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Ken Magill

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Email + Mobile: No More Excuses: Get Started Optimizing for Mobile

1/17/12

By Stephanie Colleton

In last month’s column, Julia Peavy listed “Explosive Mobile Growth” as her final prediction for the email space in 2012. Also in December, Ken provided some insight on the changes in mobile viewership. So, let’s take the bull by the horns and start talking about how to start optimizing your email campaigns for mobile use.

1. You need to know how important mobile is to your viewership. Learn what percentage of your subscribers is viewing your emails on a mobile device. This will help dictate how to prioritize your mobile optimization efforts this year. If you don’t have access to this information, it may be time to invest in a solution that provides this data.

2. Review how your emails currently look on various mobile devices. What works for the Blackberry may not look great for the iPhone. If your email reporting tells you the breakdown of which devices are being used to view your campaigns, even better. Use that data to help guide your design.

3. Look for differences in mobile viewership between campaign types to help prioritize. Maybe transactional messages get opened more than promotional messages. Maybe promotional messages get viewed more often than newsletters.

4. Be concise. With a much smaller screen, you have to get to the point much faster for mobile viewing. Shorten article or product description copy.

5. Remember that people are using their finger, not the more precise mouse, for clicking. While you may want to fit as much as possible into a small space, resist the urge to place calls to action too close together. After a few too many misses, a subscriber may get frustrated and move on. You’ll need to find the right compromise.

6. Narrow the width of your email to reduce horizontal scrolling.

7. Don’t forget the subject line. Mobile inbox views may allow subscribers to see less of your subject line. Make sure your most important words are listed first.

8. Test, test, test. Use a preview tool to see what your campaigns look like across devices. Then go one step further and use the devices themselves to open, scroll and click on the links. Your QA team should have one of each of the most popular devices on hand for testing.

9. Keep an eye on the trends. Only 4 percent of email is viewed on iPad right now, but viewership went up 73 percent between April and September which means that market share is likely to grow quickly.

Stephanie Colleton is Director, Response Cosulting at email-certification and reputation-monitoring-services firm Return Path.

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