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Mobile Email Marketing Mastery: Tips and Best Practices to Reach Customers

mobile email marketing cover image with a man looking into his phone

Mobile email marketing is the practice of sending emails that are specifically designed to be viewed and interacted with on mobile devices.

In today’s hyper-connected world, desktops are no longer the only battleground for attention. People browse while waiting in line, check out products while eating at restaurants, and reply to emails on the go.

This shift in behavior demands a more appropriate approach to email marketing: Mobile email marketing.

We’ll discuss the secrets to crafting mobile-optimized emails to increase user experience and engagement.



What is Mobile Email Marketing?

Mobile app email marketing is the process of optimizing email campaigns for smartphones and mobile devices. This approach uses the high mobile usage trend to engage more people on the go.

In a study, 79% of millennials in the U.S. said they prefer to be contacted by brands via email. And 59% of them use their smartphones to view emails. 

A mobile-first design approach can be a great opportunity to improve user experience and increase engagement and conversion rates.

Let’s summarize a few trend-setting facts about mobile email marketing before we discuss how to adopt a mobile-first marketing approach.


Mobile Email Marketing Statistics You Must Know

2024 is expanding on the mobile email marketing trend — 55% of emails are opened on mobile devices, and 46% of smartphone users prefer to receive communication via email. (Statista)

It doesn’t end there; here are more exciting facts about mobile email marketing:

  1. Almost 55% of the global website traffic is generated through mobile phones. (Statista)
  2. 35% of email marketers use mobile-responsive design processes. (Hubspot)
  3. A mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%. (Mailchimp)
  4. Apple is the most used email client, with a 66.83% market share as of November 2023. 
  5. One out of every 3 email clicks comes from a mobile device.
  6. Around 60% of people check their emails first thing in the morning on their smartphones.

Mobile-friendly emails can increase opens and click-through rates, which in turn translates to increased website visits, purchases, and email marketing ROI.

If the above statistics have convinced you to adopt a mobile-first approach, here are 5 strategies to outshine your competitors.


5 Strategies to Adapt a Mobile-Friendly Email Marketing Approach

It’s easy to think mobile-friendly email marketing involves merely optimizing your email templates according to the device’s specifications. In reality, a lot of thought goes into crafting a mobile-friendly email. Along with optimization, you must use personalization and automation to deliver a proper return on investment. 

Mobile phones are used to send and read emails by 1.7 billion people, and 42.3% of users delete emails that are not optimized for mobiles. (Porch)

That’s a lot of people to miss out on, so let’s review the strategies for making your mobile email marketing fun and easy to manage.

1. Optimize Emails For Various Browsers and Email Clients

Users likely use different browsers and email clients to access your emails. Optimize your emails for mobiles with these key tips below.

Optimization Aspect TipReason 
Responsive design Use fluid grids and media queriesIt ensures emails adapt to different screen sizes
Email width Set a maximum of 600 pixelsThis fits well on most screens without scrolling
Font sizeMinimum font size of 12 pts for body copy and 20 pts for headingsIt ensures readability on smaller screens
Fallback fontsInclude web-safe fallback fontsThis conveys a message when the image does not load
Alt text for imagesInclude descriptive Alt text for images This conveys message when the image does not load
Compressed imagesCompress all images This reduces load time and ensures quicker email rendering
Text-to-image ratioMaintain a good balance of text and imagesIt prevents emails from being flagged as spam
Subject linesKeep subject lines short (around 30-40 characters)This provides complete visibility on smaller screens
Background colorsUse solid colors as background instead of imagesIt ensures consistent rendering and readability
Tips for email rendering on mobiles

2. Choose a Reliable Email Service Provider

An email service provider — an ESP — helps you create elegant email campaigns, optimize them, ensure higher email deliverability, and track metrics. Most platforms have built-in mobile-optimized templates that automatically adapt email campaigns to specific devices. 

At Campaign Refinery, all emails are optimized for mobiles, which means our clients don’t have to re-adjust email templates and settings, saving them a lot of time. Plus, our email campaign templates inspire you to craft your own templates or modify them to suit your brand identity.

3. Embrace the Single-Column Layout

While multi-column layouts may accommodate a lot of content, they are best suited for desktops. Using them for mobiles may make the emails difficult to read.

A single-column layout, or skinny as it is commonly known, is long and suits the scrolling behavior of mobile users. Research by Nielson Norman Group found that 79% of the test users scanned pages, and only 16% read word-by-word.

If mobile users make up the majority of your audience, a single-column layout with scannable text could be the answer. 

