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How To Adapt Email Campaigns For The Mobile World

How to adapt email campaigns for the mobile world

The way in which we use our mobiles has changed almost beyond recognition over the past few years. At one time mobile phones were exactly that – phones that you could carry around. Now smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are like multimedia hubs in our pockets. We can access apps and surf the web, stream videos and music and, of course, check our emails. If we still want to, we can even call someone up and talk to them.

A study based on analysis of 500 million emails found that 41% of commercial emails were opened on mobile devices in the second half of 2012. This was up from just over a quarter (27%) at the end of 2011 and just 13% a year prior to that. The researchers predicted that by 2014, the majority of commercial emails would be opened on the go.

Does email marketing still work?

In a recent survey more than three quarters (77%) of consumers listed email as their preferred medium for receiving permission-based marketing communications, totally eclipsing other channels such as social media (6%) and text messages (5%).

According to the Direct Marketing Association, the average return on investment for email marketing was a whopping $40.56 for every $1 spent. Compare this to an average return on investment of $22.44 for search engine marketing or $19.72 for online display advertising.

There’s little doubt that email campaigns can be highly effective and also that an increasing number of consumers are accessing commercial emails on their mobile devices. Email marketing and the mobile world should go hand in hand, yet 58% of marketers said they were not designing specifically for mobile.

Here are a few tips to help you adapt your email marketing campaigns for mobile:

Optimise for the smaller screen

You should always make sure your emails display correctly on the widest possible range of devices. Scalable designs are simply made so that they can still be read and used even when reduced to half of their original size. These designs will typically use large, clear fonts, avoid overly wide or multiple columns and include big, easily clickable buttons.

Responsive designs respond and adjust to the dimensions of the screen on which they are being displayed.

For emails with a click-through to your website, don’t forget to make sure the site itself or at least the landing page is also optimised for mobile. There’s little point in getting your marketing emails spot on if customers abandon your site once they get there because it fails to load or display properly.

Segment and geo-target your audience

A small volume of highly targeted emails tends to be far more effective than a larger volume delivered as an untargeted scattershot. Segmented campaigns produce 30% more opens than undifferentiated messages and a 50% higher click-through rate.

The two main ways of segmenting your audience are by demographics and habits. Demographics tell you something about who your customer is: their age, gender, industry, job title, location and even birthday. All this data can be useful for basic segmentation. Geo-targeting can be particularly useful in this context as mobile customers are often looking for local products or services.

You can also segment your audience based on behaviours. Some basic examples include monitoring which emails a customer opened or clicked and, just as importantly, which they ignored. If they visited your website, what did they view, download or buy? If they’re not repeat customers who arrived there by clicking an email link, what keywords did they initially use to find you?

You should always be aware of privacy laws as they pertain to capturing visitor data in different markets. This will generally involve informing customers of any data capture and providing a clear and accurate privacy policy.

Create appropriate content

The point of all this segmentation is to get the best content to the most appropriate potential customers. In general all marketing emails should be lean and to the point, but this is even more important when it comes to mobile. The subject line should be snappy and informative and you should also pay attention to the ‘From’ or sender name. The recipient should be able to identify your company but you can personalise the email by narrowing the ‘From’ to a department or even a specific named employee.

Finally, make sure your emails are sent at the best time. A Return Path study found that mobile email use starts to rise on Thursday and continues to increase over the weekend before tapering off again on Sunday. Use your own delivery analytics to see when your emails are most often opened and adjust your delivery times to suit.

*Picture credits: scyther5 /

Christian Arno, Founder and President, Lingo24

Christian Arno is Founder and President of Lingo24. He started the company in 2001 after graduating from Oxford University with a degree in languages. He has won numerous awards including HSBC Business Thinking and International Trade Awards (2010), and TAUS Excellence Award (2012) for innovative technology. He contributes to leading industry publications and has been featured on the BBC, in the Financial Times and other media around the world.

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