Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why optimize your email for mobile devices?

With the growth of smart phones and tablet use, responsive web design has quickly become a web design standard. But, as an email marketer, where does email fit into the interactive space? Many email communications are designed for desktop users, but with a 48% increase in email opens on mobile devices in 2012 (Source: Litmus Email Analytics), it’s time to make the shift to responsive email design. If your main interaction with your customers happens via email, it's crucial these communications are optimized for users with mobile and tablet devices.

What parts of your email need to be optimized for mobile?

You may be asking yourself, which elements of my e-newsletter could be overlooked if it isn't optimized for mobile users? Below are tips to get the best results from your emails, no matter your recipients are using to read them.
  1. Call-to-action (CTA): Make sure your main call-to-action is clear, visible, and easy to find. To do this, make sure your important content is above the fold and is typeset in a larger font size. You want the subscriber to effortlessly click through the email.
  2. Simplify your message: With responsive design, you have the ability to reformat and hide the less important elements of your email, keeping the essential messaging at the forefront.
  3. Enlarge fonts: Making the font larger will greatly reduce the recipients need to pinch and zoom, as well as making links easier to identify and click.
  4. Navigation: If your email contains navigation, for example mirroring your website, it is best to create a single-column navigation. On the other hand, often times the navigation will be removed all together.
  5. Use a single-column layout: By stacking all the elements of your email, you reduce the recipient’s need to pinch and zoom. Images are larger, font is larger, and scrolling becomes apparent. Users on mobile are already accustomed to scrolling, so use this to your advantage.
  6. Test, test and test again: The only way to determine if your email is rendering correctly is to test in various email clients and browsers. Litmus, a leader in HTML email and browser testing, is a great tool that allows you to test and view your email as it would appear to a user on both mobile and desktop devices.

See the difference.

Below is an example of an HTML email design for desktop (left) next to a responsive email designed for users viewing the e-newsletter on mobile devices. Each of the tips above have been implemented in the email on the right. The CTA is visible, the messaging is clear, and the font is legible and large.


Additional Resources

  • See more layout patterns and examples for mobile device at www.LukeW.com
  • Check out the latest (updated monthly) email client market share, collected from 189 million email opens from December 2012.

About TBH Creative

TBH Creative is an Indianapolis-based internet strategy agency. Our services include web strategy & planning, website design, mobile solutions, application development, and analytic reporting.

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