INXPO thoughts and insight on Webcasting, Hybrid Events and Online Learning

How to Make Your Email Marketing More Mobile Friendly

Posted by Dennis Shiao on Aug 29, 2011 4:40:00 PM


Amy Hager SBCA

The following is a guest post by Amy Hager. Amy is the Communications and Online Member Services Manager for the consumer satellite trade association, SBCA.

Disclosure: SBCA is an INXPO client.

With help from her email service provider, Amy was able to discover that a large amount of her members were reading the Association’s newsletters on their mobile device and devised a plan to provide useful and critical information to them in a mobile-friendly way.

WOW! That’s a lot of Mobile Readers

My association is new to the newsletter world and communicating with members, so when I started in April of 2010 my main goal was to create a newsletter program targeting our different member types with information that would benefit their business or job.

But as I was reviewing my reporting in our online email newsletter provider, Informz, I noticed over 5,400 of almost 22,000 people were reading one of my newsletters pretty exclusively on their mobile device. So, I opened the newsletter on my BlackBerry and to my surprise it wasn’t rendering right. The photos took up A LOT of space and I was scrolling for years to get to the end. It was not the experience I wanted my readers to have and I knew I had to fix this. Here are the steps I took to make my email newsletters and marketing mobile friendly.

Short and Sweet Really Holds True with Subject Lines

The first step was to make sure our subject lines were short, sweet and to the point. I wanted my readers to know this was their communication from SBCA. Informz suggests keeping the subject line character count to 30 characters or less to avoid the subject line being cut off.

So, I simply just put the title of the newsletter in the subject. That was easy! And now my members always know this is THEIR newsletter and because I am providing quality content and information they know to open and read it.

Say What You Mean

sbca newsletter call to action

Next, I changed one simple word. At the top of the newsletter it said “Click here to view online version.” Let’s be honest, if you are on your mobile device you are not going to think to go online to view a newsletter you get in your email.

But if the first line you saw was “Click here to view mobile version” you would probably be more likely to click. With that one single change, the word “mobile” saw a 173% lift in clicks than when I used the word “online.” I now make that change to every email I send out. Now all my newsletters and email marketing messages are seeing slightly higher results from changing that one word.

Make it Mobile Friendly

I didn’t want to create a separate mobile newsletter for this group of 5,400. So I looked at how to make the current newsletter mobile friendly. My original newsletters didn’t have much spacing between the table of contents or between stories.

A little white space can go a long way. See the original newsletter with no extra spacing and compare it to the new newsletter with spaces.

I also linked the headline to the full story because the font size is bigger. According to Informz using font size 12 or bigger to hyperlink will be easier for readers to click on to read the full story or get more information.

Five Quick Tips to Make Your Email Mobile Friendly

  1. Short subject lines – 30 characters or less
  2. “Click to read on your mobile device” at the top of all your email marketing and newsletters
  3. Keep the contents short and link to more info
  4. Hyperlink larger fonts to make it easier for readers to click on
  5. A single column layout is easier to render on a mobile device than a two column layout

Just Do It!

The last step was to go to a 100% completely mobile friendly newsletter for my group of 5,400. My worries were I didn’t want to lose the branding or take away from the important information that was in the newsletters and I didn’t want it to take a lot of time.

I had worked hard to communicate to the members on regular basis and they were responding to my newsletters by the open and click rates being consistent and around average for the newsletter world.

Why mess with a good thing… right??? Again, Jeanette at Informz and I went to the drawing board to come up with a solution that would satisfy me and my mobile readers. Check it out!

I removed photos, shortened my stories to two or three lines and put all my content in one single column. I still have white space between my table of contents and I am still linking my headlines. My open rate for the mobile version is about 37%, compared to my desktop version only being 10%. In the past my newsletter usually had about 13%. It does take me about 5-10 extra minutes a month to create this mobile newsletter, but I create it after my desktop version is completed and approved for publishing. My members really appreciated this new mobile version.

“I would to say that the mobile format is a lot better for me since I only use my mobile device to check email and read your SBCA newsletter - good job and thanks!” And according to Informz, 64% of key decision makers are reading email on mobile devices. So, it’s time to focus on reaching this audience.

Related Resources

  1. Web Site: Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association
  2. Virtual Event: SBCA SkyFORUM, October 26, 2011.
  3. INXPO Video: A Demo of a Virtual Event on the iPad.

Topics: best practices


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