Mobile Email Marketing: Tips For The Holiday Season

‘Tis the season when the volume of email sends begins to soar. From Black Friday previews to last minute gift reminders, retailers are upping the ante on the number of messages being sent. This makes the inbox a crowded place to be.

But that’s not news. What makes this retail holiday season special? This year over 30% of those messages will likely be read on some type of mobile device. So how do you ensure your message will stand out in the mobile inbox?

Even if you haven’t been able to transition your emails into a responsive template or you’re waiting to roll out that new mobile strategy in 2013, there are still a few mobile-smart techniques at your disposal.

They’re quick, easy and will make sure your email messages keep pace this season.

First Steps: 3 Things To Do Today

1. Set To Scale For iOS Devices

This seems like a simple thing to do, but some retailers still ignore this detail. Including this strategic line of code (see below) will ensure that your HTML and text scale for iPhones’ and iPads’ viewable screen sizes.

<style> html {webkit-text-size-adjustment:none;}

2. Optimize Your Pre-header Message

Most mobile inboxes pull in the first 70-72 characters of copy from the region above the header. Use this as an opportunity to complement your holiday subject line by either continuing to tell the story or providing actionable opportunities. You can call out benefits, highlight offers and include a clear call to action.

Mobile Inbox Preheader

3. Prioritize For Holiday Shopping Activity

Customers are on the move: a recent comScore study showed that 4 out of 5 were using smartphones while they shop. That’s a great reason to add a mobile-friendly banner that makes it easy to find store information. You can take that one step further and call out your store locations in the subject line.

Store Locator Examples

Also, ensure holiday-specific content is visible in the first 300 pixels of the email, making it more likely to appear in the mobile preview pane.

Holiday Preview Content


Deeper Dive: 3 Things To Do Next

1. Adjust For Touch

The human finger needs more space than a mouse to accomplish the same action. (About 45 pixels, on average.) Craft your content so that calls-to-action are easy to see and easy to touch. Don’t frustrate users with too many crowded elements. That’s a recipe for unintentionally clicking on the wrong area, also known as “Fat Fingers.” Quick Tips:

  • Make buttons larger
  • Add more white space around hyperlinks
  • Assume all images will become calls-to-action

Touchable Buttons

  2. Design For Short Attention Spans

There’s a lot of competition for the mobile user’s interest, so keeping their attention is a challenge. Customers spend mere seconds scanning their inbox for snippets of interest. Organize content so that key points practically jumpout at them. Quick Tips:

  • Divide messages into clear sections
  • Use concise blocks of copy
  • Create flow with headers and images

Content Sections

3. Make It Easy To Read

Mobile messages are being viewed on small, backlit screens under various lighting conditions. Glare can be a problem. You should also combat the handheld “jiggle” factor by making your message as bold and legible as possible. Quick Tips:

  • Increase font size (at least 15 pixels for headlines and 13 pixels for body copy)
  • Increase contrast to images and text
  • Use prominent colors for hyperlinks

Contast for Mobile

The holiday season can be a challenging time to try new things, but now you have a few simple tips to help your messages grab attention in the mobile inbox. Good luck out there!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column | How To Guides | Mobile Marketing


About The Author: is a Creative Director with Responsys — a technology company with a focus on cross-channel digital direct marketing solutions. Over the last seven years she has created campaign for leading brands, which have been recognized industry wide for their high creative standards and campaign performance.

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  • Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Excellent advice Lynn and super relevant given that Black Friday online sales were up nearly 24% with 14.4% of purchases made from mobile phones according to IBM’s benchmark service.

  • Lynn Baus

    Thanks Rick! So glad you found it helpful.

  • George LaRochelle

    Great article with some very nice examples. Your first one has me a little confused though. In the first thing to do Today you mention you should use

    html {webkit-text-size-adjustment:none;}

    But that means that the text will NOT resize on iOS devices. Do you mean set it to auto instead of none so it WILL resize and make it easier to read on iOS devices?


  • Erin Winfrey

    Got a kick out of the reminder that people use their fingers instead of a mouse to navigate and clicking areas should be larger. I hate it when sites send out e-mails and they don’t keep that in mind. I use to send e-mails out for my blog and love that they have already adapted their templates to counteract the ‘mobile question’

  • Lynn Baus

    Greetings George! Sorry for the delay, I just now saw your question. I understand the confusion. I’ll explain in more detail. iOS devices automatically adjust text size to 13px, this can cause the email layout to break especially around pre-headers and footers. By setting the CSS code to “none” we are overriding iOS’s default 13 pixel font size for iPhones and iPads and instead using the inline CSS font-size style which would fit with the design.

  • Guest

    Thanks Lynn

  • George LaRochelle

    Thanks Lynn

  • ambreen11

    Awesome post on mobile email marketing tips for the holiday season. I agree with your points you have here really very well. Thanks


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