responsive email design

Mobile Email Marketing in a Nutshell

Mobile Email Marketing Stats and Tactics

The entire mobile marketing landscape, well, almost.

In order to navigate the world of mobile email marketing, you need chart your course by paying attention to these compass points:

  • Mobile ads, mobile search
  • Mobile websites and landing pages
  • Mobile commerce, mobile payments
  • So-Lo-Mo (social + local + mobile)
  • QR codes (they’re not going away just yet, but almost)
  • SMS/MMS
  • Mobile apps, app ads
  • Mobile emails

This post focuses on mobile email marketing, with the caveat that all your marketing programs must be integrated for consistency.

Why is mobile email marketing such a big deal?

Mobile is a must for today’s email marketers and, like any new territory; it has both a tempting and terrifying allure of the unknown. The best way to demystify mobile email marketing is to understand its components.

You’ll find that mobile devices run the gamut from feature phones, with limited functionality, to portable gaming and MP3 players. Email marketers, however, should focus on smartphones and tablets, with accessibility to the web. While these two categories of devices seem quite manageable, keep in mind that you’ve got to account for various devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows.

If you still doubt the importance of mobile email marketing, here’s a statistic for you: According to Forrester research, 78% of U.S. email users will also access their emails via mobile by 2017. And don’t assume that smartphone use is limited to the younger generation. Emarketer predicts that this year mobile web and smartphone penetration for baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) will pass 50%.

Here are a few mobile email marketing tips.

Smartphones offer 24/7 accessibility and instant gratification, known as “snacking,” for users. So it’s helpful to think “bite size” in terms of mobile email marketing.

Adaptive and responsive are two types of design for mobile-friendly emails. Adaptive design triggers content changes and reformatting to optimize for typical screen sizes for smartphones, tablets and desktops. In responsive design, the design format and content dynamically changes based on the screen size. Here are a few best practices:

  • Use a vertical, single-column layout (350 pixels max)
  • Keep subject lines to under 75 characters (shoot for under 35)
  • Make your text larger, preferably 16-pixel, since most mobile email applications automatically resize smaller text
  • Embedded links are more difficult to click than large buttons (44 x 44 pixels)

Consumers have high expectations regarding mobile. Strangeloop Networks reports that 85% of mobile users expect sites to load as fast or faster than on their desktops. In reality, however, median load time for 3G smartphones is 40% slower than on desktop. It’s not enough to build mobile-friendly emails. You’ve got to build mobile-friendly landing pages and sites, too.

The mobile email takeaway?

Mobile isn’t going away. On the contrary, it’s here to stay – and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Email marketers who embrace this technology will be ahead of the curve – and ahead of their competitors.

About the Author: Scott Hardigree is Founder of Indiemark. Connect with him everywhere, here.

4 Noteworthy Mobile Email Marketing Trends

Mobile email is becoming very important. One study estimates that 38% of email is now opened on a mobile device. That compares to 33% of email opened on desktop applications.

In my humble opinion, if your company is not paying attention to how your emails look (and behave) on mobile devices you’re already trailing the competition.

So today we’re going to look at a few mobile email marketing trends that you may be able to apply to your program.

1. Geo-location

Location-ased Email example

Location-based email marketing has come a long way in a short amount of time. Emails can now determine your current location, with each new open. So you could open an email from your favorite restaurant in one town and if you are in a new city the next day you could open the email again and it would list  the store that is now closest to your location.

Live email information goes beyond location though. There are live countdowns that can be used for promotions and flash sales. Live emails also include social media updates like a live Twitter feed or Facebook photo stream.

The example above is from a Movable Ink blog post, a company that is really doing great things with live email content.

There are lots of possibilities.

2. More Text, Less Images

Mobile-friendly Email Design

One issue with mobile email marketing is the time it can take to load images. But the biggest game changer when it comes to email content is that when images are blocked an image-heavy email is nearly unreadable. Sure, this is also true for emails which are viewed on desktops but given the slower load times it’s all the more important to use text over images, when possible and appropriate.

In the example, Apple uses a green background with a headline image and product image, but the text is actually text. Should the images be slow to load on a mobile device the user would still be able to read the text right away and they would still see the call to action to visit the local Apple retail store.

3. Responsive Email Design

Responsive Email design Example

Responsive design is being used on heavily on websites. The process gives users an optimized experience no matter what device they use to view the site. The site owner only has one site to maintain, which makes it different than a mobile site.

Nowadays, a lot of companies are using responsive email design too. Which, if coded properly, allows the email to render differently and depending on the device on which is open. You can adjust width, image size, font sizes and even hide or reveal content blocks or columns.

This example from Twitter, which was featured in this post from Litmus, not only changes (for the better) when viewing on a mobile device but the call to action changes as well, which we discuss in more detail below.

4. Pushing Apps

Detecting Mobile Device Example

LinkedIn has an increasingly good email resource for professionals. What’s most interesting about this email, though, is the call to action for the LinkedIn Mobile App.

Like responsive email design, it’s a great way to provide a better experience to users based on the device they are currently using.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Email Marketing

Mobile email marketing is becoming something nearly every company will need to pay attention to in 2013. People are viewing email on their phones at an increasing rate. If the experience is not optimized subscribers will lose their patience.

Take inspiration from the trends above for your email programs.

What else are you seeing in the mobile email marketing world? Share your thoughts in the comments.