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The future in your hands: how to make the most of mobile email marketing

With a third of online sales in the UK now taking place via a mobile device, the transition to hand-held devices as consumers’ preferred mode of online shopping is firmly underway.

According to mobile email research compiled by Email Monday, 45% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. The email marketing consultancy also observed that open rates for mobile email increased by 180% between 2011 and 2014. With these figures in mind, the need for businesses to adopt a mobile-centric approach to marketing is clear.

Leading tech companies are joining the movement already. Facebook recently introduced Instant Articles to improve load times of mobile content. Google and Twitter, meanwhile, are reportedly joining forces to provide a quick-load alternative to the new Facebook feature. In June of this year, Apple launched an instant-load news app for iOS9 and picture-messaging app Snapchat offers its users curated editorial content through the Discover function.

In light of the impact of load times on consumer experience, it’s no wonder publishers are moving toward a mobile-first publication strategy. Marketers need to take a similar approach with email offerings. From load times and data consumption to readability and gesture-compatibility, every aspect of the experience must be examined from the perspective of a mobile user. Creating emails that are mobile-responsive is just the first step, but the following elements should also be considered:

How is the email formatted? Consider offering scrollable content instead of multi-column displays.

What links does it contain? Content linked to in emails should have a mobile-friendly design, and attachments including PDFs need to be formatted for smaller screens.

Are images and attachments compressed? Slow download rates for larger files will impact how quickly readers can access the content, and large files may be off-putting for users concerned about their data usage.

Are fonts optimized for mobile reading? Be wary of small font sizes, and using light-colored fonts on white backgrounds. Consider screen glare, contrast, and even audience eyesight challenges when choosing fonts.

What size are CTA buttons? Call-to-action buttons need to be formatted for touch screens, taking color and size into account as well.

Is your branded mobile app delivering different content? Avoid turning your marketing into spam – and prompting readers to unsubscribe – by making sure application users aren’t getting the same updates in push notifications and emails.

Are subject lines short and punchy? Test all email drafts on a smartphone prior to distribution. If the subject doesn’t fit on a single line, the open rate is likely to suffer.

Of course, establishing a code of best practice for mobile-friendly content is just one piece of the puzzle. The real challenge for brands isn't just how to optimize email content for mobile, but how to adapt all of its communications to a changing world where content consumption is becoming ever more fragmented across multiple channels and touch points. censhare is helping businesses to rise to this challenge with intelligent channel management solutions: find out more.