Every morning, my day starts off a little something like this:

I wake up, roll over, and before I even get out of bed, I reach for my iPhone and check my email. Then I check it again while eating breakfast, and again while waiting in line to get a coffee on my way to work.

On an average morning, I’ve checked my email three or four times before I’ve even turned on my computer.

Does this routine sound familiar?

Smartphone usage is sky-rocketing, and with it, so is the number of people that are reading email on a mobile device. According to Litmus, 53% of email is now opened on a mobile device. That number is up 500% from 2010, and I think it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s going to continue to grow.

This means that you need to be creating emails that are mobile friendly. A mobile-friendly email is an email that displays optimally between a desktop/laptop and a mobile device, ensuring that it will look great regardless of where your customers and prospects read it.

Sound complicated? It’s not. It’s actually pretty easy.

Here are five simple things you can do now to ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly:

1. Be as concise as possible in both design and content

Having a clear and concise message should be a staple of any email, but it’s even more important when designing for mobile. Screen real estate is very valuable on mobile (this is going to be a common theme), so keep the design very clean and simple and focus on the essentials.

2. Use a single column template

Because of the limited real estate you get with a mobile device, it’s generally better to use simple layouts. Often times with multi-column layouts (2 columns and more) your readers will have to zoom or scroll on their smartphone to see everything. This can make it difficult for them to navigate the content of your email and the call to action. Using a single column template will make your content much more flexible for all screen sizes.

3. Use a single, clear call to action

Make sure to include a clear call to action, and put it near the top of your email. Multiple calls to action often make things a little complicated on mobile (remember—you want to be as concise as possible!) Tell your readers what you want them to do, and make it really easy for them to do so. Want them to visit your website or buy now? Make sure that link or button is easy to find and click. Whatever the action you want them to take, just make sure it’s loud and clear. And remember—with mobile, the finger is the new mouse, so make sure it’s really easy to click.

4. Avoid tiny fonts

Make sure your text can be read easily. Use a minimum of size 14pt font for body text and 22pt for headlines.  We also recommend using a strong contrast of colors, like dark text on a light background. Many people turn down the brightness level on the mobile device to help conserve battery—and they are often reading on the go outside in the sunlight—so a strong contrast of colors will be easier to read.

5. Take it easy on images

Only use the images that are essential to your email — one to three is ideal. Here’s why: Apple’s iOS automatically enables images to display by default, but many other mobile device platforms—like Android—turn images off by default. You can’t assume your images will be displayed. If your email has a bunch of images in it, they might just look like chunks of white space. Because of this, we always recommend including image descriptions (also known as alt text) to let people know what the image is even when it’s not being displayed. A good tip is to always preview your email and make sure it still looks great, even if none of the images are displayed.

Look great everywhere!

With Constant Contact’s mobile-friendly emails, it’s easy to create emails that look great on all devices. Here’s how you can find mobile-friendly emails in your Constant Contact account. 

Not a Constant Contact customer? Start your free 60-day trial today.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy. 

Is email marketing right for you?

See why smart small businesses use email marketing to drive more business. We'll show you exactly what it can do for you, and ten tips to get started.

Get your Guide!
By entering your information, you permit us to reach out to you in the future.