The wide adoption of mobile devices has dramatically changed the way consumers digest information. There is no place where this is more true than in email. According to Epsilon email open rates increased from 22% to 31% between 2011 and 2013. The way that people decide to open an email has shifted in the “mobile first” world. People now have the ability to quickly scan their inbox regardless of where they are, and make a split second decision if the content is relevant or not. Services like Unroll.me make it even easier for a consumer to tune out a message. Marketers now have limited space to influence the decision making process, and get the consumer to open their message.
The 20/40/80 rule
I understand that mobile optimization is not as simple as I am laying it out below. There are many aspects related to responsive design, text vs. images, strong calls to action, etc. However, if you do not get your audience to actually open your email, those other tactics don’t come into play. With that in mind, here are three very simple things marketers should be aware of when designing an email for mobile devices:
- Sender name: 20 characters or less
- Subject line: 40 characters or less
- Email headline: 80 characters or less, or at a minimum get the point across in the first 80 characters of the first sentence
See the rule in action
In order to illustrate why these things are important, I’m going to share examples from my personal inbox. In the below example I have highlighted 2 specific emails.
The first example from Living Social has everything working together. I know who it’s from (Living Social), I know what it’s about (Keegan’s – a local Irish pub), and I know what the offer is ($30 for drinks or food).
The second example is a little harder to digest. I know it’s from Pinnacle, but who are they again? (Spoiler alert, they make Studio 17, the video editing software.) I know it’s my last chance to save 40%, but on what? In addition, when you read the first sentence, it makes no sense. I’m not going to add an email address to my address book on my phone. This is a good example of where some improvements can be made.
Have your own examples to share?