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  • Writer's pictureWirya Hassan

Email Campaign: 5 Steps for Mobile

Email campaign targeted at smartphone users is growing rapidly. Within 5 years there will be more mobile than desktop users.

When will it be time to make your e-mailings suitable for mobile and how do you do that? Research by Nielsen shows that smartphone users spend 45% of their time e-mailing. Below you can see how you can adjust your e-mailings on mobile devices in 5 steps.

Now it is often the case that less than 10% of your recipients read e-mail mobile. But make sure that you follow the developments, be prepared. E-mail design for the traditional PC often does not work on a smartphone. It is important that you already look at how your email campaigns are transmitted to the various mobile devices. Then you analyze whether your content is suitable for mobile.

Step 1. Check how your recipients read their e-mail

The first step is to investigate thoroughly where and how your e-mailings are read. You can do this, for example, by looking at how many visits to your website come from mobile devices in your Google Analytics. This also shows which type of devices (operating systems) are used. Depending on the outcomes you can take measures. If your readers are mainly in offices and you take out newsletter prose via 24-inch screens, you do not have to worry. You do not have to read further.

But if a significant number of your recipients are using mobile devices or you see that certain campaigns are becoming more and more mobile, it's time to find out how to make your email campaigns suitable for mobile use. Also consider whether you are going to deploy campaigns specifically aimed at mobile recipients. For example, an email campaign where the interaction with your offline presence can get a huge boost through perfect communication aimed at mobile platforms.

If the outcome of your analysis is that a part of the recipients that is important to your organization reads your messages in a mobile way, it is time to continue with step 2.

Step 2. What does your message look like on a small screen?

The big advantage of being mobile is that it allows you to be continuously accessible. You can check your e-mail on the way to work, and then view the e-mail you have selected on a PC screen when you have arrived. This flexibility must be built into the design and content of your e-mailings. The messages thus bring the optimal experience to the receiver, wherever or how they are read.

Does your email look good on a small screen or do your recipients have to scroll a lot (both horizontally and vertically) and make an effort to get your message across? There is also limited space for your subject line: in some cases only 15 letters are visible.

Your e-mail must work in both Outlook and the latest mobile programs that support emerging standards and CSS3. It should look good on a widescreen monitor and on a screen that is only a few hundred pixels wide.

Which approach do you choose?

One possibility is to include a link at the top of your message to the smartphone version. But this is not ideal. It requires an extra action from the mobile receiver and thus provides an extra threshold for reading your message.

You can also choose to make the design suitable only for a small screen. Often 320 pixels is taken as the starting point. The disadvantage of this is that on a large screen the space is not used and the message looks lost.

Another option is to have your recipients indicate themselves (in the profile selection) whether they want to receive the PC version or the smartphone version of your messages. This too is not a strong strategy, many recipients want to read the messages on the PC one moment and the other moment mobile.

Design that adapts to the screen is the best solution, but also the most complicated (see below).

Step 3. Is all your content suitable for mobile use?

Is your e-mail content tailored to readers sitting at a desk? Does your message contain calls-to-action and links that are not suitable for viewing on small screens or for reading on the go? It makes little sense to create e-mails that look great on mobile devices if there are links in those countries on websites, where it takes forever before they are loaded and then do not look.

Of course it is possible to make e-mail content suitable for mobile use afterwards, but be careful with it. Keep in mind that seemingly innocent instructions like "Click here" are not relevant to users with a touch screen. Small adjustments in your word usage can already result in the right mobile experience with your recipients.

Do your recipients have to download a PDF to get your information? A few hundred megabytes is nothing on a desktop, but quite a push for a slow mobile connection. Ignoring these types of aspects can lead to your receivers no longer taking the trouble to open your message next time.

Step 4. Design and content

Do not try to get your messages perfect for mobile use in one go. If you make an improvement with every subsequent message, you are on the right track. It is possible to not only get your e-mails across properly, but also to be really effective on mobile devices and small screens.

Use the space economically

The most important starting point is economically dealing with the available space on mobile devices. A sleek and simple design works best: one or two columns and an effective use of white space. Also remember that many recipients use their finger to navigate and follow links; this is less precise than you are with a mouse. Make sure that your calls-to-action are eye-catching and easy to follow. This may mean that you have to use extra large buttons or a larger font for important links. The most important information should stand out clearly and the links should not be too close together (for touch screens).

Remember that the reading habits on mobile devices are different than with the desktop. It promotes the global scanning of the information, while here and there something is read. This also applies to e-mail on desktops, but for mobile it is even stronger. Brevity and simplicity are paramount.

Do not settle for just avoiding content that does not fit on a mobile, but experiment with content created specifically for mobile devices. Have you developed an iPhone or Android app? Then promote that in the footer of the e-mail. Create landing pages for coupons that work perfectly on a mobile browser and encourage people to use it instead of printing it. If you send confirmations of registrations, make sure your welcome e-mail looks perfect on a mobile device. It is the seamless integration between traditional online content, mobile, apps and offline interaction that will really impress your recipients and offer you added value for your brand.

Step 5. Technical implementation

If you have figured out how your email campaigns can be adapted for smaller screens, you determine these preconditions. Programming can be frustrating because you can only use basic HTML. The danger of advanced design is that it does not work on all mobile platforms. You can get around this by using advanced CSS, specific media queries that control the application of more complex design.

Create prototypes for the different platforms your receivers use. Test your messages and implement changes based on a cost-benefit analysis. Also organize for future mailings the possibility to test on the different platforms.

Continuously new smartphones and internet tablets are coming out and every time it is a challenge to respond to it. If you repeat the 5 step plan periodically, you are most likely to be ready to serve your mobile audience well.

Do you already have experience with mailings to mobile? Respond and share them!

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