How to Create Emails That Look Good on Mobile Devices

How to Create Emails That Look Good on Mobile Devices

How to Create Emails That Look Good on Mobile Devices

By John Jantsch

email for mobile devices

A lot of people assume that emails just automatically adjust to a mobile screen and that very little needs to be done to get it ready for a mobile audience.

While this is true for some email platforms, it isn’t for all, and often times businesses aren’t even aware that their emails aren’t showing up the way they want them to on a mobile screen. As a consultant, you need to inform them on that one way or another.

If you’re wondering why this even matters, let me throw out a few stats for you:

  • More people use their smartphones to read emails more than they use them to make actual calls.
  • 70% of consumers delete emails immediately that don’t render well on a mobile device (Blue Hornet)

Hopefully, based on that information, it goes without saying that you need to be optimizing your client’s emails for mobile in order to increase opens, generate more leads, and increase conversions. If you’re noticing that a lot of people on your email list aren’t opening your emails, it’s likely your fault, not theirs.

You may be missing out on opportunities because your emails aren’t optimized,  but don’t worry, it’s not that hard to turn that situation around. Here are a few ways to get started.

Use responsive templates

I am definitely not alone when I say responsive design is not only the way to go for your website, but for your emails as well. To help you improve your email engagement, make sure your emails adapt to different devices and phone orientations effortlessly.

If this sounds like a foreign language to you, there are templates you can use to help to make it a seamless transition.

You can find these across many of the more popular email platforms today. These templates are responsive by default, so it really is mindless on your part. I highly recommend investing in this to make your life a whole lot easier and your email recipients a whole lot happier.

Now, if you want to be fancy, you can absolutely create a custom responsive design on your own, it just isn’t a necessity these days.

Use CTA buttons

If people are looking at emails on their phones, you need to make it easy for them to take the desired action in your email. Using a CTA button, as opposed to hyperlinked text, is a great way to do this (however, if you can also hyperlink text, just try to increase the link size).

Make the button large enough that your thumb can tap on it effortlessly. If you include social media icons within your email, be sure to make those easily clickable as well.

For hyperlink text, be sure to space your links far enough apart from each other that there isn’t any accidental clicking on the wrong link.

Use images wisely

As with any content, people are more engaged if images are included, so it’s important to include compelling images that will grab their attention.

However, images don’t always load correctly, or load at all, on mobile devices, and the error can result in an instant bounce.

One of the ways to prevent this is to reduce your image file sizes. This is a leading cause of slow download speeds, and a slow download speed can definitely interrupt an otherwise positive user experience. I’ve even read that every 1-second delay in loading time results in an average 7% drop in conversions.

Images load more slowly on mobile devices than on desktops as is, so don’t give another reason for it to take even longer.

If you reduce the file size, just be sure it doesn’t impact the look of the photo. You want to make sure the visual itself is still nice and clear.

Keep it simple

With the mobile audience on the go and attention spans about equivalent to a goldfish, your email copy needs to be short and sweet and include the most important details at the top of the messaging.

Break up all of the text into 1-2 sentence paragraphs so that it’s easy for the user to scroll through it. To piggyback off that, make your text size bigger than you would on a desktop email to make it easier for the user to consume.

Keeping your email content short can also help with quick load times, which will further increase your odds of conversion.


As a marketer, you likely already know the value of testing. People use a variety of email providers and each of them can render different results of how the email looks on a phone.

Before you send your emails out to a large list, test/preview it on your own email to make sure copy and images look good but test throughout all of these devices, if your email platform allows. to make sure everything looks good across the board.

At the end of the day, people like to read emails on their phones, so you need to be able to cater to their needs.

If you found this post helpful, take a look at some of the other content I’ve written this month that covers mobile optimization, including mobile website developmentmobile campaigns, and social media on mobile. Stay tuned for more to come!

Need more mobile marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Mobile Marketing.

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