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Five Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails

Ryan Pinkham September 23, 2015

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If you’ve been sending emails to your congregation for a while, you may have noticed that the way people read and interact with your messages has changed a lot in recent years.

Today, more than half of all emails are opened on a mobile device. This means that when you’re sending out a special announcement or invitation to your email list, it needs to be designed to look great on any device.

Luckily, there are small tweaks you can make to the emails you’re already sending to make them look great on mobile.

Here are five simple things you can do now to ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly:

1. Be as concise as possible in both design and content.
Having a clear and concise message should be a staple of any email, but it’s even more important when designing for mobile. Screen real estate is very valuable on mobile (a common theme in this blog), so keep the design very clean and simple and focus on the essentials.

2. Use a single column template.
Because of the limited real estate you get with a mobile device, it’s generally better to use simple layouts. Often times with multi-column layouts (2 columns and more) your readers will have to zoom or scroll on their smartphone to see everything. This can make it difficult for them to navigate the content of your email and the call to action. Using a single column template will make your content much more flexible for all screen sizes.

3. Use a single, clear call to action.
Make sure to include a clear call to action, and put it near the top of your email. Multiple calls to action often make things a little complicated on mobile (remember—you want to be as concise as possible!). Tell your readers what you want them to do, and make it really easy for them to do so. Want them to visit your website or buy now? Make sure that link or button is easy to find and click. Whatever the action you want them to take, just make sure it’s loud and clear. And remember—with mobile, the finger is the new mouse, so make sure it’s really easy to click.

4. Avoid tiny fonts.
Make sure your text can be read easily. Use a minimum of size 11pt font for body text and 22pt for headlines. We also recommend using a strong contrast of colors, like dark text on a light background. Many people turn down the brightness level on the mobile device to help conserve battery—and they are often reading while on the go outside in the sunlight—so a strong contrast of colors will be easier to read.

5. Take it easy on images.
Only use the images that are essential to your email. Here’s why: Apple’s iOS automatically enables images to display by default, but many other mobile device platforms—like Android—turn images off by default. You can’t assume your images will be displayed. If your email has a bunch of images in it, they might just appear as chunks of white space. Because of this, we always recommend including image descriptions (also known as alt text) to let people know what the image is even when it’s not being displayed. A good tip is to always preview your email and make sure it still looks great, even if none of the images are displayed.

The key? Look great everywhere!

Even if you don’t think members are reading emails on mobile today, chances are more and more of them will be in the weeks, months, and years ahead. By making a few small tweaks to your email strategy today, you’ll have more people opening, reading and acting on the information you send out.

This guest blog was courtesy of Ryan Pinkham with Constant Contact. Ryan is a Content Manager with Constant Contact and he wants to hear your story and learn the creative and innovative ways that you’re marketing your business. He’s worked in small businesses his entire life and now is excited to work with them.

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