There’s no time like the present when it comes to refocusing your email marketing practices on the constantly expanding mobile world. Whether it’s Business Insider’s John Heggestuen reporting that one in every five people in the world owns a smartphone, or the blockbuster announcement from Google regarding the release of the Inbox by Gmail app, the mobile side of inbox communications continues to demand attention. To ensure your brand doesn’t fall behind the times, and the competition, here’s five quick and easy tips from around the industry that can help you optimize your mobile email offerings.
Make Your Call-to-Action Button Easy to Use
One of the most infuriating things about reading an email that isn’t optimized for mobile viewing is struggling to click the call-to-action (CTA) button and redeem an offer. If you’ve ever been in this position yourself, you know that the frustration associated with this problem can quickly turn to email abandonment. To avoid watching potential conversions fall through the cracks, Christina Galbornetti of Target Marketing magazine suggests placing the CTA button “above the fold,” in an easy-to-click location. By separating this clickable URL from other portions of the message, you provide your readers with quick and easy access to your landing pages if they decide to redeem an offer and move forward with a conversion.
Avoid Poor Font and Text Choices
Galbornetti goes on to point out that the text and fonts used in your marketed messages also play a vital role in your mobile optimization endeavors. For instance, dark background tables with white knockout text ends up placing invisible content in front of your audience, thanks to the removal of colored tables by many email clients. Additionally, larger fonts can distort even responsive and adaptive templates, while red font coloring can quickly trigger spam filters. Before firing off any emails, spend a few minutes testing how your text selections render on mobile devices. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your audience ships back and underwhelming response to unreadable emails.
Stick to Single Column Layouts
As far as the body of your email goes, Laurie Beasley of the Online Marketing Institute notes that double column layouts might look great on the desktop, but only cause headaches in the mobile world. At best, these offerings clog up precious small screen real estate, while at worst this type of layout ends up as an unintelligible mess. The better option, according to Beasley, is to focus on single column layouts. By doing this your message can render properly and maximize its usage of the limited smartphone screen with a clear flow of text and graphic content.
Let Go of the Click Mentality
Additionally, Beasley also suggests thinking with your fingers and thumbs, and not with the clicker of your mouse, when designing your mobile messages. To help you embrace this mentality, consider keeping any buttons and “tappable” content to a size at least as big as a 44 pixel square. Aside from this size minimum, keeping links and buttons to the center or left of the template also makes life a little easier on your mobile viewers. Finally, say no to hover and pop-out interactive elements that jam up the viewing process, as well as any wording that references clicking – like the oft overused “click here.”
Offer a Plain Text Version of Your Message
The final tip, from Erik Boman of Econsultancy, strips away the high tech setting of smartphones and opts for something that’s a little more back to basics; a plain text version of your message. While it might seem a little strange to not utilize all of the fancy bells and whistles that come with the modern mobile inbox, Boman explains that sometimes you’re much better off providing a simple alternative that helps keep the message clear for those using older equipment or readers who are less inclined to read graphic-oriented content.
The best part about the plain text alternative approach is that it doesn’t really tax your development resources. Simply including a link in your email, generally near the bottom of the page, to a browser-based version of the message that skips over all of the graphics and template features fulfills this tip and provides another angle of fostering and capitalizing on potential conversions.
Naturally, not all of these tips will fit your approach to developing a strong mobile front. However, between implementing some of the ideas and utilizing others as the basis for a little extra research and discussion, your brand will be well on its way to optimizing for the ever-growing mobile portion of its audience. Considering that the trends toward smartphone usage and checking email on the go show no signs of slowing down, this is right where your organization wants to be moving forward.