Mobile email is more than a temporary trend, it’s a rapidly growing marketing tool. By the end of this year, more email will be read on mobile than on desktop or webmail. You may already have a well established email campaign, but what does it look like on a mobile device? Does it convert?  With most of your email now being viewed on Blackberries, iPhones, Droids, and other mobile devices, it’s important to know the answers to these questions.

If you haven’t already taken the steps to optimize your emails for mobile, time is of essence. With 88% of people checking email on their mobile devices on a daily basis, making sure your email is easy to view on a smartphone will greatly increase the number of people who chose to open and read it. Don’t miss out on valuable marketing opportunities and optimize your mail for mobile with the following tips:

Craft an Effective Preview

It’s easy to see if an email has been optimized for mobile reading before it’s even opened. If it has a cut off subject line, a meaningless preheader, or a confusing sender name it has a high risk of being quickly deleted. If an email is not optimized for mobile, 63% of Americans and 41% of Europeans either close or delete it. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your marketing emails, keep these tips in mind:

1. Sender name should be the name of your company, making it easy to recognize as a trusted source (keep this name consistent for every email)

2. Subject line should be short (less than 10 characters) and should have exciting, pertinent information in the first half for a significantly higher open rate

3. Preheader (the short summary text that follows the subject line in some mobile inboxes, a preview of the first text written in the body of your email) should summarize what the email contains, act as a continuation of the subject line, provide a call to action, and generate interest


Keep It Short

When people view email on their smartphone, they could be anywhere. Unlike a stationary desktop computer, people use their mobile device to view email at the gym, lying in bed, in the bathroom, at a bar, etc. Many are on the go or multitasking. If a user even choses to open your email, he or she is only going to spend an average of 15 seconds looking at it. It’s important to make the email as relevant to the reader as possible and keep the email concise to limit scrolling and make it easy to skim. The message should describe what is promised in the subject line without including much extra information.

Keep It Simple

If a user opens a mobile email with a mess of hyperlinks, patches of blank space where pictures have failed to appear, or a confusing layout, he or she will probably delete it after a single glance. The user will miss your message and your marketing opportunity will be lost. This is why, when designing a mobile email, it’s best to stay between 500 and 600px wide to ensure it is viewable on most smartphones. Make it easy to read by using small but readable text (12pt) or plain HTML with no special formatting. Keep in mind, the message should be small in file size because some mobile email tools will cut off emails early if they are too large.

Avoid Clutter

In order to clearly communicate your marketing message, make sure your email isn’t a jumble of hyperlinks and complex images. If needed, supporting links and graphics should be placed after the important text that communicates your marketing message. Remember, a mobile user will only read your email for a brief moment; you want to clearly get your main point across.

Make Clicking Easy

If your message calls for the reader to take action and click a link to a landing page, make sure to visibly indicate the links and buttons are clickable with outlines, subtle shadows or other effects. With touch screens becoming popular, people often hold their smartphone in one hand and use that thumb to navigate. It’s helpful to keep the important buttons, images, and other linkables within easy reach but make sure to allow some white space and provide big buttons for easy use. Also, keep your buttons and links away from the standard tray icons on the bottom of the mobile email screen because users could miss them or mistap.


Prepare Your Landing Page

To ensure your site is set for mobile use, remove JavaScript, Flash, and pop-ups. It’s best if your landing page is lightweight (less than 20 KB total) and loads in under 5 seconds. If your landing page gets a good amount of traffic, consider creating a website optimized for mobile viewers. Also, be sure to include a click to call button that is clearly visible at the top of the page in order to give users an easy mobile option for further steps.

Consider Varying Technology

You can’t perfectly prepare your email to be viewable for every mobile device because each smartphone has different capabilities. Email viewing can be affected by the type of device, the email software program, the service provider, and the operating system the phone uses. Sending your email in multi-part MIME format (meaning email will appear in both HTML and text versions) is a great idea when optimizing for mobile. This way, it will be deciphered in the most complex format the receiving device will allow for, showing the email in the best way. However, simple text-only emails are sometimes favored by users, so it is best to look at results of email campaigns by breaking them down into segments to see if one group prefers a certain type of email. Sometimes surveying subscribers to see how they will be most often reading their mail can help when deciding the ideal format.


Think About Timing

When should you send your mobile marketing email? Timing is another important aspect of mobile optimization to consider. Users check email on their mobile devices at different times than desktop users. With a mobile device, users are checking their email most often during the weekend (with its peak on Saturday and at its lowest on Monday). Many smartphone users (over 1/2 “mobile workers”) check their email right when they wake up or after getting dressed. Trends such as this should be considered when deciding when it is best to reach your mobile audience.

Don’t leave money on the table. Mobile optimization for marketing email is essential with the growing number of mobile users. Potential customers are easily reached though effective communication. Don’t miss valuable opportunities. Compel people to open, read, and act on your marketing messages by taking steps to optimize your emails for mobile devices.