More and more people are reading emails on their mobiles, and this does not just have an impact on the design of the email that you send, but also the timing, day of the week, subject line and length. What can you do to optimise email for mobile? The convenience of the device size and shape for mobile users has severe limitations for marketers and broadcasters, but there are a number of key areas to understand.
Visual design tips
Now more than ever, marketers and designers need to be sure that they not only test their emails within desktop and online email browsers, but also test how they look in these browsers when opened on mobile devices. To help you with this we have ten top tips to improve the way your email displays on mobile devices:
1. Mobile-phone screens are much smaller than desktop screens, typically from 3 to 10 inches, so clear designs and messages are even more important, try and keep your subject lines concise, short and simple.
2. Best-practice email file size for mobile is a maximum of 20kb. The larger the file size, the longer it will take to download, and as modern consumers are increasingly impatient, if it takes too long, they may not wait before hitting the delete button.
3. Keep the width of your emails to 640 pixels. This will ensure it appears correctly on the smallest smartphone as well as an iPad or netbook. The more reader-friendly it is, the more likely recipients are to interact with your email. Left-to-right scrolling can put people off immediately.
4. Most people viewing their emails on mobile devices will be ďon the goĒ. Ensure sure links and link buttons have enough space between them and are big enough for the recipient to click on them easily. Hard-to-click links with impatient fingers lead to severe frustration.
5. Link images to relevant pages, making it easier for the recipient to click through. People expect to be able to click on photos.
6. Use relevant alt-tags to describe images in case some devices donít display your images correctly. Empty, unnamed spaces never look good.
7.† Make sure that your mobile-version emails include mobile-version-friendly web pages as well.
8. Keep messages brief and relevant; like a snippet encouraging readers to go back to the email on their desktops. If messages are too long, readers will be forced to keep scrolling down, potentially annoying them.
9. Keep your email design to a maximum of two columns to make for easy reading and scrolling.
10. Lastly test, test, test. Remember it is always important to do so before sending.
When should you send emails
Email readership varies considerably throughout the week; showing when people read email and determining where they read it--be it at the office, at home or out and about--can significantly increase your campaign success and click-through rates. Recent data from email monitoring firm Return Path shows that desktop PC usage remains high through the working week, peaking on Wednesdays, and then tails off considerably at the weekends. Webmail use is lower during the week; lowest in fact, on Wednesday, with more use seen on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, but then a big rise on Saturday and Sunday. Mobile use shows a more steady pattern through the week, with a rise beginning on Thursday that then goes up further on Friday and Saturday, but starts to taper on Sunday--while still remaining higher than weekday use. So the advice is to monitor how people are viewing your campaigns and vary send times to test what works best for you. Mobile appears to produce most response on Friday and Saturday, but that might not be true for your specific database and your company. Consumer emails, in particular, may be better sent on a weekend when recipients can engage on their mobiles. Therefore, follow the golden rule and test, test, test.
Landing page optimisation
Donít forget about the landing page after the click-through of your email. Having done all the campaign planning, segmentation, and design work, is the page immediately following the click-through working its hardest? Ask not only is it relevant, but is it mobile-compatible? Follow the same rules and optimise where you want your clicker to go.
Identify your recipientís choice of device
As with any channel, marketers need to test their campaigns to determine how recipients are viewing them. The amount of effort you spend on mobile campaigns and optimisation should be directly proportional to the percentage of people in your dataset that are viewing it on mobile devices. Email service providers offer functionality that logs which device your email is being received on--itís a good sense-check.
Mobile is undeniably the fastest growing channel for viewing email and itís likely to become dominant in the future. Consumer brands are the early adopters and are experiencing this effect already and are already reaping the rewards. Other vertical sectors are quickly coming on board. So the best advice is to monitor your dataset closely to check the changing split of devices used and invest in a multichannel approach accordingly. Ultimately, it is important to get a mobile strategy in place sooner rather than later. Use your budget intelligently to focus on the recipientsí behaviour and preferences; donít forget webmail and desktop usage will still be dominant for a while yet.†
Reena Mistry is marketing director at email service provider Adestra.
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