The scales have tipped. For years, mobile devices were capturing people’s attention in ways that threatened the sovereignty of desktops. Now it’s official: Today, more people open their email on mobile devices than on desktops, and the gap between desktops and mobile is only expected to grow.
That’s bad news, because mobile-optimized emails are critical for retaining subscribers. A whopping 80 percent of subscribers will simply delete an email if it doesn’t show up well on mobile, and 30 percent will go so far as to unsubscribe after opening a single email that doesn’t look good on their mobile device.
The takeaway? If you’re not optimizing your emails for mobile, you’re actively driving away potential customers and harming your conversion rates. So it’s important for marketers of all stripes to employ best practices for email marketing on mobile. Here’s how to make it happen.
Spend time on the preheader text.
Traditional email marketing best practices would say that your subject header is one of the most important elements of any email. And while subject lines still matter on mobile, even more attention should be paid to the preheader text (or the 1-2 lines of HTML text that appear at the very top of emails on mobile devices). That’s because preheader text is assigned more room than subject lines on mobile devices, and it loads before the body of the email, so it’s typically the first thing readers will see. Make sure you’re capitalizing on this real estate by using it to highlight important or eye-catching information.
Keep content short and sweet.
Upwards of 50 percent of readers on mobile will engage with a given email for three seconds or less. That is a tiny window in which to catch readers’ attention and inspire them to take you up on your call to action. So you need to draw readers in immediately, and you can’t dawdle getting to your point. Keep your call to action and any offer text “above the fold” so readers don’t have to hunt for it, and break up text so the email is easily scannable. Bonus? Minimizing your email content may improve load times, which can increase the likelihood that people actually read what you have to say.
Design for portrait and landscape views.
Remember that mobile devices can automatically flip the orientation of an email from portrait to landscape and back again—so your emails need to look good in either of these formats. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to constrain yourself to a single column layout. It’s also helpful to employ plenty of white space so the email doesn’t look cluttered in either view.
Make social media icons and CTAs touch-friendly.
If you want your readers to engage with your brand on their mobile device (beyond just reading your emails), then you need to make it easy for them to do so. That means any links or buttons that are meant to direct readers to your website or social media presence should be easily clickable with the touch of a thumb, and they should be large enough for people to click without having to zoom in. (Same goes for form-fill fields.) The standard minimum for touch-friendly buttons is 44 X 44 pixels.
Enlarge your fonts.
One of the simplest ways to ensure your emails are touch-friendly is to make the text size bigger than you would for emails that are opened on desktops. Of course, it’s important not to go overboard—you don’t want one word to fill the entire screen. Your goal is legibility that minimizes the effort readers have to take in order to digest your content. In other words, you don’t want readers to have to zoom in or out in order to process whatever is on their screen.
Shrink your images.
There are several reasons to scale back your image size when you’re sending emails that will be opened on mobile. For starters, mobile devices load images more slowly than desktops or laptops—and since readers are unlikely to put up with slow load times, massive images that take a while to load can eat into your click-through rates. Additionally, large images can use up readers’ data at a quick rate, which will not endear them to your brand. For these reasons, images should be kept small or left out entirely.
Even after you’ve employed these strategies, don’t simply send emails off into the ether. It’s important to preview your email in several email clients and on multiple types of mobile devices to ensure it looks the way you intended. Only then should you hit “send.”
Dan Scalco is the founder and marketing director at Digitalux, a digital-marketing agency located in Hoboken, N.J. Throughout his career, he has helped hundreds of businesses save time, increase leads and maximize sales.