Best Email Prospecting Tactics: Optimize Email for Mobile
The fourth tip in my series on the best email prospecting tactics is to optimize email for mobile. By now, it’s no secret that a significant and increasing portion of the emails you send are being read on a smart phone. A number of studies conducted in the last two years have suggested this trend towards mobile email consumption. One such study conducted by MailChimp suggested that about 41% of mobile users in the U.S. read email on their mobile devices.
The two most important rules to follow to optimize email for mobile:
- Keep it short: Your prospect should be able to read the whole email within two finger swipes on a smart phone. Test your email before you send it. It’s pretty easy to send yourself an email and see what it looks like on your smart phone. Make sure that it’s an email that you would open, and that it’s easy to read.
- Send text, not HTML emails: Images, fancy templates, and links usually don’t come out looking very nice on a smart phone. For prospecting emails use text or plain HTML with no special formatting, and make sure that your email signature does not contain too many images and hyperlinks.
Generally speaking, if you follow these two rules your emails should be reasonably optimized for prospects reading emails on a mobile device. However, there is a lot of insightful data out there that suggests trying a few other tactics will also help increase your open rates.
1) Consider the timing
Studies show that if you send email late in the day it is more likely to be opened on a mobile device. A study done by Knotice on email behavior also suggests email open rates on mobile devices peak in the early morning and late in the evening, and decrease over the course of working hours. This also aligns with the MailChimp study in which 72% mobile email users said that they check their email in bed. So, with the odds up that your email will opened and viewed on a mobile device, make sure that when sending emails late in the day or early in the morning that they’ve been optimized for mobile using the tips in this post.
2) Shorten the subject line
In my first post in this series on email prospecting tactics I made a number of recommendations on how to write a compelling subject line. However, on mobile devices your subject line gets truncated. To optimize for mobile try reducing the length of the subject line. A study by Informz showed that subject lines with less than 10 characters had a significantly higher open rate than other lengths.
3) Consider your preheader
The preheader is the short summary text that appears on the message in the inbox below the subject line. When sending text or HTML emails with no special formatting or templates this will always come from the first few lines of text in the email. Though I haven’t found any research showing that the preheader has as much of an impact on open rates as the subject line, the same logic should apply. That line of text is one of the first things your prospects see when they look at your email in their inbox, so make it count. If you aren’t sending plain text emails, try sending a test to your smart phone to see what this looks like.
4) Font Size
Set your email application’s default font size to 12 point font. When optimizing for mobile it’s important to remember that phones can be small and text on them can often difficult to read. Some mobile email applications will automatically re-size fonts to 12 point font. Any bigger or smaller than that and you are taking the risk that your message will not look the way it looks when you send it.
5) Consider the sender name
Make sure that the email is coming from you. After the subject line, the sender name and preheader are the next two most prominent features of the email when it’s sitting in a mobile inbox, so make it personal. In some cases, the sender name is even more prominent than the subject line (as seen in the iPhone example above). Often, what appears in the sender name is determined by the reader’s email application. However, if you send emails out of MS Outlook you can customize the name that people see in their inbox, so that they see “Bob Smith” instead of “Robert A. Smith <email@example.com>”. Just follow these simple instructions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHXd0heX2zE
For more info on how to optimize email for mobile, here are a couple of other posts that I liked and found helpful: