Elevate Your Mobile Email Marketing Strategy

My wife probably doesn’t like—check that—I know she doesn’t like it, but I’m on my smartphone a lot at home.

I’m checking on sports scores or scanning my social feeds, but I’m doing one thing more than anything else.

I’m always checking my email.

The Radicati Group estimates the number of email users worldwide is 2.6 billion, and the number of emails sent per day is around 205 billion.

That’s nearly 2.4 million emails sent every second!

Litmus says on average 54% of emails opened on a mobile device, making email accessible anywhere at anytime.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to grab their consumers’ attention in their chronically overflowing inboxes.

And with shorter attention spans for mobile users, brands really need to consider if their mobile email marketing strategy is where it needs to be.

I’m talking attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish.

Keep in mind that your email subscribers are busy people who are reading, responding or deleting numerous emails through mobile devices.

If you want your messages to escape the “immediate delete” category, make sure they stand out and entice action. You need an email optimization plan so that your messages are easy to read across all platforms, particularly smartphones.

Here are 5 key tips to boost the effectiveness of your mobile email marketing strategy:

Concise Subject Lines

If you’ve been in the email design world for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the mantra: keep your subject lines short and concise.

This still rings true for the mobile space, but to an even stronger degree.

Check out this screengrab from my Gmail account:


StubHub, Fatherly and Groupon used subject lines with so many characters I can’t read the entire thing.

OpenTable, AT&T and Uber all use a shorter subject line I can actually read.

Mobile devices tend to cut email subject lines short at around 30 characters. So it’s worth repeating: keep your subject lines short, clean, and concise.

If you write a longer subject line, keep the key message within the first 15-30 characters.

And if you need some help coming up with great subject lines.

Use The Pre-header

The pre-header text is listed at the very top of your email, above your content.

If you refer back to the screengrab above, it’s the text in gray just below the subject line.

So trust me: this is valuable space whether designing for mobile or desktop!

This adds additional value in persuading the recipient to open your email.

iPhones tend to cut this preheader text short at about 75 characters in vertical view (140 characters—the same as a Tweet—in landscape view), so as with subject lines, keep it clear and concise.

In addition, if you’re designing a desktop email with an included link to a separate mobile version, the pre-header is a good spot to place it.

The mobile user will see it first, without having to scroll through your possibly garbled message to find it.

Responsive Design

Most smartphones will display the email at about 320 pixels wide in vertical view (iPhones display content at 480 pixels in landscape view).

Since the industry best practice is to code your desktop emails at about 600 pixels wide, designing the content between these measurements would be a happy medium for both desktop and mobile recipients.

Check out this email example from home furnishings retailer Boston Interiors:


They have this lovely designed welcome message with an accompanying coupon and email dimensions at 600×1015px.

The welcome message design is responsive, and fits nicely when viewing in my Gmail app:


Luckily, many smartphones today will automatically resize your email to fit the screen.

So, the good news is your standard 600-pixel wide email will likely display correctly for these devices.

When it comes to the actual copy, designing the text to be size 13 pixels or larger in size allows for good visibility on most types of devices.

ALT Text Time

Have you ever opened an email and all you see is this?


Where’s the pretty email from Litmus I always expect to see?

Thankfully, this was only an example they recently shared in an awesome best practice article regarding the importance of ALT text.

Image-heavy emails, images with broken links, or failing to include a text-only option may land your email in the spam folder, never to be seen by human eyes.

Be sure to include ALT text on all of your images, and keep the text in your content down to short, easy-to-read blurbs.

Clear Call-to-Action

As with any email, make sure you have a strong, clear call to action in the subject line as well as the body of your email.

Apple recommends coding all links and buttons with a target area of at least 44 x 44 pixels.

Keep in mind that if your desktop email content is wider than 320 pixels, iPhones will scale your content down to fit the vertical view, shrinking your 44 x 44 area as well.

Be sure to design your buttons and links appropriately to the overall width of your email for this reason.

As for the actually CTA, it could be an offer for a discount, free shipping or a gift along with an online purchase.

Here’s a great example from Five Four Club:


Their design is very clean and organized without any clutter.

The CTA is clear and visible with a great recipient instruction: “Get my free month.”

Keep the Mobile Email Experience Going

The mobile experience shouldn’t stop as soon as your recipients leave your email.

If you’ve designed a beautiful, mobile-friendly email with a clear call to action that dumps your clients onto a horribly rendered website, then what’s the point?

Keep your mobile recipients engaged every step of the way, from open to conversion.

An entirely responsive website isn’t just a nice to have option for the mobile-friendly emailing company—it is a necessity.

This includes responsive lead forms and eCommerce checkouts.

Now go out there and send some engaging mobile emails!

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