Mobile Responsive Design is Critical for Email Marketing

To be considered successful, email marketing campaigns need to score high on two key performance indicators, Open Rate and Click Rate.  Of course you also need to have a plan for maximizing conversions and deeper engagement after the Click – but if you don’t get a significant percentage of your audience over that first hurdle, none of your downstream workflows are worth much.

Since the first touch for your emails is increasingly on mobile devices, such as a Smartphone or tablet, it’s critical that you plan the design to optimize easy viewing and clear communication of your Call-to-Action on these smaller screens.

Depending on which stats you prefer, somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of your emails are now being opened first on a mobile device.  It varies by industry and most studies show that emails targeted to consumers are overwhelmingly opened on phones – but the trend toward mobile in the B2B world is not far behind.

Most of your target audience is now using their phone as the front-line screening device for checking email and deciding what makes the cut.  If your message resonates with them on the small screen, you stand a much better chance.

Responsive email on mobile devices

Surveys have found that almost 80 percent of users are likely to reopen an email on a laptop or desktop after having originally opened it on a mobile device. So if you catch your subscribers on their smartphone first and don’t get deleted on first look, there’s a very good chance they will revisit your email later. This allows you to develop a deeper relationship with your customers and keeps your brand top-of-mind because they’re seeing your content multiple times.

According to Jim Garretson, manager of product innovation at Constant Contact, “The great thing about mobile emails is that shorter content and fewer calls to action actually perform better than complicated and dense messaging. By simplifying email marketing campaigns, marketers can take an essential and effective step towards becoming mobile friendly.”

Some of the key factors to consider when designing mobile emails include:

  • Simplify the flow & eliminate multiple columns – on a phone, most people want to just scroll down and not have to swipe left-and-right or pinch-to-zoom
  • Cut down on content – focus on your primary message and eliminate extraneous articles or Calls-to-Action that could detract from the goal of your email
  • Optimize Fonts and Text size for Readability – use minimum of 11pt for body text and 22pt for headlines and use strong contrast of colors such as dark text on a light background
  • Use Buttons instead of text-based links – this makes it much easier for users to understand how to get where you want them to go
  • Shift your thinking toward linked content – don’t try to cram all of your messaging into the email itself but instead leverage your web site, landing pages and blogs to tell the deeper story

In effect, your mobile emails need to act kind of like a “gateway drug” that is designed to hook your audience and lead them deeper into engagement with your target content.

Finally – just a quick word on email marketing tools.  Don’t skimp on capabilities!  Look for a platform that makes it easy to design-for-mobile and to preview your emails on a variety of mobile devices.  At ResourceBoxe, our go-to platforms continue to be Constant Contact and HubSpot (for more reasons than can be articulated in a single blog post).  If you’d like to learn more, contact me at