Email For Mobile 101: Your Definitive Guide To Small Screen Marketing

Closeup of a man hand holding cellphone with internet browser on screen. Man with spectacles relaxing sitting on couch while looking at mobile phone. Closeup of mature latin man using smartphone to checking email at home.

When you send out an email campaign, what channel are your users most likely to open it from? The answer, somewhat unsurprisingly, is the iPhone.

According to data from Upland Adestra, some 34.8 per cent of users access their emails on their iPhone. Not only is the iPhone miles ahead of the next ranked channel Gmail (26.2 per cent), but it is still growing, up 1.3 per cent in March 2019.

With Android and Outlook both also popular options, mobile attracts a total of 62 per cent of the total market, followed by webmail (28 per cent) then desktop (9.8 per cent).

But despite the clear popularity of mobile among users, many email campaigns still seem to be designed for desktop, and as a result, neglecting the user experience for mobile.

The fact is, the rise of the smartphone over the last decade has meant email design best practice has changed.

Most people will delete an email that does not render properly on mobile, regardless of who the sender is.

Additionally, research shows that the majority of mobile users believe a poorly designed email reflects badly on the brand that has sent it.

To avoid possible brand damage and loss of customers, marketers must now be mobile-minded when crafting campaigns to ensure an experience on the small screen is just as good as it is on a desktop.

We’ve partnered with Upland Adestra to give you your definitive guide to mobile email marketing.

Tips and tricks – beware the fat finger

Some of the design principles are relatively straight forward.

When catering towards a smaller screen, larger font sizes are a must. This applies to both main headlines and the body copy.

Similarly, remember a mobile reader can’t ‘click’ as such, meaning you must now ‘think tap’ – fat fingers and all.

Any call to action button should have a minimum click area of 44×44 pixels (according to Apple), to prevent readers from the struggle of trying to tap a cluster of links all placed close together.

If you opt to implement a responsive layout to your design, you will also have the ability to use text links for a desktop layout and then have your text link change to a large tap button.

Are images still a risk?

There is also now far more capacity for marketers to deploy images in their email campaigns than ever before.

While using images in emails has historically been fraught with danger, the threat of images being disabled by mobile devices is lower than it has ever been.

By using alt-tags or making your main message and calls to action HTML-safe text, there is a greater chance of your message being read.

However, it is important to be conscious of how abruptly images can bump up the overall file size of your email. If the email is too large, you risk triggering the dreaded spam filter.

As well as thinking about how an email looks when it is opened – CTAs and all – it is also critical to keep in mind how it will appear in a mobile inbox.

Apple’s mail interface in particular makes pre-header text a vital component of any email campaign.

Both your sender name and subject line influence whether or not your email is opened, as will the copy that displays as “preview” text on mobile devices.

Avoid repeating the subject line in the preview text and make sure the information is relevant.

Additionally, using an A/B split test of pre-header options can boost click through rates 30 per cent.


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