Responsive design is the practice of optimising digital content to be read and interacted with on any device — be that desktop, tablet or mobile. By using modern web languages such as CSS3 and fulfilling some basic best practices, email marketers can ensure their content is fit for purpose on every conceivable device.
It is estimated that 2013 will be the first year that more internet connections are made via smartphones than traditional devices. For email marketers this is a highly significant time, as brands must now consider the journey of their recipient and the variety of devices on which they will receive emails.
The increasing importance of smartphones means that brands and marketers are substantially reducing their chances of customers opening their emails or browsing their website if they do not consider the mobile user experience.
Sending an email to a device that has not been optimised to render properly on it is the equivalent of sending somebody a letter that they can’t open. Perhaps a couple of years ago, mobile-optimised emails were a relative luxury. Now, it’s fair to say that they are essential, and not making allowances for mobile users can cause significant damage to the image of your brand.
But don’t take my word for it. Analytics is a fundamental part of email marketing and brands must scrutinise their open rate and click-through data. That way, email marketers can see the true power of mobile; learn more about the journey of their recipients and find out what works and what doesn’t on different devices.
Mobile-optimised emails are not created using a completely different template. It’s simply a case of using some extra code to make the content and layout responsive — to ensure that it is fit for purpose on all devices.
Responsive email design uses the same mark-up languages that email marketers have always used — HTML and CSS. The key difference lies with media queries; one of the latest CSS modules that allows email designers more flexibility. Media queries tell an email client or browser to flexibly control layouts and content according to the device or screen size it’s viewed on.
Here are a few basic tips to make sure your email is designed responsively and make it easier for your recipients to read and engage with: