Designing experiences for mobile e-mail success


Zephrin Lasker recently wrote a blog post on MediaPost, providing some considerations to take into account when designing an e-mail that works well on mobile. I added a few more. As reading and sending e-mails is one of the most important activities of smartphone users, they are worth taking into account.

Using profiling and segmentation techniques you can define specific segments that use smartphones to check e-mail more than others, although in practice most people use multiple devices.

On top of using renderability techniques and of course conducting A/B or multivariate testing, apply some design best practices for mobile e-mail. Some considerations, including the ones Zephrin provides in his blog post.

Start with the mobile design first

Starting with a mobile design, rather than incorporating it later, is a way of proactively ensuring success. The requirements for a mobile e-mail govern the design aspects of the finished product. This means that any mobile factors that are overlooked will need to be changed later. In short, these factors are:

  • Keep e-mails minimalistic, do not use Flash, do not use large blocks of text or huge images.
  • Use stiff contrast between the background and text colours. Colour theory can help for those that do not understand contrast, but the idea here is that text colours should pop out to assist the readability of text.
  • Choose a mobile-friendly text size. Make sure all text is a maximum of 320 pixels wide to suit the iPhone-using demographic.
  • Put the most important message first. Mobile users often need to scroll more frequently to see their content, and this approach ensures that the impact starts right away. Reminder: this tip applies to many forms of e-mail marketing and e-mail copy in general.

Remember the fingers

Mobile phone users are likely to be using their fingers to view the page. Sizing images to roughly 44x44 pixels is ideal for making sure that everyone can touch valuable parts of the e-mail.

Zephrin recommends a minimum of 30x44 for bread-and-butter call to action links with 10-15 pixels of padding. For the sake of clarity, going for a little more can't hurt, but be cautious of bloated and awkward links.

Be succinct

Mobile users have less space to work with than a laptop user. For this reason alone, remember to keep things as brief as possible. Brevity is money when applied to the mobile market. These users can see shorter title lines and less overall content in a single view, so optimizing an e-mail around this concept is a sign of understanding and strategic execution.

Zephrin recommends keeping lines under 60 characters and promoting everything as quickly as possible.

Adapt expectations and create immersion

Two additional tips are based around the profile of someone using a mobile phone. It's important to remember that if a person is using a mobile phone, they're more likely to become distracted away from their viewing experience. They are using a device that shares phone calls, texting and all kinds of other notifications, so remember that it's totally normal to have users bounce off of the e-mail.

They're also more likely to have real-life events conflict with their browsing. By adapting the expected level of success that a mobile e-mail is going to receive, it's easier to begin working on maximizing the value of a single lead rather than trying to control the uncontrollable.

Complimenting this concept is the idea of immersion. Immersion is state of total focus on something that someone is viewing or experiencing. This is the tool to counter the uncontrollable nature of the mobile viewer and mitigate some of the losses that will be caused by the inevitable distractions that a mobile viewer will encounter.

An e-mail needs to suck them in by being more fun, more important, more flashy or having more potential than some silly text from an acquaintance. By creating this feeling of higher value with a mobile text, one can circumvent some of the damage caused by the erratic nature of mobile devices.

For the immersion experience, remember the big 3: health, wealth and relationships. Most everyone wants to experience great health, excessive wealth and successful relationships. Play off of these three desires when accounting for the mobile audience. Incorporate elements that will make them feel that what is being sent is imperative to their health, finances or love-life.

Do you want to integrate around the customer and provide immersive mobile and multi-channel experiences? Discover how Selligent enables it. Request a demo or contact us. Alternatively, download and check out our brochure.

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