7 Essential Tips to Creating Mobile Friendly Emails

Article first published July 2015, updated May 2019

With 68% of email campaigns being opened on a mobile device,
email with a mobile-friendly design is no longer just nice to have,

it’s a must-have

Read on for seven essential tips to creating mobile-friendly
email campaigns.

Why are mobile-friendly emails so important?

As marketers, we used to worry about how our emails would look
on several email clients. But the explosion of devices and email
clients has created a challenge. From 2010 to 2015, email opens on
mobile devices increased by 30%.


If your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing
out on the opportunity to engage your subscribers and drive
results. So let’s examine seven simple, yet essential tips that
any marketer can use to make their emails more mobile-friendly
right now.

7 tips to make your emails more mobile friendly 1. Watch your
subject line length

A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an
email’s subject line, while mobile devices show just 25-30
characters, according to a post by
Return Path
. And, after analyzing over 2 million emails from
3,000 senders, they discovered that most subject lines were between
41-50 characters.

Before you go optimizing your subject lines for mobile, though,
it’s good to have a basic understanding of what percentage of
your subscribers will open your email on a mobile phone vs. tablet
vs. desktop, so you determine the best subject line length.

Depending on what email marketing tool you use, you can likely
get this information from your email reports. Campaign Monitor
customers can find this information under the email client


The report shows exactly what email clients your subscribers are
using to view your campaigns.

If you find that a good portion of your subscribers are opening
on an iPhone or Android device, then it would be worth keeping your
subject lines under 25-30 characters so that they look great on
those devices.

2. Use pre-header text

Pre-header text is often ignored, left out, and just plain
overlooked, but it can be very useful when it comes to
mobile-friendly emails.

If you’re unsure of what pre-header text is, it’s the first
line of copy in your email and serves as a support to your subject
line, providing more context to entice your reader to open your

Here’s an example from Gmail on an iPhone 6. You can see the
preheader text and the other elements. People can adjust their
settings to display additional pre-header/preview text but, for
the majority of those who use default settings, this is what
they’ll see:

preheader text

Preheader length will vary by both email client and by
device, so try different lengths and see what works best based on
what you know about where (mobile, tablet, or desktop) your
subscribers are opening your email campaigns.

3. Keep your copy concise

When you write copy for mobile-friendly emails, it’s crucial
to keep it short and concise. Create short, scannable, and
consumable chunks of content (i.e., bulleted lists, short
paragraphs) that make it easy for your reader to digest your copy
and understand the action they should take with your message.

The folks at Litmus also advise, “Overall screen size is small
when it comes to consuming email content on a mobile device, and
consumers are more likely to be multitasking when they get your
message on mobile. It’s more important now than ever to engage
the user as efficiently as possible; limit the amount of copy you
include, and make sure it is easily scannable by using headers,
bullet points, and short paragraphs of text whenever


This newsletter from InVision is a great example. The copy is
short but compelling enough to entice you to click through and read
the article, and it’s directly related to both the image above
and the button copy below.

4. Give thought to your images

Not all mobile devices display images by default, so it’s best
to plan for an “images off” experience and make sure your email
will still make sense if your images don’t show. Web Marketing
Today says, “Blocked images remain a challenge for image-heavy
emails. Descriptive body copy has to do the heavy lifting. It’s
useful to think of images as optional, supporting the surrounding
text, rather than the reverse.”

5. Keep CTAs front and center

When creating emails for busy, on-the-go readers, you want to
get to the point quickly and tell them what you want them to do
right up front.

Place your call to action near the top of your email to make it
the most mobile-friendly. To ensure maximum clickability, make your
CTA buttons at least 44 x 44 pixels.

Check out this example from Freshbooks:


6. Leave breathing (and clicking) room

When creating your mobile-friendly email, remember to make it
click-friendly, by leaving enough white space around links and CTAs
to make them clickable. You can see this in the example from
Freshbooks. They leave plenty of room around the CTA button, so
it’s easy to click without accidentally clicking something else
by mistake.


Don’t stack links on top of each other, as that makes it
challenging for your mobile reader to click and take action.

7. Test your emails across multiple devices

Before you schedule and send your email, make sure you test it
across multiple devices and email clients to ensure that it looks
the way you intended. Campaign Monitor customers can send a test of
their email and see how it appears in over 25 different email

Beyond the Basics

Now that you’ve been apprised of the basics when it comes to
creating mobile friendly emails, it’s time to delve deeper into
the best tips on developing these emails. The consequences of not
taking the time to create responsive emails are dire. Customers can
open your emails on their mobile phones only to find an unsightly
assortment of content rendered almost completely disorganized. In
the worst cases, the email can’t
even be used
because the distortion has stripped it of its
potential value.

You need to invest in creating every email as a responsive HTML
email. These emails will blend with almost any mobile device.
Responsive templates can match literally thousands of models and
platforms, making it almost impossible for your emails to get
garbled from incompatibility issues ever again.

What are responsive email templates?

A responsive email template is a total time-saver. These
templates take the guesswork and a lot of the prep out of the
production of responsive emails that’ll display seamlessly on
mobile devices.

The advantages of using a responsive HTML email are that
you’ll never have to worry about if your newsletters show up
correctly in inboxes across different platforms. That means
you’re free to concentrate on what’s really important.

Email formatting aside, the core of email marketing always has
been—and always will be—your content. Dressing it up and making
it look great on mobile devices is an essential, yet secondary
concern. With responsive templates, you don’t have to spend as
much time optimizing your emails for different formats and can
focus on making your content stand out like never before.

Always remember the importance of mobile-friendly email, as the
number of mobile users continues to grow, and you don’t want to
fall behind the trend. There’s no excuse for losing business due
to falling short on mobile-friendly email in today’s
mobile-driven market.

How do I make my email mobile-friendly?

Responsive email design is one of the most important aspects of
email marketing today. In previous years, it was a Windows world,
in which compatibility wasn’t as much of a concern. While today
is a different story, that doesn’t mean that email marketing has
to be more difficult.

Much to the contrary, with the right email service provider, you
can get sophisticated features that allow you to
drag and drop
content into responsive email templates. The
responsive email templates make it possible for your marketing
emails to display perfectly on almost any OS.

Another option is to build your own template using tools
provided by your email service provider. Building your own
responsive template gives you unmatched convenience, flexibility,
and freedom. The freedom to design your own template ensures that
your content will still be fresh, unique, and inimitable. The best
part is, with tools from industry leaders like Campaign Monitor,
you can assemble fully functional, responsive email templates in
than a minute

Responsive email templates are effective, easy to use, and
affordable, making them perhaps the best way to make your emails

With these tools, you can send engaging emails that’ll show up
just as perfectly on mobile as on a desktop.

Wrap up

These seven essential, easy-to-implement tips should have you on
your way to creating mobile-friendly emails that your on-the-go
readers will love to open and take action on.

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7 Essential Tips to Creating Mobile Friendly Emails
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7 Essential Tips to Creating Mobile Friendly Emails