Designing email marketing for mobile; Well, we’ve seen it coming for a while, but last year was the first year where mobile devices overtook desktop & laptop as the preferred device for viewing emails.

At email blaster we record which email browser and device is used to view an email. We’ve certainly noted this shift with Apple’s iPhone IOS is claiming on average 40% on the viewing figures.

For many of us, designing for mobile is still quite a new thing. Whilst your mailer may look great on a desktop, if the design doesn’t translate to a mobile device, your recipients could start unsubscribing.

So with this in mind, we’ve put together a quick run down of what key areas you should take into consideration when designing your next mailer.

Font Sizes

The smallest font size you should use is 13 px, whilst smaller sizes may work for desktop on mobiles it makes for a very frustrating viewing experience.

Design width

Keep your design inside 600 pixels, ideally you should be between 500 and 600 pixels wide. If your design is wider than this, your mobile viewers will have a horizontal scroll bar – forcing them to swipe sideways in order to view your message.

CSS media queries

Lots of email browsers now support CSS media queries, this will effectively mean that you can create a separate set of design rules and stylings for mobile devices. This offers the perfect solution for satisfying both desk top and mobile at the same time.

It is worth remembering that CSS media queries are new technology and some older email browsers don’t support it.

Single column layout

The aim here is to really make the viewing experience and quick and easy as is possible. If we are viewing emails on our mobiles, then we are most probably on the go and not giving our full attention.

It’s therefore really important to use a layout that is simple and can be easily digested in a matter of seconds. A single column layout is the best way to achieve this,

Use small paragraphs

Keep your sentences short and snappy. Using small paragraphs helps present information in small, easy to read snippets ensures that your mobile viewers quickly digest your information.

Use large buttons with one simple call to action

The purpose of your mailer is to prompt the viewer to do something, this is your call to action. On as mobile device your viewer should be able to see and act on this within 3 seconds of opening the mailer.

By putting your call to action inside a large button – your viewer is immediately drawn to the most important part of your mailer.

Make Call to actions clickable

Again, following on from the last point – by making this call to action clickable, it greatly increases the chances that you viewer will act on your mailer.

Subject line length

With a mobile device you have half the amount of characters available in the preview window for your header line. A truncated subject header may not make any sense at all – so always deliver your header inside 30 characters.

Optimise images for cellular networks

Most people on mobile devices will be using their cellular data network to view emails. So waiting for large images to download can be pretty frustrating – always keep you image sizes small.

Use pre-header text

Pre header text is the first few lines of text in your mailer – this is used in the preview section of your mobile’s email browser. The common mistake here is to use an unsubscribe link or a view a web version link. This is really not something that you want to show in the preview pane.