How to Create the Perfect Mobile-Friendly Email

Mobile has officially taken over.

Over 80% of smartphone users reach for their phones first thing in the morning to check their emails before they do anything else!

With so many people checking their emails on their phones, marketers need to figure out how to offer their readers the best experience possible.

But mobile devices are not the same as traditional desktop computers.

You’re dealing with smaller screens, touch interfaces, and a distracted audience that’s always on the go.

Which means you need to have more deliberate strategy in place if you want your messages to stick!

So… are your emails mobile-friendly?

If your messages aren’t fully optimized, here are 8 pro-tips to help you create the perfect mobile-friendly email!

1. Keep Your Subject Line Short

A typical desktop inbox can display a subject line of up to 60 characters.

On mobile, your contacts only get to see up to 25-30 characters. After that, it’s just “…”.

The subject line alone is responsible for driving 35% of all email opens. Do you really want yours to go to waste just because it was too long to be displayed on phone?

Of course not!

Keep your subject short so it looks great on mobile screens. If you have to extend it, make sure you keep the important stuff, like certain keywords, under the 25-30 character limit.

2. Start with a Tempting Opening Line

The subject line is not the only thing that shows up in an inbox. Your readers can also see the first line of your email (AKA the pre-header text) under it.

The problem is, your smartphone-addicted customers now have the attention span of less than a goldfish.

So, if you want to grab them at first sight, you need to craft a genuinely tempting opening line that will make your email irresistible to open!

At the same time, make sure your pre-header text clearly communicates what the email is about.

Your readers don’t want to risk wasting their precious time, and will gladly open an email once they’re sure the content is of their interest.

3. Use a Single-Column Layout

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use complicated templates and designs if you want your emails to be mobile-friendly.

A single-column, linear layout that’s easy on the eyes (and on the internet connection) will deliver a seamless experience across different devices.

Like this:

Confusing layouts not only look terrible on smaller screens, they also take more time to load.

The result? Your email will either get ignored or thrown into the spam folder.

4. Use BIG & BOLD Fonts

People don’t want to squint or zoom in to read your emails.

Use larger fonts to make it easier for them to digest your message. We recommend using 22-24pt font size for headings, and 14-16pt for the body text.

See the difference font sizes make here?!

You should also use bold and contrasting colors to make your emails stand out on mobile screens.

This is especially important since most of us have the brightness level turned down or are using our phones outdoors in the sunlight.

5. Make Your CTA Prominent

The best emails for mobile are ones that tell readers what to do and make it as easy as possible for them to do it.

Use a single CTA. And make it front and center so no one misses it.

Like Avon does:

Don’t make your readers hunt for your CTA. They won’t.

Instead, try to save their time by making your CTA prominent and aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

6. Use Images Smartly

Okay, so here’s the deal.

Apple’s iOS devices display images in emails automatically. But most other platforms, like Android, tend to block or hide them by default.

To ensure your email looks great across all devices, use images sparingly. Also, make sure they’re smaller in size so your emails load faster.

Remember, don’t make your email rely solely on images. It should work just as well without them!

If you have to use them, it’s a good idea to add alt text so readers who can’t view the images can at least see what they’re about.

7. Leave Plenty of Breathing Space

Cramping content into your email can make it look ugly and just too overwhelming.

Like this one:

Ew, right?

First of all, provide enough white space, line spacing and padding around your text to make it easy to read and scan.

Like this:

See the difference?

Also, your contacts are most likely using their thumbs to interact with your emails.

You have to leave enough clicking room for them (especially around your CTAs) so they don’t accidently tap somewhere else.

Lastly, using lots of white space makes your email look pretty. And that’s always a win!

8. Write Short & Sweet Copy

Optimizing your email’s content is just as important as optimizing its design.

For mobile users, too much text is a turn off. If you ramble on and on in your email, no one’s going to bother reading it.

Keep your email copy concise, interesting, and relevant.

Also, make sure you use a friendly, approachable tone and easy-to-understand language!

Litmus offers a great example of email copy that’s approachable, short, and feels personal in a good way:

Fancy words and a formal tone will just alienate your readers and make you come across as just another ‘brand’ instead of someone they can actually relate to.

Are Your Emails Mobile-Friendly?

The tips above will help you create emails that look fantastic on both desktop and mobile devices!

Here’s some friendly advice – always test your emails before you actually send them out. This will help you gauge how they’ll truly perform and if there are any changes or improvements you need to make.

Did you find any of these tips helpful? We’d love to know!

Please leave your comments and feedback below!

Kristen Dahlberg

Content ManagerSendlane
As a member of the Sendlane content marketing team, Kristen focuses on everything from organization to content curation and process improvement. She enjoys variety and the challenge of learning the best way to accomplish each new goal.

Outside of work, Kristen spends as much time as possible at the beach, soaking up the San Diego sunshine!