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Why should my emails be responsive? Hint: $$$

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We’re all device-hopping or multi-screening: going from desktop to smart phone and even to laptop.  Because of this newsletters need to adapt to what they are being viewed on: ie they need to be responsive!

Responsive design is already quite common for websites.  Like water, that adapts to the recipient it’s been poured into, the fluid design elements of the page will adapt themselves to best fit to display in the device in use.    Or to think of it another way, it’s a bit like modular furniture blocks which can be rearranged according to the room.  This optimal viewing experience means that the reader should be able to easily move around the site, find what they’re looking for and ultimately buy.

NB: this is different from scalable design: where everything is just made smaller to fit the screen.

Frustrated with a clunky interface your customer will go elsewhere.  Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing. And, even worse, 40% visit a competitor’s site instead!

For your email campaigns, it’s the same principal.  The newsletter can sense the dimensions (height & width) and the orientation of the device and adapt to it.  

Just a third of marketers are already doing responsive, according to Experian Marketing Services:

2014 04 09 responsive graph experiant

And yet, at the start of this year over 50% of emails were opened on mobile devices, according to Litmus!  And I believe the number will only increase.


To do by yourself, responsive newsletters might prove a little tricky.  I’d suggest that you take the helping hand of an email service provider who should give you automatically responsive layouts.

2014 04 09 responsive giant donuts

Other pointers to keep your newsletters mobile-friendly:

  • Keep the subject short.  ideally 30 characters or less.  Make the first five words really count.
  • KISS KISS KISS: Keep the content even shorter and simpler than usual
  • A minimum font size of 12-14 pixels is recommended, with headlines at approx. 20px.
  • Call to action buttons approx. 50 px are appropriate to match an adult thumb
  • Include only the most essential images, otherwise they’ll take too long to download
  • Include a phone number so they can call you directly
  • Link to a responsive website!


Key takeaway: businesses need to follow their customers wherever they go.  Your subscribers deserve an optimized experience.  Creating responsive design is essential to remain competitive.


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