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Responsys Mobile Email Guide

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The Responsys Mobile Email Guide walks through a number of mobile email design strategies to help you capture mobile clicks.

Text of Responsys Mobile Email Guide

Mobile Email GuideDesign strategies to help you capture mobile clicks.

Getting started

On average, were seeing about 40% of email opens coming from mobile devices and tablets. Unfortunately, all the work we do to ensure our emails render flawlessly on the desktop doesnt take into account the subscribers trying to read our emails on a tiny screen. Often times the mobile experience is disappointing, forcing the subscriber to wait for images to download, scroll endlessly to read a sentence, zoom in to click a link, then dropping them on a website with a similar experience.

Mobile subscribers are less engaged because they are being forced through an experience that was not optimized to help them take the action were asking them to.

Its daunting, as a marketer, to figure out how to address this growing challenge. In this guide, well walk you through where to begin and a couple design strategies to help you capture those clicks.

Understanding your mobile audience.

Where your subscribers are opening.Before starting any mobile optimization process, its vital to drop a pixel from Return Path or Litmus to figure out the breakdown of your mobile audience. You may be surprised to find more opens coming from tablets than phones, or iOS instead of Android. Optimizing for mobile presents a challenge because weve now added phone operating systems, mail clients and browsers to our current landscape of email landmines, each rendering HTML very differently. Its important to spend your time and energy on the largest audience you can reach.

Understanding operating systems and devices.While were seeing Android taking up the largest market share, most of our clients are seeing predominantly iPhone and other Apple iOS devices contributing to the largest share of mobile opens. This is great news because iOS devices have the least amount of trouble rendering email. The Android operating system is being used on a variety of devices from Samsung, HTC, Google and Motorola, meaning inconsistent support across all those devices and the email clients on each handset.

Getting started

Which mobile design is right for you?

Know mobileopen rate?



Mobile optimized

Mobile opens more than 30%?

Mobile opensmostly IOS?

Ready toinvest in customer experience?

no Can support additionalversions?

Return path/litmus report


no no yes no


Getting started

Mobile design strategies / Three tips for mobile optimization

Mobile optimized email.

What is it?HTML email designed specifically tobe viewed on a modern smartphone(screen width: 320480 px).

When is it used?When majority of subscribers openemails on a modern smartphone.

Highlights and Considerations. Hybrid approach provides good experience for most subscribers.

Easier to phase into existing program.

More flexible design constraints.

Renders at reduced size (zooms out).

Still reduces space for content, copy.

Make it simple.

What to do. Make the message clear and simple.

Use graphics to help explain messages.

Remove non-essential elements.

Why its important.Mobile users are on the go, and likely tobe multi-tasking. Messages that are clear, simple, and uncluttered will be most effective in getting them to act.

Mobile design strategies / Three tips for mobile optimization

Make it easy to scroll.

What to do. Divide messages into clear sections.

Use concise blocks of copy.

Create flow with headers and images.

Create patterns to imply theres more.

Tease users with content below fold.

Mimic scrolling elements in mobile sites.

Why its important.Keeping the mobile users interest andattention is a challenge. Layouts can be organized to encourage rapid scanning while also gathering key information.

Mobile design strategies / Three tips for mobile optimization

Make it easy to click.

What to do. Create larger buttons and links.

Add padding between sections.

Design whole sections to be clickable.

Why its important.When pressed to a touchscreen, thehuman finger requires more space to click accurately than a mouse does. Designers must allow enough room to click accurately, even when zoomed out.

Mobile design strategies / Three tips for mobile optimization

Responsive design.

What is it?One HTML file that uses media queries to style the layout based on screen size.

When is it used?For subscribers viewing email in their native mail app on smartphones/tablets.

Highlights and Considerations More difficult to produce.

Default messaging is sent to subscribers using gmail or yahoo app.

Time needs to be spent determining content priority for mobile audience.

Ability to hide most graphics and images, but not introduce new ones.

Mobile design strategies / Four responsive design options

Wrap it.

Youve been there. You get an email on your phone and youre trying to read it, but you have to keep scrolling every which way and its frustrating, right? Well, theres an easy solution. Wrap it.

Wrapping elements lets your email design reflow within a mobile screen making it easier for the user to read and get through. Simply consider the grid structure on both desktop and email. The Apple iPhone has a screen width of 320 pixels, so if you designed the desktop version to be 640 pixels this would provide a good two-column grid structureperfect for wrapping elements without the need to scale. Stick to one or two columns for easier readability.





Mobile design strategies / Four responsive design options

Swap it.

If youve ever wondered why an image doesnt fit or looks odd when youve opened an email, the first thing to remember is that not all desktop hero images work in a mobile format. Heres an example: while the landscape desktop image looks great in this format, it doesnt work as well on a smart phone. However, its easy to swap the image to a portrait layout that is specifically designed for a 320-pixel-width. Also, if the image looks blurry, you can Sharpen It by doubling the size of the original image. For example: the original image is 100%. You can resize and save to a magnification of 200%. Problem solved.




Mobile design strategies / Four responsive design options

Hide it.

Have you tried to open an email lately that takes forever to load or there are xs instead of images? Heres the reason and how you can optimize your customers experience to avoid this kind of frustration.

While you may want your customers to see some great branded images, often they may take too long to load, make your email unnecessarily long or may not be relevant for your mobile customers. With smart, responsive design you can hide them, making the mobile email marketing experience more relevant and seamless. You may also choose to add a link that says view images, giving your customers the option of what they want to see.





Mobile design strategies / Four responsive design options

Design options.

Here are some other design options you can incorporate with responsive email design.

TextWith system text you can:

Change font size, color, family, weight, decoration, style or variant.

Change line height.

Change margin and padding on a text block.

Hide an entire text block.

Hide selected text within a block.

Move a text block to previous or next row in layout.

Wrap text.

ImagesRegular images provide more options for manipulation than background images. In most cases, theyre the best option to use.

With regular images you can:

Resize an image by scaling it.

Chop an image by hiding slices.

Hide an image.

Move an image to previous or next row in layout.

With background images you can:

Swap a background image by changing img src.

Crop a background image.

Hide a background image.

Mobile design strategies / Four responsive design options

We can help.

We understand how complicated it can be to get started optimizing your program for the mobile audience, and we plan to continue producing materials to make the process easier. Give us a call or send us an email with ideas and suggestions.

If youd like further assistance, we provide many in-house and online training solutions. We also offer full creative services and can write, design and execute your email marketing program.

Responsys (NASDAQ:MKTG) is a leading marketing cloud software and services company. Our mission is to enable the smartest marketing in the digital world. The most respected brands across the globe use the Responsys Interact Marketing Cloud to manage their digital relationships and deliver the right marketing to their customers across email, mobile, social, display and the web. Our customers gain competitive advantage through the automation, individualization, and coordination of cross-channel marketing interactions at massive scale. Founded in 1998, Responsys is headquartered in San Bruno, California and has offices throughout the world. For more information about Responsys, visit

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