The biggest thing that will affect email over the next year is undoubtedly mobile. Consider consumers’ typical morning: After they hit snooze on their alarm clock and brush their teeth, they likely turn to their mobile devices to check email. Then, whether it’s at a coffee shop or on the train to work, there’s ample time to check emails, and smartphones and tablets are the easier option. More and more, the on-the-go worker is utilizing email on the phone instead of simply on the desktop.
According to a 2013 study by Litmus, 44 percent of emails were read over mobile devices—having shot up from just 11 percent in 2011—while only 33 percent were opened on a desktop and 23 percent on a webmail server. Despite this inevitable mobile transition, 39 percent of marketers still have no strategy for mobile email. Nowadays, emails need to be just as effective on the tablet or smartphone as they are on not the desktop.
How to Write a Successful Mobile Email
Small businesses put a lot of focus on email marketing and creating mobile apps and a mobile website, but writing actual emails is also something that should get some attention. Below is a look at some ways to gain an edge when writing for a mobile screen:
1. Be concise
Having a clear message that gets to the point early is essential for any email, but it should become a staple for an email catered to the mobile reader considering there’s limited amount of space on a smaller viewing and click-through rates are generally lower on mobile than on desktop. This goes for both text and design. Simple layouts with a single column work best because they look sharp on all platforms and there’s no annoyance of excessive scrolling when reading on a device. Try to preview the email beforehand so you’re certain the mobile email isn’t neglected or too punchy. Additionally, there’s a bevy of response email tablets available for small businesses, which you can learn more about here.
2. Avoid the clutter
Try to avoid over-doing it. Specifically, shoot for one very transparent call to action that’s at the top of the email. Multiple calls to action might work on desktop reading, but it comes off way too cluttered on mobile. There should be no confusion with your main objective—whether it be luring customers to your website or buy something. Coinciding with the call to action are links. Keep in mind there’s no mousepad on the phone so an obvious call to action like a button [i.e. click here] is recommended. Links are beneficial because they allow you to still be concise yet still draw people someone. That being said, an overabundance of links is completely offsetting, especially on mobile or tablet. So pick a happy medium.
3. Think bold, but be smart about it
An impactful image is never a bad idea but be cognizant of the fact that Apple’s iOS enables images to display while other devices such as Android turn the images off by default. So if there’s more than one image, that’s a chunk of white space (consider using alt text to remedy this) your consumer might be viewing. So, the best approach is to think of the image as the ketchup for a hamburger. You don’t need it, but it can’t hurt. As far as text goes, you want to be bold with the main message but be careful with the text and fonts. It’s best to avoid using tiny fonts as well as huge text. Best practice would be to use a minimum of 11 pt font for body text and avoid going over 22pt for headlines. Why? Again, there’s limited space and go big or go home is outdated advice. A strong contrast in colors (i.e. dark text on light background or vice versa) is a clever approach because it’s showing consideration for the fact that plenty of folks read their smartphone with the sun in their eyes.
4. Rethink timing
The best time to send an email has always seemed to be Monday-Thursday during morning hours. That’s not necessarily changing, but in terms of opening emails and click-through rate, readers are much more apt to open their emails on the weekends now or at late hours of the night because it’s so much more accessible and convenient nowadays. A 2012 Experian marketing study found that nighttime hours had the highest click-through rates for all times of the day. With that in mind, don’t shy away from sending an email on a Friday or Saturday night or on Sunday afternoon. Additionally from the Experian study, revenue per email was highest between 8 p.m. and midnight. Think about it. When are you more inclined to reach for your wallet? During work hours or when you’re lounging on your recliner at home?
What tactics and methods do you think about when writing an email that might be read on a mobile device? Have you ever received an email that was difficult to read on a mobile phone? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
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