What is “mobile optimization for email”?

by Asaf Darash,

With all the ‘things’ organizations need to keep up with in the tech world these days, all things ‘mobile’ sounds honestly, quite a bit overwhelming and a little bit confusing. Lately I have received a lot of questions from clients about “mobile optimization for mobile”. Some of them were really worried about “how do I even do that?”. In this post I am going to go over the basics of how to optimize your email for mobile reading and mobile calls to action 🙂

The first question that comes up is: “should I even consider mobile optimization for email”? Totally a valid question since 5 or 7 years ago this question did not exist at all! In order to answer that you need to know if your clients are using their mobile devices to read your messages or view your website, etc. All this information is available if you use Google analytics or any other analytics tool. From my experience most medium size business use these tools but don’t know how to extract the information from them. And frankly, unless you’re a marketing company, these things don’t really seem relevant either to your day to day business dealings and you’d probably rather focus your energy on doing what you love to do and what will truly grow and improve your organization for your clients.

That’s where I come in. Being a geek sort of automatically keeps me in in tune with what’s going on out there in the ‘tech’ world since I really enjoy reading the articles and stats about it. 95% of what I read isn’t relevant to 95% of the people I work with since it might affect you only in two or three years from now and so talking about it now is moot. But there is still that 5% of new developments and changes happening out there that are directly relevant to your organization NOW and I think you should be paying attention to. Lucky you have a geek to go over all the irrelevant stuff and tell you about only the things that are important to you!

Recently I read an article (linked below) about the increase in-email open rates on mobile and why this is basically a revolution in the marketing world. But aside from marketing, this is also relevant for organizations who communicate with their attendees, participants, etc via email. So many of us need forms filled out, payments completed or just answers to questions and the most efficient way to accomplish these tasks is via email.

I’ve written before on bulk emailing and how to personalize your emails to get better responses but I thought I’d share some of these stats with you and how you can take them and use them to improve your client response time when it comes to making payments and communicating important information back to you on mobile devices.

According to this report 65% of emails are read on a mobile device. That’s a HUGE number of emails. This includes your weekly/monthly newsletter, your reminders for payments or form completion, etc.

The report also notes that 38% of iPhone users spend 15 seconds or more on each email and 35% of android users spend 15 seconds or more reading. The takeaway or ‘revolution’ here is that you basically have a connection to your email recipients at ALL times since they are constantly checking their phones and remain ‘connected’ and ‘plugged in’ to their messages and communications.

So what does all this mobile email checking mean for you?

Well a few things…

  1. Remember that there’s a high probability your clients are reading your emails from their phone. So including attachments (like say, your PDF registration forms) might be problematic since they cannot fill them out on the phone and you are just killing their data plan with these attachments.
    The same goes for images. Don’t be shy to ‘test’ your emails out by sending them to yourself and viewing them on your mobile device to see how they look and make the appropriate changes.
  2. Check that your website looks good and functions well on a mobile phone. If someone clicks on a link from your email and it opens in their mobile browser, will it be difficult for them to navigate?
  3. Social media! Yes, people check their email on their phone but they are also on Twitter and Facebook. If you have the time, make sure you are using these mediums (which are mobile friendly without you doing a thing!) and connecting with clients there as well.

How to Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

Without getting too technical, here are some great tips to keep your emails ‘mobile’ friendly and ensure whatever action item in your email (like a payment or form to complete) is easily understood and easy to access.

  1. Rule #1: No fancy email templates! I cannot fully emphasize how important this is. Fancy emails with html, images, colors and all that stuff people love to see is a total no-no. They do not come up correctly on mobile devices even when they are adaptive. People look at them for a second and just close them since they are not fun to read. If you do one thing this is the thing you should do: Just a simple text message with links. That’s it 🙂
  2. Keep your emails short. Even if you have a great mobile friendly design, people tune out after a few seconds (remember that 15 second stat from earlier?). Get to the point and don’t elaborate.
  3. Have a catchy email subject or something that jumps out. Make it personal, make it obvious what the subject is and make the reader WANT to open it! Even if you have a boring subject like a payment reminder, instead of writing “Payment Reminder for X Program” you can instead write “Only 5 days left before final payment is due!”. This tells the reader what the email is about and that an action is needed from them, urgently.
  4. Remember that many recipients may be reading your email for the first time on their mobile device. Try to include as little links as possible as multitasking or opening multiple tabs isn’t feasible on a mobile device. This goes with the point of keep your emails short, since you want the email to be uncluttered and to the point.

Conclusion

Don’t bend over backwards to make things ‘mobile friendly’ but if you have the know-how or a website manager who can make sure your site is mobile friendly, it’s worth making sure these tactics are being implemented. We can’t ignore that the world is changing… more and more people, teens and retirees alike are using their mobile phones to do more than just play candy crush and browse Twitter. We are opening emails, responding to emails, making payments and conducting all sorts of business on these devices so being ahead of the curve and making these tasks easier for your clients is part of your overall customer service for your organization and shouldn’t be overlooked!

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About The Author

Asaf Darash

Asaf has extensive experience as entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.