Emails are massive. By the time you’ve reached this sentence, 20 Million emails are being written. Yes, the global circulation covers almost 150 Billion per day. You can argue all you want about the effectiveness of emails in marketing, but I will let these guys prove you wrong:
“Appsumo.com is a 7-figure business with 90+% revenue comes from emails”
Noah Kagan, Founder of Sumome
“Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them”
Neil Patel, Co-Founder of KISSmetrics, CrazyEgg, and QuickSprout
Not only that, our friend has also eloquently explained on how email marketing is a must-have for marketing. Read all about the reasons why in here. Now, to make it big in the current email marketing era, you should realize that a large sum of recipients/subscribers are going to read emails on a mobile device (48% emails are opened on mobile). Hence, the stellar email marketing campaign should also consider the massive (and growing) use of smartphones and tablets. You can find the complete statistics for mobile emails here.
Mobile is the king
Super Short Attention Span
A recent study has proven that the current people abilities to sustain an attention span (8 seconds) is worse than a goldfish (Millennials, am I right?). Knowing this, every single email you’ve sent should be as effective and effective as possible. You don’t want your well-crafted message promoting your products be buried deep inside all of those unread emails.
1. Pick an Attractive Subject Line
The first step to achieving this is to compose a short and clear subject email lines. It is your closest content to a headline, at best. Don’t miss the opportunity before your reader dozed off to go shopping online in a matter of seconds. Plus, even though several email clients will display your entire subject line text, many others are not. Don’t take chances. Make the most important phrase in first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers actually reading it. Also, use command verbs that are even a children with a pet goldfish can understand it: Download the App, Buy Now, Free Deals, and many more. Experiment! Our blog also has covered on how to craft a perfect subject line for your marketing emails.
2. Engaging Copywriting
It might cost a lot of work and meticulous details, but this part is actually the critical part of marketing success. Okay sure you have captivated the audience by your attractive headline, but if by the next 10 seconds the readers are not interested enough in your message or offering, prepare to kiss them goodbye.
For this, I usually follow the great advice from Campaign Monitor. They recommended 4P for writing great email copy, specifically designed to build a particular offer appeal to the wants and needs of your reader. The technique comprises of: 1) Promise- creating an engaging promise to readers that speaks directly to the desires of the target, 2) Paint– provides clear picture of what their world would look like after the promise was delivered, 3) Proof– Give a concrete proof of how the promise can reflect the promised painting, and 4) Push- After the excitement of promise, paint, and proof, push them to take action. Below is the example of the 4P’s technique in concrete:
And below is using 4P
Grab attention as soon as possible!
- Use short and effective subject line,
- provide a clear call to action,
- and give a brilliant copywriting.
Crave Easiness of Reading
This second characteristic was found also due to the notion of how one email could spend someone’s time. Sure, if one email made it to the hurdle of getting into my gaze, that email better be worth my reading time. As we’ve already covered proper copywriting (content), let’s dig further on how mobile email design can make a reading experience more enjoyable. After the 4P’s, we can follow another guide for email design. As these guys mentioned, follow this simple mantra:
“One eyeball, one thumb and arm’s length.”
Translation: an email should be easily readable with only one eye (the other one is usually found making a pretend gaze to a friend, who is currently speaking – Daniel! Pay attention!), any links and buttons are easy to interact using one thumb, and any text or visual objects are large enough so that your arm can chill comfortably. To ease the mind and the attention span, I recommend to do these simple things to create a perfect reading experience:
3. Use Single-column Template
On a tiny screen, two columns usually are disappointingly appear shrunk and confusing to read, let alone three columns. A single column will make your email easily compatible with various devices when it’s viewed with various email clients. Remember, from Android, iOS, up to Windows Phone, your readers can use a ridiculous amount of email apps. I repeat, do not take chances.
