Mobile Email Design 101

Depending on when you send and who makes up your audience, mobile devices will account for 10 – 30% of all email opens (source). Let me repeat that: 10 – 30% of your emails are being read on a mobile device.

Have you even looked at your company’s marketing emails on an iPhone?

Esquire eNews email designEsquire eNews email design
What is important here? What is all that tiny, blurry stuff at the top? Is Gisele with Eli Manning now, I thought she was married to Tom Brady?

It might not be pretty. That could mean that those emails you think are going to be big hits are instead big duds with around one out of every five of your customers, regardless of how well thought out your messaging, imagery, or marketing plan is. Your emails could be broken, hard to read, overly complicated, or just plain ugly. If you didn’t design your email with mobile in mind then there’s a good chance you’re leaving conversions on the table with your email marketing campaigns.

The same email will be displayed on all HTML-based email clients including smartphones, so take the time to make sure you’re communicating as effectively as possible to all of those in your email lists. Some basic design changes to your emails can make a huge difference in the usability and success of your emails.

Sure, iPhones and Android phones in general do a great job rendering even complicated email designs. The default clients on modern smartphones actually do a much better job of displaying CSS (including CSS3) emails than the most popular desktop and webmail clients. That doesn’t mean, however, that they display emails in a way that is going to make your subscribers want to read your content or click the links you want them to click. Depending on your text size, layout, and image selection, there is a chance that subscribers won’t even see the most important parts of your email.

As with webpages, the email clients simply either zoom out to fit the entire width of an HTML email design into 320 pixels or with simpler emails arbitrarily increase all the font sizes. There is more that you can and should be doing to make your emails successful on mobile devices.

The first steps to a successful mobile email strategy include following some general mobile best practices and focusing on the readability, impact, and primary conversion of your email. By implementing these tips you can make your emails more effective regardless of where your subscribers check their email.

Continue reading → Mobile Email Design 101

Email Still the King of Social Sharing

Email is dead. Long live email!

We’ve been hearing that the email era is over on a monthly basis for years now. But despite overflowing inboxes, new email killers coming out all the time, and of course spam, email is still going strong. As the site share widget has become ubiquitous on the web, many sites are hiding email sharing amongst 750 other social media icons. Do so at your own peril. Email is still the most common method used to share content on the Internet.

According to a recent study conducted by AOL and Nielsen, 93% of users share content over email. Despite the trends and the growth of social powers such as Facebook and Twitter, that number is slightly higher than the 89% of study participants who shared using social networks and the 82% who use blogs. When asked what their primary sharing method was, 66% of people answered email and it was also the preferred method in every industry surveyed.

The numbers vary depending on the type of content being shared and whom a user wants to share it with. By a large margin, people prefer to share content with their friends and family and email is huge when sharing with those groups. 89% of those surveyed shared content with their friends over email and for family the number is 86%. The only category of people email isn’t a top sharing method with is the public.

(Wait… 6% of people use email to share something with the public? Stop forwarding those chain emails to everyone Mom!)

With all that data, it’s clear users prefer to share stuff via email. Why then are most sites either lumping email with everything else behind a single share icon or at most pulling out and promoting Twitter and Facebook only?

“Email to a Friend” buttons used to be everywhere but fell out of favor, possibly due to spam and the privacy concerns of submitting not just your own email but your friends’ emails too on a web form. The email share forms still have value though and web users have actually become more comfortable again sharing this information online again as sharing personal information online has been made commonplace by social networking. You can also also offer email sharing via a standard mailto: link. This allows visitors to use their own email client instead of a web form, helpful not just to those worried about privacy but also on mobile devices.

While Facebook Like and Tweet This buttons are great for encouraging conversation about your content, your visitors still also want to be able to easily share links with specific friends and family members. However implemented, it is important to encourage and enable the sharing of your site’s content via email and not just social media networks.

The stats show, reports of email’s demise were greatly exaggerated.