10 Ways to Optimize Your Emails for Smartphones – Email Optimization Guide

Email Optimization Smartphones

Smartphones have outsold computers in the last few years. This means people are beginning to depend more heavily on their smartphones than their PCs.

According to LifeWire, 66% of readers view their emails on mobile devices – be it phones or tablets.

A Medscape study found a 53% higher click-through rate for mobile-optimized newsletters, and these numbers are growing year by year.

So what’s the key to effectively optimize your mobile emails?

Keep. It. Simple. Silly.

From the message to the layout, simplicity and conciseness are your best friends.

IBM found mobile users are concerned with what’s new, what can be deleted immediately, and what can be handled immediately.

So, a strong, simple message combined with great accessibility will be a knock-out.

The following tips use some of the same basic practices of email marketing, but with a few tweaks.

Create an Amazing Subject Line: Make them click it!

Your readers get a bunch of mail. I’ve found that emails with subject lines indicating what the reader will get out of the email are more likely to be opened, read, and clicked-through.

People have great BS detectors and sales-y jargon words like “free”, “act now” and “limited time”, is dangerous territory.

Social Media Scientists suggest phrasing your subject in a way that the reader wants to see it.

Combined with appropriate segmentation and brand consistency, you can build yourself an irresistible subject line.

Megan Marrs at WordStream has written about some of the best email subject lines that can boost your open rates!

Get Straight to the Point

ios mail view

In addition to the subject line, many email clients, like the iPhone’s mail app, show the first 90 characters of the email as preview text. Make this text pop.

It should either convince your reader to open the email then and there, or if it’s a reminder email, it should tell them exactly what they need to know.

Once you have your content, look at what can be cut.

Without compromising your branding and tone, lose any copy that isn’t immediately relevant.

Build a Simple Layout

Make your layout as concise as the text.

I find this campaign by Legacy Box kind of proving my point. Just a simple layout with 1 primary CTA. Get’s the job done. (Also, sorry if the image is pixelated on your device)

LegacyBox Email Campaign 1
Legacy Box Email Campaign

If you are looking for more design ideas, I believe this article by Canva you should ponder upon.

Links should be made clear with underlining or colour differentiation, and if you must write a longer email, keep each section clearly separated to help your layout remain clean.

Most websites are formatted in a two or three-column layout, but keep your emails to just one.

Your design should be no larger than 550px to ensure the email is legible to anyone with a small screen.

Increase the Font Size, but Leave Some Room for the Buttons

We’ve been spoiled by how easy it is to click tiny links with a mouse.

Now we’re left with clumsy fingers on a large screen. To account for this, increase your font size, then leave plenty of space for your call-to-action.

iOS automatically scales all text to 13px, so use that as a guide.

In addition to the font being bigger, make your buttons easy to press. A sure-fire way to make this happen is to have a clear and concise call-to-action.

Master the Design of your Call-To-Action

Make them big and make them beautiful. Your call-to-action is the most important part of your email.

The buttons on Apple’s products are no smaller than 44x44px. Since Apple really knows what they’re doing, make your buttons at least that size as well.

Also, much like web page design, keep one of your call-to-action above the fold.

You can surely try out testing putting your CTA below the fold, but a risk like that requires one of the finest copy one can think of!

Most importantly, your campaign should exclusively focus on 1 and only 1 CTA that you want your readers to complete.

Casper Email CTA

Here’s an example of Email CTA by Casper, a Mattress company based in the US.

The CTA is pretty clear and it does what it is meant to do, get more clicks.

Strategic Placement is Your Friend

Picture this: you’re holding your phone and the call-to-action is in the bottom corner of the screen. Ugh.

Make it easy to get to; the centre of the screen is a safe bet.

This way, when scrolling through the email, it ends up being smack in the middle

Learn the best email optimization practices for your Email Marketing Campaigns! #EmailMarketing #Marketing #DigitalMarketing

Visual Appeal : Use Relevant and Striking Images

If there was ever a time to use an image or a GIF to make a point, it’s now.

Tie your image in with your header to build a strong relationship in the email. And yes, it is possible to have gorgeous images in your emails.

I’ve found that most readers prefer emails to contain more visual content than text.

Humans are visual animals, they get more attracted towards something which appeals to their eyes than their brains.

If your reader has ten seconds to look at the email, you want them to see the header, the image and the call-to-action. If they’ve gotten the point in those ten seconds, then you’ve done an amazing job!

Use images that are easy to see and understand in case the reader hasn’t put on their glasses yet.

Here’s what CampaignMonitor did to one of its clients, ChatBooks which saw some really fine results.

Email Campaign Email Marketing
ChatBooks Email Campaign

Send Your Emails Early

The time of day matters. A lot.

More than 50% of “mobile users” read their emails between the time they get out of bed and the time they are dressed.

So unless it’s Saturday and they’ve no reason to change out of their robe, that’s not much time.

There’s been about an 8% increase in click-through rates for emails sent around 6-7 AM vs those sent later in the day.

Test which days result in the most opens and click-throughs for your emails as well.

When you combine both pieces of information, you’ll have a matrix of the best (and worst) times to send out your emails.

Make Your Landing Pages Mobile Friendly

Now you’ve gone through all this hard work, and your emails look incredible on mobile devices.

A reader clicks on your call-to-action only to find a mess of a landing page.

Your reader closes the window, eats breakfast and forgets you exist.

What a shame! It’s so important to have landing pages optimized for mobile devices.

To prevent this scenario, keep your landing pages clear of all the clutter.

mobile email design responsive click rates

A 6-month research by MailChimp showed that mobile users are more interested in a Mobile responsive email than a not-so-responsive mail.

Keep Testing

Consistent Testing is the Key to Email Optimization.

I’ve found out, some of the successful email marketers even test out up to 15 emails for 1 single campaign, some of them even test out how does it psychologically affects the reader to click a link.

Once you have an overall setup you’re happy with, extract the most juice out of it by split-testing elements such as headlines and calls-to-action and constantly reviewing campaign metrics.


  1. Shanta Evis says:

    This is very attention-grabbing, You’re a skilled marketer IMO.

  2. Yvonne Yost says:

    Good article. These methods are actually well curated 😀

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