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It has been years since news first broke that email-opens on mobile surpassed those on desktop.  Despite this fact, relatively few eCommerce marketers have managed to keep up and optimize their email campaigns for mobile viewing.

This is understandable, considering that optimizing for mobile wasn’t exactly easy at the time for the average email marketer with no prior coding knowledge. However, much has changed, in the past few years, and there is more than one way to make emails mobile-friendly.

However, one of the best ways to make your email campaigns mobile-friendly is by adopting a responsive email design. Here is what you need to know about leveraging a responsive email design to maximize the ROI of your email campaigns:

Why Use a Responsive Design?

To ensure that your email campaigns are successful, adopting a mobile-friendly approach is now a must. If your email doesn’t display properly on your customers’ mobile device, they may choose to delete your email or unsubscribe altogether. This not only impacts your click-throughs and conversions, but it may also increase your unsubscribe rate.

By implementing a responsive email design, you can effectively optimize your emails for all devices and provide a better experience to for your subscribers. A responsive design simply means that it responds to any device you content is viewed upon.

How Does Responsive Email Design Work?

Responsive email design uses a special set of CSS styles referred to as media queries, which detect the screen size of a device and change the fluid tables and images to make the content fit across devices.

Although there are other ways to make your emails mobile-friendly, a responsive design is usually the best for eCommerce brands because it has fewer restrictions and delivers the best results. Online merchants have more control over how their content is displayed across devices, which is extremely important for their brand.

However, it should be noted responsive emails are not supported by certain apps and devices. To figure out what is truly best for your eCommerce brand, you might consider analyzing the types of devices that your audience uses to view your emails to decide whether a responsive design is right for your online store.

Good news, though—Gmail finally loosened its restrictions and has begun supporting media queries. This gives marketers one less headache to deal with as they adopt a responsive email design.

How Do I Implement a Responsive Email Design?

If you have little to no coding or HTML knowledge, then implementing a responsive design can be a challenge. Because of this, many non-technical marketers choose automated email services, which typically have responsive design capabilities.

Those who plan on implementing a responsive email design should keep in mind some of today’s best practices:

Stick with a single column layout:  Multiple column layouts often appear squashed on mobile devices and can be frustrating for your readers to navigate. Additionally, multiple columns can detract from your email’s content and reduce the impact of your message. Your email width should be no more than 550-600 pixels!

Place CTAs above the fold:  A study by Jakob Nielsen revealed that 79 percent of web users scan content rather than read it. The smaller the screen, the more likely people will be to skim the content. By placing your most valuable offer or call-to-action at the top of the screen, you are giving it the best shot at being read rather than glossed over.

Make use of white space:  All good web designers know the importance of white space. Adding white space to your email design increases its readability and helps make your content stand out.

Optimize images:  Images can be used to break up large chunks of text and give your emails a visual appeal. However, adding too many images can make your emails difficult to load. Use images wisely and put user experience above aesthetics.

Test, test, test:  Always test before you send out emails to your subscribers. This will ensure that your content is displaying across multiple devises correctly and maximizes your potential for conversions.

Final Note—Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Landing Pages!

Before we go, we want to stress the importance of optimizing your landing pages for your email campaigns. A responsive design may help increase your opens and click-through rates, but this means little if your subscribers aren’t converting.

How do you optimize your emails for mobile? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook!