iPhone Tips for HTML Email


This spring, one of the biggest smartphones (the iPhone) joined with the biggest mobile carrier (Verizon). People are snatching up the iPhone in droves, which means your mobile email audience is the biggest it’s ever been.

If you send only plain-text emails, this isn’t a very big deal.

But many people send HTML. And HTML emails tend to look a little different on mobile devices.

But we know four easy ways you can make sure they still look good.

Scrutinize Your Size

The iPhone 4G displays at a width of 640 pixels, so you’ll want your email to be just around that size.

Previous versions display at 320 pixels, which still works with a 640-pixel message – your design scales down nicely by half.

AWeber’s email templates are all around 600 pixels. Use them, and you’re all set.

Use the Top Left to Allure

Make sure you’ve got grabby, interesting content in the top, left section of your message. Try a headline, a picture or a paragraph that lets readers know something exciting is happening. They’ll need to scroll over and down to see more.

This actually has double impact. It gives an enticing glimpse to your subscribers who first encounter your emails in a preview pane. They’ll see either the top or the left, depending on their email client.

But Save Your Call To Action For Later

If the top left is where you ask your readers on a date, the bottom or right is where you move in for the kiss. That’s how Dr. Flint McLaughlin, who studies millions of emails at MECLABS, describes the email experience.

Keeping your call to action off the initial screen gives readers a second to acclimate. Once readers decide they’re committed enough to scroll down, you can ask them to take further action.

And In the Meantime…

Get more subscriptions.

While you’re waiting for clicks on that call to action, generate a QR code for your brand. iPhones (and other smartphones) can scan these cousins to bar codes and be taken straight to your sign up form (just follow these easy steps).

You can get your QR code printed onto business cards, t-shirts – pretty much anything. So when all the Verizon-ites who just picked up iPhones are looking for fun ways to use them, they can sign up for your emails.

Do You Read Email On An iPhone?

Or any other kind of smartphone?

If you do, does it matter if the email is big or small? Does the call to action’s location make a difference?

Or does your response just come down to the interest you have in the brand and whether they’re offering something you want?

Share your opinion in the comment section here – we’d love to see what you’ve got to say. (And if you’ve discovered any other helpful tips for crafting emails for the iPhone, we’d love to see those, too!)

Amanda Gagnon is the former Education Manager for AWeber and has started a number of small businesses.

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  1. Tim

    Glad to see aWeber is starting to realize that people use their phones to read email. I asked tech support for some help or ideas when one of my subscribers could not view a picture on their phone.

    The only answer I got was the unhelpful “We don’t do phone support”.

    That was rather annoying.

    6/10/2011 10:27 am
  2. I have read about QR codes, but here I found really interesting the idea of making a QR code to send people to a sign up page. I also like the belief that it is better to let people be acclimated before showing them a call to action.
    Nonetheless, I am not sure whether all the readers are patient, and if keeping the call to action for later is not going to make a marketer lose some clicks.

    6/10/2011 10:49 am
  3. Mal

    Ironically your email message looked really bad on my iPhone. (I use gmail via browser not normal apple mail app coz it has more functionality)

    The message was wide so I had to scroll across to read all of it. I’ll try screen shot it and share with you.


    6/14/2011 10:13 am
  4. A bit off topic BUT can you tell me if the email newsletter form this blog entry came out on is available as a template to your users? I’m having trouble finding a template I like with AWeber and the template you used to send this message our via email might just work for me. Is it available for our use?

    6/14/2011 10:25 am
  5. Mal ~ That is ironic. Thanks for sharing that shot.

    Tim ~ Sorry you got such a terse answer. Whether images show on a phone has to do with settings on that phone’s email application, so it makes sense that we wouldn’t be able to change that.

    Tikyd ~ Level of patience probably depends at least in part on your demographic, so you’ll want to test your call to action placement (at least a couple of times in each place to get steady results) to find your answer.

    Bridgett ~ Yes! We do have that template. :) It’s called Bigfoot, near the top of the template list in your message editor.

    6/14/2011 12:35 pm
  6. I just got into advertising on cell phones. I have optimized pages. But I’m not having much luck building a list. Do you have any suggestions?

    Hoping to hear back from you

    6/28/2011 7:51 pm
  7. Denzel ~ We do. They’re fully explained here. Hope that helps!

    6/29/2011 8:30 am
  8. AJ

    Hi Amanda, I thought I was a decent HTML email coder (been doing this for 4 years now), until I landed a new job that sends out emails that are mainly graphics with fixed height. I’m not a fan of graphical and fixed height emails but this is how my employer wants to send their emails. I do a lot of slicing and dicing of PSD files. With that said, the email renders a bit differently on the iPhone. Somehow, it shows thin, horizontal lines. Have you heard anything like this before? I’ve tried: adding “display: block” to the image and “line-height: 0px” and “1 px” to TDs, and other “solutions” that I’ve read on the internet. Any thoughts?

    12/6/2011 2:55 pm
  9. AJ

    Should an email designer focus on designing for mobile or desktop email clients?

    1/6/2012 2:27 pm
  10. Erickson

    I noticed that when I sent out broadcast, my emails look small texted when I see it from my Iphone.

    However, when I receive other peoples email they look perfect!

    I want to know if there is anything I can do that will make my broadcast look
    more compelling when read on Iphone?

    What do people do to make their emails look good for phones?


    9/12/2013 12:12 pm