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If you’ve never tested your email campaigns on a mobile device or checked your email list’s ratio of desktop users to smartphone users, it’s time to rethink your optimization strategy. Mobile email users become more plentiful every day, and ignoring them or their needs could seriously compromise your company’s email marketing goals.
On average, mobile users are responsible for at least half of all opened emails, which isn’t surprising, as mobile users check their email about three times more than desktop users. Since mobile users also tend to generate much higher conversion rates, neglecting mobile optimization can mean you’re leaving money on the table. Give mobile users the best possible experience and boost your campaign results at the same time with nine tips for optimizing your emails.
Image via Flickr by Witches Falls Cotages
While every email you send needs an eye-catching headline, you should put just as much effort into creating a compelling pre-header. In mobile email apps, the pre-header appears right after the subject line so subscribers can read it before they decide whether to open your email.
By default, the pre-header consists of the first line of your email, but most email service providers (ESPs) allow for customization. For best results, make sure it flows with the subject line and encourages action or incites curiosity. If you aren’t sure which formula will work best for your audience, consider split-testing two pre-headers to find the winning combination.
Just like your website, your emails should also feature a responsive design. Using this type of design ensures that your message will look correct on mobile, as your email will automatically fit the screen for virtually any device your subscribers use to read. That means subscribers can consume your email without having to scroll right or left to see the entire email or enlarge the text to make the copy legible.
While many ESPs offer responsive email templates, you can also consider developing your own unique design. Use a single-column layout to ensure readability on mobile devices.
No matter how much you have to say in your email, strive to keep the copy short and sweet. Unlike desktop users, mobile subscribers tend to be on the go and may have limited time to read your message or limited capacity to follow a complex argument.
Try focusing on a single topic with a succinct message or get to the point quickly if you have a handful of updates to deliver. To make multiple ideas easier to consume, use paragraph breaks, subheadings, or dividers to provide clear delineation between topics.
While great design is important for mobile users, readability is key for subscribers on the go. Rather than using a unique font designed to make your brand stand out, opt for an easy-to-read font.
Set the font to an optimal size for mobile users, too. Body copy tends to work best with 14-point font, while headlines read best with 22-point font.
If you’re doing your best to keep your message short and sweet, you might be tempted to replace longer descriptions with images. Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, avoid packing your emails with images. Mobile users are more likely to block images by default in order to save data, which means they might see blocks of blank space instead of your gorgeous images.
If you do add a photograph or two, be sure to add effective descriptions to each image file. Since descriptions appear when photos don’t, this strategy ensures that subscribers will know what each image depicts even if the visual doesn’t appear.
Calls to action (CTAs) are essential elements of every type of content you create online, but they’re especially critical for emails. Naturally, when you send an email, you don’t merely want subscribers to read the copy. Instead, you want them to act by clicking through, reading more, signing up for an opt-in, or making a purchase.
When creating emails for mobile subscribers, don’t bury the offer at the end of the message. Instead, get subscribers’ attention by placing it at the beginning, and then repeat the call to action at the end of the email.
While you can certainly feature a CTA in a text-based link, you’ll find that other options may work better for mobile users. Since links are relatively small by nature, they can be difficult for mobile users to click. Instead, add your CTA to an eye-catching and easy-to-click button that mobile subscribers won’t be able to resist.
Email optimization doesn’t end in the inbox, as most emails include at least one link back to your website. Whether you’re sending subscribers to a compelling blog post or you’re linking to a landing page designed to maximize conversions, make sure the page is geared toward mobile users.
To optimize landing pages, always incorporate responsive design, easy-to-read fonts, and clear messaging so mobile subscribers can use the page effectively. Strategically integrate CTAs and buttons into your landing pages to ensure that mobile subscribers know exactly which actions to take and how to take them.
Following these best practices offers an excellent starting point for your email optimization efforts, but that doesn’t mean you should email mobile subscribers without testing the message first. Use your ESP’s preview function to see how your email will look on both desktop and mobile devices. Confirm that the text is legible, the design is fluid, and the CTA is clear.
After sending each campaign, review metrics carefully, especially for mobile users. If your emails don’t perform as well for mobile subscribers, don’t hesitate to split-test future campaigns to land on the ideal design, messaging, subject line, and pre-header.
Whether you just launched a mailing list or you have a robust list that you’ve been building for years, optimizing for mobile users is essential. From the pre-header to the CTA, put mobile users first to provide a better experience for subscribers and improved results for your brand.