Make your emails mobile friendly: the complete guide for Educators

David Leshaw
4 min read
Graphic hands holding smartphones behind a row of buildings.

Why mobile matters

Today, everyone has mobile phones and they are becoming increasingly functional in our daily lives. According to TechCrunch, 75% of Gmail users access their accounts via mobile devices. Even with all the new ways of reaching people — on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels, email remains the best way to get people’s attention. The difference is that now readers are increasingly accessing their email from their mobile phones and not desktop computers. As an educator, the messages you are sending are well thought out, informative and useful to your readers. Make sure they are also easy to read anywhere and you’ll reach even the busiest parents.

The mobile friendly challenge

Making your emails mobile friendly is easier said than done. If you want to send interactive newsletters with images, graphics and design on mobile, it could be at the expense of readability and design. Additionally, there’s also the fact that there are many types of mobile devices with different screen sizes and reading settings. With all of these considerations, optimizing your email for different types of mobile devices can be extremely challenging.

Things to consider

There are two main factors to keep in mind when optimizing your emails for mobile:

1. Small screens

Mobile phones have smaller screens than computers, so you’ll need to make some changes to your content and layout to make sure your emails also look great on mobile.

2. Short attention span

People usually read emails on their mobile phone when they’re on the go. This means there’s a lot of room for distraction, whether it’s other apps or their current environment. Data shows that when visiting a webpage or email from their mobile device, readers will spend only half the time they would if they were on a desktop computer.

Our tips

So what can you do? Here are 6 easy tips for improving mobile compatibility of your emails.

1. Keep your subject line short

A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices show only 25–30 characters. Meaning when you open your inbox and scroll through your emails you will only see 30 characters (letters, punctuation and spaces) of text. If possible, limit your subject line to this length. If not — make sure the first 30 characters are enough to get an idea of the email and motivate readers to open it.

2. Shorter email text

I know this hurts, but you are going to need to keep your emails concise to reach readers on their mobile. Readers using their mobile are probably busy — and may be jumping from one screen to the next. This means you’ll need to make your point quickly, before you lose their attention. Additionally, mobile screens are very narrow so it’s difficult to focus on large blocks of text. Your main objective is to keep your emails readable and clear.

3. Big buttons

Make sure anything clickable is obvious! Buttons should be prominent and clearly located in your email. — Also, some readers use their thumbs to navigate on their phones so be sure to leave enough space around buttons or links.

4. Scalable graphics

Remember that anything on your desktop will be much smaller on your mobile, and while text size may scale images do not. Save your charts, infographics and detailed images for another time — focus on only using simple graphics and images to add color, but try not to rely on them for content. Also, keep in mind that some mobile email applications do not download images by default, so many readers may see your email without images.

5. Text size

Double check the font in your emails and ensure it’s large enough to read after scaling for mobile. If you are not using a tool (like Smore) that does this for you, test your emails to make sure you can read them easily on mobile and adjust the text size accordingly.

6. Test on multiple devices

The best way to see that your emails are mobile-ready is to test different devices. Send a test email to yourself and some colleagues, with different phones, to make sure your emails look great for everyone.

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David Leshaw

When David isn't making pour-over coffee or running up mountains in search of an ultra-marathon PR, he oversees B2C marketing efforts for Smore, the world's most-loved newsletter software.

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