Holiday Prep with Responsive Email Design

Seamas Egan
by Seamas Egan 20 Aug, 2013

It's no secret that today's modern consumers are more mobile-dependent than ever before. Whether they're checking social media updates while in line at the grocery store, or accessing their email inbox during their commute, it's clear that mobile-dependence is here to stay. As businesses begin revamping their digital marketing strategies during the busy holiday season, companies need to be aware of how consumers are accessing their emails and accommodate the mobile consumer.

In a recent consumer survey by Campaigner, surprising trends were uncovered regarding consumer mobile behavior. These results only confirmed what seemed obvious - big opportunities exist for retailers in our mobile-centric world - IF they can get their mobile ducks in a row.

For example, nearly 41 percent of those surveyed identified issues related to poor mobile design and user experience as their biggest source of frustration with mobile marketing emails. Another major complaint? Emails are often too long, difficult to read and even harder to interact with. Retailers should see this as a call to action - optimize marketing emails for mobile to secure increased traffic, and ultimately, results.

It's not just design issues that are irritating - consumers are plagued by "email overload." More than 46 percent of respondents receive more than 50 emails each day, and almost one third report that marketing or promotional emails make up 75 percent or more of their total email. The competition for consumer attention via email is fierce - 58 percent are so overwhelmed by promotional email volume that they will delete messages outright, meaning your email simply isn't being read. This is a huge threat to retailers who rely on email marketing.

Even those most mobile-savvy marketers can take a lesson or two from the results of this survey. The consumer voice is clear - tailoring content and adapting communications for mobile devices is no longer negotiable for success to be achieved. The simple step businesses are missing can be quickly fixed - implementing responsive design as a part of a marketing plan creates mobile-tailored emails that open seamlessly, render beautifully and provide intuitive call-to-action buttons. Bottom line: if customers can't easily read or interact with mobile emails, retailers risk losing business.

Retailers also run the risk of losing business if they aren't taking full advantage of the holiday season. Planning should incorporate tactics that effectively target consumers who will engage with your email campaigns on the go while gift-shopping or checking email in those long holiday grocery store lines. Optimize all the emails you send for mobile with mobile templates (responsive design), ensuring there will be no need to create multiple formats for email to fit the needs of a desktop, tablet and smartphone. Instead, create one flexible design that produces the best views for multiple devices and screens. Here are eight responsive design best practices to keep in mind:

1. Identify the devices your subscribers most commonly view your emails on and create corresponding mobile templates for them.

2. Less is more - basic layouts work best for responsive viewing and interaction.

3. Use tables and inline styles when building responsive templates to keep everything in line.

4. Keep it concise! Attention spans are short these days, so keep your message quick, to-the-point and memorable, ensuring your audience will absorb the message of your email.

5. Keep an eye on your template width to prevent horizontal scrolling - your message risks being misread or deleted if it isn't easy to read in an easy format.

6. Choose a readable font type and size - this may seem obvious, but is often overlooked.

7. Use big call-to-action buttons for easy tapping - buttons should be large enough to touch with a thumb without accidentally hitting nearby links. Without these, you risk losing potential customers!

8. Complete the circle - mobile emails are ineffective if they aren't linked to a mobile-friendly site or landing page.

The holiday season is busier than ever for consumers-meaning more people will be on the go and reading emails via mobile devices. Responsive design is a must for any company that uses email marketing for driving revenue. It's not too late to rev up your holiday planning now and optimize your email campaigns for mobile to ensure more opens and clicks, leading to success and keeping you off of Santa's naughty (marketers) list.

Seamas Egan is the corporate sales manager for Campaigner¬¨¬®‚àö√ú, an email marketing services provider. 

Seamas can be reached at