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Golden Rules to Mobile Optimized Email

Posted on 10.31.2012

To understand the mobile email experience, we need to start by walking a mile in our subscribers’ shoes. If a typical user gives email only a few seconds of their attention, you can easily imagine their reaction when they check their emails on their smartphones and the email is illegible, or worse, not displayed at all. Users won’t come back to it. And they certainly won’t respond to it. The lesson: emails have to be designed specifically for mobile phones. But creating an eye-catching newsletter is always a challenge. Creating an eye-catching newsletter that is displayed correctly by mobile devices – is an art. 

So here are some ‘golden rules’ to mobile optimized email: 

Cut and Reduce
To be effective, content needs to be condensed as much as possible:

  • Don’t use more than 1 or 2 CTAs
  • Reduce the weight of an email to 20 kB max
  • Limit the subject line to 60 characters
  • Be focused and single-minded in what you are trying to say

Remember, Our Fingers are Bigger Than Cursors
Make sure that the newsletter is “fingertip-clickable”. Smartphone users don’t have a mouse or cursor to grab whatever text they want. So we can’t make it difficult for them to “Buy Now”. 

  • Message should be no wider than 640 px
  • Clickable icons should be at least 29 px by 44 px
  • Recommended font size for headings is 30 points
  • Use vertical spacing 
  • Use product images as links – combine the product shots and CTA buttons to sae space and make the email more usable
  • Use contrast and increase font size

Put the Newsletter on a Diet
Simplicity is something mobile subscribers will appreciate, and the response rates show it. It’s important to make sure that the newsletters are lighter and cleaner. Besides the full, graphics-rich version of a template, it’s important create a “lite” plain text version with logo and so called “hero shot” of the product or offer. 

Don’t Make Landing Pages a Dead End
Ever been directed to a landing page on your mobile that didn’t display properly, because it was entirely Flash-based, or took ages to load? Right, so it follows that a comprehensive promotion sent via email should offer a “mobile” version of the landing page, too.

This is crucial for optimal conversion rates. Seriously consider replacing Flash with HTML5, CSS or JavaScript. And don’t forget… the same rule about creating concise messages applies to landing pages.

About the Author: Magdalena Pietras is the Online Marketing Manager for GetResponse, an email marketing service. 


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