How to target email subscribers on mobile

People spend a large portion of their day scrolling through mobile devices. For instance, consider how many times you open your phone each day to check a notification on one app, only to find there’s an email you haven’t opened. With smartphones, email is readily accessible. This means you need to know how to target email subscribers on mobile.  

But what if the images aren’t rendering properly? What if the email isn’t working?

As a marketer, you know it’s important to avoid a broken experience at all costs for the brands you represent.

In this article, we’ll go over some tips and suggestions to target email subscribers on mobile and optimize their campaigns for mobile email service providers.

Because if you aren’t optimizing for mobile, your brands are missing out.

Why should marketers care about mobile email?

Failing to optimize campaigns for mobile email service providers might be the weak link holding your marketing efforts back.

Let’s look at the facts.

More than half of consumers have considered deleting their entire email account simply because they received too many marketing emails. Ouch. Meanwhile, only 25% of marketers reported integrating mobile usage into their email marketing campaigns.

This means that not only are subscribers receiving too many low-quality generic emails, but marketers aren’t ensuring that these campaigns look beautiful across various devices.

We have to empathize with our subscribers. If a brand doesn’t send emails that load correctly on mobile, how effective will they really be?

Not so effective, it turns out: Over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices.

Optimizing for mobile email can give you a significant edge over competitors who don’t put their subscribers first.

How to target email subscribers on mobile

At the end of the day, you want to deliver useful and relevant content to your audience, right? Using these tips to target email subscribers on mobile can help you do just that.

1. Personalize as much as possible.

With so much content flooding your subscribers’ inboxes, you need to stand out. Email is a personal medium so why not adopt a conversational tone and personalize your emails?

Personalized email campaigns are 26% more likely to get opened and deliver 6x higher transaction rates. People want to talk to other humans, so make your messaging as human as possible.

You can implement this type of messaging using an email service provider. Here’s how:

Simply adjust your ESP to merge tags and personalize your emails with your subscribers’ real names. This will make your emails seem more like conversations, rather than a brand trying to line its pockets.

This email from Target even personalizes the subject line. The email then continues to be relevant and unique to the reader, just by featuring recently purchased products. Notice, too, how Target uses emotional marketing to improve the subscriber experience. Instead of simply asking for feedback, Target asks the subscriber to help other customers.

Target personalization email example

Image Source: Really Good Emails

2. Use mobile-friendly templates.

You may have someone on your team who can design emails—ones that render beautifully across all devices. Unfortunately, many startups and freelancers don’t have this type of person readily available. For the rest of us, email service providers with mobile-friendly templates fill that void.

Utilizing an ESP ensures emails look just as you intended, no matter which device your subscribers use. After all, it’s virtually impossible to consider every mobile device—let alone every desktop.

Let your email service provider do the work with mobile-friendly customizable templates.

This email from Waitrose smoothly transitions from desktop to mobile with great images and easy-to-click buttons.

Waitrose email example

Image Source: Pinterest

3. Craft short yet striking subject lines

Some email apps will display subject lines that max out at 80 characters, like the iOS native email app, but it’s foolish for marketers to bank on this. If you want every subscriber to see your full subject line, you need to keep it 30 characters or less.

Yes, it’s tricky—especially since this character count is far less than your standard blog headline. But if your subscribers can’t read your entire subject line, they probably won’t understand what’s inside and thus, won’t open the email.

Use those 30 characters to inspire some kind of action or give readers a taste of what’s inside. Are you passing out a 40% discount? Let them know. Opening a new location perhaps? Give them a teaser in your subject line. And if you really can’t fit your message in 30 characters, consider using emojis.

4. Don’t ignore preheader text

This text gives you another 30 to 80 characters to entice your subscribers. Make them want to read your email. This can make the difference in your engagement, and thus, whether or not your emails are marked as spam.

If you want to get your point across, err on the side of caution with just 30 characters. That will ensure that everyone—no matter which device and app they use—can read your entire preview text without it getting cut off.

5. Test your images across multiple devices

Most reputable email service providers make it easy to test your emails before you send them to subscribers or segments of your list. It can’t hurt to take advantage of this feature since it’s an easy way to target email subscribers on mobile.

Send your emails to a few people with different mobile devices to gauge the final view. Make sure to test buttons and links as well. If everything is functional and visually appealing, it’s ready to send to your list.

6. Use large and bold fonts to target email subscribers on mobile

Small text is almost impossible to read on mobile devices. Your subscribers probably don’t want to bother taking the time to zoom in and out of images to read the text.

It’s a good idea for marketers to make sure every email they send uses large and bold fonts for mobile email campaigns while always considering design and user experience. This will make sure that mobile users can actually read everything you send without additional effort on their part.

This email from 22 Days Nutrition uses large bold text against a bright background so it’s easy to read for mobile subscribers. Plus, the CTA buttons are large and bold so they’re easy to see for email mobile users. The content is great too, because it creates mystery and entices the reader to click.

22 Days Nutrition email example

Image Source: Campaign Monitor

7. Make sure buttons are easily clickable

Likewise, you want to make sure links and social share buttons are large and easy to click as they are. If you give them tiny buttons at the bottom of each email, they probably won’t be bothered to go through the hassle of pressing them.

Fortunately, plenty of email service providers offer templates with large social share buttons and customizable features to highlight exactly what you want your audience to click. Try switching this up and see how your click-through rates improve.

This email from GQ contains very large share buttons and display the number of followers on each platform. It’s clear GQ really wants you to follow their Snapchat.

GQ email example

Image Source: Really Good Emails

8. Are your landing pages mobile-friendly, too?

You’ve sent out an awesome mobile-friendly email campaign. There’s just one problem: Your landing page doesn’t optimize properly on every device. Womp womp.

To properly target email subscribers on mobile, it’s always a good idea to test your landing pages across multiple devices. It can’t hurt to take advantage of accelerated mobile pages, too. These pages load faster and cleaner than standard mobile web pages. The faster your page loads, the more likely your subscribers will stick around, read what you have to say, and take real-life action.

9. Don’t forget to analyze the results and A/B test

Like we’ve already mentioned, over a third of marketers don’t even bother tracking the open rates and results of their email campaigns. It’s difficult to figure out what kind of content your subscribers enjoy if you’re not looking at this valuable information.

Analyzing your open and click-through rates along with A/B tests will help you send the most relevant and useful content to your subscribers. After all, your goal is to help them solve problems and improve their lives. Testing will help you do just that.

Wrap up

You know you have amazing content to share with your subscribers. You just need to figure out how to optimize your message and successfully target email subscribers on mobile. As people continue to use mobile for email, optimizing your campaigns will give you leverage over your competition and ensure your subscribers see the most valuable content possible.

Looking for customizable templates that render beautifully across mobile devices? Emma can help with that.

About the Author

Lane Harbin is a senior content marketing manager at Emma. When she’s not geeking out over email marketing, she enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.

More Content by Lane Harbin

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