As marketers, we’re obsessed with metrics. And since email is a primary means of communicating with our members, customers, prospects and partners, it only makes sense that we track open rates (the number of people who actually open and read our emails) and click rates (the number of people who click on a link). Here at Matrix Group, we’ve been working with lots of clients to make their emails responsive because in most industries, more email is read on a mobile device than on a desktop email client.
Responsive design refers to the practice of designing and implementing a website so that it “responds” to the user’s device. Looking at a website on a wide screen over broadband? You might get a full screen, 4-column layout with high resolution images. Surfing a website on your phone? You should get a slimmed down version of the site with a single column of content, text that is large enough to read without pinching, and lower resolution images.
But what about emails? Responsive email pretty much works the same way as responsive websites. Reading an email through Outlook on your desktop? You might see a nice layout, with 2 columns, images aligned to the right and left of content, a nice header, yada, yada. Browsing the mail on your phone? That same email gets simplified. It goes to 1 column, images are center aligned, content is shorter.
Why bother making your emails responsive?
- Users are more likely to delete an email they cannot read easily on their phones. Source: ExactTarget
- There is a growing segment of the population that is mobile only, that is, they access the Web and email only through mobile devices.
- Responsive emails are more readable on a phone. Period. End of story.
We’re tracking the results of responsive e-newsletters for our clients and so far, the statistics are promising. Clients are increasing open rates in absolute terms by 1–4%, and clickthroughs an average of 2%. A few percentage points doesn’t sound like much but when you consider that most organizations get a 20% open rate and a 2 or 3% click rate, these numbers are significant. Consider this: one Matrix Group client saw an increase of 4% overall; since they have an email list of 100,000, an extra 4,000 people are now reading their emails!
I think it comes down to this. Your emails are getting looked at on a phone. Your customer’s decision to open and click is influenced by many factors, including subject line, who the email is from, and whether or not the email is mobile-friendly. It only makes sense to make your emails mobile-friendly. And if in doubt, do some testing and learn more about your customers’ email preferences.