5 Most Common Mistakes in Responsive Email Design

It shouldn’t be a surprise that your website and emails are being viewed from mobile devices more and more every day. Hopefully, if you haven’t done it already, you are working on creating a responsive website and email template. That means they adapt to fit the format of the device upon which it is being viewed).

Whether you already have a responsive design or not, according to Christine Schaefer, vice president community and marketing for Salsa Labs and Ira Horowitz, co-founder of Cornershop Creative, responsive design isn’t a magic bullet, nor is it simple. There are five areas where we consistently see organizations run afoul with responsive design. And, all five can be avoided with forethought.

  • If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Once you have a responsive email template don’t muck around with it. Compose your email to match the template or create a new template. That small change you make to the layout could very well break the responsiveness of the email template.
  • There’s no substitute for good content. If a message didn’t work for you on standard platforms, it won’t work in mobile, either. Use a message you know works, then do A/B testing to watch for performance on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Think it through to the end. If you have an amazing, responsive email, then you also need an amazing responsive landing page (i.e. the donation page, petition, sign-up form, etc.). It is only logical that if they are viewing your email on a tablet or smartphone, then they will be viewing the landing page on that device too. The headlines, message, and wording of the email should match the landing page. If you do all of those things, you can expect a greater conversion rate. That is to say, more people will donate, etc. That’s not the end. Have a responsive thank you email and welcome series ready to go too.
  • Be short and to the point. Long paragraphs are hard enough to read on a 19-inch monitor and become near impossible to read when it shrinks down to 320 pixels. Keep paragraphs short, so it’s easy for readers to skim the message and understand what they are supposed to do next. Including a callout box that summarizes your message is a great way to concisely tell the user upfront what the message is about.
  • Watch your images like a hawk. Images are one of the biggest challenges to creating responsive layouts in email. An image with too many words can be unreadable on a small screen or an image with a defined width can break the layout. Make sure all images have been tested properly and HTML editors don’t add unnecessary code that causes them to display improperly.