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Make your emails mobile-friendly
If you market your business via email, developing a mobile strategy is no longer a maybe—it’s a must. Mobile is now the biggest piece of the email pie: according to a recent study, 51 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device . And a poor mobile experience can mean a lost sales opportunity for your business. Mobile also enters into the physical retail space: people reading emails on their mobile devices are often out in the real world, not tethered to their home computers. If your small business has brick-and-mortar shops, this can work to your advantage.
With all that in mind, how can you optimize your emails for mobile?
Scalable, fluid, and responsive design
What’s the difference between the three? A scalable design is one that works on both desktop and mobile. Because it doesn’t use code, it’s a “quick fix” for immediate mobile optimization (and easiest on your small business’s budget). Next up is fluid design, which uses percentage-based sizing to make the width of tables and images adapt to screen size. But responsive design—which optimizes an email for whatever device it’s being read on—allows the most control over your layout. Responsive code will make your emails truly stand out against the competition the same way responsive websites do—and help you get the best click-through rates.
Before you start optimizing for mobile, you’ll need to do a code audit of your emails, just as you would if you were redesigning your company website. If you don’t have designers who know HTML5 or CSS, consider outsourcing or using an email service (GetResponse, BlueHornet and MailChimp are a few options) that has ready-to-use templates. If your business sends out emails regularly, simply swapping new copy and graphics into existing templates will make life much easier. And make sure you test on a variety of smartphones and tablets, such as the HP Elitepad 1000, which has wider viewing angles on its outdoor viewable 10.1-inch diagonal WUXGA multi-touch panel.
Streamline what you say
Designing from the start with mobile in mind means streamlining the content of your emails. What is the most important message you need to convey, and what can go? If your emails normally have a navigation bar or footer, what links can be discarded? Are there multiple calls-to-action (also known as CTAs) that you can reduce down to just one? Paring down will help you clarify your message for every screen size.
A good mobile email—like any email—boils down to copy and design. Task a copywriter to come up with short, snappy copy (bullet points are great, as is bolding for emphasis) that can be read at a glance. Ask your designer to aim for simple but striking visuals and a balanced layout—and consider plotting content in an s-curve, which follows the natural path of the eye. Also keep skinny, one-column designs in mind (they work best for vertical swiping). Most of all, keep things fun. Good design and witty copy will naturally engage your subscribers—and that only means good things for your business’s bottom line.
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 Litmus, Email Client Market Share: Where People Opened in 2013, January 16, 2014