Four Indisputable Reasons to Use Responsive Email Design Posted by: Colin McK on 05/08/2014

Img Responsive EmailWith recent research estimating that 48% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, we can expect mobile email access to eclipse that of desktop and webmail clients in the not-so-distant future.

It’s a bold, yet undeniable fact that companies can no longer expect to thrive in the email arena without a mobile contingency plan. People want to read email anytime, anywhere, and as uptake increases so too will expectations around the quality of email content and design.  Without a fully optimised mobile reading experience, your emails will risk poor response rates and, in the worst case scenario, immediate deletion from recipient inboxes. You may as well kiss your leads goodbye as your press ‘send’.

So how can you stay ahead of the curve in this ever-changing digital landscape? The best way to develop email newsletters that look great in any inbox is with responsive design.

What’s so different about responsive design?

In a nutshell, responsive emails are built around a flexible grid framework that detects device and screen size and adapts core design elements for the optimal orientation. Columns, fonts, and images can be resized; non-essential elements can be hidden; and mobile-only content for a specific audience made visible on the correct devices. Responsive design allows all of this to happen with one set of code which renders emails differently when viewed on desktop, tablet or smartphone. 

Why should your email use responsive design?

1)      You don’t get a second chance at a first impression

When was the last time you opened an email, only to delete it after a moment’s glance? First impressions count, so it’s essential that you provide the recipient of your email with the best user experience possible. Ensuring your messages are formatted properly on mobile or tablet devices will provide the ease of use that results in increased lead generation and, hopefully, sales.

Beautifully formatted emails also send the message that you are a professional, forward-thinking organisation (which, of course, is never a bad thing.) If your content is poorly formatted, difficult to read, and visually unappealing; you risk the email being deleted and the user opting out. First impressions count – responsive email design puts your best foot forward. 

2)      Responsive design improves navigation and legibility

Small screens present certain design challenges that can be solved using a responsive approach. For example, call-to-action buttons can be changed to be large enough to be easily tapped while on the move on a mobile device. Responsive design can also place CTA’s appropriately in relation to scrollable and well-structured surrounding content, using best design practice to optimise conversion.

It’s worth mentioning that users who read email on a mobile device are 65% more likely to click through when opening an email for the second time on a desktop device. Providing a consistent brand look and experience over multiple platforms with responsive design strengthens brand recognition with users and the likelihood of conversion.

3)      Responsive design future-proofs campaigns

Responsive emails are based on one pre-defined template that adapts to all screen sizes. The nature of the fluid layout also means that future smart devices can be supported without dramatic reinvestment in infrastructure.

Adding new content to a responsive email template requires minimal changes, compared to traditional mobile email design which requires the build of new layouts for every campaign. A master template can be created with flexible, repeatable sections that enable you to quickly mix and match the architecture of your new campaign. This saves valuable time during design and development, as well as affording the campaign manager a greater deal of structural freedom. 

4)      You can deliver the content that matters most to mobile users

Responsive email design can tailor content specifically for users of mobile devices, such as including app store links. Conversely, responsive emails can be configured to omit this type of content from emails opened on desktop devices.

Responsive email designs can also reduce the data served to mobile users who may not have access to WiFi. Responsive techniques allow us to serve smaller, optimised versions of images, reducing load times and data transfer. The result? Targeted content uncompromised by device limitations. You can deliver the content users want and need no matter the device with responsive email design.

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