mobile email readers tend to have a much shorter attention span, so keep it brief and to the point and make whatever action you want the recipient to take as obvious as possible.
Send Your Email In Two Formats:
Android and iPhones support HTML emails, but a number of other phones do not. Always be sure that, when sending an email, send it in two formats: html and text.
Creating a separate text version of your email is a bit more copy/paste busy work, but it is worth it to ensure you do not miss out on the members of your email list that still use a Blackberry or similar device.
Mobile is only going to increase in its share of email readers over the coming years. Mobile-friendly email is no longer a luxury of the large brands. It is an imperative for all digital marketing plans going forward. It is very much in your company’s best interest to keep the items above in mind and really evaluate your email layout.