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Four Keys to More Mobile-Friendly Email Marketing

By February 10, 2016 No Comments

Despite all the hype around social media marketing, email is still a great way to reach school decision makers and get them to act. Research suggests that a majority of people read their email on a mobile phone. Have you adjusted your email marketing tactics to address this trend?

It has been estimated that 53% of email is opened on a mobile device; while Google says 75% of its Gmail users access their accounts this way. Here are four strategies for creating powerful email marketing messages that work well on mobile devices.

Be concise

Brevity is always a good thing—but for messages that are read on mobile devices, it’s essential. Keep your messages simple, and break them into short, easily consumed chunks that can be scanned quickly on the go. This rule also applies to the subject line. A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices show just 25-30.

Limiting your subject line to 30 characters or less can be challenging. How do you capture the reader’s attention in only five or six words? One way is to pose a question or otherwise engage the reader. These recent subject lines captured our attention effectively:

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Use a mobile-friendly format

To maximize readability, use a single-column template. Select a large font size, 14 pt. or more; smaller sizes are hard to read on a tiny screen. Keep your message under 600 pixels wide. And don’t stack links on top of each other—it’s easy to click the wrong link if they are too close together.

Go easy on the images

While images can help capture a readers attention, display conventions vary across devices. Apple’s iOS displays images automatically, but other mobile device platforms—like Android—turn images off by default. According to Constant Contact: “You can’t assume your images will be displayed.”

If your email message contains several images, these might appear as blocks of white space. Constant Contact recommends that you use alt text (image descriptions) to let readers know what an image is if it doesn’t appear—and always preview messages on multiple mobile platforms to be sure they convey your information properly, even with image display suppressed.

Be deliberate with your call to action

People often read email on their mobile phone in short bursts—between classes, while waiting for an appointment—so they might not read your message in full. Your call to action should appear near the top: Tell your readers what you want them to do, and make it easy to meet the challenge.

Make your call to action link large enough to follow up effectively on a small screen. Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers. If your readers have to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, there’s a chance they won’t bother. Display a clearly labeled call to action button that is at least 40-50 pixels square, with no other links around it.

What other mobile-friendly email marketing practices have you found to be effective? Share your thoughts in the comments section; we’d love to hear from you.

A version of this post was seen in PR Daily on Feb. 25, 2016.