How to Take Advantage of Gmail’s Support for Responsive Email Design

October 2, 2016

If you’ve been opening emails in your Gmail account on your mobile device, chances are your experience has been kind of “meh.” We’re talking tiny CTAs, hard-to-read text and wonky-looking images.


But all of that is about to change. Gmail recently announced that they will (finally!) support responsive email design. This is a big deal for email marketers, designers and developers everywhere.


What’s new?


Gmail will now support embedded CSS, alleviating a huge headache for email designers. Instead tackling Gmail-specific design issues, they can now focus on innovating in the inbox.


The update we’re most stoked about? Gmail’s support for media queries. Media queries are the magic behind mobile-responsive emails, ensuring that they render properly across a variety of screen sizes.


That means that email marketers can confidently send mobile-responsive emails, knowing that 75% of email clients now support mobile responsive design.


Here’s how email marketers can take advantage of these updates and design innovative, mobile responsive email campaigns.


Know your audience’s device and email client of choice


In 2015, 52% of emails were opened on a smartphone. While it’s safe to say that most of your audience will be opening your emails on their mobile device, now is the time to find out which mobile device and which email client they’re using. A good grasp on their preferences will help you deliver better email experiences. Use a tool like Litmus Inbox Preview to see exactly what your email will look like on a variety of devices and clients.


Send your mobile users content based on their location


Your customers are on the go. Why not send them email content that changes with their location? Location personalization lets you turn your mobile email into a local guide for your customers, pointing them to your local stores, events and more. Your email updates at the moment of open, so every time they change location, your email changes too. It’s a must-have for travel marketers or any company with multiple locations.


Design with digits in mind


The Gmail update will help your mobile emails look better in general, but there are a few design elements you’ll always want to pay attention to on mobile. Make your call-to-action buttons finger-friendly – at least 44px – and consider placing them near the top of your email. Since screens on mobile are smaller, your email content should be easy to read too. Take advantage of white space and keep your email’s width a minimum of 320-550px. Don’t forget to include tappable phone numbers to help your customers easily reach you.


Keep your content short and sweet


Now that Gmail is making is easier to, you know, read your mobile emails, you’ll want to make every word count. Your subject line should be no more than 20-30 characters on mobile and like the rest of your email content, should encourage readers to take action. Take advantage of preview text – the line of text your readers see after your subject line before they open your email – and use it to entice people to open.


Use device targeting to promote your mobile app


Want more downloads of your mobile app? Device targeting detects if your mobile email recipients are opening your email on an iPhone or Android device and automatically includes the device-appropriate link to download your app within your email. It’s an easy way to promote your app and provide a better experience for your mobile users.


Make the most of your mobile emails


We’re living in a mobile-first world. Now that responsive email design has become the standard in email marketing, it’s time to hone your mobile email strategy. Use these tips to elevate your emails and deliver best-in-class experiences with your customers in mind.

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Author: Kristen Dunleavy


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