What’s the first thing you do after you wake up? For millions of people, the answer is, “Pick up my phone and check my email.”
Most smartphone owners — and that’s now most of us — use their phone to filter email on the fly. Read now, save for later, or delete.
69% of smartphone owners say that if an email isn’t optimized for mobile, they delete it on the spot. Amazingly, 89% of emails are not optimized for mobile.
Sounds like an enormous missed opportunity, doesn’t it?
Choices and Variables. How an email renders on mobile depends on the operating system, the device itself, and the email reader used. All are variables you can’t control, so you need to make your emails look as good as possible across as many options as possible.
You can either use a design that scales to look well no matter what device your email is read on … or you can create a version to be shown specifically on mobile devices. Either way, here are the factors that make an email mobile-friendly.
Short Subject Line. Smaller screens mean shorter subject lines. Try to keep the most important words within the first 40 characters, and make sure your “from” name is recognizable.
Put important text at the beginning of your email, because some email readers display that in the inbox, too.
Minimal Scrolling. If reading your email requires both horizontal and vertical scrolling, chances of it being read are slim.
To minimize scrolling, use a single-column format that’s about 500 to 600 pixels wide.
If you’re sending a long enewsletter, consider truncating articles and linking to your blog or website for the rest of the content.
Easy Reading. Keep type large enough to read on a small screen – a minimum of 13 pixels, and preferably 15 for text.
Use short paragraphs, subheads and numbered or bulleted lists to make your email easy to scan.
Many people use their mobile devices outdoors where glare is a factor, so make sure there’s plenty of contrast between type and background. Avoid excessive use of white type on a colored background.
Can You Click? If you want readers to take action, make it easy for them, especially for those with big fingers and thumbs.
Buttons are easier to click than links. Aim for ones that are at least 44 pixels square, with 10 pixels of space around them.
Use Images Wisely. It takes longer for images to load on a mobile device, so it’s wise not to use too many, or ones that are too large. A good rule of thumb is to devote no more than 25% of your email to images.
Some mobile devices turn off images by default, so make sure that your message is clear even without visuals. For that reason, avoid creating emails as a single image.
Using text descriptions of pictures — “alt tags” – helps readers whose mobile devices don’t display images.
Take a Look. While it may be difficult to check every possible mobile variation of your emails, have a look on both an iPhone and Android device.
For more thorough testing, service provider Litmus (www.litmus.com) can show you how your email subject line and your email look (with and without images) on over 30 email clients and devices.
Don’t Wait. The longer you wait to optimize your emails for mobile, the more subscribers you’ll lose. After all the time and money you’ve invested building your list and crafting your emails, why not make the most of them?
With half your subscribers filtering their emails on a mobile device, there’s no time to waste in making your emails mobile-friendly.