5 Responsive Design Tips to Get Your Email Read on Any Device

Responsive design has become a crucial strategy for companies wishing to reach their audiences, at any time and from anywhere. As smartphone and tablet adoption continues to grow, more users are regularly accessing the web and their email from those devices. Companies have acted quickly to adopt a responsive website design strategy to ensure that their content is viewable and easy to access using any device – from full-size desktop monitors to even the smallest smartphone screens.

What you might not know is that responsive design is not just for websites.

Nothing is more frustrating than checking email from a mobile app, only to realize that you’re not getting the full picture. More often than not, readers will delete the message or save it for later, ultimately abandoning it. Marketers can apply responsive design tactics as they plan and execute on HTML email campaigns to ensure that their customers and prospects can read every word, see every image and click on any call to action, no matter where they’re checking email. But, considering the many variables that come with HTML email design, combined with the plethora of devices, how can marketers ensure their audience is getting a clear message?

Keep it simple. Keep it consistent. Work with your technical team to understand how content reformats from a standard 600-pixel-wide image to a single 300-pixel-wide column for mobile devices. With that in mind, you can develop a simple grid-based email template to be used consistently with fresh content and images each time. Think big text, simple buttons and white space.

Create – and adapt – content with the medium in mind. Attempts at responsive design are often thwarted by well-intentioned Marketing teams who design the delivery channel around the finalized content. The same promotional blurb may be used on the landing page, in the email offer and in other outlets. But, the best responsive design keeps the channel and device in mind first and then adapts the message to follow. Create templates for use when drafting that delineate the content in both standard email and single-column formats.

Get visual. Consider using images that pack a punch and really boost the key headline or offer. Getting too fancy can get your readers confused. Again, keep the single column format in mind, and opt for narrow-sized images that are simple but striking and can easily be deciphered on the smallest of screens. When in doubt, edit out. The most important components of your email are your brand and the call to action; don’t let your images pull focus from those components.

Get short. When it comes to responsive email design, less is more. Content should be direct and to the point right away – tell them how you can solve their problems right at the start. Opt for shorter headlines and subject lines that won’t force your readers to swipe, swipe, swipe. Also, “clicking through” on a mobile device can be cumbersome, so give your readers direct access to the offer you’re sharing with a single tap or swipe.

Get the right lists. Emails created with every responsive design element in mind won’t get read if they’re not shared with the right audience. So make sure you’re starting with a high quality list that is up-to-date to reduce bounce backs, increase open rates and keep developing relationships with your customers and prospects.