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    Want Better Email Campaign Metrics? Update your Templates to support Mobile

    SUMMARY:

    Around 50% of emails are now read on a Mobile device yet many emails are only designed for Desktop viewing. Text is usually difficult to read, information in images hard to see and links on mobile are usually impossible to click on. When you consider that recent research has shown that 80% of people delete an email if it doesn’t look good on their mobile. It goes without saying that improving the mobile experience will provide a better user experience and lift clickthrough rates. In fact in our experience, it is not unusual to see clickthrough rates increase by at least 20% by making email templates responsive.


    Responsive Desig

    CHALLENGE

    Email templates should be seen as ongoing work in progress and evolve to provide the best user experience possible based upon users behaviours and preferences.

    The problem to overcome is that not only do we have email programmes that have their own nuances and display email content differently, but add to that the various mobile devices and their email clients and it does seem daunting. However, by utilising a Responsive Design approach, your email will display correctly in the majority of email clients and across desktop and mobile devices – certainly the most commonly used ones.

    • #1 Apple iPhone 25%
    • #2 Outlook 12%
    • #3 Gmail 12%
    • #4 Apple iPad 12%
    • #5 Yahoo! Mail 11%
    • #6 Apple Mail 7%
    • #7 Outlook.com 5%
    • #8 Google Android 5%
    • #9 Windows Live Mail 2%
    • #10 Windows Mail 2%

    Responding to the growth of mobile readership is a challenge for organisations and does require more effort and technical skills, but the benefits far outweigh the effort. Look how the following organisations improved their email campaign performance:

    WHAT IS RESPONSIVE DESIGN

    Responsive Design is a way of constructing an email template so at a basic level it will render across desktop and mobile email clients, yet by using additional detection, called media queries, to check the screen width of the device and to turn on different sets of rules and styling to make the content more fluid and readable.

    These media queries can check out the device that’s opened the email to find out:

    • The width and height of the device
    • The width and height of the available space
    • Device orientation
    • Pixel density

    Now, with this information, the designer can specify how the elements of the email will be laid out to provide the best user experience for the device in use.

    The possibilities of responsive emails are almost endless. You are now able to include multiple columns of varying sizes, hide and show navigation, include responsive elements inside responsive elements and expanding CTAs.

    Below you can see an example of a responsive email, with two different sized columns, each with a call to action button within the articles. On a smartphone, the panels stack on top of each other, expanding to fill the width of the device, the buttons expand so that they are clear and actionable and the social icons slot underneath the buttons.

    Responsive Design 

    When planning to include mobile into your email campaigns, consider how the user will be accessing and viewing the email. He or she may be on a train, walking down the street or queuing for a coffee. With this in mind, plan to incorporate elements that allow the user to take the appropriate action you desire. For example:

    • Make it easy to scroll: Zooming and scrolling in all directions is not easy with one hand. To simplify navigation, use a one-column layout when opened on a smartphone or tablet and a two-column layout when opened on a desktop.
    • Make it easy to click: Ensure calls-to-action are larger, brighter and more tapable, (for example making it easier to tap with a thumb.


    LIMITATIONS

    Responsive Design emails do not display correctly in all email clients such as Gmail as some clients strip out CSS styles and media queries so they will not render correctly. There are various techniques to overcome this such as playing off media queries with inline CSS which will counter a lot of these limitations. However, suffice to say that Responsive Design provides a much better experience to far more of your audiences than non-responsive ones.


    CONCLUSION

    As you can see, there are some compelling reasons to adopt Responsive Design for your email marketing campaigns that are fully underpinned by research and case studies. It’s worth analysing the results of a previous campaign to see what people are using to view your campaigns, which is a good place to start. Additionally, ensuring your responsive HTML template is up to standard is only part of the puzzle – you’ll need to ensure the site you’re linking back to works well on mobile too!

    Further Reading and more Insights:

    http://www.pinterest.com/heartnewmedia/email-marketing/

    http://www.scoop.it/t/the-digital-mix

    http://www.heartnewmedia.com/blog

    http://paper.li/heartnewmedia/1401984746

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Jim Webster is the MD of Heart New Media, a full service digital agency specialising in creating business value for our clients via our web, mobile, marketing and social media multi-channel solutions to win business, build brands, maximise the value of customer relationships and build loyal customer bases.

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