How to Create “Mobile” Newsletters

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1 in 6 emails today is opened on a mobile device, with smartphone users spending 40% of their online time checking email. So if you’re still asking yourself whether it’s worth creating a newsletter for mobile devices, you should change the question to “How do I do it?”

 

 

 

First, some more facts

People are spending more time on mobile devices and using them to go online. eMarketer projects US smartphone users will reach 73.3 million by the end of 2011, or 31% of the total mobile user population.

 

And according to research by the Pew Internet Project, 58% of American adults now use smartphones for more than phone calls – they surf the web, read email, shop, pay bills, text/IM, socialize online, watch movies, TV, videos, and on and on.

 

There’s tons of research findings and statistics available on the topic. The bottom line for you is – the smartphone market is growing and as an email marketer, you can’t ignore this anymore. After all, it means more revenue for your business.


Prepare yourself

 

 

Start by walking a mile in your subscribers’ shoes. If more and more of them check email on their smartphones, what do they expect? What’s different about the experience?

 

They do all this on the go – cars, planes, trains ­– you name it. And they’re often doing several things at the same time, or multi-tasking. If a typical user gives email only a few seconds of their attention, you can easily imagine their reaction if an email is illegible, or worse, not displayed at all.

 

They won’t come back to it. And they certainly won’t respond to it.

 

The lesson: your emails have to be designed specifically for mobile phones.

 

 

How to create a “mobile” newsletter?

Creating an eye-catching newsletter is always a challenge. Creating an eye catching newsletter that is displayed correctly by mobile devices – is an art. To master it, you need to learn the basics. So here they are:

 

 

Cut and reduce

 

To be effective, your content needs to be condensed as much as possible:

 

  • don’t use more than 1 or 2 CTAs
  • reduce the weight of an email to 20 kB max
  • limit the subject line to 60 characters

 

Remember that each email is a channel or vehicle to achieving your goal. If you think of it as a communication hub that directs the reader to other places, such as a landing page or e-store, it’ll be much easier for you to develop economical, actionable content.

 

 

Our fingers are bigger than cursors

 

Make key elements of your newsletter “fingertip-clickable”. Remember, smartphone users don’t have a mouse or cursor to grab whatever text they want. So don’t make it difficult for them to “Buy Now”. Remember that:

 

  • your message should be no wider than 640 px. The average width of a smartphone screen is 320 px, max 480 px
  • clickable icons should be at least 29 px by 44 px
  • recommended font size for your headings is 30 points

 

 

Put your newsletter on a diet

 

No, seriously. A lightweight version of your HTML creation is something mobile subscribers will appreciate, and your response rates will show it. So besides the full, graphics-rich version of a template, create a “lite” plain text version with your logo and so called “hero shot” of your product or offer.

 

The lite version of your creation will be hosted on a server and linked to your newsletter as the “mobile version”. This will save them from the time, data transfer hassles, and frayed nerves of massive image downloads.

 

 

Don’t make your landing page a dead end

 

Ever been directed to a landing page on your mobile that didn’t display properly, because it was entirely Flash-based, or took ages to load? Right, so it follows that a comprehensive promotion sent via email should offer a “mobile” version of the landing page, too.

 

This is crucial for optimal conversion rates. Seriously consider replacing Flash with HTML5, CSS or JavaScript. And don’t forget… the same rule about creating concise messages applies to landing pages.

 

 

Again, is it worth it?

 

I hope this article helped convince you, but really the numbers speak for themselves. So if you care about your conversion rates (and we know you do), perhaps it’s time to take the necessary steps to keep up with your on-the-go subscribers?

 

Tell us about your experiences with mobile email marketing and how you’re dealing with newsletters for mobile users. This market’s getting bigger every day, so we’re anxious to hear from you.

 

And stay tuned for more “mobile” tips!

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