Crafting effective mobile email successfully

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BtoB: What's the biggest mistake marketers make in optimizing email for mobile?

Jennifer Leigh Brown: B-to-b marketers acknowledge the importance of mobile, but many haven't taken the steps to serve the needs of mobile users. Only 33% of b-to-b marketers are designing emails for smartphones, according to a recent MarketingSherpa report. Given the continued rise of mobile, doing nothing is probably the biggest mistake a b-to-b marketer can make.

BtoB: What best practices should marketers follow for mobile email?

Brown: 1) Define your strategy. Before getting into tactics and design, define your goals. Analyze your audience's usage of mobile and determine how you can deliver something that is useful.

2) Follow the recognition and relevancy rule. Whether viewed on the go or at a desk, the inbox is a crowded and competitive place. Focused subject lines and a clear “from” line will help your message escape inbox purging, but only valuable content will convince users to open the email.

3) Don't assume mobile is always mobile. Many mobile email users scan for important messages and leave the rest for later review. An email previewed on a mobile device may end up being read on a tablet or desktop. Offer users a choice of an email version, either when they subscribe or through header links in the email.

4) Streamline and simplify. Remove unnecessary items, edit text, reduce large images and consider load times. Know the scale you are designing for so users don't have to resize and scroll. A functional and easy-to-use design will serve users across platforms.

5) Avoid tiny text and remember “fat fingers.” Font sizes need to be larger and targets big enough to easily hit. The average adult finger pad is 0.4 inches.

Recommendations vary by device but in general, minimum target sizes should be 44-by-44 pixels with adequate spacing between elements. Make sure to pad links and make calls to action obvious so the targets are easy to identify and tap.

6) Don't forget to be social. If you have a presence on social media sites, include the links in your email and encourage following and sharing.

7) Optimize the entire experience. Make sure the landing pages for your email links are optimized for mobile. M

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