41% of email last year was opened on smartphones, and 70% of US smartphone users regularly read email on their phone, says recent email marketing studies by Knotice and the Pew Research Center . If you are marketing with email but not optimizing for for mobile, you’re missing at least half of your target audience.
Below are some tips to maximize the look, design, and content of your emails for both mobile and webmail.
Designing for a Small Screen
The smallest font you can use is 11 pt for text and 22 pt for headlines. Be aware that Apple devices automatically resizes text to 13 pt. and other smartphones to 14 pt.; all phone resize headlines to 22 pt.
Don’t rely heavily on images, for several reasons:
- Readers may unsubscribe if they have a limited data plan and their phone automatically downloads images, as Apple does.
- Readers may unsubscribe if you embed important information in images, but their phone automatically blocks images, as Android does.
- Readers may unsubscribe if their phone isn’t designed to handle images well, making your email difficult and annoying to view, as Blackberry does.
Losing a reader isn’t the worst problem: a poorly rendered email may raise your spam score. Many readers find it easier to mark annoying or difficult to read emails as spam than hunt around on their tiny mobile screens for the unsubscribe link. Further, ESPs rate you highly for spam if you have a low open rate (because mobile users are deleting your emails unopened).
Click space of a link should be at least 44 x 44 pixels. On a mobile screen, that’s the space of a fingertip. Don’t pack in text links tighter than this, or readers will feel frustrated.
When designing a mobile-optimized landing page, don’t use data-heavy code like Flash — instead, use HTML5 and inline CSS. Email providers strip out head and body tags, and there’s no way to link to a CSS external style sheet for email.
It’s unlikely that other multimedia will be watched on mobile devices. You have a very brief amount of time to sell your product — people reading email on mobile devices are on the go, so they don’t want to download a commercial. If something needs to move, like a product demo, use an an animated .gif instead. This has the added bonus of not interrupting their phone call or the music playing in their headphones.
Don’t assume that your mobile audience is composed solely of kids: 40% of people under age 55 and 25% of people over age 55 own smartphones. That’s parents, professionals, business owners, and increasingly, grandparents. Smartphone owners report that 78% of their time using the device is devoted to email.