Making your email marketing mobile friendly.


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There’s a lot of talk about mobiles and handheld devices at the moment. While surfing the net from a tablet or phone isn’t exactly old news, it’s surprising how many businesses simply aren’t prepared for wireless customers.

For example, one study published by the Guardian revealed that more than half of business professionals believed their firm had a “fragmented approach” or “no strategy at all” when it came to mobile marketing. Furthermore, three quarters did not provide their customers with mobile apps.

Two years since that study was published and now Google looks set to drag businesses into the 21st Century with a new update. Although no-one specifically knows how the new algorithm will affect companies, it appears that those which aren’t optimised for mobile will lose out to the competition – potentially seeing their rankings drop if they aren’t providing users with a quality mobile experience.

With the update coming into effect on the 21st April, this blog post will aim to notify you about the upcoming change and ensure you take the right action. In addition, it should contain plenty of useful hints and tips on how to make your marketing as mobile-friendly as possible.

Why this update is important

Whether you like the idea or not, customers are no longer just confined to desktop browsing – mobile is now a fully-entrenched part of a business. You shouldn’t be thinking of your desktop and mobile entities as distinct versions; smartphone and tablet adoption means mobile is simply an everyday part of browsing, with individuals using a wide variety of technologies to shop and search.

It’s the same in the email marketing sphere. With smartphone and tablet adoption numbers skyrocketing, email marketers need to ensure their mobile messages are on the same level as their desktop counterparts.

Although some may find this viewpoint controversial, I believe that Google updates, such as Panda and Penguin, were completely necessary. In a similar fashion, this latest algorithm will ensure that organisations are providing their customers with a quality, modern experience.

If you want to see if your company is already optimised for mobile devices, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. If you’re organisation fails this, then there are many things you can do, such as conducting a mobile SEO audit or identifying pages visited by high numbers of mobile users and improving these accordingly.

Alternatively, an SEO firm should be able to provide reliable advice in improving your mobile business. Their experience is always worth listening to.

Going mobile

Without a doubt, when optimising your mobile email marketing messages, your first step should be to devise a strategy. For example, are mobile users going to receive an automated thank you email or are they going to be able to sign up for a text service? With research showing that 80% of all text messages are opened, this is something that should definitely be considered.

The next step is to ensure your campaigns are clickable. Having to manually zoom in/out or scroll left/right to view an email in its entirety is an absolute chore and a sure fire way to get an email sent straight to the delete folder.

Email marketing professionals looking to adapt their campaigns for mobile should keep their message widths to less than 600 pixels and make clickable areas no more than 50. If a mobile email only requires a user to scroll up and down, it’s likely to be a lot more well-received by recipients.

Fonts will also need to be larger so users can read your messages properly. It’s recommended to have a minimum 13 pixels font size with headings and subheadings given even larger prominence; this risk being if your communications are ‘too wordy’, users won’t read them. Furthermore, this less or more mentality should be employed to subject lines – anything larger than five words probably won’t get clicked on.

The same has to be said of call to action buttons. While they tend to be prominent on desktop messages, they must have even more of a presence on mobile messaging as small buttons can be difficult to ‘click’ on a mobile device.

But what about images?

Images can be a tricky level to navigate as some email clients on smartphones and tablets do not load pictures by default. This means that users have to actively press a button to show images on their mobile device; an action that could be defined by the subject matter of the email, the subject line and the layout of the email. If all these components satisfy the recipient, they are highly likely to want to reveal the images contained within the message.

The iPhone’s native Mail app DOES show images by default but this is not an excuse for email marketing professionals to place any old image in their messaging. It can be helpful for professionals to segment their lists via device but this is only useful if the user reveals this information during sign-up.

Either way, consider using an image that links well with the content. It should be eye-catching and fun but convey your message in a way that words cannot.

Final thoughts

The mobile revolution is in full swing and it’s fair to say that if businesses aren’t prepared they will suffer. Consequently, it’s in the best interests of email marketing professionals to join the club and make sure their campaigns are fully prepared.

Finally, it’s deeply unlikely you will hit the nail on the head the first time. My main bit of advice is to keep trying and improving. Eventually, you will be dominating the mobile market.

Tom Chapman
Tom Chapman is a content specialist for Vertical Leap. He specialises in matters related to PR, marketing, and SEO.


  1. Hi Tom,

    This update will make lots of changes in Internet Marketing industry. Yes, we all need to make email marketing mobile friendly since lots of audience use mobiles for checking emails. I am happy I have mobile friendly blogs.

    Thanks for packing this article with lots of valued content.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I think this is noticeble point, because these day millions of people use smart phone or mobiles for visit on his emails, and now google also launch his new update mobile friendly then if we want to high conversion rate then we need more focus on mobile friendly emails.. tom great article.. thanks so much for sharing great information…

    Mohd Arif

  3. In my opinion, this is a noteworthy issue because, as of late, millions of people check emails on their smartphones or mobile devices, and because Google recently launched a mobile-friendly update, we must pay closer attention to emails that are mobile-friendly if we hope to increase conversion rates. Tom, excellent article. I appreciate you sharing this useful information.

  4. This innovation will significantly alter the Internet marketing landscape. Yes, as a large portion of our audience checks their emails on their mobile devices, we must all make email marketing mobile friendly. I’m glad my blogs are responsive to mobile devices.


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