Use these tips to create effective single-column email layouts:

  • Highlight keywords:  Use colors and hyperlinks to differentiate normal and important information.
  • Use relevant subheadings: Employ easy-to-understand and relevant sub-headings.
  • Break down the text: Utilize bullets and numbers to improve scannability.
  • Use the inverted pyramid style: Start with the most important information to the least.
  • Use a singular big idea: Employ one idea per email.
  • Build credibility: Use outbound links to increase credibility.
  • Make the text scannable: Keep the text short and scannable.

4. Keep the Subject Line and Preheader Skimmable

The subject line and preheader text are the most important parts of an email. They help users understand the context and urgency of the conversation. Keep them short and relevant, especially for mobile-oriented emails. 

Here are more ways to engage mobile users with the right subject line:

  1. Keep them short: Aim for 5-10 words or under 50 characters.
  2. Be clear and specific: Ensure the subject line reflects the email content.
  3. Use actionable language: Use action verbs to encourage action from users.
  4. Use numbers: Highlight discounts and offers to captivate recipient attention.

Here’s how to use preheader text to increase mobile email engagement:

  1. Avoid repeating the subject line: Elaborate on the subject line or add a CTA without wasting space.
  2. Personalize it further: If the subject line can’t be personalized, use the preheader text for a more targeted approach.

5. A/B Test Your Emails

Optimizing your email campaigns can give you a fair idea of their performance. However, relying on assumptions can lead to poor engagement metrics and a lack of data for future improvements.

The best way to determine whether your email elements work is to A/B test them. Typically, you’ll send two variations of emails to different audience segments to see which version performs better. 

It’s a data-driven method to understand whether your CTAs, links, and images are getting the attention they should.

With the right strategies, you’ll attract more people and increase email engagement. If you’re starting out, here are tips and tricks for building your mobile-first email list.


4 Tips For Building Your Mobile Email List

While you focus on sending the perfect mobile-optimized emails, you must pay equal attention to gathering subscribers with their consent.

Putting together an email list for mobile email marketing is similar to the normal method of gathering subscribers. However, pay special attention to the email elements and optimization strategy to provide a positive user experience.

Below are 4 powerful tactics to grow your email list for mobile email marketing:

  1. Mobile Optimized Sign-up Forms: Ditch the bulky pop-ups and craft easy-to-fill sign-up forms for mobiles.
  2. Leverage the power of lead magnets: Provide tailored lead magnets that’ll be helpful for mobile users, such as downloadable checklists, mobile app discounts, or early bird access.
  3. Strategic social media integration: Promote your sign-ups across social media platforms using stories, interactive elements, or targeted ads with strong CTAs.
  4. Embrace QR codes: Make subscribing super easy by embedding the QR code on physical marketing materials such as business cards or in-store ads.

Using these strategies correctly could increase the chances of more people seeing and engaging with your brand.

Once you have a strong subscriber base, you can email them based on their interests and purchase choices. But beware as your email design can have a massive impact on the email open and click-through rates.

We’ve consolidated the tips to fine-tune your email design.


The Mobile-Optimized Mindset: Shifting From Desktop to Mobile-first Design 

Mobile-first email design is an approach that ensures email elements are made for the small screen to maintain a positive user experience.

Here’s how to transition from a desktop to a mobile-first design approach:

  • Keep it simple: Start by visualizing email campaigns on a small screen. How will users interact with it? You might want to use abundant white space, a clutter-free layout, and only essential items in the menus.
  • Think of visual hierarchy: Mobile-first design approach focuses on the content first. Keep the most important information on top and gradually move toward the least important.
  • Optimize text for visual scanning: Most people look for patterns systematically, which makes reading easier. Understand their eye-tracking movements and place information accordingly.
  • Avoid hover effects: Since mobile screens are touch-friendly, hover effects will have no effect. Instead, use touch or slide buttons for improved user experience.

Here are key considerations and best practices for designing emails optimized for mobiles.

Email Element Best Practices For Mobile Design
Subject lineKeep it under 50 characters
Preheader text Summarize the email content
LayoutUse a single-column layout and design for portrait and landscape views
FontsUse large and legible fonts
ImagesUse alt-text and optimize images for faster loading 
Buttons/CTAUse large and tappable buttons for quicker access
Text Keep paragraphs short and scannable
LinksSpace out links to prevent accidental clicks
AccessibilityUse high-contrast colors and provide text alternatives for media
Footer Include clear contact information and ensure easy access to unsubscribe
Tips for designing mobile-optimized emails

How to Craft Compelling Mobile Email Content With Examples

With limited screen space and fleeting attention spans, crafting strategic email copy requires attention to detail. 

We’ll review the key tactics to transform your emails from dull to dazzling.

1. Know Your Audience

Just because recipients can access mobiles throughout doesn’t mean they will engage with all your emails. Every email must be tailored to their interests and preferences for higher engagement rates.

