Keeping mobile in mind for your email campaigns

You’ve designed a beautiful email, sent it at a time of day when you expect to garner optimal results, but yet there’s something you’re not seeing in the metrics that you’d expected. What’s missing? Did you take into account the segment of your audience who would be reading your email on a mobile device when you devised this campaign?

According to Nov 2010 comScore data for U.S. consumers, some 70 million mobile users accessed email through a mobile device, with 43.5 million doing so on a near-daily basis.  I recently attended a conference at which Justine Jordan of Litmus said that ~9% of all marketing emails sent are opened on a mobile device.

Not all designs are created equal

If you think your results aren’t what they should be, tools like Litmus, Unica or CampaignCog are now available to give some estimates of how many people open your email on a mobile device. If there’s a significant slice of your audience viewing your campaigns on their iPhone, Droid or other mobile device – even iPads, it may be time to think about revamping your template to accommodate those platforms. Think designing for desktop clients was tough? Now email marketers must also take into account rendering on mobile devices while being mindful of how a recipient will interact with the campaigns if viewed on a smartphone. Here’s a link to a blog post by Jordan with a graph that shows mobile email compatibility across a variety of clients.

Finger is the new mouse

If you’ve ever used an iPad, or other mobile device to surf the web or view email, you’ll know how frustrating it can be when you try to click on a micro-sized link only to hit the wrong one. When designing your emails, remember that instead of clicking with a mouse, recipients may be using their finger to respond to your call to action.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Are your links big enough to click without expanding the message first? If you have a navbar at the top of your emails to send recipients to various parts of your website, it’s likely that it will be tough for recipients to click on without expanding the message in order to click the right link.
  • Font sizes and sentence length: Lengthy sentences written in a small font will be tough to read on a mobile device.
  • Include a link to a mobile version of your campaign at the top of the message. This way, recipients can easily click to a text-friendly version of your message.
  • Think about your subject line – short and sweet, tell don’t sell. Not all devices have a preview pane to help recipients quickly make an informed “read or delete” decision. Sometimes the only information they have is a subject line and the sender’s name (which should NEVER be “info”).
  • Highlight your call to action (CTA): Don’t bury it in the fine print. Make it easy to read and click. Keep it above the fold.
  • Keep an even balance of images and text. Make sure the primary CTA is in read-able text even if images are turned off. If a message is one big image, and images are turned off or broken, how is a recipient going to understand your message?
  • Time of send: Earlier this year, direct digital marketing firm Knotice announced the results of a study which showed that mobile readers typically view their messages early in the morning or late at night. If you want to catch someone’s attention quickly, lengthy newsletters on a weekend aren’t the way to go since that’s when most folks are just triaging their inbox until a later time when they’re not trying to read their iPhone while pay attention to their kids, friends and the like.
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