Why, when and how to make your email template mobile friendly

As we all know, smartphone usage is continually on the rise and we can’t ignore the fact that it’s now more likely than ever that your email will be viewed on a mobile device. This poses some challenges for marketers who want to make sure their carefully crafted emails get read and their efforts pay off.

Why make a mobile friendly email?

Most mobile devices cope well with HTML email, others to a certain degree – and a handful just can’t handle it at all. Depending on what device your reader is using your email will fall somewhere between readable and useless. Even at the readable end of things you still want make sure your mobile readers have the best experience with your emails.

When to consider mobile?

If you can identify a particular platform or device that you know a large proportion of your audience uses then you can’t ignore this – and you need to put this into the design mix.

If you have a B2C email, making your email more mobile friendly may be more important than if it is purely B2B.

The Gmail app on Android devices is particularly popular – if you have a large number of Gmail addresses in your database it may be worth considering  mobile.

How to make your email template mobile friendly

Here are two approaches you can take to help make sure your email gets the attention it deserves.

1. Optimise your standard template for mobile viewing
2. Create a special mobile version of your template

1. Optimising your standard template for mobile viewing

Regardless of what you do otherwise, the first impression your readers will have of your email is how it looks in their mobile inbox. Considering the examples above of what can happen here you need to make sure your basic message gets through.

Make sure the most important message or logo is on the top left so readers can identify who the email is from. Other important information should also be placed on the left hand side so that readers do not necessarily have to scroll right to get important details.

Design touch-friendly calls to action. There is nothing more annoying than trying to touch a tiny or cramped link and touching the link next to it by mistake. Ensure that your important calls to action are at least 44px x 44px in size.

2. Create a special mobile version of your template

While it is important that your main email template is usable on a mobile device there is no substitute for a specially optimised mobile version. This also gives people the option to select the right edition of your publication depending on what device they are using at the moment. That’s because many will open an email in a mobile, and then wait to read it fully when they are at their laptop or desktop.

A link in the pre-header text of your email is the best way to give readers access to the mobile version.

All of the methods for optimising your standard template also apply to your mobile version. But having a special version gives you the flexibility you need and means you don’t need to compromise the design of your standard template.

You may also want to prioritise the things that need immediate action – which may be quite different than the order of things in your usual template.

Overall you will have less space to make an impact with content. This will mean getting essential points across in less space and – for clarity – less wording.

Don’t stop at email

Don’t forget that if you have any important links to your website on your email template that your website is also in some way, if not fully, optimised for mobile users. If it isn’t and you are relying on further interaction or a purchase from your subscribers then all your efforts in optimising your email will go to waste.