Three ways to optimize emails for mobile

Last week, the Cannes Lions awards were presented to some pretty spectacular mobile campaigns. These campaigns, which included everything from SMS textbooks to missing children search apps, used unprecedented strategies to solve marketing and business challenges. Looking at the winners, you can’t help but feel inspired and, in some cases, a little overwhelmed.

If you are a company that has completely mastered the use of mobile technology, the sky is the limit for creating compelling, innovative campaigns. But many marketers are still struggling with mobile, and because they don’t have a proper understanding of the basics, they are missing out on some great opportunities. One of the most important first steps is optimizing existing email campaigns for mobile devices. According to the 2013 Digital Marketer Report, 44% of total email opens occur on mobile devices, and emails read on mobile devices have higher engagement than those read on a desktop.

Optimizing email campaigns for mobile devices is an important first step in the development of your mobile strategy. And it doesn’t need to be challenging. Here are three key ways to successfully optimize for mobile:

  1. Use mobile-friendly design. This is the easiest way to put your mobile consumer first. Mobile-optimized campaigns still display cleanly on desktops and tablets, so you only need to create one version. Consider modifying your existing template to fit the following specs:
    • Reduce the width to 560-580 pixels. This is the best size when factoring desktop, mobile, and tablet viewing.
    • Increase the point size of all sub-copy to at least 14 points. Text that is too small is made even more difficult to read on mobile screens.
    • Space out all calls to action to be at least 40 pixels apart from one another. This will avoid frustrated users who accidentally click the wrong button.
  2. Consider using responsive design. This is an HTML layout that adapts for different devices and screen sizes. It allows you to rearrange or constrict content on smaller screens without designing and coding two completely different emails. It is most effective when applied to template emails.
  3. Bring in real-time content. By utilizing new technologies, you can create specific messages in real-time that will appear when the email is viewed on certain devices. For example, you can program a different image to appear in the email if it is opened on a desktop, and make the call-to-action simpler on a mobile device.

There are certainly many ways to optimize content for mobile, but the most important thing is for marketers to begin thinking about their mobile strategy. 85% of Americans over the age of 6 own a cell phone, and the popularity of smartphones is growing at every moment. By optimizing your current communications for your mobile audience, you are better serving your customers in the channels in which they live. And once you begin to explore the world of mobile marketing, you will see that the opportunities are truly endless.

To read more about mobile optimization, and to discover other important insights about cross-channel trends, download your own copy of the 2013 Digital Marketer.