Five tips for optimising your mobile emails

The world of mobile has come a long way. Mobile devices are constantly evolving and delivering refined operating systems (OS), better apps, user-friendly features and faster connectivity. What this means is that websites have had to up the ante too; by optimising their sites for mobile (or developing mobile) apps.

In the midst of this, (mobile) email marketing has also had to keep up with the global smartphone explosion. Although it has established its place as the original workhorse of digital marketing, every year email marketing “dies”, only to come back bigger and better the following year. When you think about it though, the potential for email marketing remains massive. After all, how much can you do online these days without having to divulge your email address? That’s right – not much. Which is why email marketing remains one of the top-performing digital marketing strategies.

It doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels though. We constantly have to work on new ways to ensure we stay in people’s inboxes. As if that isn’t challenging enough, we now also have to contend with the mobile device inbox. And it’s not just about avoiding the spam folder either, it’s about staying relevant at the same time.

According to EmailStatCentre, “56% of smartphone users say that email marketing has become more relevant in the last 12 months”, so it’s clear that we’re progressing in the right direction. Another study, completed by Merkle (View from the Mobile Inbox) confirmed that “reading personal emails” remains the number one activity on internet-enabled mobile devices. And here’s one more for you: A worldwide analysis on mobile email marketing by technology market research firm Radicati Group, concluded that the industry is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 68% over the next four years.

So really, there’s no going back now, although who wants to do that? Mobile email marketing is about opportunity and you need to do what you can to ensure you get a piece of the pie. Here are five things that can help.

  1. First, the standard layout width for an email is 600 pixels. In order to render correctly on a smartphone this needs to be downsized to about 480 pixels or 80% of your original layout size. To render correctly on a regular cellphone this needs to be downsized to 50% of the original size (which is when content starts getting difficult to read.)
  2. Think about font size. In order to compensate for reduced space, consider revised content with larger headlines and body content size. And of course, keep those calls-to-action clear and concise.
  3. Next, don’t crowd clickable links. This applies especially to touch screen smartphones. If someone clicks on a link that’s too close to another one, they could be directed to a page they weren’t interested in. Cue frustration and (possible) loss of interest in the entire email message. Stick to the point and keep any links or calls to action as simple as possible.
  4. Use a Viewport Meta Tag. Essentially, it’s used to improve the presentation of web content on iOS, although most smartphone devices support it, including Android, webOS and WP7’s IE. Viewport Meta Tags enable the developer to indicate that the web page they’ve built is optimised, and it scales the content to fit in the mobile browsers viewport.
  5. Lastly, as with traditional email marketing, test your mobile email messages for rendering on as many mobile devices as possible before you hit send.

Oh, and don’t forget these few standard email marketing tips that can also be applied (if not more so) to mobile email:

  • Watch that subject line. You don’t have a lot of space or characters as it is, and on a mobile device you have even less, so you need to optimise it. You can start by “front loading” your subject line with the most important, eye-catching information. The subject line is your space to tell subscribers exactly what they need to know about the email message, so use it wisely.
  • Have a short, recognisable sender name. It’s important that this is consistent and optimised, and many email marketers follow the sequence of: Brand, person, organization or campaign name.
  • Include a Plain Text Version: If users are viewing your email message on a regular cellphone and not a smartphone, it won’t support HTML, which means you need to include a plain text message. That way your subscriber doesn’t miss out on any specials they might be interested in and you don’t miss out on potential business. Really, it’s win-win.

OK, so that was a few more than five points, but hopefully you can see why it’s so important to optimise your mobile email messages. In case you still need convincing, consider this: EmailStatCentre reckons that “57% of smartphone users who had made a purchase because of a mobile marketing message said they had done so after receiving a mobile marketing email.”



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