Optimizing your email campaigns for mobile isn’t just limited to making sure your newsletter can be read on small screens. After all, what’s the point of sending mobile-optimized campaigns, if mobile users can’t subscribe to your lists in the first place?
The good news is that mobile devices like iPhone and Android handsets generally do a good job of making forms at least remotely usable these days, however there are a couple of things us designers and coders can do to make them as easy-to-use as possible. The obvious benefit to optimizing your forms is that they require less time and effort to fill in on a mobile device. To you, this means higher completion rates and more subscribers.
We'll cover a couple of pointers, plus feature a simple example you can use as a starting point for your own subscribe forms.
To show you how to optimize your forms, we created a simple CSS template that you can plonk our 'Basic formatting' subscribe form code into. You can view it in your browser and on your mobile device using this short link: http://goo.gl/7xDuu.
You can repurpose the CSS, play with the media queries and use it either as a stand-alone form, or on your pages.
Not wanting to limit our advice to HTML email design, we wanted to add some pointers for optimizing plain-text campaigns. When it comes to formatting them, there are two camps - those who add a line break every 60-65 characters to their message, then those who don't. Both have pros and cons, depending on which email client your message is viewed in.
We have found the 60-65 character limit works best in desktop and webmail clients. This is because there is effectively no limit to how wide paragraphs of text can run in most reading windows or preview panes. Paragraphs of text can become very much unreadable after 60 characters or so - traversing from the end of one long line to the beginning of another is just too much visual work for effective scanning.
However, on mobile devices, things are very different. In iPhone Mail (see pictured), you can see how 65-character line breaks combined with wrapping text results in a very jagged message. It's arguably worse than reading an infinitely long line of text.
If you're sending HTML email with a plain-text version containing line breaks, most mobile email clients won't ever have to fall back to viewing it. So it isn't quite time to undo the app's handiwork when it automatically creates a nicely formatted text-version of your HTML campaign. However, if you're sending plain-text campaigns only, it's worth having a look at your email client usage reports when deciding which way to go. If you have plenty of subscribers reading their email on a mobile device, it may not be an appealing idea to add your own line breaks. But in other instances, putting the time into formatting may be worth it.Case study: Twitter
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