Since mobile optimization has become crucial to successful online marketing, email marketing software providers have introduced responsive email templates to do the dirty responsive design work for you. However, because responsive design is still largely in its infancy, email marketing managers have been slow to transition into responsive email marketing. Many doubt the reliability of responsive email templates, and some even still doubt the value of mobile optimization at all.
If you’re in one of these two boats, stay with me. I want to convince you that mobile-optimized emails are essential. I also want to help you learn to trust that responsive email marketing templates really work as they’re supposed to, and they can work for your mobile optimization efforts.
But before going any further, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page about what responsive email templates are. “Responsive” means the email is coded to automatically detect which device a recipient is viewing it on, and then adjusts its rendering according to the size of the screen. Pre-designed responsive email templates let you plug your content into mobile-ready email designs, just as you can do with standard desktop email templates.
The Value of Responsive Marketing Emails
Mobile-optimized emails became valuable to marketers long before pre-designed responsive templates became widely available. By September 2011, 23 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices, and by October 2013, that percentage had increased to 48 percent. Marketers who took advantage of mobile’s rising popularity early on logically had an advantage over those who only offered desktop versions of emails, and now, “69 percent of mobile users delete emails that aren't optimized for mobile.”
Of course, using responsive templates isn’t the only way to optimize marketing emails for mobile devices, but it’s definitely the easiest way for many small-business owners. Before pre-designed templates, you could potentially create your own responsive templates if you knew how to code a responsive email. Email marketing software providers could only provide the platform for coding.
Despite the rising trend of mobile email use, some email marketing providers have been slow to give marketers the tools they need to optimize for mobile. Responsive design for mobile optimization, however, is only getting more important, and email marketing providers that don’t offer pre-designed responsive templates risk being run over by their more cutting-edge competitors.
Why You Can Trust Responsive Email Templates
Even though plenty of marketers already believe that mobile optimization gives you an advantage in email marketing, some still doubt the reliability of responsive email templates. They have certainly been right to do so, because some email clients simply don’t render responsive emails like you would want them to.
The easiest way to have peace of mind when using a responsive email template is to test your emails for various email clients. Different clients will render your email in different ways. If you don’t yet fully trust responsive templates, you’ll want to make sure your emails show up the way you want in all major email clients. Luckily, some email marketing software providers are beginning to allow users to do that.
Email marketing software provider GetResponse, for example, offers an email preview tool that lets you preview your emails in many different email clients before sending it out. You can create a responsive email using one of the platform’s pre-designed responsive templates, and then go to the “Inbox Preview” tool to see how email elements render in Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Mail 5.0, Opera, Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Windows Mail, Mail.com, AOL Mail and more. You can also check to see how emails show up on iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices.
As long as you can test your email before it goes out, you can make sure your subscribers will see what you want them to see. Email software providers that offer such a tool are your best bet for implementing successful responsive email marketing.
How to Get Started
If your business has the chance to try responsive email templates, it’s time to take the plunge. Your subscribers will appreciate your emails more, and the results of your email marketing campaigns should prove that.
Admittedly, there is a chance (although unlikely) that the majority of your subscribers are using an email client that doesn’t work with responsive design. If that’s the case, you should already know. Before jumping into responsive emails, find out which email clients your subscribers use. Your email marketing software provider should generate data to help you do this. Determine which email clients your subscribers are using, and check the list in this “Responsive Email Design Guide” to see if those clients render responsive emails. Once you make sure your subscribers are using email clients that render responsive emails correctly, you’re clear to proceed with responsive templates.
Creating responsive emails does take a bit of adjustment from desktop email design, so when you do make the transition, be sure to consider the differences. An article, “24 Tips for Responsive Email Design,” covers most of the differences you need to think about. Don’t stress about covering all these tips, though—the beauty of the responsive template is it does most of the mobile optimization work for you.
For more tips on how to connect with customers through great emails, access this exclusive video course, Rethink Your Emails to Customers.
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