Emails are often the start­ing point for per­sonal rela­tion­ships between brands and con­sumers. It is there­fore manda­tory for mar­keters to ensure that emails are read­able on every device avail­able as part of an effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­egy. The audi­ence has expanded beyond the desk­top to mobile, and brands have to fol­low the trend.

I wanted to dis­cuss the impor­tance of reach­ing con­sumers on any device and to gather some best prac­tices for impact­ful, respon­sive email design. Below are some basic ques­tions I receive from cus­tomers when ask­ing about respon­sive design.

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What Is Respon­sive Email Design?

Respon­sive email design ensures that an email ren­ders appro­pri­ately for the device on which it’s opened.

As mar­keters, our cus­tomers are mobile, and the major­ity of emails are now accessed on mobile devices. As a result, mar­keters need to adapt their com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies to include a lighter for­mat and a mobile friendly lay­out: that’s respon­sive email design.

Why Should Mar­keters Invest Time Recod­ing Their Emails if the For­mat They Use Today Per­forms Well?

With 61 per­cent of mar­ket­ing emails being opened on smart­phones and tablets, mar­keters must be sen­si­tive to the consumer’s expe­ri­ence.  Seventy-five per­cent of con­sumers say they will delete an email that doesn’t ren­der prop­erly on their device, so ignor­ing respon­sive email design can have dis­as­trous results. Fur­ther­more, respon­sive email design can gen­er­ate addi­tional sales. Nowa­days check­ing one’s email is the most pop­u­lar activ­ity on smart­phones and 56 per­cent of US smart­phone users who have made at least once pur­chase through their mobile device, state that they made it after hav­ing received an email. Con­se­quently, email mar­ket­ing remains the best call-to-action – even on mobile. It just has to be adapted.

Does This Impact Both B2B and B2C Sectors?

Quick answer – yes. For obvi­ous rea­sons BtoC orga­ni­za­tions need to make the shift first. But these new behav­iors are com­mon in a BtoB con­text too. 57 per­cent of employ­ees are par­tic­i­pat­ing in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world­wide and 85 per­cent of man­agers use smart­phones for busi­ness pur­poses. With the pro­lif­er­a­tion of mobile devices and increas­ing use of these devices for both work and play, BtoB and BtoC both need to ensure respon­sive design is part of every dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion to effec­tively engage with their audiences.

Respon­sive design is an appro­pri­ate strat­egy for both B2B and B2C mar­keters because mobile is the num­ber one plat­form for open­ing and read­ing read­ing emails. In fact, stud­ies have shown that 65% of mar­ket­ing emails were opened on a smart­phone or tablet in the fourth quar­ter of 2013, while desk­top opens slowed to a new low of 35%, down from 39% in the pre­vi­ous quarter.

Do Brands Need to Recruit New Peo­ple and Buy New Cam­paign Man­age­ment Solu­tions to Pro­duce Respon­sive Email Designs?

Cam­paign man­age­ment solu­tions (such as Adobe Cam­paign) can lever­age respon­sive design code with­out lim­i­ta­tions and also offer respon­sive design tem­plates in the newest soft­ware solu­tion. Mar­keters have to ensure the solu­tions they use are equipped with these fea­tures and offer the same level of flexibility.

In terms of resources, it’s impor­tant to train the peo­ple cre­at­ing your emails to give them enough knowl­edge to code ‘mobile-ready’ emails. If you out­source email cre­ation, you must check if your agency has enough exper­tise in mobile readi­ness and respon­sive design.

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What Are the Main Best Prac­tices around Respon­sive Email Design Strategy?

Mak­ing emails read­able on any device means adapt­ing what they con­tain and how they are built. Here are some rules for mak­ing respon­sive email designs work:

  • Build on a sin­gle col­umn tem­plate to opti­mize read­abil­ity. Smart­phone screens force mar­keters to arrange their con­tents ver­ti­cally. Lat­eral scrolling is not good prac­tice for mobile design.
  • Shorten con­tent and ensure that the call to action is vis­i­ble with­out scrolling.
  • Emails might be read “on the go,” and there­fore need to be impact­ful and quickly recognizable.
  • Empha­size sub­jects and first lines to increase open rates. Most mobile inboxes dis­play emails in a list show­ing only the sub­ject and the first one to three lines.
  • Lighten image sizes to make them avail­able quickly. Down­load delays are a real annoy­ance for con­sumers; mar­keters must avoid this. Images should be hosted on a remote server to make emails lighter.
  • Adapt call-to-action but­tons to make them mobile friendly. But­tons must be large enough to be eas­ily reach­able with a fin­ger: 44×44 pix­els is a minimum.
  • Test, test and retest, to ensure that your emails dis­play well across all devices.

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How Can Brands Test to Ensure Their Emails Are Actu­ally Read­able on Var­i­ous Devices?

Prior to send­ing an email cam­paign, mar­keters should uti­lize ren­der­ing tools to test how their emails will be dis­played on a wide range of screens and devices.

What’s the Next Step?

Not only is it impor­tant to build respon­sive design into emails, it’s impor­tant to con­sider what hap­pens after the ‘click.’ Why spend the time to cre­ate a responsive-designed mes­sage if the land­ing page doesn’t adapt to mobile devices? Make sure to drive your cus­tomers to a page that will rec­og­nize whether or not they are mobile and present the infor­ma­tion in an adapted for­mat. Another good option is to drive your sub­scribers to your app in the appro­pri­ate online store.

What’s the Most Impor­tant Takeaway?

As mar­keters, we must always con­sider the con­sumer expe­ri­ence. Before even con­sid­er­ing respon­sive design options, we must first ensure that we’re only send­ing rel­e­vant emails that our cus­tomers have asked for. Per­mis­sion and rel­e­vance remain the key require­ments for any email strat­egy. Once that’s ensured, mar­keters can inno­vate with new options for con­nect­ing with their cus­tomers, such as respon­sive email design.

2 comments
JohnnSmith
JohnnSmith

While creating an email you should always try to use compelling email design that must be able to attract your customers. A user friendly and pleasant email can give you a better chance to impress your customers.

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