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A Case for Mobile-Responsive Emails

July 07, 2015
Wes Davis

Where’s your phone?

(Just a guess, but it’s either in your hand or within arm’s reach.)

We live in a mobile-driven world, and it’s not stopping at smartphones and tablets.

Technology is rapidly advancing into new mobile hardware, and it’s our job to keep up with the times or get left behind.

Development in the mobile sector has been expansive. Apple released the Apple Watch. And if that wasn’t enough to learn and adapt to, Google unrolled its new algorithm that has brought on the (somewhat over-hyped) wake of Mobilegeddon.

However, despite all the uproar, it seems many still manage to overlook a critical factor in mobile development: mobile-responsive emails.

A Look at Mobile Open Rates

From 2011 to 2014, mobile open rates increased 50%. (And no, that’s not a typo.)

That’s an incredible jump in just a few years. The same study showed that in 2014, the open rate for emails on mobile devices was 53%, and nearly 75% of all consumers check their email on their phone. Combine that with the fact that only 3.3% of subscribers will view a single email in more than one environment.

All the facts point to one simple truth: you need a mobile-responsive email. Yet despite all the clear evidence, 42% of marketers rarely or never use responsive design (according to exacttarget.com’s 2014 State of Marketing Report). And, when it comes to email marketing, less than 12% of campaigns use a mobile-responsive design.

So, what does that mean for your business?

Simply put, you have an incredible opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. Chances are they’re not using this form of email design, making responsive emails a great way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Conversely, if you don’t invest in responsive email design, you’re missing out on the engagement of over half your subscribers.

Why Mobile Email Optimization Is Important

Okay, there are plenty of statistics to make a case, but by now you’re probably wondering…

That’s all great, but what does optimizing my emails for responsive even mean?

Good question.

Here is an example of the two, unresponsive versus responsive, respectfully. The first image is of an email from Udemy. The second features a beautiful, mobile-optimized email from Spotify.

Notice the difference between the two?

When you have a fixed-width email, it simply shrinks to fit the smaller screen. Layouts remain the same, but everything is a bit smaller.

It may not sound like a big deal, but that small oversight can create a considerable difference in user experience. Emily Dowdle sums up the dangers pretty well:

“What appears as a 12-point font on a desktop will look somewhere closer to a 5-point font on a mobile device. The text will be unreadable unless the reader zooms in.”

As you’ve realized, we believe 100% that you need mobile optimization for everything in your digital arsenal. Emails, landing pages, websites… it all needs to work beautifully on mobile platforms.

If it doesn’t, you’re not serving the customer to the best of your ability. It’s as simple as making sure no squinting or zooming in is necessary when reading your email.

That’s the kind of care and attention to detail makes a difference for your customer.

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