5 Ways to Optimize Your Email for Mobile by Marco Marini @ClickMail
As an email marketer, you’re probably well-versed in strategizing your content across a variety of platforms, and you mobilize your resources to do the most with what you have. But are your emails mobilized? In this case, we mean optimized for mobile. Get it? Mobilized! Defined as: streamlined or otherwise mobile-friendly version of your email content.
Mobile is here to stay, and it’s growing exponentially each day. Many people are using their mobile devices to check their email in places ranging from their commute and standing in line to previously unlikely rooms for emailing such as the bedroom and bathroom! Email has always been a quick and immediate form of communication but the growth in mobile use creates even more immediacy within the medium, since one of the most popular ways people use their mobile devices for email is to quickly scan, delete, and flag for future follow-up.
If you’ve put off thinking about how your email marketing campaign renders on a mobile device amidst all of your other tasks (we know, you’re busy!) there’s no better time than the present to consider it. Ensuring that your emails are effective on mobile platforms is only going to become more critical as time passes.
Luckily, there are a few fairly easy things you can do right now to make sure that your emails are just as effective on a mobile device as they are on a computer.
1) Readability: What do your emails look like in different email clients and on different mobile devices? If your emails don’t render effectively on a smartphone or tablet, you run the risk of not only having a bad user experience and ignored email, but damaging your brand as well. But as scary as the possibility of poor rendering on mobile devices is, it’s also one of the easiest fixes. Since devices will all render emails different, to have the most effective reach across all platforms and devices, consider creating a text-only version of your emails.
Devices that don’t support HTML will typically revert to a plain text version with active links. Try creating a simple HTML version that’s designed to work in all mobile browsers.
2) Optimize Your Subject Line and Preheader: What’s a Preheader, you say? Don’t worry if you don’t know. Email marketers typically treat the preheader as a throwaway. Which is a shame, because it’s a golden opportunity to continue the story the subject line introduces to further grab the reader’s attention.
The preheader text appears after the subject line on mobile devices and is usually reserved for text like, “Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.” or “Viewing on a mobile device? Click here to view this email in text.”
Think about using this space as the next part of your subject line; like a subheading to a headline. Get creative and optimize this otherwise dead text. I guarantee after reading “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here” mobile users won’t click: they’ll close and delete.
For more on subject lines and preheaders, Media Post (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/116661/) has a great article with examples and critiques of actual emails using preheaders: (http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/116661/)
3) Design with Mobile Screen Sizes in Mind: If a specific template for mobile versions isn’t enabled in your ESP, create a mobile-friendly HTML template to ensure it’s still viewable on a desktop computer and a tablet device in addition to mobile screens. This can get tricky since different devices have different screen resolutions and screen sizes. And for email, you need to be primarily concerned with the horizontal display of your email.
Typically, mobile screen size ranges from 350px X 380px but this can vary depending on device. iPhones generally size the HTML to fit the screen, whether viewed in normal or landscape mode, but other devices will show the email in full scale rendering. This makes for a potentially terrible viewing experience: the worst-case scenario is when a reader has to scroll horizontally back and forth through the email to read the content. Not good.
The solution? Use a fluid layout, which will allow the message width to adjust to the size of the device screen and optimizes readability no matter what device your customer is using. And make sure to test it on multiple devices.
4) Mobilize Your Call to Action: What are you asking the recipient to do? Typically, CTAs in email marketing messages involve clicking through to a landing page. This means that the landing pages need to be optimized for mobile devices. It also means rethinking your call to action: your mobile email reader is on the move with limited time and limited internet browsing capability. People generally use mobile email in order to sort through their email and decide what they want to read later. So that might change your call to action from ‘”Click through to buy now” to “Save this email. It contains your coupon code!” Consider testing various CTAs on different devices and ensure they are attention-getting and clearly defined. Do they lead to a mobile-friendly landing page or site? This is the true test of an effective CTA. If it’s effective on a mobile device, they’ll be even more effective on a computer.
5) Keep it short: By definition, everything on mobile is smaller, lighter, and shorter. That translates to shortened subject lines, shortened links, shortened texts. If your email marketing messages must be content-heavy, consider providing a link to a mobile-friendly version on the web or to mobile-friendly landing pages.
Finally, know the demographic makeup of your customer, how your customers interact with your brand, and what devices they use to browse your website. That means using analytics to track what devices your subscribers are using when they’re reading your email newsletters. This data will include not just browser and operating system data but will also include screen resolution data, so you’ll be able to gather a good amount of information on what kinds of devices your subscribers are using, so that you can further fine-tune your email designs to be mobilized!
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