Posts Tagged ‘white space’

Email readership on mobile devices is growing so fast that soon it will be the predominant platform for email consumption, and mobile email consumption may overtake all other platforms even sooner. We are way beyond just ‘planning for mobile’ – it is now imperative to design your campaigns and landing pages to be easy to view and work well on a mobile device.

Return Path’s Tom Sather, senior director of email research, says:

“Looking at the trend lines of our clients, we’ll probably see mobile overtaking web-mail and desktop by the end June as the preferred platform, but definitely by the end of the year.” As a result, Sather said: “Marketers need to wake up and think about their mobile strategy. More than half of all marketers have no idea if people are reading their email on mobile devices.”  

He goes on to say “A lot of people talk about optimizing email for mobile devices, which is kind of a no-brainer, but a lot of people don’t think beyond the email. If they do click on a link and they come to a landing page, is that optimised for mobile as well? Studies have shown that less than 2 percent of people will revisit an email on their desktop or laptop, so you really only have one chance to make a good first impression.”

 However, Sather cautions against discounting other platforms. “But just because mobile is the rage, don’t forget about desktop email clients such as Outlook, as well as web mail,” he said.
We agree Tom. To back that up, here is our list of the most important mobile email design considerations and best practices:

Make sure you optimise your emails and landing pages for mobile. Email open rates have increased since last year and last quarter, but click-through rates have declined. This is most likely because they are abandoned after consumers open them on mobile devices and the messages are not optimised. With mobile you only have 1 chance to get the recipient to read your email and to click through to landing pages. If you are directing people to your website or landing page and it doesn’t look good or load or operate well on mobile, people will leave – and find another site that does work.

Think about where, when and how people read emails on mobile. In a recent survey, it was discovered 70% of users read emails in bed before going to sleep or first thing before waking up. So be mindful of this in terms of your design, and don’t use bright images which might be hard on the eyes for those reading your emails in the dark or as they are just waking up.

Reduce the template width to fit a smaller screen. We recommend you set the width of your email template to 640 pixels or less. Smartphones have screens between 320 and 480 pixels wide, so if your email is 640 pixels wide it is both suitable for desktop viewing, and is suitable for viewing on smartphones too.

From name and subject line become even more important for mobile. We know the from name is important already – but it becomes even more so due to the fact that the very first thing you see on your mobile, is your from name. So this to me becomes the most important facet of the mobile email. This is closely followed by your subject line. Make sure your subject line is punchy, strong, and we recommend no longer than 35 characters. This is how many characters you see.  

Space is at a premium so make it simple and save on real estate. Use one-line pre-header text. Pre-headers are usually 1-2 lines of HTML text at the very top of the email. They are ideal for hand held devices to highlight an enticing offer, making it the first thing prospects read before they even consider downloading images. Keep key content above the fold. (This will be the top 200 to 250 pixels). This area is prime real estate for the 3 to 5 seconds a prospect is focused on your email message, so it needs to have useful, readable text, or a very clear image. Be mindful to incorporate branding and offer-driven text above the fold.

It doesn’t have to be brevity central… if it’s good enough, it will be saved for later. On a mobile you obviously have less space so eliminate unnecessary content and put the focus on the key parts of the message. However don’t strip everything out – creating mobile friendly emails is a balancing act, where your shorter message should be comfortably able to be viewed, read and actioned on a small screen. Longer messages can always be saved for when subscribers get home and can read them in full on a larger screen. Mobile users will delete any long emails that are ineffective, but they will save your email for later if it’s well designed with great content.

Bigger, Bolder call to actions – think of the thumbs! It is crucial you increase the size and padding of text links and call-to-action buttons throughout your emails. A typical adult finger covers 45 pixels, and it is no accident Apple makes all their app icons 44 x 44 pixels! Make sure your calls-to-action are padded by at least 10 to 15 pixels to avoid frustrating and accidental finger tapping errors.

Because it’s on a smaller screen, you can use larger fonts. This is where we do recommend you use a slightly larger font to keep things easy to read. However still stay with web safe fonts, and use a font size of 12-14 point for body copy and headlines at 20-22 point. Keep in mind that the larger font means you’ll have even less space, so keep your content brief.

Please do download the Jericho Mobile Email Whitepaper here now and share with your colleagues.


