TOP-6 Tips to Create Mobile-Friendly Email | Essence of Email

Top 6 Tips to Create Mobile-Friendly Email: Essential Elements

Creating a mobile-friendly email, especially for online retailers, is no longer just a nice thing to have, it’s a must-haveSo let’s explore several simple, yet essential elements for creating mobile-friendly emails!

The rapid increase in the popularity of mobile devices is no longer a question: it’s an indisputable fact. Webmail and desktop email opens have steadily declined throughout 2015, each dropping 13% since January. By the end of 2018, worldwide mobile email users are expected to total over 2.2 billion, 80% of whom are going to access their email accounts via a mobile device (Source: Radicati).

Email marketers can no longer ignore mobile devices and tablets. They represent a massive part all email interactions and, consequently, revenue. But just how big? Well, from 2010 to 2015, email opens on mobile devices increased by 30%, reaching 54%

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*According to Litmus.

According to Litmus, based on email client usage data collected from 1.21 billion email opens worldwide in February 2016, the iPhone is the most common device that subscribers use to open their email. This means that creating a mobile-friendly email, especially for online retailers, is no longer just a nice thing to have, it’s a must-have.

So let’s explore several simple, yet essential elements for creating mobile-friendly emails, among which are:

  • Subject line
  • Pre-header text
  • Content
  • Images
  • Buttons
  • Testing

1. Measure the Length of the Subject Line

Subject lines are the first things the recipient sees and it determines whether the email is opened, so the importance of the subject line can’t be over-stated! As we all know, different mobile devices show a different amount of characters, but the rule of thumb is around 25-30 characters. By contrast, according to Return Path, most subject lines are between 41-50 characters.

Although keeping subject line to 35 characters is challenging, you should definitely try to do it, or at least put your main message at the very beginning so it shows up on a mobile devices and keep it limited to 5 or 6 words. Below, there are examples of subject lines, where 35 characters are viewable; however, the characters in red are not visible on most mobiles:

  • Still Looking for Boots?
  • Introducing the New Women’s Winter Wellie!
  • New Work Boots and Hunting Boots Now Available!
  • New arrivals: Muck Boots for Hunting & the Outdoors!
  • New Woman’s Colors in Winter Boots Now Boots Now Available!

2. Optimize Pre-Header Text

The pre-header area is a prime piece of inbox real estate that’s begging to be optimized and many retailers fail to do so. In this case, the pre-header section is usually populated with the first text that appears in a newsletter

A pre-header (otherwise known as a ‘Johnson Box’) is the short summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. In other words, it’s the first line of copy of your email, which can be very useful when it comes to mobile-friendly emails. Pre-headers support the subject line by further hinting at what the email contains before the user opens it. Here’s an example in Gmail, you can see the pre-header text in grey:

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The shift to mobile has made the use of pre-header text an important consideration for anyone using email to grow sales and revenue. Along with the subject line, the pre-header text is the first thing subscribers come into contact with when they receive your email campaign. It is an extension of your subject line, however, it should be short to ensure proper display across different devices. Additionally, don’t forget to include a call to action in your pre-header as it’s a simple but effective way to increase your open rates.

What’s the average length of concise yet meaningful mobile-friendly pre-header? According to Litmus, it is better to keep up to 35 characters, ensuring it gets shown in full on most mobile devices.

3. Think of Images as Optional

Email marketing best practice advises against creating heavily image-based emails. Why?

Well, not all mobile devices display images by default so it’s better to plan for an “images off” experience. Make sure that your email will still make sense even when your images don’t show. Here is the list of other reasons for thinking of images as optional rather than the reverse:

  • Some email clients do not autoload images so clients may see a blank screen or broken images.
  • Images take much longer to load than text, so reader might not wait for them.
  • Low image/text ratio can result in your email getting slam dunked into the spam folder.

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Therefore, it’s important to focus more on descriptive content, trying not to create too image-heavy emails. However, images are still good for engaging users, so here are some recommendations on how to include them into your mobile-friendly email correctly:

  • Keep image sizes small (so they won’t load for too long).
  • Use images to support the content, so that if they don’t load, users will still have an idea of what your email is about.
  • Make sure that any item pictured in your email is directly linked to its corresponding product page.

4. Keep it concise

When writing a mobile friendly email, it’s essential to keep it short and concise. Due to the fact that the overall mobile screen size is small you need to engage readers as efficiently as possible. To achieve this, create short, scannable and consumable content using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, highlights, headers etc.

Here’s a newsletter that illustrates all of the tips above. The copy is short but compelling enough to entice reader to click-through and read the article, and it makes it easy for recipients to find what they’re looking for by using headings or bullets.

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Mobile user’s experience of content is unique as readers must remain compelled to scroll from the headline downwards in order to continue reading. This makes it important that your structure optimizes the ease of this process, providing logical structuring. If web copy is skimming the cream off the top of the milk, than mobile copy is skimming cream off the cream!

5.    Include Thumb-able Buttons

As we all know, the whole point of sending your customers emails is to inspire action: make them view your store, browse for products and (hopefully) buy it. Consequently, you need to include a call to action (CTA) not only in your subject line, but also in the main body of your email. In general, all of your CTAs should be:

  1. Kept front and center. Place it near the top of your email to make it the most mobile friendly.
  1. Clear & BigMake CTAs big, bold and blindingly obvious (at least 44 x 44 pixels).
  1. Isolated from other CTAsPrevent your potential customers’ from clicking the wrong link.

To ensure maximum clickability, leave breathing and clicking room. You can see this in the example below:

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  6. Test Emails across Multiple Devices

Finally, when you’ve already created your super mobile friendly-email, make sure you test it across multiple mobile devices. We recommend using Litmus, which allows instant previews on over 20 different devices, such as:, Outlook 2010-2013. Apple Mail, Android, Gmail App, iPhone, iPad and others.

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So, these are six essential, but easy-to-implement tips to help you create mobile-friendly emails that your clients will love to open and take action on:

  1. Keep your subject line around 25-30 characters.
  2. Pre-header is an extension of your subject line, however, make it short and include simple CTAs.
  3. Focus more on descriptive content, trying not to create too image-heavy emails.
  4. Create short, scannable and consumable content using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, highlights, headers etc.
  5. Make your CTAs blindingly obvious and spaced out from other CTAs; keep themfront and center.
  6. Don’t forget to test your mobile-friendly email across multiple mobile devices before launching it.

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