Quick question—how often do you read email messages on a desktop machine? If you do read them on a desktop, how often do you see them on a mobile device first?
If you answered “seldom” and “usually” to those questions, you are part of the mobile-first majority. Mobile opens surpassed desktop’s long ago. Given handheld’s preeminence, embracing mobile email best practices is a logical thing to do.
Here’s what you need to know.
Mobile Users Multitask
Your carefully crafted email message will be given approximately three seconds of consideration. By the way, that’s among the people who actually take the time read it. Before that happens, it has to make it past the culling process to be considered worthy of consideration in the first place.
This means you’re going to have to grab their attention and hold it, lest they delete you and move on to the next thing, while two or three other things are vying for their attention.
Subject lines need to be short, punchy and to the point. Treat your formatting as if the device will be held vertically—because it usually is— and lead with the most important information. Keep in mind, subject lines are truncated in vertical orientation, so again, you need to get straight to the point.
With that said, it doesn’t hurt to format the message to look good for both vertical and horizontal viewings.
Compelling Pre-Header Copy
Most mobile inboxes allocate quite a bit of space to message previews. Lead with intriguing information, rather than “What to do if you can’t read this email.”
Trust us, if people can’t read the email, they’re unlikely to venture out of their way to do so—unless the subject line and sender information tell them the message is specifically about their money, house, children or car.
If you don’t fall into one of those categories, you’d better lead with what’s in it for them and include a strong call to action.
Employ Captivating Image Alt-Text
Some people configure their devices to refuse the automatic download of images. This gets them faster loading times and results in lower data consumption. However, if you were counting on that image to arrest the recipient’s attentiveness, you just lost out.
With curiosity-inspiring alt-text you’ll at least have a shot at making them inquisitive enough to want to the see the image. If you can get them to do that, you’ll also have a good chance they’ll read the message.
While we’re on the subject of images, they should be clickable, small and attractive enough to make users want to touch them. Your social media icons should be clickable too. You should also keep these factors in mind when you’re using a logo maker like Shopify’s Hatchful to create your logo.
Legibility, Legibility, Legibility
Thinking tiny text will help you get more words on the screen? Forget about it. People aren’t going to struggle to make out miniscule print. One of the most sophisticated marketers in the industry defaults to 16 pixels for body copy and 22 for headlines.
Another advantage of larger type is it forces you to be more succinct. With 16-pixel type, your typical line length will be in the neighborhood of 50 to 75 characters. This pretty much locks you into delivering punchy sentences.
Brevity, Brevity and Brevity
Short and to the point wins the day. Nobody’s going to wade through a one hundred-plus word manifesto to figure out what you have to offer. You must also leave enough room on the screen for your primary message to read and comprehended without scrolling if you lead with an image.
In other words, everything you deem important should come up on the screen when the message opens. It’s OK to have supplemental information below the fold, but your lead and your clickable call to action should always be visible without requiring a scroll.
Incorporating these five mobile email best practices into your campaigns will help you capture and hold the attention of today’s multitasking mobile users.
Do you have some favorite tactics we haven’t covered here? Share them in the comments section below.