Mobile adoption among businesses and consumers has skyrocketed over the past few years, and it's only going to continue to rise as smartphones deliver increasingly stellar experiences. Morgan Stanley Research predicts that smartphones will begin to outsell computers by next year, and 33% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. already access email on their mobile devices. What does this mean for email design?
We were lucky enough to have a long talk with Rocky Thomas, an awesome designer who also happens to be an expert on email-mobile cross-channel integration. With mobile usage on the rise across subscriber demographics, the imperative for email marketers to keep up with the times continues to grow, and Rocky gave us the scoop on how we can create email campaigns worthy of on-the-go reading:
Email for Mobile Design: Three Solutions
While building email programs that can deliver a rich mobile email experience requires thought and hard work, the long-term rewards of allowing subscribers to connect with your brand anytime, anyplace will be well worth it. Here are three ways it can be done:
1. Text-only versions. At the most basic level, text-only email versions ensure that your subscribers can access your messages when they want to. The experience isn't dazzling, and readability can sometimes be an issue, but this is a worthwhile first step if you haven't yet offered anything to mobile users.
2. HTML Light versions. HTML Light is a format that strips out most graphically rich elements, leaving just a masthead, sometimes a small hero element, and the email text. It can be thought of as a step between plain text and graphically rich email versions, and it can be linked to in the preheader.
3. "Mobilized" email - where you want to be heading! Designing your email campaigns to be mobile-friendly is the best way to stay on track with the direction email is headed. Rather than "minimizing" your mobile subscribers' email experience, make intentional choices to "mobilize" it. Here's how:
Ready to dive into email campaign mobilization? It might be good to find out more about your subscribers' habits first. Survey them to find out what they use to read their email, or check with your ESP to see if you can get a breakdown. The more you know about your subscribers' needs, the better you'll be able to respond to them.
As you peruse the guidelines above, keep in mind that the move toward mobile doesn't have to signal the death of feature-rich emails (at least not yet). Creating mobilized email versions is really a balancing act, where your longer message should be comfortably consumable on a small screen if a user wants to see them while out and about...and possibly even hop into the store right after reading. Longer messages can be saved for when subscribers get home. That said, mobile users will remember which brands consistently deliver solid experiences... and that's a list your brand wants to be on.