7 Essential Tips to Creating Mobile Friendly Emails

We all know our websites should be mobile friendly....But did anyone think about emails being mobile friendly?

With fifty-three percent of email campaigns being opened on a mobile device, email with mobile-friendly design is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must have.

In this post, I’ll break down seven essential tips to creating mobile-friendly email campaigns.

Why are mobile-friendly emails so important?

As marketers, we used to worry about how our emails would look on several email clients. But the explosion of devices and email clients has created an insane challenge. From 2010 to 2015, email opens on mobile devices increased by 30%.

If your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on the opportunity to engage your subscribers and drive results. So let’s examine seven simple, yet essential tips that any marketer can use to make their emails more mobile-friendly starting right now.

7 tips to make your emails more mobile friendly:

1. Watch your subject line length

A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices show just 25-30 characters, according to a post by Return Path, and after analyzing over 2 million emails from 3,000 senders, they discovered that most subject lines were between 41-50 characters.

Before you go optimizing your subject lines for mobile though, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what percent of your subscribers will open your email on a mobile phone vs. tablet vs. desktop so you determine the best subject line length.

Depending on what email marketing tool you use, you can likely get this information from your email reports. Campaign Monitor customers can find this information under the email client report.

As you can see, the report shows exactly what email clients your subscribers are using to view your campaigns.

If you find that a good portion of your subscribers are opening on a iPhone or Android device, then it would be worth keeping your subject lines under 25-30 characters so that they look great on those devices.

2. Use pre-header text

Pre-header text is often ignored, left out and just plain overlooked, but it can be very useful when it comes to mobile-friendly emails.

If you’re unsure of what pre-header text is, it’s the first line of copy of your email and serves as a wingman to your subject line providing more context to entice your reader to open your email.

Here’s an example from Gmail on an iPhone 6. You can see the preheader text in grey. People can adjust their settings to display additional pre-header/preview text, but for majority of those who use default settings, this is what they’ll see:

Preheader length will vary by both email client and by device, so try different lengths and see what works best based on what you know about where (mobile, tablet or desktop) your subscribers are opening your email campaigns.

3. Keep your copy concise

When you write copy for mobile-friendly emails, it’s crucial to keep it short and concise. Create short, scannable and, consumable chunks of content (i.e., bulleted lists, short paragraphs) that make it easy for your reader to digest your copy and understand the action they should take with your message.

The folks at Litmus also advise, “Overall screen size is small when it comes to consuming email content on a mobile device, and consumers are more likely to be multitasking when they get your message on mobile. It’s more important now than ever to engage the user as efficiently as possible; limit the amount of copy you include, and make sure it is easily scannable by using headers, bullet points, and short paragraphs of text whenever possible.”

This newsletter from InVision is a great example. The copy is short but compelling enough to entice you to click-through and read the article, and it's directly related to both the image above and the button copy below.

4. Give thought to your images

Not all mobile devices display images by default so it's best to plan for an "images off" experience and make sure your email will still make sense if your images don't show. WebMarketing Today says,"blocked images remain a challenge for image-heavy emails. Descriptive body copy has to do the heavy lifting. It’s useful to think of images as optional, supporting the surrounding text, rather than the reverse."

5. Keep CTAs front and center

When creating emails for busy, on-the-go readers, you want to get to the point quickly and tell them what you want them to do right up front.

Place your call to action near the top of your email to make it the most mobile friendly. To ensure maximum clickability, make your CTA buttons at least 44 x 44 pixels.

Check out this example from Freshbooks:

6. Leave breathing (and clicking) room

When creating your mobile-friendly email, remember to make it click-friendly, by leaving enough white space around links and CTAs to make them clickable. You can see this in the example from Freshbooks, they leave plenty of room around the CTA button so it’s easy to click without accidentally clicking something else by mistake. Don’t stack links on top of each other as it makes it challenging for your mobile reader to click and take action.

7. Test your emails across multiple devices

Before you schedule and send your email, make sure you test it across multiple devices and email clients. Campaign Monitor customers can send a test of your email and see how it appears in over 20 different email clients like Lotus Notes, Outlook.com, AOL and Outlook.

These seven essential, but easy-to-implement tips should have you on your way to creating mobile-friendly emails that your on-the-go readers will love to open and take action on.

By Kim Stiglitz on 9th July 2015  FROM CAMPAIGN MONITOR