From social media to online shopping, mobile is winning the battle for attention over desktop — and its usage is increasing at a rapid rate. 

In practical terms, this means that the likelihood of your customers viewing the emails you send on a desktop is diminishing by the day. 

If you want to extract the most possible value from your email marketing campaigns and deliver the compelling experiences your customers demand, you need to approach every email that leaves your server with a mobile-first mindset.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the 7 best practices for mobile-friendly emails that convert more buyers and drive repeat purchases.

7 Best Practices for Mobile-Friendly Email Marketing

1. Keep Your Copy Short and Valuable

If you like to write long emails with large images, you may want to consider a change in tact.

Google clips emails at 102kb. So, instead of displaying your full email content, Google will truncate it and force your subscribers to manually download the rest.

Not only do you risk lowering your email impact, it can also harm your tracking capabilities. Why? Because if you’re including your tracking pixel in the footer of your email, like many marketers do, that’s getting clipped, too. 

Your subscribers are short on time, even shorter on attention, so a “less-is-more” approach is 100% the way to go. Focus on keeping your email content short, sweet, and valuable — and be sure it satisfies the all-important question your recipients are sure to ask: “What’s in it for me?”

2. Have a Clean Layout

Excitement, anticipation, desire — these are all emotions that you might want to evoke with your email copy.

But if you overcomplicate your email design and try to cram too much into your already-limited real estate, you could end up causing unnecessary frustration. 

Mobile emails are often consumed while your audience is on the move. So, whether they’re hopping off a train during their morning commute or running out of the office to grab a quick coffee, you need to make your email layouts clean and easy to navigate. 

Limit your emails to one column so your readers don’t have to pinch and zoom to digest your content, and make sure your buttons are big enough to be clicked easily and not packed too tightly together. 

See why “Emarsys’s top-notch campaign management delivers against its promise to empower email marketers.”

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3. Use Pre-Header Text

Subject lines get all the glory in online content that offers workable solutions to improve email open rates. However, pre-headers are an unsung hero of email engagement. 

A good subject line clearly explains why an email deserves your attention. A good pre-header explains what you can expect to get from it.

Too often, brands leave pre-headers blank and as a result, emails hit inboxes with the default “open email in browser” link. 

If you’re doing this, you’re missing out on a chance to drive more opens and grow your email engagement. Email preheader text gives you a unique opportunity to convey your most important messages and entice your subscribers to click. Start adding call-to-action copy into your pre-header text and watch your open rates grow. 

4. Choose Impactful Images

A picture might speak a thousand words… but that relies on you picking the right one. And with the limited space you’re working with for mobile-first email, selecting impactful imagery is crucial to driving results. 

The key to impactful, engaging imagery is focusing on quality over quantity, and making sure your images load instantly. 

Pick images that sell the message you’re trying to convey, with text overlays that give a quick, direct overview of your offer so readers can quickly and easily understand what you’re putting on the table. 

Looking to take your email engagement one step further? Use 1:1 personalization to tailor your images to each recipient. 

Many email marketing platforms allow you to add personalized text and images, but some of the best ones provide dynamic blocks that enable you to include visuals based on each subscriber’s shopping behavior, interests, and product affinity. 

5. Make CTAs Clear and Obvious

How many decisions do you think the average person has to make in a day? A thousand? Ten thousand? Try 35,000.

As marketers, our job should be to try to limit the number of choices our customers have to make. Otherwise, what invariably happens is that they end up taking no action at all. 

Your subscribers are more likely to skim your emails for key details, and this is especially true on mobile. When you’ve only got seconds to grab attention and reel your audience in, the last thing you want is to force them to hunt for your CTA buttons, or tie them in knots with multiple options. 

Put your value offering first in your email, leading with your CTA to give subscribers a quick and easy way to move forward should they be interested in what you have to offer. 

6. Use Cross-Links

With time being such a precious commodity in the mobile world, if you want to successfully drive the outcomes you’re aiming for with your email campaigns, you need to make the path to conversion quick and seamless.

If you’re running a specific product category offer with a tailored CTA, you likely wouldn’t send subscribers to your site home page. You’d take them directly to the product. And that behavior shouldn’t be any different for apps, either. 

This is where deep links come in. 

What are deep links?

Deep links don’t look any different to a normal hyperlink, but when clicked they open an app instead of a web page. The best part? You can decide exactly where to send your subscribers within your app. Use deep links in your email automations and campaigns and you’ll create a convenient customer experience that removes friction and drives in-app conversions. 

7. Test and Preview Your Emails 

The old carpentry adage of ‘measure twice, cut once’ is directly applicable to marketing emails.

Inaccurate or invalid links can cost you precious clicks, and clunky formatting can leave your subscribers questioning whether you mean business. 

Your email marketing platform of choice should have testing functionality built-in, where you have the option to both preview how the email will look across a variety of devices and email providers and send a test email to an address of your choosing. 

This will give you an invaluable sneak peak on formatting to make sure your email renders correctly. It also gives you the chance to check your merge tags are updating correctly. There’s no bigger turn off for a subscriber than “hey <:NAME:>”.

Get Mobile-First Email Right the First Time 

Creating engaging mobile-first emails that grab attention and drive conversions isn’t easy – but Emarsys is here to help. 

Our omnichannel customer engagement platform connects product, sales, and customer data to deliver 1:1 personalized email campaigns that increase engagement, grow loyalty and secure repeat sales. Discover how Emarsys can help you with your mobile email marketing so you can accelerate your business outcomes. 

Discover why thousands of marketers trust Emarsys’s email marketing to drive customer engagement and accelerate business outcomes.

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