More people than ever before rely on their mobile devices to send and receive email. In fact, a State of Marketing survey has revealed that, of adults who are online, 72 percent send or receive at least one email per week by smartphone.
Therefore, to succeed with email marketing, it is necessary to understand how mobile device users’ needs differ from those who open an email on a traditional computer.
Here are five tips to succeed with mobile email marketing.
1. Consider the Device Screen
Mobile devices have much smaller screens than computers. Flashy emails with multiple columns and elaborate fonts might be eye-catching on a computer monitor, but confusing and muddled on a small screen.
Also, mobile devices are used in a broad range of lighting conditions, from an entirely dark room to bright sunshine. Choose contrasting colors and simple fonts that reproduce well under varying conditions. Also, set the text large enough that it is still readable if the user shrinks the document for better viewing.
2. Think of Tap and Swipe
While computer users click via a mouse or touchpad, mobile device users tap and swipe the screen itself. Although it sounds minor, find another way to tell users to “click” on interactive elements.
Lay out your email design in such a way that links, buttons, and other interactive features are well separated from each other. Also make these elements large enough that they are easy to tap.
Buttons are more mobile-friendly than text links.
Mobile users will get frustrated quickly and give up if they are unable to tap on what they want, when they want, without accidentally tapping on something else. In general, buttons are more mobile user-friendly than text links, especially for mobile device users with large fingers.
3. Keep It Simple
Regardless of the device they use, people tend to have very short attention spans online. You have just moments to convince your prospect that a particular email is worth opening, and then a similarly short time frame to persuade those who opened it to continue reading. While this is true across all devices, people on mobile devices tend to be particularly sensitive to the layout.
Keep subject lines to no more than 35 characters.
Choose a short, snappy subject line of no more than 35 characters. Make it interesting enough to encourage opening, but avoid bogging it down with any unnecessary details. You also get a handful of characters — roughly 40 to 80, depending on the email provider — known as the preheader, which serves as a preview of the email. Place your call to action in the preheader so that the user knows exactly what you want her to do.
Kohl’s email, an example of good use of the preheader.
Finally, email borrows a term known as the “fold” from the newspaper industry. Derived from the spot where newspapers are folded, the fold is a break point in the information that the user sees.
On a mobile device, it refers to the bottom of the initial screen, past which the user must scroll to continue reading. Make your most important points above the fold, or you risk the reader never seeing them. Also use design features, such as colors and borders, to encourage the user to scroll down, but choose bold, simple features that will not muddy the email on a small screen.
4. Skip Known Mobile-unfriendly Elements
While Adobe Flash is an extremely popular platform for everything from animation to browser games, it has never been an optimum choice for mobile devices. There are a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that inserting Flash elements into your email will bog it down for the vast majority of mobile device users.
Tables are another unusual problem for mobile devices. They are difficult to read on small mobile device screens and do not always render well. If you must use a table, set it to resize based on percentages rather than pixels, make it as large as possible, and minimize the amount of data it contains.
5. Incorporate Responsive Design
Today’s savvy consumers tend to move seamlessly between devices, and they expect their emails to follow them. For example, someone might read your email on her smartphone, bring it up on her laptop to show her family, and then actually order your product or service from her tablet later that night. Each time she opens the email, it represents an opportunity to make the sale, but it also carries the risk of losing the sale if the email does not respond as expected.
To streamline the user experience across multiple devices, incorporate responsive design technology. This type of web design uses fluid grids, flexible images, and dynamic responses to automatically resize an email or web page based on the device in use at the time. In that way, users of smartphones, tablets, and computers all see exactly the same thing, scaled to its best appearance and functionality for their particular device.