Why you need to optimize email marketing for mobile

Even if you haven’t seen the statistics, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that mobile device usage is rising. So, what does this mean for email marketing? In short, if you don’t optimize email outreach for mobile readers, you’ll be missing out in a major way.

According to Movable Ink’s Q3 “Consumer Device Preferences Report,” only one-third of email opens occur on PCs, Marketing Land reported. The rest occur on smartphones (49 percent) and tablets (17 percent).

Email marketing for mobile: There are numerous ways to optimize email content for mobile devices.
There are numerous ways to optimize email content for mobile devices.

Most people will delete a hard-to-read email almost instantly, so it’s essential that your messages are easy to view on mobile devices. With this in mind, how should small and medium-sized businesses optimize email messaging to be more mobile-friendly?

Tweak the format and find some common ground

It may seem obvious that mobile devices require special formatting, but when it comes to the specifics of this undertaking, many marketers are lost. If your HTML skills are marginal at best, you might find it easiest to adapt your code to be middle of the road, generally working on all devices. This approach won’t make for the most beautiful emails nor the most advanced, but in a pinch, it’s helpful to know the very basics of what makes a message fairly easy to read across the board.

In a piece for Experian Marketing Services’ Marketing Forward blog, contributor Katie Oakes recommended reducing the width of your email template to 560-580 pixels, increasing the font size of all copy to at least 14 points and making sure call-to-action buttons are large and at least 40 pixels apart. In addition to that, it’s best to follow a one column format, which shrinks more easily on smaller screens. Taking these steps will allow messages to show up clearly on all screens, ensure text is large enough to be read on even the smallest mobile device and prevent recipients from accidentally clicking the wrong button.

Use responsive design in email marketing for mobile

Mobile gadgets come in all different shapes and sizes, from tablets and smartphones to the hybridized “phablets” that represent the best of both worlds. Figuring out a way to make the content of your emails look great on all of these platforms can be a headache, which is where responsive design comes in.

Email marketing for mobile: Responsive web design on different devicesAs Oakes explained, responsive design is a combination of HTML and CSS that automatically adapts email templates to the requirements of assorted devices and screen sizes, eliminating the need for marketers to code multiple versions of the same message. This is achieved by using media queries to override some styles at certain screen widths and creating an overall flexible layout.  You can even set the design to switch in more mobile-friendly images and rearrange elements so there’s no zooming/sideways scrolling necessary on mobile devices.

So what’s the drawback? There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to responsive design, and for the faint of heart, it may be best to begin the education process with a template. You can find these with a quick Google (we’ve found these ones to be a good start), and then adapt them to meet your own ends.

Take a “less is more” approach

Crafting a succinct and engaging email subject line has always been important, but the particularly limited real estate of smartphone screens puts character counts at even more of a premium. That being said, carefully picking and choosing words isn’t just important for subject lines, as people who view emails on their mobile devices have a lower tolerance for long paragraphs with lots of text. Including images can be a useful tactic for breaking up text, but don’t go overboard, as this will result in messages taking longer to load. Usually, small businesses that have one really good offer tend to have higher response rates compared to emails that have several average offers.

There are numerous ways to optimize email content for mobile devices, but if you’re not sure where to start, begin by tweaking the format of your layout, leveraging responsive design templates and taking care not to over-stuff your message.

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