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Are Your Emails “Good Enough” For Mobile?

By Jennifer Newell, Digital Services Manager, Production Solutions/PS Digital

Last week I attended the DMAW’s Digital Day Forum and came away with a lot of great takeaways. But one of the sessions that stood out to me most was Making Your Emails Mobile Friendly, presented by Dan Caro, Director, Online Marketing Operations at Whereoware.

Did you know that 1/3 of marketers don’t know what percentage of prospects access their emails via mobile?

I know I was surprised by that figure, but what’s the big deal? Why should we care?

Caro provided some astounding statistics that really made us sit up and listen:

A Litmus report showed that 47% of email opens are on a mobile device. This is a new record for mobile, increasing 24% since 2012.

And the number of mobile users is continuing to grow. Caro cited Forrester’s study which estimates that 78% of emails will be opened via mobile device by 2017. That’s four short years from now!

Furthermore, Constant Contact found that 75% of people surveyed said they are likely to delete an email if they can’t read it on a smartphone.

So in four years, if over ¾ of emails are opened via mobile device and ¾ of THOSE people are deleting your non-mobile friendly email, that’s a whole lot of people missing your message.

Ok, I get it, mobile’s a big deal. We should be ready though, we’ve been taking care of this, right?

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2013 Email Mktg Benchmark Survey, 58% of marketers are NOT designing their emails to render differently on mobile devices. REALLY?!

In Dan Caro’s words “This is not good enough.” With the variety of devices and screen sizes people are using today, we must be mindful of how our emails will render on each device. And I have to agree.

But never fear! Mobile might be a big deal, but getting started isn’t. Caro breaks it down with easy to follow steps that can get you on the right track sooner rather than later.

First, know your options.

Don’t have the time and resources? Scalable design might be for you: a one-size-fits-all solution where only one version of the email is created to render well on all devices.

Are your email openers primarily mobile users? Do you have a responsive web site? It might be worth it for you to go with responsive design. Multiple versions of the email are created and CSS media queries are used to adjust email size automatically based on the device it is opened on.

Make your message readable and touch friendly.

Whichever type of design you go with; there are a few specifications that all mobile friendly designs should include:

  • Larger font size – 14-16pt preferred
  • Skinnier email design – 320 x 550px wide (it’s best to go with a single column when possible)
  • Touch friendly CTA – 44 x 44px

Make sure your message is streamlined.

It is still important to ensure that your message is cohesive from start to finish, from the subject line, to preview text, to email body, to landing page. It must all work together. We are marketers after all!

Don’t forget to quality control.

Multiple designs + multiple platforms could equal multiple errors. Make sure you’ve tested your email across several platforms before deployment.

Where do you go from here?

It’s never too late to get started! Begin by understanding how many of your subscribers are reading your emails on a mobile device, and testing your current email templates on a variety of phones and tablets.

Once you know where you are, you can make a plan to get where you need to go. Be sure to share your progress with your friends at the DMAW!


Jennifer Newell has been with Production Solutions since 2006 in production management, process improvement and most recently as a manager in Production Solutions’ PS Digital division.