Email marketing remains one of the very best ways to put the internet to work for you. When crafted carefully, marketing emails deliver dramatic returns on the time and effort you invest in them. Today it’s vital that your marketing emails are designed to work well with mobile devices. Optimising your efforts for a mobile audience can pay off in a big way.
Why Mobile Matters
While desktop computers will always be a core part of the internet, today’s users are conducting more and more of their online business with phones and tablets. Market penetration is particularly deep when it comes to email. Roughly three-quarters of mobile device users check their inboxes while they’re on the go.
The effectiveness of email marketing drops off rapidly the more difficult your messages are to read and interact with. A killer design that’s a proven hit with desktop users may transform into an absolute dud in the mobile market. Optimising your messages to work across all platforms is crucial if you want to keep your marketing campaign effective.
Learning To Love Responsive Messages
At first glance, optimising your emails looks like a real challenge. When you send a message, it’s impossible to predict what hardware and software the recipient is going to use to read it. Fortunately, you don’t need this information to craft emails that look great on phones and tablets. With CSS3 media queries, you can build conditional rules into your emails that change them significantly based on the screen size of the recipient’s device.
With conditional CSS formatting rules, you can increase the size of your messages’ text, alter the elemental layout and even change the functions (e.g. links and buttons) presented to your readers. Most mobile formatting styles switch to a single-column layout to streamline the message and make it easier to interact with on a phone. Multiple rule sets can even be established to provide different presentations on different devices.
Why Testing Is Vital
Once you start tinkering with your emails to make them more mobile-friendly, it’s vitally important that you get a first-hand look at the fruits of your labours. You should test your new layouts across as many different platforms as possible. While emulators can help you simulate a host of different devices, operating systems, and applications, hands-on testing with real devices is always preferred.
You need to look at more than just the visual appearance of your new emails. Check how they look both with and without images (many mobile email apps have image loading disabled by default). Try out all of the links and buttons to confirm that they work and that they are convenient for touchscreen use. Remember, every potential hassle you eliminate will improve your messages’ performance when you send them out.
Investigating Your Audience
As noted above, there is no way to know for certain what hardware and software your recipients will use to read your messages. That doesn’t mean you’re completely in the dark, though! Good analytics can track your emails and show you what devices and programs are used with them. Be aware that not all email service providers give you mobile tracking data; without this information, you’ll be left in the dark.
Refer to your analytics frequently to see how your emails are performing with mobile recipients. If you notice a preponderance of readers using a particular device or application, it’s worth overhauling your CSS rules to ensure that platform delivers the best possible presentation. You should also pay attention to your clickthrough rates coming from mobile messages. Further optimisation can improve this key figure.
You will have to cultivate some new skills and pay attention to new concerns to make your emails friendlier to mobile users. With mobile devices capturing an ever-larger share of the online world, though, making this effort is well worth it. Once you have optimised your email marketing campaign, you should start seeing dramatic improvements in its effectiveness.