Is Email Marketing Ready for Responsive Design?

If you’re a marketer sending out emails, chances are pretty good your email will be opened on a mobile device.

In  recent tests I conducted across multiple email campaigns, 41 percent of  emails were open on a mobile device. Other reports show an average of 36 percent. When looking at the data, it was clear that mobile has become the new message preview. Our recipients were using their mobile devices to scan through email and deciding what to delete immediately or keep and read at their desktop.

Because our desired use case was to get them to read and act upon the mail in a structured work setting, mobile became a delivery issue, and we just needed to make sure enough content was scannable so the user would be interested to go back and read it on full-sized screen.

But what if you have a use case where user context lends itself to mobile? Do you A) optimize for mobile and potentially sacrifice the desktop experience, B) provide a link to a mobile-optimized Web page or C) is responsive design ready for email?

Assuming all the critical variables align — your mobile user base is predominantly on modern smartphones, you have mobile-optimized landing pages and your message and CTAs make sense for a user who’s probably on the go — then the next item on the checklist is delivery.

And here is where it gets complicated.

Enough of today’s modern smartphones email clients can recognize and render multiple layouts, but not all of them.  Style Campaign has a great list (below) of the most common email clients and whether or not they support media query – the function that drives responsive layouts.

If you do choose to test responsive email layouts, be sure to build the templates for graceful fail. You’re almost guaranteed to have some failure, so make sure that the mail always renders on a full-sized screen and there’s enough information in the subject line, and pre-header that the recipient will decide to keep it.

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