Sixty-four percent of business decision makers say they regularly view emails using a mobile device. Some of the larger bulk email companies are reporting a rise of over 16% of from 4% in 2011 to 20% in 2012 of people who are using their phones to read emails.
However, with the increased adoption of the iPhone and other Smartphone devices, such as the BlackBerry and Treo, mobile email usage isn’t just for busy executives. Low cost and the desire to keep up with the “next cool thing” are stretching the typical mobile demographic to include everyone from students to stay at home moms. Today, the average Smartphone user is:
• Between 18 and 44 years old
• Self-employed or a full-time employee
• Well educated
While this may not be surprising to you, tomorrow’s Smartphone user may be completely different. In fact, a study by Exact Target shows that the intent to purchase a Smartphone among retired people, homemakers and students is significantly higher than the current use of Smartphone’s among these groups.
Chances are, if you own a Smartphone, then you use it in exactly the same way as any other person you know does, most people use it as a way to keep up to date with their email and on top of their inboxes. You typically react to urgent messages rather than comb through special offers or deals from their favorite retailer. According to Jupiter Research, 18 percent of email users use their mobile devices to sort email here are some statistics from early2011;
Developing Effective Email Content
If you don’t know what you’re objectives are, your email has little chance of succeeding. Ask yourself what you want to get across to your customers. Is it an information email? An acquisition email? A sale email? Are you giving a onetime special offer? Each type of email requires a different tone an approach, so before you start putting your design brief together think about your goals for this campaign.
Writing the copy
Copy is a subjective science, as with all marketing disciplines, there is a fine line between right and wrong and there is a fine line between like and dislike. However writing for an online audience is different from creating copy for printed media. The end recipient is less likely to read your copy from start to finish; they are more likely to scan the copy looking for keywords, clickable links and headings.
Here are some top tips from the copywriter’s armory…..
1. Steal their hearts with a subject line
2. Hit them with headlines – Use a lead in, a short introductory paragraph
3. Appeal to their desires
4. Play on their fears and anxieties
5. KISS – Keep it short and snappy
6. Call them to Action
7. Personalize your email
8. Be sensitive
In life you get 15 seconds to make a first impression.
Email is the same, starting with your email hitting the inbox, within 15 seconds your email will have been deleted, ignored or opened based on the subject line and in some browsers the introductory paragraph.
Keep your subject lines short, over 46 characters and some browsers render the rest of the subject line as dots. Subject Lines that intrigue, or which pose a question that the email will answer, tend to perform well.
Subject Lines that are quirky also tend to perform well. Though if you make a message to quirky your email will start to fail because your audience doesn’t understand what it is your offering them.
Write for your recipient – you should have a good idea what they like. BE ORIGINAL
Here are some more useful tips;
1. Write to be scanned not read
2. Keep it short
3. Make it active
4. Make it personal
5. Get the tone right
Improve your email testing
Testing your email is very important, there are numerous ways to test, and here is my recommended testing process.
- Set up email accounts with all the different email accounts in your data base.
- Create test seeds for all your future campaigns, check that your email renders correctly in the different browsers.
- Test your subject lines; make sure you always use some of the data as a way of testing which subject line worked the best. Use the best one on the main send.
- Allow a QC1 AND QC2 period for your mail. Send it once to your creative team as QC1, check for issues, fix the issues and then send out the email again to all.
- Once you’re happy that it works in all browsers, check the spam rating of your email.
- Amend if necessary, and then send the email.
- Make a note of the time and day you send it.
By doing this, you will save yourself a lot of time, money and effort in the long run as you become your own email experts.
Designing email for Mobile Devices
When designing for mobile devices, there are several ways you can improve on your regular email design to be mobile friendly. Remember that enabling your emails to look good in both PC and Mobile Browsers is a tricky business so here are a few tips to get you started;
- Subject line: Make sure the main message of your subject line is within the first 15 characters, because for a lot of mobile clients, that’s all they’re going to see.
- Layout: Use a simple, stacked layout as opposed to a multi-column layout.
- Use alt attributes (tags). Give people a quick sense of what’s behind an image by providing tags. Not every email client recognizes it when images are turned off, but it’s still worth using for those email clients that do read them.
- Incorporate text over images. Make sure the text in a link shows, so that something is still in front of your readers’ eyes, even when images aren’t being loaded.
- Design for the touch. Our fingertip is replacing the mouse. Keep that in mind by designing emails with links and blocks of text that are easy to touch. If your links are too close together, that might be fine for a mouse-click, but it’s a different story for fingers.
- Width: Keep the width to 600 pixels or less.
- Font: Use a font size of 14 pts or higher for body copy and 30 pts for headers. Anything smaller than 12 pts will be automatically resized to 12 pts on Apple devices, causing text to wrap and email designs to break.
- Buttons and links: Make buttons and links big and “clickable.” According to Apple, the ideal size for a clickable area is 44 px. That’s not to say that all buttons have to be 44 px, just that there shouldn’t be any buttons or links closer together than 44 px. Otherwise you run the risk of a “mistap.”
- Click-to-call: Use a plain text phone number or a click-to-call button. It stands to reason that mobile users are likely to have a high conversion rate over the phone. The idea here is to make it as easy as possible for them to do that.
- Ergonomics: Remember that ergonomically, you’re designing for people’s thumbs. Keep that in mind as you’re placing important elements such as call-to-action buttons. For instance, they shouldn’t go in the lower right corner because it’s uncomfortable to click there.
- General best practices: Most of the best practices for regular email design still apply. Keep the copy to a minimum, use images wisely, balance images with plain text, use alt text, and always – always – include a plain-text version.
Keep it simple
People who read their email on mobile devices are giving you half of their attention at best. Get to the point quickly and make sure your brand is immediately recognizable. Include your message and calls to action early in the email, and be sure your subject line is clear and short. That may be your only opportunity to capture your mobile subscriber audience.
Think about the screen size
Use the “above the fold” rule that you use for the inbox. Screens on a handheld are often small, and since you are working with a small space and a limited time to capture attention, you’ve got to make the most of that real estate.
Know your audience
What portion of your list reads their emails on a mobile device? Do you know? You should. Knowing this will help you make a decision on how you approach emails to mobile users. You’ll be able to segment them and act accordingly. If you don’t know, consider a brief survey. If you are just beginning to build a list, or if you have a preference center, ask subscribers when they sign up. As adoption continues to grow, this will save you time in the long run. Think of it as an investment in the future. Another way to capture this segment is asking in the preference center where users view their emails. You could offer up these choices, which can provide a great deal of insight: home, work or mobile device.
Be cognizant of the fact that designing your email for mobile users involves sacrifices. There’s no point in doing this unless you’re sure about your audience. Otherwise, you’re sending mobile-optimized email to an audience that is actually reading your email on a PC.
the mobile expert
2 thoughts on “Creating Emails for Mobile Devices”
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