The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Mobile Email Design: Of Unpardonable Sins and Runway Fashion

Mobile Email Design: Of Unpardonable Sins and Runway Fashion

If you send emails to your consumers, brace yourself for the following statistic.

“45% of consumers have unsubscribed from a brand’s promotional emails because the brand’s emails or website didn’t display or work well on their smartphone.” -Litmus, 2016

Survived that one? Don’t relax yet - it gets worse.

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Publishers' Missed Opportunities With Mobile Email Have Wider Consequences

Publishers' Missed Opportunities With Mobile Email Have Wider Consequences

I'm a news junkie! I admit it! I can't get enough news and analysis on Middle East conflicts, stock market trends, sports picks, and celebrity gossip. I almost always have two news channels running simultaneously in my house and at my desk at work. To continually feed my habit every waking hour, I subscribe to no fewer than 137 daily email newsletters, from big-name publishers to small niche bloggers, and I scan almost all of them on my four-inch iPhone 5s screen.

In general, my daily email newsletter habit saves me a lot of time. It's quicker than jumping from app-to-app or site-to-site to satisfy my fix. However, at times I get frustrated and stumble from the routine of using my right thumb to scroll down and click.

This frustration usually happens when I encounter a mobile-unfriendly newsletter, forcing my left index finger and thumb to start pinching and stretching across my iPhone's screen. My eyes dilate to discern the extra small fonts, while my genetically oversized thumb has to switch from a vertical to a horizontal scroll.

After I get a taste of the initial snippet of an interesting story, my desire to indulge in the rest takes over my brain. I use my thumb to forcefully scroll right, then left, frantically searching for the "read more" link or button, finally seeing the little blue words seducing me into action. As I take a deep breath to lift my thumb, I subconsciously notice the edge of a social media sharing image positioned nanometers from my objective. My thumb hits the screen, and a cold feeling immediately overcomes me with the thought that I missed. Sure enough, my Facebook app opens, with a prompt to share the story I that I'd just wanted to finish reading. "Crap!" I say. After repeating this narrative between 50 and 60 times daily, I've started being more selective with the publishers I interact with.

The phenomenon of online media not accommodating mobile email is not isolated to a small percentage of the industry, nor to a segment of its respective demographics. It's a systemic issue that's a disservice to publishers' subscribers and brand. In an era of fragmented audiences and shortened attention spans, publishers can't afford to marginalize the power of mobile email by ignoring responsive design. More importantly, publishers' lackadaisical interest in mobile email is counterproductive to their cries of low CPM rates and quality traffic.

When I ask publishers why they don't embrace responsive design, their answers range from technical ignorance to outdated design ideology. Whichever their answers, most fit in the confines of a flimsy excuse and are akin to shooting one's self in the foot, purposely!

Fortunately, adopting responsive design is easy, and can be fully integrated into a publisher's repertoire of daily email. The publishers who do eventually make the responsive design jump notice a substantial increase in engagement and monetization. It's not unheard of for open rates to increase by 20% or 30%, and CPMs to reach up to $8 or more for standard display ads alone. Given these tangible benefits, it's baffling why publishers aren't there yet.

The economics of a widely used, open platform like email are such that when there's an issue with functionality, the market rushes in to correct it. Uniform rendering across disparate email clients is a byproduct of trying to fix broken HTML. Publishers should expect similar efforts from developers trying to dictate subscriber experience to their email clients.

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Three Key Considerations for Email Rendering

Recently, our blog discussed email deliverability, and how to ensure your email reaches the customers’ inbox. Today, we extend that discussion by examining three of the most important considerations for email rendering, or how an email displays when it is opened.

Email Clients
An html template can display differently across email clients like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, or Outlook. It's imperative that you review how the email will render in each client. In addition, each of these email clients uses a slightly different approach to display a snippet of the email's text, and some of them use a preview pane. Carefully designing your e-mail to ensure the strongest message from each of these avenues will help increase your email opens.

Mobile Customers
These days, there’s a good chance that your customers will be checking their email on a mobile device. To master a mobile message, remember that a mobile display is half that of a computer screen and that a single column orientation will display best. Other design considerations include the use of a finger for clicks vs. a mouse pointer, as well as font size and readability. Customers will likely interact more with a display that is easy to read and accommodates for finger size, eliminating the need for zooming in. Simple, elegant, straight-forward design continues to work best on mobile devices.

