How to Create Email for Mobile Devices

6 tips for creating emails designed for mobile devices

Originally, we were telling publishers to design websites optimized for mobile devices. This was at the time when the mobile revolution was just starting.

Today, the numbers are increasing rapidly. On October 10th, 2011, comScore released Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits. This report outlined a few very important reasons why online publishers should pay attention to mobile.

First, it specified that nearly 7% of all website traffic came from mobile devices. If you consider how long mobile devices have been around, this is a significant number. How much do you think this percentage will increase in the next few years?

Next, the report stated that, “half of the total U.S. mobile population uses mobile media. This involves “more than 116 million people”, which is an increase of 19% over the past year. The activities included in mobile media are browsing the mobile web, accessing apps and downloading content.

Finally, more WIFI availability allows for more mobile device connectivity. According to the report, as of August 2011, 37.2% of web traffic from mobile devices came from WIFI connections.

There is no doubt that mobile devices are being used more. And since email is a habitual activity used by 92% of adults – with 61% using email daily – it needs to be properly designed for mobile devices.

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Seven tips for creating email for mobile devices

-Grab your readers’ attention. Remember that screens are smaller, so your most important information should be towards the front of your message, often in bold or larger font. Hiding your most important content further down the page may result in it not being seen.

In this process, consider your keyword phrases that the pages are optimized for. These are likely the words you’d like to bold or enlarge. Great headlines on mobile pages will help attract your readers’ attention.

-Be social. Mobile devices users are highly interactive individuals. They like to text message, browse the web and access social networks. Incorporate options for sharing your content directly to social networks with the use of buttons.

-Incorporate images. Well-optimized images should fit on the page without needing to scroll to see the entire image. Make your images relevant to the copy as they’ll have dedicated space, which has a much better chance of getting seen than on larger web pages with an array of images.

These next three tips come from WhatCounts.

-Consider the text you use. While bolding or enlarging your text, it’s important to make it readable on a mobile device. Lindsey McFadden, Manager of Campaign Production Services at WhatCounts, suggests darker text is easy to read on mobile devices.

-Use proper widths and heights. For tables or images, resize to 200 x 100 so it better fits on the screen of a mobile device.

-Use proper spacing. When designing your email for mobile, keep in mind the touch screen aspect. If you are incorporating multiple links, whether text or image-based, make sure there is enough space for each to be tapped by a finger.

Are you designing emails specifically for mobile devices? If you have any additional tips, please add them in the comments section below.

For more information on this topic, take a look at the article from WhatCounts and the complimentary report from comScore.


    The idea of using dark type may be particularly important with some audiences. We publish newsletters covering agricultural topics, and the average age of a U.S. farmer is somewhere past 55, meaning an older group that doesn’t see as well as younger people might. Depending on our newsletter, 30% of the opens are on a mobile device, with maybe 9% of our web traffic on a handheld device. We shifted away from tinted type 2 or 3 years ago for all of these reasons.

    If I were sending content to retirees I would go to black type on both the web site and the mobile CSS.


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