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Optimized for on-the-go: emails for mobile marketing

Email communication is one of the two most frequently used applications on smartphones and tablets. According to a study conducted by artegic, that’s why email marketing remains the most important mobile marketing tool at 68 percent. In addition to the many new opportunities that this provides, the number of requirements is also increasing. To start with, email messages on mobile devices are usually displayed quite differently than in desktop email programs. That which looks perfect on a large monitor may look entirely misaligned on a smartphone and actually create a negative impression.

The use of responsive emails based on templates is recommended to ensure that emails are displayed as intended on all devices. Of course the responsive layouts determine the characteristics of the recipient device and adapt themselves using so-called media queries and the respective CSS3 commands.

But a mobile-optimized layout also ensures simple and intuitive operation. The use of design and content should be limited to that which is absolutely essential. The space “above the fold” (area which is visible without scrolling) is best used to display a central message or call-to-action buttons to immediately attract the readers attention. In the best case, it should animate the reader to scroll in order to draw attention to the remaining content in the email.

Images and charts should be small in the template, but remain clearly recognizable and include a descriptive, activating, alternative text. This alternative text is a brief expressive description, which is display in place of the image, if the image is not downloaded (some devices prevent automatic downloading of images by default or as an optional setting). Links and buttons have to be of the right sized and positioned with enough surrounding space so that readers can navigate with ease on a touch-screen. As a general rule, the thumb of a grown-up users requires about 40×40 pixels of space.

In order to have an email message pique interest in the inbox, the preview should contain concise and interesting key information. As the most striking element in most in mobile email clients is the sender’s name. Therefore this should definitely include one’s own (brand) name and ideally be combined with an appropriate keyword. Long subject lines, however, should be avoided. They are cut off starting at a length of about 30 characters, which can cause important keywords to be lost.

Skilled insertion of special text snippets in the pre-header, which are displayed directly under the subject line on iPhones for example, can be used to convey further attractive information or extend the subject line.

Marketing emails should be tested regularly on popular devices before sending them. This should be repeated on a regular basis because the way the messages are displayed could change due to software updates and new models. This type of test is usually integrated in professional mass mailing solutions. Services provide particularly detailed display tests.

However, optimization of mobile email marketing includes much more than just the email message itself. Web-based registration for a newsletter, which should be optimized for mobile viewing, is just one example of this. This should comprise a short and easily accessible form, in which only the truly essential information such as the email address is required as a mandatory entry. This is also recommended for the desktop version, but is an absolute necessity for the mobile display.

Of course the same applies to the landing pages, which are linked to in the email. If the recipient is reading the message on their mobile device, then the landing page has to take this into consideration and display its content accordingly. Otherwise, you run the risk of frustrating a potential customer, who may have just become interested.

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