The use of smartphones to access emails is souring. According to a recent survey carried out by Return Path between 2010 and 2012 the use of mobiles to access emails has increased by 300%, and now nearly half of all emails received are read on mobile devices. According to Google 62% of smartphone users that use the internet on their phone use it to access their email; this accounts for more than those that use their mobiles for social networking or search engines (source: Google: Our Mobile Planet).
With these sorts of statistics you can see why optimising emails for mobile devices is crucial for email marketing. In this article I will take you through some of the aspects we consider when we produce email campaigns for both desktop and mobile; we call this responsive email design.
Email for mobile and desktop
When putting together an email you have to consider how it is going to appear on both the desktop and the mobile, how it is going to render across different email clients, and which elements and call-to-actions you wish to capture the audience. If an email does not display correctly 69.7% will delete it immediately. (Source: BlueHornet ‘Consumer Views of Email Marketing’ (2012))
Below is an example of one of our responsive emails for the London Review of Books. It shows how the email appears on the desktop in comparison to the iPhone. When designing for the smaller screen it is best practice to eliminate horizontal scrolling. We develop the email to rearrange different elements into an easy to scroll format, in addition we are able to change the text size and spacing so that it is easier to read on smaller screens.
There are also other things we need to take into consideration, such as the size of the call-to-action buttons and linked text. It is very difficult to select small buttons and links with your fingers accurately when compared to using a cursor, therefore we ensure the spacing and positioning of elements are ideal for both desktop and mobile.
Hiding Items / Navigation
We are also able to remove elements from the mobile version that may make it too cluttered and/or force the user to scroll unnecessarily and consequently distracting your audience from the main call to action. In the example above we remove the ribbon pattern in the mobile version to keep the size and quality of the logo. In the example below we remove the navigation and change the layout of the headline to remove any need to scroll horizontally.
Another new development in technology is retina display. If your email is not designed with retina display in mind, your customers with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and any future Apple devices will see your images displayed at a low resolution. We take this in mind and code in higher resolution images that appear crystal clear on your retina device.
When compared to other forms of digital marketing email is more lucrative. Email outperforms social-media advertising three to one, according to the Direct Marketing Association (source: Business Week Article), and with mobile use growing at its current rate marketers should not ignore the potential for responsive email campaigns.