There is a lot of chatter around at the moment following Google’s announcement that they will be giving more priority to mobile-friendly websites in searches made from mobiles and tablets – not least from some web developers suggesting the dire consequences of not upgrading your site NOW!
If you want our (hopefully pragmatic) view on Mobileageddon - check out this article
So that’s websites, but what about email? I don’t know about you but I use my smartphone much more for reading emails than I do for browsing websites. How come no-one is talking about mobile-friendly emails? There is no question that making e-newsletters and other marketing emails read clearly on small, handheld screens is a good idea. Most people scan emails very quickly so you need to make sure your message still has pride of place on a mobile screen.
How do I do this?
This isn’t a technical tutorial but you can make your email design ‘responsive‘ to adapt to display best on different screen sizes using media queries. Essentially, this means using cascading style sheets (CSS) media queries (ie: code that identifies the screen size and changes the design accordingly) to adapt the design as appropriate. I appreciate this may be something you want to discuss with your web designer Bear in mind: Not all mobile email clients support media queries (you will find details of levels of support by email client here), and where they do not support it, they will simply be ignored. The bottom line is that iPhones and Android do support media queries while many of the more niche operating systems don’t. The latest news (March 2015) is that Yahoo mail does now support media queries – to a point! You can read the latest here
What approach should I take to mobile marketing?
Here are three steps which will hopefully help you develop an approach to mobile email that is right for your business
1 Just how important is mobile email for me and my business?
Undoubtedly mobile is becoming more and more important in email marketing but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you must do something now. First of all it is worth checking out what proportion of your emails are opened on mobile devices. It isn’t straightforward to measure this directly but here is a way you can at least get an idea of some numbers:
- Make sure your emails can be tracked as a traffic source in Google Analytics (most decent email marketing packages offer this functionality)
- Note the proportion of links from your email that are being opened on a mobile device
- Use this proportion as an indicator of the significance of mobile in your email campaigns
2 Pick your strategy
Once you have an idea of the significance of mobile marketing to you and your business one of the following is likely to be most appropriate: Little or no mobile significance – probably best to leave well alone for now then review in a few months Some mobile activity but desktop is the majority – Design your email for desktop viewing and include media queries to adapt the design to supported mobile screens where appropriate Significant mobile activity – Design your email for mobile viewing and include media queries to adapt the design to make best use of larger desktop screens where appropriate
3 Test your email on as many different devices as possible
As I said above, media query support does vary across different smartphones and tablets so testing is particularly important.
With any email marketing you should ALWAYS test-send your messages.
Normally this is to check you aren’t falling foul of spam filters and that the links in your email work correctly, but with mobile there is the additional check to see how your email displays on different devices. Remember, you don’t need to aim for perfect display on every device so long as your core message is strong. If you find insurmountable issues with display on a particular, niche device that has minimal impact on your overall message delivery, maybe this is acceptable
4 Monitor the statistics to check your mobile marketing impact
As with all marketing communication you should consistently monitor the response levels you are getting. Be ready to tweak and refine your messages and layout if you think you can improve teh outcomes As technology moves on and more clients start to support media queries, the responsive nature of the design will benefit a increasing number of your readers. Hopefully this will give you some food for thought but, as always, make sure your email marketing campaigns are joined-up and consistent with your wider marketing communication and business development If you would like to talk to use about whether you should consider responsive design in your emails, we would love to talk to you.