Finally, remember that many email clients do not automatically display graphics. Image heavy messages may display as blank boxes. It is important to include alt text. This not only allows search engines to read images on your web site, but also maintains consistency if the images are blocked or not rendering correctly.
We would be happy to discuss email rendering with you in more detail, so that you can best optimize your email marketing campaign. For more information, contact us.

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Email best practices for mobile devices

As more people use their mobile phones to check their email during the day, email best practices for mobile devices is becoming more important. According to Marketing Pilgrim, a poor email experience leads 30 percent of consumers to unsubscribe.

Marketing Pilgrim columnist Cynthia Boris said companies need to get up to speed with email designed for mobile devices:

A year ago, mobile email wasn't that common, so it was easy to forgive a  company for not getting on board. Now, though, there’s no excuse for a  poorly executed email.

Emails that display poorly on mobile devices will prompt 30.2% of consumers to unsubscribe, accoding to a report from BlueHornet. Only 6.3% of consumers would read the email despite its poor display, the report said.

Email frequency and relevance is another common reason for consumers to unsibscribe. Offering subscribers flexibility in how many emails they receive can combat this and keep subscribers from leaving. Many firms ask subscribers if they want one email a week instead when they attempt to unsubscribe from email subscriptions. Giving subscribers options will improve their relationship and help retain them in the long run. 

Best practices for mobile emails
One way to endear your emails to mobile users is to make coupons and special offers usable on their mobile phones. Instead of requiring users to print out e-mailed coupons, design the offers so they can be displayed and redeemed on mobile phones. The ideal mobile coupon can be scanned directly from the phone by a barcode scanner.

Designing emails for mobile devices can be accomplished through responsive design. The design queries the device that the email displays on, so that one email can be formatted differently for display on mobile phones, tablets and personal computers. For mobile phones, graphics should be streamlined for easier viewing.

For more information on crafting an email campaign that works on mobile devices, contact us today. Don't let your customers unsubscribe from your emails due to poor displays on mobile phones!


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Thinking Visual For Better Mobile Marketing

Brand Visualization is cited as one of the major branding trends in a recent article at for the year 2013. Mobile marketing is inevitably enhanced when brand visualization techniques are employed.

From Flat Screens to Smart Phones

It’s ironic that, as flat screen TVs grow ever larger, the proliferation of smart phones drives consumers to view more and more information in relatively small places. It was inevitable, therefore, that part of the solution would be found in images. Pinterest, Instagram, and Flipboard are all examples of visually-based sites that quickly drew millions of followers. In fact, Instagram's trajectory from inception to a $1 billion purchase by Facebook was simply stunning.

The consumer has spoken, and the market has quickly responded. A photo's capacity to say 'a thousand words' is undeniable. Utilize that power for your own enterprise, and your branding efforts will benefit.

The trend toward the visual is also apparent in social media post excerpts. Initially, they appeared in words only. Then, small images began to accompany excerpts. Now, the image itself is often the primary attention-grabber. The title of an article merely becomes a link to the post itself. The image becomes the portal, the gateway, to further exploration.

The Potential In Data Visualization

The characterization of your numbers as 'dry statistics' is even more a barrier to communication in this visually-dominated age. One can do more than use dynamic photos and eye-catching logos to enhance brand awareness. In fact, those company stats that convey credibility and success can be turned into visuals like info graphics that overcome traditional communication barriers.

The most ancient of data visualization tools was not always the most accurate, but it sure was effective. Take for example, the ‘map’. It may have committed certain egregious omissions, like the initial elimination of the Western Hemisphere, but it served its purpose and was sufficiently effective.

Today, both images and visual representations of data are maps that the consumer will use to navigate, quite literally, to their destination -- your brand, hopefully!

In the world of the web, we've rapidly migrated from the '140 character' world to a land of bandwidth that can project HD images onto smart phones and tablets almost instantaneously. It is incumbent upon Internet marketers to fully embrace this newfound visual power. Data visualization is one such method for doing this. Fully embrace this concept, and the communication of data can move all the way from obstacle to asset. Recognize this potential in branding, and further success will be yours.

Gold Lasso is committed to contemporary e-marketing that welcomes every new development and applies it for its customers. So that we may learn more specifically of your needs, please contact us today.

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