How To Make Your Emails Mobile-FriendlyTuesday, October 29, 2013
Do you own a smartphone? Even if you don’t, I bet the vast majority of your business colleagues and friends do. And what about a tablet—an iPad, a Kindle, or maybe a Google Nexus?
Mobile web browsing is becoming more and more prevalent, and most organizations are getting on board by developing mobile-optimized, responsive website designs.
But what about your emails?
According to a study by Yesmail, 49% of all email opens are happening on mobile devices. Unfortunately, mobile email optimization is too often an afterthought. By neglecting to optimize your emails for mobile, you could possibly be turning away nearly half of your organization’s supporters.
It’s time to make mobile email optimization a priority!
When optimizing your emails for mobile, there are two things to consider. You have to make sure that A) the email loads properly on a mobile device and B) the call to action is easy to carry out on a mobile device. Here are four components of your emails that should be optimized for mobile:
1) Template Design
You must create an email template that will look good on any size screen, whether it’s a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone.
A trending topic right now is responsive design for emails. While this is a great solution for web design, very few email providers are compatible with responsive email design. Responsive emails won’t load properly in Outlook, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail.
A better solution is to simplify your email template design and eliminate anything that’s not compatible across all platforms. For instance, your template should only use common fonts (Arial, Verdana, Tahoma) rather than third-party typefaces. And while you can’t have a background image (like a gradient), you can have a background color. (Good news: Gradients are on their way out of style. It's all about flat color these days.)
We recently redesigned my blog email to optimize it for mobile, and the design is now much simpler. It consists only of a single image at the top and four social media icons at the bottom, all on top of a plain white background.
2) Subject Lines
Because the screen on a mobile device is smaller, less of an email subject line will be visible to recipients. In the iPhone’s email app, only about 30 characters will show up. So in that small amount of space, make sure you include the most important part of your subject line. Some articles will advise you to write shorter subject lines, and in some cases that is a good solution. But if its not possible, simply include the most important part of your subject line at the beginning.
Let’s say you need to send an email promoting your organization’s upcoming technology summit. And, because we’re just using our imaginations here, let’s say Bill Gates is scheduled to be your keynote speaker. A good subject line for your email would look something like this:
Bill Gates at [Organization Name] Nov 17 for Technology Summit—Registration starts today!
The most compelling part of the subject line—the very famous Bill Gates—comes first. This is followed by the organization’s name, which tells recipients that the email is relevant to them. Next is the date, which adds urgency. The text Technology Summit—Registration starts today! will probably get cut off on a mobile device, but that part isn’t quite as compelling. Mentioning Bill Gates at your organization is what will get people to open the email, and then they’ll see the rest of your subject line.
3) Calls To Action
Lots of small links + clumsy thumbs = an irritating experience for mobile email users. Large buttons are easier to click than a thin line of text, so consider using an image to link to your primary call to action. Another option is to make the linked text larger and with plenty of space around it.
For my new mobile-optimized template, I chose to leave the link as text. But I hyperlink the entire line and keep it separated from everything else, so it’s still easy to click.
4) Landing Pages
So, someone clicks your call to action and…the page they land on is a disaster. Or it takes forever to load. Or the form has 15 fields to fill out. When creating your landing page, make sure it too is optimized for mobile devices. The design should be responsive, the page should load quickly, and the form should have no more than five fields. Don’t successfully get someone to a landing page just to chase them away!
Now that you’ve read through this post, take ten minutes to look at your organization’s emails. Compare how the same email looks on your desktop in Outlook and Gmail; check it out on an iPhone and an Android phone; then on an iPad and a Nexus. Look for breaks in the design and the layout of the text. Do your emails pass the test? Or is it time to make mobile email optimization a priority?