Mobile Email Design Tips

How often do you think about people reading your emails on their mobile phones?

Three years ago, “64% of key decision makers were viewing your carefully crafted email on their BlackBerrys and other mobile devices” according to MarketingSherpa1.

Imagine, that was three years ago! Since then, smart phone sales have grown worldwide and the number of people checking email on their mobile phones continues to increase rapidly.

It’s high time you think about your mobile subscribers when you design your emails. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Make Your Emails Easy for Mobile Viewing

Viewing Email on a Mobile DeviceWhile the number of subscribers that can check their email on their mobile phones is on the rise, don’t panic and think that you have to recreate your entire campaign.

There are some simple changes that you can make so that your subscribers checking their email on their phones aren’t left with a garbled message in place of your newsletter.

Include a Plain Text Version of Every Message

Simply put, including a plain text copy of every HTML message that you send eliminates potential issues for subscribers with mobile email applications that do not support HTML.

If their mobile device doesn’t support HTML, subscribers will still see the plain text version of your message.

Optimize Images

You should always include alternative text for images. While some phones are sophisticated enough to display HTML emails, there’s not always the guarantee that your images will display properly.

Rather than show a random file name for each image in your message, use alternative text to further describe components of your message.

alt text 2

Even if subscribers can’t see the image, they will know what the email is about and they can make an informed decision as to whether or not they should go back to your message when they are at a computer.

Use the Subject Line and Preheader to Summarize Your Message

Should your subscribers have trouble viewing your email on their phones, including a brief summary of your message or continuing the subject line in the preheader will allow them to get a better idea of what you are sending.


Darrah MacLean, a copywriter at Smith-Harmon, gives some great examples and discusses the relationship between subject line and preheader in depth for the Email Insider here.

Don’t Crowd Clickable Links

Consider the readability and navigation of your message design. Always include links to important pages on your website, making it easy for mobile viewers to hop over to your page.

Remember that when a subscriber views your email on a mobile phone, they only see a small area of the message.

spaced links 2

If you include links that are too close together, someone with a touchscreen phone may have trouble clicking on an individual link and end up frustrated that they cannot easily get to the page they are interested in.

The Benefits Reach Far Beyond Mobile Viewing

These suggestions can positively impact the effectiveness of your campaign, regardless of whether or not you have mobile subscribers. For example, including a plain text version of every email is always appropriate.

For your subscribers who are only viewing your emails on their computer, many of these tips are already email best practices and can only help to strengthen your campaign.

What is Your Experience?

Do you receive email on your phone? Do your subscribers read your messages on the go?

As always, we would love to hear your stories!