Creating a mobile-friendly email campaign is a major factor in raising your email open rate.

Whether you are asking customers for feedback or announcing a new promotion, you put some effort into designing and delivering an email or campaign with a specific message.  Chances are you designed and wrote your email campaign on a desktop or laptop.  However, did you make sure that your emails were optimized for your mobile-friendly readers?  If not, you’re missing the opportunity to connect with a majority of your subscribers with mobile-friendly email campaigns.

Several Sources Show High and Increasing Numbers of People Reading Emails on Mobile Devices

According to the Litmus Email Analytics Report (March 2016), 55% of emails are now opened on mobile devices, 19% on desktops, and 26% on webmail.

mobile-friendly-email-mobile-openSource: Litmus

The Kahuna “Mobile Marketing Index” for Q1 2016 has data showing 86% of emails were opened on a mobile device.

The BlueHornet “Customer Views of Email Marketing 2015” report stated 67.2% of consumers use a smartphone to check their email, 42.3% use a tablet, and 93.3% use a desktop environment.


At the I/O Developers Conference in May 2015, Google stated that 75% of their 900 million Gmail users access their accounts on a mobile device.

B2C emails get 57.4% more opens on mobile than B2B email (42.78% mobile opens vs. 27.18% mobile opens), according to the DDMA “Nationale Email Benchmark 2015” report.

How Do You Create a Mobile-Friendly Email Campaign & Get More Email Opens?

Knowing that each time you send an email, a majority of your readers will be opening them on a mobile device changes need to be made.  You’ve got a mobile responsive website (I know you do), so now you need to create attention-grabbing emails that look good on smaller screens and function smoothly in a mobile setting.

Design for Touch Navigation in Mobile-Friendly Email Campaigns

Simple, uncluttered email designs ensure that taps and slides done with a finger and not a mouse get your reader where you want them to go.  Instead of stuffing every image and link you think is relevant, have a clear goal for each email and pick your most important offers and links.  Space any clickable images, calls to action, or links far apart enough to single out with a finger tap.

Keep Emails to a Single Column

A single column will help you keep your design simple and compatible with mobile environments.  It’s a straightforward design that works with all email clients and keeps the most important information front and center.

Write Concise Headlines

Tablets range in size and smartphones have gotten bigger in the last few years but screen real estate is still limited.  Most devices can now display 35 to 40 characters of an email subject line.  Mobile-friendly email subject lines have powerful subject lines that fit that space, or at least fit the most important information at the beginning.

ALSO READ: New Email Marketing – Higher Conversion Rates

One Clear, Stand Out Call-to-Action

Your email campaigns should have a goal.  Your call-to-action in each email should tell the reader what to do next, getting you closer to that goal.  It should be big and bold on mobile screens, but avoid using an image as your call-to-action.  Some email clients won’t show images from unverified senders and users can select to not display images on their mobile devices.

Test Emails for Mobile Devices

Most leading email marketing software have a way for you to design and test your mobile-friendly email.  Litmus has an “Instant Email Previews” feature that lets you see screenshots of your emails across 50 apps and devices to ensure your email design is compatible with all mobile and desktop environments.   MailChimp’s “Inbox Preview” feature (for paid users) is another example of a great tool for testing how your email will look on mobile devices in more than 40 different mobile clients.

If your email provider doesn’t have a mobile testing feature, you’ll just have to go old school. Build an email, send it to yourself and check it on the smartphones and tablets at your disposal (friends and family), fix what doesn’t look right, and then use it as a template.


The Old “600 Pixels Wide” Rule Is Still Good

At the beginning of the millennium, Microsoft Outlook ruled the email universe and the average desktop monitor was 1024 pixels and to ensure your emails showed properly in these constraints marketers used a 600 pixels wide rule.  With responsive designs and higher resolutions, you still need to resist the urge to get too fancy or go bigger.  At widths wider than 640 pixels Gmail doesn’t show the background colors that appear in the margins.  Additionally, many email clients still use some of that larger screen for menus, navigation, and ads.

Larger Font Size and Smaller Images

No one is going to squint to read your email.  They can pinch and slide to make it larger and move it around but why would they?  Use 14- or 15-pixel font sizes to make your mobile-friendly email more readable on smaller screens.

Reduce load times and bandwidth by using smaller images.  Unless you know how some responsive-coding, the easiest thing to do is to shrink your image under 480 pixels and then compress for faster page loading.

Create Mobile-Friendly Email Campaigns by Focusing on User Experience

Have you ever scrolled from side to side, or pinched and spread on a marketing email to make sure you read every word and saw every image?  Me either! Poor email user experience leads to spam folders and unsubscribe clicks.  As more and more of your readers rely on their mobile devices for everything mobile-friendly email is a requirement.


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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.