For example, your audiences can be diverse: Gen Z, baby boomers, and millennials. How do you ensure the content resonates with every single one of them? Segment your email list for a personal touch that encourages readers to engage.

Know your audience example
Understanding your audience – an example of mobile email marketing. Source

Notice how Skyscanner focuses on Middle East and North African travelers, maximizing the reach to these specific audiences. 

2. Keep it Skimmable

Emails with long texts and huge images feel cramped in a mobile layout. Instead, use simple scroll layouts, smaller images, short paragraphs, and bolded text to make key information easily digestible.

Scannable mobile email copy example
Crafting a scannable text example for mobile emails. Source

PayPal breaks texts into bite-sized information and links it to another webpage for a detailed guide. This approach keeps the space clean and makes the information easier to digest.

3. Use a Conversational Tone

Emails that read friendly have 50% higher open rates than those with generic texts. Additionally, emails that convey excitement and urgency have doubled their conversion rates compared to neutral emails. 

Urgency and offers on mobile emails example
Conversational tone example in mobile email marketing. Source

Headspace offers discounts to capture the recipient’s attention. Although there are no time-sensitive offers, the discount makes people more likely to engage.

4. Tell Stories

Mobile users are likely accustomed to scrolling through social media. This means they love a good story and will engage if they find it interesting. Stories act as the springboard for customers to understand your brand’s history and importance. Use case studies, testimonials, and user-generated content to invite mobile users to engage with your email content.

how to tell stories through mobile email marketing example
Telling powerful stories – example for mobile emails. Source

Masterclass invites readers to join their podcast “Telling Interesting Stories.” They also include a section on “All Episodes,” expanding their reach to more people interested people.

While design, copy, and optimization are critical aspects of mobile email marketing, the most important is considering how your emails will look across multiple email clients. 


Mobile Email Marketing on Popular Email Clients

Various email clients have their own rules and can render your emails differently. Knowing how to optimize emails for each client and, more importantly, their market share trends empowers you to make better decisions.

Email Client Mobile Market Trend 
Apple51.35%
Gmail33.04%
Outlook 5.24%
Yahoo Mail2.69%
Google Android1.77%
Outlook0.68%
Thunderbird0.24%
Samsung Mail0.12%
Web.de0.09%
GMX0.08%
Mobile email marketing trends of different email clients

Apple and Gmail have the highest email opens (close to 90%), which means optimizing your emails for these clients increases the likelihood of more opens. 

In fact, Apple iPhone is the most popular mobile client, with 29% of all email opens. However, it’s possible that your subscribers use a different email client, so it’s important to study their behavior and open rates to optimize your email campaigns effectively.

If you’re wondering how these percentages vary by device, here’s some information sourced from Hubspot:

  1. 9.3% of clicks come from tablets, 
  2. 18.5% from mobiles, 
  3. 2.3% from Google Android,
  4. And 72.2% from PCs.

Advanced Mobile Email Marketing Strategies 

Mastering the fundamentals of mobile email marketing can take time and practice. 

But to truly stand out, consider these advanced email marketing strategies:

  • Use Geo-tagging: Personalize your emails based on the customer’s location to enhance the effect of email campaigns. Location-specific offers and promotions might be useful for certain types of audiences, especially in the e-commerce industry.
  • Utilize interactive content: Mobiles make it easier to touch and move around the elements. Interactive elements such as polls, surveys, or quizzes can increase the chances of engagement.
  • Embrace AMP for emails: Accelerated Mobile Pages for emails allow to include dynamic content such as carousels, forms, and real-time updates, creating a real-time mobile experience.
  • Optimize subject lines with AI: Use AI tools to predict which subject lines resonate with audiences. 
  • Use voice search optimization: As voice search continues to become popular, optimize your emails with voice search queries. Use natural language and include relevant questions your customers might ask.

With mobile usage growing, optimizing your emails for mobile devices is more important than ever. But beyond these strategies, you must also ensure your email campaigns reach your recipients, giving them a chance to open and engage with them.

A surefire way is to use a reliable email marketing platform like Campaign Refinery to send your mobile email marketing campaigns. 

Let’s check out how Campaign Refinery can help you achieve your mobile email marketing goals.


Optimize Your Emails For Mobile With Campaign Refinery

By providing the highest email deliverability rate on the market, Campaign Refinery ensures emails reach your intended audiences. Our clients notice a 6x increase in inbox placement after working with us. 

While we take care of your email deliverability, you can use our intuitive interface and premium tools, such as automatic email list cleaning, mobile-responsive email templates, engagement rewards, and evergreen flash sales to build impactful campaigns and increase revenue from your mobile email marketing.

Ready to transform your mobile email marketing strategy and drive real business results?

Apply and join an elite sender community now!

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