It’s 7am: the alarm on my phone rings, and for a moment I wish I could slam it off like the old-school alarms. But instead I pick it up, swipe right to turn off Justin Timberlake, and immediately check my email. There it is in my inbox: my weekly message from my favorite brand. I know it’s a SALE—the subject line says so—but when I open it I find that it’s blank. Not one to give up, I scroll down to the bottom, tell my device to “download all images,” and then I wait. It finally loads, and… the copy is so small that I’d have to borrow my grandma’s bifocals to read it. I’ll admit, I don’t save the email for later to check on my desktop. I’m annoyed, and I delete it.
Sit in a public place for an hour. Look around at the “head down” society we have become. It’s no surprise that a majority of emails are being opened on mobile devices. Litmus (2016 State of Email Report) tell us that 55% of emails are opened on mobile. And over 75% of users will delete an email if it fails to display properly on their device (whew, I’m not alone). We also know that we have anywhere from 3 to 7 seconds to gain our customers attention via email. Mobile isn’t a trend, nor is it even the future—it’s the present, and it’s here to stay. In order to beat the delete, we as email marketers need to take a mobile-first approach to design and content. By flipping the old desktop-centric approach on its head, we accomplish two key things: we’ve already worked through the “problem” of trimming down the content to the most vital elements, AND we’re making user-centric decisions. When it comes to translating the design to the desktop, instead of slicing away the fat, we get to decide how to make it even better—progressive enhancements are where it’s at.
Last month, Shaw + Scott development guru Russell Thomas covered “The Big Secret in Responsive Email Design”, where he let us all in on the number-one tenant of successful email marketing. If you’re looking for even more great tips and tricks, you’re in luck: Shaw + Scott has created a new step-by-step guide to help pave a clear path to successful responsive campaigning. You can check out the full guide on our website. Below are a few of my favorite going-responsive tips to help set the stage for great results:
- K.I.S.S. It: As Russell’s post put it in not so many words, Keep It Simple Stupid. We know this is Marketing 101, but it couldn’t be any more relevant than it is right now as campaigning moves into a mobile-first approach.
- Think Thumbs: When it comes to mobile design, space around call to actions is your friend.
- Short Is Sweet: How many scrolls does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop (or your campaign’s main point)?
- Brand vs. Readability: As David Ogilvy says, “If it doesn’t sell it isn’t creative.” HTML fonts, scalable images, large text, white space… yes to all of these.
- Know Your Audience: Your design, code framework, and testing process should meet the specific needs of your brand and subscribers. We can’t stress this point enough.
- Test, Test, Test: Did I mention test? Email clients are always evolving, so it’s important to continually keep tabs on how your emails render in every inbox.
Change is hard. But I promise you, if we as marketers keep our messages succinct, relevant, and mobile-friendly—we will have better conversion. It really is that simple. Download the Shaw + Scott guide for more ideas, and let us know what’s worked best for your brand.