You will notice email cannot be killed. Despite all the ramblings about its death or impending doom, it comes back and back again like the cockroach of the internet.
Actually, like a cockroach, it simply keeps adapting and changing as new modalities threaten its existence. Email is a decentralized platform for building new and innovative tools. Some of the most exciting new ideas are in response to the rapidly growing number of people who check email from a mobile device.
Why Mobile Email Works So Well
While it may have been far from the minds of email’s originators, email works really well on mobile devices. Mobile web is lagging behind with unreadable text, broken links and unattractive design – emails normally look great on phones and tablets. The reason why mobile email continues to make great strides is the fact its protocol is open and interoperable.
• Emails are small file sizes
• Emails download quickly over all types of connections
• Emails on a mobile device are still easy to forward and reply
Who Loves Mobile Email
Forester Research estimates 78% (178 million) US users will access their email messages through a mobile device by 2017. It has been called the mega-trend of the decade by some. Checking email throughout the day has become main stream.
As marketers, you want to tap into this addiction to mobile email. The messages must be read easily and also have a way to seamlessly respond to your message. The way you communicate is different when email is available while standing in line at the grocery store. Marketers need to understand the behavior of their audience and adapt the message to the context of a mobile email lifestyle.
How to Reach Mobile Devices
The first imperative of reaching your email recipients is responsive design. Users simply will not tolerate content not optimized for their device and they sure won’t mark it to be read on a desktop later. In fact, many people will simply unsubscribe if they cannot easily read your emails.
Tips for Responsive Design
• Simplify navigation
• Remove all unnecessary links
• Lead with the important stuff – users may not scroll
• Increase white space
• Adapt message for email clients with “images off”
• Place a call-to-action above the fold with a bigger button
• Stack content vertically instead of horizontally
• Design for mobile first, then scale up to desktop design
• Use sans-serif fonts to increase readability
• Use larger fonts (at least 13 pixels)
• Minimize use of bold fonts and all caps
• High contrast to enable reading in low light environments
While mobile email marketing may be costly in responsive design requirements, disappointing your recipients will be much more costly in the long run. If you are thinking about making your website responsive to mobile, email is a great place to start.