Performance Marketing Blog

Expert ideas, unfiltered opinions & best practices in digital marketing

No One Is “Clicking” With Your Emails

The mobile landscape has changed significantly in the last 3 years and will continue its meteoric ascend over the next few. As a result of this you may have noticed that most of your email marketing interactions now come from devices that don’t feature a “click”. Users increasingly prefer smart phones and tablets to traditional desktops and laptops when viewing, responding to and managing email. Consider these stats:

65% of users check email on mobile

69% delete an email right from their phone if it’s not mobile-optimized

66% of gmail opens occur on mobile

Source: ExactTargetForresterDMAReturnPath

Clearly we’ve moved on to a “touch” economy where we’re scrolling, pinching, zooming our way with emails. Our thumb and index finger help us tame a tsunami of information, especially within email.

So, what’s a company to do? Follow these tips to create mobile optimized emails, and enjoy the engagement they’ll generate!

Responsive Design

Email that's not mobile-friendly Use CSS3 techniques for designing emails that automatically adjust to small screen devices. CSS3 media queries allow you to detect the “viewport” of the target device and optimize the rendering of the design. Here’s an example of how we converted a client’s email to a more responsive and user-friendly format.





Mobile-friendly email design


Touch Accuracy

Make sure that your design accounts for touch accuracy. Don’t place icons and buttons, especially if the latter has a call-to-action associated, too close to each other. That will defeat the purpose of a touch-input and generate false positives. Buttons should be at least 56 pixels tall and 150 pixels wide. If the design allows, create buttons that take up the entire width of the phone screen. Also, make sure there’s enough white space around buttons.

Long-form Content

Use a single-column layout to optimize your content for better accessibility and readability on smart phones. Single-column layouts with relative widths automatically adjust to long-form content on smartphones.

Subject Line

Your subject line is the first “hello” with your customer. If you don’t master it, you leave a bad first impression. 33% of recipients open email based on subject line alone (source: ExactTarget). Make your subject line is intriguing but relevant to your content. Tricking your customer into opening your email is never a good idea. You’ll end up with a complaints, which will cause subsequent delivery issues. As for the length of the subject line, 70 characters appear on desktop-based email clients like Microsoft Outlook while 35 characters work best for mobile email clients.

Also, don’t shy away from experimenting with special characters/symbols (Special Characters in Subject Line) depending on the industry your are in.

These are just a few things to take into account when designing emails for the increasingly mobile-friendly world. For tips on how to optimize your entire email ecosystem from design to deployment, please visit our Founder, Nirmal Parikh‘s, presentation from NEDMA’s (New England Direct Marketing Association) Annual Conference.

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