There is obviously a plethora of mobile infographics, links, resources, tips and advice everywhere you look however this is really intended as our list of vital mobile email design considerations that we really want you all to know….

If you have any queries please contact us, and remember we have an expert in house design team that you can contact for advice at any time.

Unless your email is a service update notice, there will usually be a reason why you send an email. And this reason will probably require a call to action.

Ask yourself these questions: Who is the audience? Why are you sending it? What do you want the recipients to do upon reading your email?

The answer to these questions can be solved with a good call to action.

Do you realize how impactful a good call to action can be? It is one of the most important design elements in emails and usually represents the whole reason you are sending the email.

If you have a fantastic email yet you have no call to action, you won’t get the results, the sales, or the traffic you could potentially get.

Here is a little story for you.  An inbound marketing firm decided to test a few alternative design features. “We were pretty shocked to discover that new call-to-action buttons yielded a 1,300% improvement in click-through rate (CTR),”   How good is that?

So here is some of our advice for creating a great call to action.

Should your CTA be large or small? Should it contain an image or not? Should it be a button? What’s going to work best for your audience? There are no set rules; you’ll only discover what appeals to your customers through testing.

Key pointers:
Make it obvious
Make it big

Colour is an effective way of drawing attention to an element. One good tip is to use colour to distinguish the call to action from other elements in your email to make it stand out.
Also consider what colour it will be as different colours mean different things.
(Keep your eyes out for our upcoming post all about colour)

Key pointers:
Pick a colour that best represents your brand
Pick a colour that brings out the emotion or state you wish to inspire in recipients

Some people advise always placing the CTA ‘above the fold’ however we often see emails with the CTA near the bottom of the email. Which is better? Again, testing and trials will help you determine what’s right for your campaigns.

Key pointers:
Make good use of white space
Position it well

It is also important to be focused in your calls to action. Why did you send the email? What do you want your recipients to do? Too many options and the recipient can be overwhelmed. By limiting the number of choices someone has to make we reduce the amount of mental effort and increase the chances they will click that one big old’ ‘buy now’ button.

Key pointers:
Have a distinct action
Make it simple

There are no set rules for the best call to action, but with testing, you will discover what works best for your campaigns and your recipients.

Comic SansWe all know it is the content that counts, but unfortunately, people form a first impression in less than 3 seconds, based entirely on superficial appearance and presentation. And just as the power of first impressions matters when meeting others, the same principle applies to email campaigns.

You may have the most interesting, relevant, or innovative content in the world but your audience isn’t going to read it if your typography and design overwhelms it (in a bad way).

Imagine reading an entire email in Old English. Hard work. And imagine reading an email from your CEO, written in Comic Sans. What does that say about that person or brand? Would you have the same respect for your CEO or brand?

Alex Madison and Wacarra Yeomans of Responsys discuss the importance of typography in email in their Email Insider column. They give a great run down on what web-safe fonts should be used, and how to use contrast, capitalization, size and space to convey your message.

Josh Levine, CEO of Alexander Interactive, offers more great tips on effectively using typography to ensure maximum impact with your email campaigns. He recommends sticking to a simple color scheme and limiting the number of typefaces, sizes, styles and font weights. It’s always tempting to cram a lot in, however you can’t beat good use of white space with simple design.

Chelsea Rio from MailerMailer gives very specific advice on typographic design for emails. She explains everything from the type of font to use, the optimal font size, how to size fonts, aligning text, and how typography can create order out of chaos in email campaigns.

Overall, ensuring your email design and typography is clean and easy to read will overcome any barriers to it being the best, most effective email marketing campaign that it can be.

A bit of consideration to formatting and typography will go a long way to getting your emails read, which leads to improved email deliverability, open rates, and click-through rates. In your email marketing campaigns, be sure to:

  • Simplify colors
  • Minimize the number of typefaces, sizes, styles and weights
  • Be consistent in your layout and design
  • Maximize the use of white space

Remember, people don’t curl up with their email; they try get through them as quickly as possible, whether they are busy at work or on the road and trying to clear their inbox. So an email campaign that has good content, and has clean and simple design that grabs people and draws them in will ensure you get more email opens, increased email click through numbers, and higher email deliverability rates.