Always go with one column
4. Use Small Pixels in Width
Even though your email design is responsive, it is best to keep the width of the email to a reasonable minimum. These guys recommended to keep it under 600 pixels so that readers won’t have issues reading emails formatted for large desktop screens. I couldn’t agree more. Set a width attribute in your email template to 600 pixels, or you can use the CSS width property in the email editor to make this slight adjustment.
This is what happened when you don’t set your pixel width with care
5. Use Large Font Size
I have personally deleted and unsubscribed from many email lists for the ridiculous size of the writings. What about you?
Here, you should realize how a 10-12 pixel font is already very painful to read on a desktop computer screen, let alone phones. Pay attention or your readers will squint their eyes all the way to find where the unsubscribe button lies among this pile of wasted time and attention. A font size of 14 pixels will make your emails more readable than it ever is, especially on a small screen. But don’t hesitate to go larger than that. Experiment until you’ve found the perfect number to read on both desktops and mobile devices.
6. Use Small Images
The last rule for reading simplicity is the use of images. If you can, at least put 1 images. And make it a beautiful one. Remember about the effectiveness and the goldfish attention span.
Next, you have to note that images will zap load times and bandwidth. So be very efficient about this, use smaller images. You can’t always rely in your mobile users using 4G. Speed is important. You don’t want your image to go dark when it is actually the centerpiece of the content, right?
If you have set up the proper email service in terms of network, now you have to use responsive techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices. Believe me, even the biggest companies did not take this initiative. Get ahead! Now, tone down the image by 50% at the very least, and compress it at a high compression rate to load images faster and save users’ bandwidth.
Here’s a great example of a brilliant newsletter campaign by MisterSpoils, a Newsletter for Cool Kids. I personally subscribed to them since forever.
Crisp and Well-Crafted
Make the reading experience dead easy!
- Use single column template,
- Use small pixels in width,
- Use large font size,
- Use small images.
All Things Easy to Interact
Good, now you’ve captured the attention and even get the readers to read the actual content. The next and final step is to make “the jump” as easy as pie. We’re talking about interactions here. Create a beautiful and seamless experience for them, just so they don’t taste any hassle trying to buy or consume your product. Make it super easy and hand it to their smiling face.
7. Menu Bars are Toxic, Avoid Them
Remember the mantra? Realize that fingers are not the most precise instruments in the world. Heck, most people with small screens even got a set of big fingers to touch and type. For this, avoid tiny menu and navigation bars inside emails. Firstly, people won’t bother to interact with a shrunken website in a short attention span that they’ve already got. Secondly, it’s an email, not a website. Don’t make it even harder for yourself. Stick with the basic easy to interact designs.
8. Don’t Stack Links, Ever
Stacked links are a disaster. I dare to say that you’ve been through the hassle of wanting to tap into a specific link but ended up going through a link with zero connection with the first one. It’s a tiny nightmare for your day.
Clear the path for easy interaction!
- Avoid Menu Bars
- Avoid Stacked Links
Alas, you’ve made it through the first hurdle. So what’s next? You should make all of the above to work. Test all of the possible scenarios with delicate care. No worries, you won’t need a bag full of phones and tablets to properly test your designs. You can use Litmus, a service that runs comprehensive tests on a huge number of email clients. Use the seven-day trial very effectively! Don’t know where to start with email responsive design? Mailchimp has many great templates you can use for free. But if you’re looking for a various blend of design, you can find it here.
Next, grow your email lists! You have learned how to make your readers love your emails. Use various strategies to hook your potential readers to subscribe to your mail. Be it come from website, social media, guest blog, you name it!
Lastly, and more importantly, always put your reader’s experience as the first priority. One way to put this into context is just imagine yourself in their shoes. You would’ve asked for a top-class customer reading experience to effectively waste your time. Be like them: Super Short Attention Span, Crave for Easiness of Reading, and All Things Easy to Interact.
Go to bed tonight and put mobile email design as the first bullet in your to-do list. Or, if you have other brilliant advice to tweak mobile email content or design, please feel free to put it in the comment section! Good luck!