Make your Emails Mobile Friendly

mobile friendly newslettersDid you know that over 40 percent of e-mails are opened on mobile devices and tablets and that email is the top activity on smartphones, ahead of browsing and Facebook?  Sadly the majority of emails are not optimised for mobile viewing and interaction.

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Problems Mobile Device Users Experience

Your customer’s mobile experience should be the same as if they were opening your email from their desktop.

A poor user experience may include:

  • Images taking too long to load
  • Writing too small to read
  • Inability to view the entire subject line
  • Messy content which is difficult to navigate
  • ‘Sausage Fingers’. They just can’t seem to hit that damn tiny button or click the right link!

It’s no wonder they don’t follow the course of action the email desires or worse still the email is deleted without being read!

You need to make sure that your email keeps the user engaged.  Email marketing hasn’t totally caught up with the mobile revolution but this is something that can be easily addressed.  However before you embark on a new marketing campaign you need to identify what devices your customers use so that you can create your emails accordingly.

Identify where your Audience is Opening your Emails

In order to focus on the largest audience that you can reach, you need to understand the breakdown of email opens from tablets, phones, notebooks etc; iOS instead of Android.

A good email marketing tool will allow you to discover who opens your email in Outlook, Gmail, and iPhone and on what; determine how long they spent reading each message and where in the world they are.

This analysis can then be used to inform your Mobile Design Strategy, allowing you to focus on your target audience like never before.

Key features of a Mobile Design Strategy

  1. Mobile users are in fact just that, mobile. They may also be multi-tasking, so messages need to be simple and easy to understand.  Graphics should be used to explain messages and anything non-essential removed.
  1. In order to keep the mobile user’s attention layouts should be organised so that key information can be read quickly.  Messages should be divided into clear sections and copy must be concise.   Headers and images should be used to create flow.   Scrolling should be easy.
  1. When pressed to a touch screen, the human finger requires more space to click accurately than a mouse does. Allow enough room enable accurate clicking, even when zoomed out.  Make clicking easier with large buttons.  Sections should be padded out and entire sections which are click-able designed.

Four Mobile Design Strategies

  1. Responsive Web Design – This is an approach to web design aimed at designing sites which provide the best viewing and interaction experience possible. It incorporates easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices.
  1. Wrap It – Wrapping elements make it easier for users to read and navigate, instead of having to scroll here, there and everywhere.
  1. Swap It – Images work in mobile format by switching from portrait to landscape. Images can also look sharper by doubling the size of the original image.
  1. Hide It – Hiding some of your branded images from mobile users means that down loading doesn’t slow things down, making the process relevant and seamless.

How to write a mobile-friendly email

Compose short subject lines

Mobile devices often have limited space to display subject lines.  Either keep your subject line short, 40 characters or less,— or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

Use a single-column template to simplify your design and highlight important content

On a mobile-device, multiple columns can look messy and be confusing to navigate.  A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward.

Keep your email under 600 pixels wide

Not all modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs. If you keep your email width at 600 pixels or less your users won’t have problems viewing them.

Use a large font size

Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.  Use a font size of 13 or 14 pixels.

Display small images

The speed at which images load is critical so use smaller images which reduce load times and bandwidth.  Use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.  You can also shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal so that your images load faster and your user’s bandwidth is conserved.

Provide a distinct call to action

If you want to direct your email recipient down another path make sure that they can do this on a small screen.  Buttons to tap or click must be big enough for a finger. Your call to action should be at least a 40 pixels square.

Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses.  This means that if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email does not have images enabled for your sending address, they will not see it.  Research shows that when recipients do view images, click-through rates are improved.

The solution is to use an image for your call to action but make sure that it has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”  This means that if the image isn’t shown, the ALT text message will still appear.

Avoid menu bars

Tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.  Avoid them completely in an email.

Don’t stack links

Stacked links are also difficult to navigate and frustrating to use.  Using as an example:


It is easy to see how on a small screen you can accidentally click the wrong link.

Test your email

Your goal is to engage your users and encourage them to take the actions that you want them to take so test your emails on multiple devices.

Not convinced? Read 5 reasons why you should conduct mobile-friendly email marketing

  1. Almost three of every four New Zealanders have a laptop/notebook and/or a smartphone
  1. Two-thirds of New Zealanders own or have access to three or more devices
  1. 75 percent of smartphone users also have at least one other device. This device was most likely to be a laptop or notebook (84 percent), followed by a tablet or iPad (63 percent) and a PC (60 percent)
  1. One-in-two smartphone users prefer their smartphone over any oter device
  1. The large majority of smartphone users are using their phone more frequently to connect to the internet

These facts are taken from Research New Zealand‘s study ‘A Report on a Survey of New Zealander’s Use of Smartphones and other Mobile Communication Devices 2015’

Making your emails mobile-friendly requires just a little bit of research and thought, but engaging your users from the outset will get your message read.

Keep in mind:

                            ‘People log off their computer, leave their work/house, get in their car and then continue to pick up their emails from their mobile phone or device!’







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