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Published on July 15th, 2009 | by Janine Popick

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Designing Your Email for Mobile Devices

Mobile PhonesMany consumers are using mobile devices more than ever. They’ve done something on their mobile device whether its sending a text message, surfing the Internet, or checking email. So is your business addressing the needs of your mobile customers? I’ve researched and found some things you can be doing today to make your email a bit more mobile-friendly, that is, make it look better on your recipient’s mobile devices. Here are a few things to think about when creating your emails, if you have recipients who might be reading emails on their mobile devices.

Don’t Make them Download the Rest of Message – Your message might get truncated if it is too big. If it is too big your recipient might be prompted to “download the rest of the message”. I’m sure many of your recipients check email on their mobile device to make sure things are not blowing up at the office and they probably save the marketing messages until they get to their computer, so you’ll want to avoid running the risk of them not seeing your entire message or worse, deleting it.

Don’t Make ‘Em Scroll – You will want to avoid having your recipient do a lot of scrolling. Make sure your key takeaways are up near the top.

Let ‘Em Know Who You Are – Make sure you include your logo at the top of email so you’re recognized immediately. You’ll want your recipient to keep that email until later when they can act upon what you want them to do.

Click To View in a Browser – You’ll want to have a link for them to click to view your message in a browser, however you might think about putting it somewhere other than at the very top of your email. Many mobile devices render the beginning of the email in your inbox so your recipients can decide if they want to click to the entire email or not. Including the link text, to view in a browser, might take up some valuable space.

Make Your Email Lose Weight! – Make your emails 500-600 pixels wide. VerticalResponse creates our pre-designed layouts in this fashion already.

Let Them Call You – Include a click-to-call link if possible. The easier you make it for your recipient to get more information, the better.

Text Version is a Must – Make sure you have a text version of your emails in the event that your mobile recipients can only get text. Make sure you keep it short. Since emails usually have line breaks at about 60 characters and mobile devices 20 characters, you’ll want to cut back on some of your copy and direct them for more information to your website.

So there you have it, the top things you need to think about when you are creating your email for those who are viewing it on their mobile devices.

Any thoughts? Let’s hear them!

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



12 Responses to Designing Your Email for Mobile Devices

  1. Bryan says:

    Hi Chris,
    (In response to Chris’ post on 4/20/11)
    Being able to display content on mobile devices is a topic that we give a lot of thought to around here at VR.  As this post explains, there are already many ways to make mobile-compliant emails using VerticalResponse, and as the mobile landscape evolves, we’re actively exploring new ways to best do this.
    Your suggestion of adding a link to a mobile version of your email is one of the most straight forward ways for your recipients to get the display that works best.  While we have a flavor of that idea on our to-do list, I don’t have specifics about the timeline for implementation.  In the meantime, by following the suggestions in this post, your emails should render well on many mobile platforms including iPhones.  And, as new mobile platforms emerge, we’re committed to working toward even better solutions that continue to support new mobile platforms including a variety of smartphones and tablets.
    Cheers!
    - Bryan, VR Product Manager

  2. Chris says:

    Does VR have any plans to develop an auto-generated link option of “View On Mobile Device” that would already the ‘weight’ of the email, etc.
    The idea of editing content for those who MIGHT use a smart phone is good, but if VR can help us create a mobile friendly version, that would be better.
    Thoughts?

  3. Well mobile marketing is the useful tool in the sms marketing but the problem is that email marketing on mobile phones sounds like even more spam

  4. The more “mobile” we become as a society, the more mobile friendly we must make our communications. I am sure that over 50% of the population uses their mobile phones as the primary means of receiving emails. This post is right on track with making sure that your emails are mobile friendly and also keeping them short and snappy.

  5. Wholesale jerseys says:

    Thanks for the tips – of course people are reading our emails on their phone and we’re not (yet!) doing anything differently to accommodate them

  6. robot-dice says:

    so, most of the people that do use their telephone, have a Blackberry. The Blackberry does not fix the content as well as a ‘smart’ phone does. I often wounder if the e-mails should have an different opt function for optimal viewing?
    any advice – other then – don’t use the dang blackberry to look at the e-mail?

  7. Mitch Tarr says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Can someone tell the email designers that copy is still the king of email content. Design is important too, but times are a changing. Lots of your readers have iPhones. Lots.

  8. This is a great post, thanks so much for taking the time to write it!
    With mobile devices growing in popularity, it is becoming more and more important to test your email before sending. It’s easy to forget how many different mail readers and platforms there really are and it’s no secret that readability can make or break an e-marketing campaign.

  9. Thank you for your informative article, to be honest … It just never occurred to me that HTML e-mails would potentially create a problem for my recipients. I have always just based my messages on the look of my signature in html. I will from now on take your advice and switch to text.
    Great articles, and thanks again for some great advice. Ron Gallagher ( http://www.yourcelebrant.com )

  10. Thanks for the tips – of course people are reading our emails on their phone and we’re not (yet!) doing anything differently to accommodate them.

  11. The problem is that email marketing on mobile phones sounds like even more spam. i already receive dozens of emails each day and don’t even have time to look at the ones that I want to read, so receiving heaps of marketing emails on mobile phones is probably going to tick off a lot of people.
    We have better plans than that.

  12. Sean says:

    This is very good advice, and I’m not sure how many people understand how relevant and critical this advice is.
    Kim Dushinski (author of Mobile Marketing for Profit) keeps saying this over and over, but I don’t know how many people are listening. And it was good to hear you say it too.
    S-
    http://wwww.psychotactics.com

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