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5 Best Practices for Tailoring Your Email Marketing to Mobile Users This Holiday Season

November 5, 2012 By Rick Faulk
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The outlook for the upcoming holiday season is bright, with sales in the months of November and December expected to increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion. Mobile devices will play a big role this holiday season, with 64 percent of smartphone owners now using their mobile devices to shop online. As more consumers shop and access content from mobile devices, it's critical to tailor email marketing to the needs of the smaller screen. In fact, in a sampling of nearly 140 million emails sent from Campaigner between June 2012 and September 2012, 44 percent were initially opened on a mobile device.

A solid email marketing strategy is imperative to brick-and-mortar and web retailers who want their products and services in consumers’ carts this holiday season. The proliferation of mobile devices means that successful campaigns must appeal to both desktop and mobile users. This also necessitates a change in tactics for content and design. Mobile devices not only have smaller screens, but different capabilities.

Use the following tips to help design mobile-friendly email marketing campaigns that will deck the halls with sales this season:

  • The perfect gift in a simple package: When it comes to email marketing, graphics and HTML have enabled marketers to serve up content in a pretty package. However, when designing for both desktop and mobile subscribers, simple styling is the prettiest package of all. Emails with one giant image without text or image map support could land in spam folders like a lump of coal. Keep it simple with text and very little hard-coded information. Add a pretty bow by including a link at the top of your email for a mobile version.
  • Inside the box: There's nothing more disappointing than a bad gift wrapped in pretty packaging. While design is an important element of a successful campaign, engaging content is the most significant part of your email. Spending time writing content that your readers will love is essential to any great email campaign. If your layout or design is lacking, people will still read a well-thought out email that they're interested in.
  • Pick the right ornaments: Always consider using thumb-friendly buttons for your "Sign Up Now," "Register" and social media links so it's easier for your readers to click on the buttons. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to click on a link in an email, but it being too small to click on. On a mobile device, an ultimate solution is to have the email fill the screen completely, regardless of whether the phone is in portrait or landscape orientation. While you code your templates, bump up your email's text size, change a font or do more things with email — e.g., valid CSS when viewed on a mobile device.
  • A twist on tradition: Traditions are an integral part of the holiday season. However, when it comes to email marketing, traditions are meant to be broken. For example, table layouts were once as standard as Santa and his reindeer, but they no longer work for the mobile screen. When designing your holiday email marketing campaign, let text flow so that it wraps to the reader's window size.
  • Make a list and check it twice …  just like Santa: Check the analytics of your subscriber list to see how your emails are being read. You may find that 25 percent of your subscribers are reading on a desktop versus 75 percent on a mobile device. Understanding how your subscribers are accessing and interacting with your emails will help you design campaigns that match their needs.

Impress your customers and make this holiday season a success by implementing these smart tactics to enhance your mobile email marketing messages. You won't be disappointed by the results!

Rick Faulk is the general manager of Campaigner, the sales and marketing brand of j2 Global, Inc. Rick can be reached at


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(PDF Download)

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