mobile optimized emails design

13 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Responsive Mobile-Optimized Emails (Tips + Bonus)

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Put yourself in a digital marketer’s shoes: in the early 2000s, desktops ruled, and mobile-optimized emails seemed like a distant concern.

Fast forward to 2023 – the game has changed. Smartphones have largely taken over the digital landscape, and like everyone else you surely heard of the term – mobile responsive design.

Therefore, your emails need to be optimized for small devices. Why?

As a matter of fact, 43% of emails are now opened on a mobile device, in contrast to 19.4% and 36.1% on desktops and webmail clients!

Therefore, mobile-first email design should be your first concern.

How do you do that? Well, that’s what we’re here to answer.

We’ll break down the concept of mobile-friendly email. Also, share with you what to consider and avoid while creating your next email campaign.

What are mobile-optimized emails?

Pause for a moment and think – what pops into your head when you hear: mobile-optimized email.

Well, it is what you think it is!

Let’s now put your perspective in simple terms – a mobile-friendly email is simply an email that’s perfectly adjusted for mobile devices, ensuring the text and design look great on any screen size.

So, when you approach your email designs with a ‘mobile-first’ mindset, you safeguard the crucial aspects:

  • How many people open your emails
  • The clicks you get
  • The return on your investment

It’s about keeping these valuable metrics safe while ensuring your emails look fantastic, no matter where they’re viewed!

Why is sending mobile-optimized emails so important?

Now that you know, what mobile-optimized emails are and the rewards they bring.

But, we don’t want you to just take our word for it.

Mobile Optimized Emails - Stat

Let’s show you a few more email design trends that might give you a clear picture of how to design emails for your mobile viewers:

  • Mobile-friendly email campaigns see a 15% increase in unique mobile clicks
  • As of 2023, over 55% of website traffic comes from mobile devices
  • 45% of consumers unsubscribe from promotional emails if they don’t work well on a smartphone!
  • Mobile-friendly emails are a core marketing strategy for 56% of email marketers
  • Top brands gained 40% higher click-to-open rates when they sent exclusively responsive emails

13 pro tips for you to create mobile-optimized emails

Okay, now it’s clear that designing mobile-optimized emails is highly important.

But, how can you cater your email marketing strategy for devices with screens 7 inches or less?

Here we have assembled some key tips that industry experts consider and avoid while preparing mobile-friendly emails.

So, broaden your knowledge and put it into practice to see how your email marketing matrix changes.

7 do’s of mobile-friendly email

Savvy marketers thoughtfully pre-plan before launching their email campaigns. Throughout the process, they consider many factors before designing an email.

These considerations aren’t just about making mobile responsive emails; rather they ensure the email looks stunning on desktops, laptops, tablets, and every device in between.

So, let’s unveil these game-changing factors:

Like all other elements – subject lines also get shrunk on small devices. That means you have even fewer resources to convince your clients to open your emails.

So, what you can do is – apply the “the shorter the better” rule.

Usually, 60 characters are the limit for crafting email subject lines but, mobile devices squeeze that limit to 30-35 characters. So, your audience will only view the first portion of the subject lines.

Now, you don’t have to shrink the subject to 30 characters; rather, you should aim to entice your audience with that first portion, so they feel the urge to read further.

Remember, the first portion holds the most value!

Quick Tips:

  • Keep your email subject lines within 35 or fewer characters.
  • Keep your pre-header between 50-100 characters.
Mobile Optimized Emails - Subject Lines

Survey says: About 9 seconds is all people spend looking at an email!

For mobile users, surely that time frame would be even lower! Because mobile readers would be busy multitasking.

Hence, craft a short and sweet email copy, so people will skim through it in less time and lead to your designated CTA (Call to action) right from the word go.

Quick Tips:

  • Keep important info at the top
  • Go bite-size with (i.e. bulleted lists, numbering, and short paragraphs)
  • Make email copies between 50 and 125 words

Mobile devices have limited space – we don’t recommend using a multi-column layout because it requires more space and your audience has to zoom to view elements.

So, it’s best to design a simple single-column layout.

With a single-column layout, your contents and (most importantly) your CTA’s will appear clear to your readers.

And, if you have multiple elements that need to be fitted in an email, then try making emails vertically scrollable.

Quick Tip: Single-column layouts with 600-pixel width is best for mobile

Visual presence should be a vital element in your email marketing strategy. Visually catchy emails draw more attention.

That’s why when you deal with multiple sentences, align contents to the left.

Because, when your content is on the left – it ensures:

  • Better visual appearance
  • Smooth reading flow
  • Natural left-to-right reading pattern
Mobile Optimized Emails - Buttons

A wall of paragraphs, buttons, and images won’t create a good impression on your readers. Rather, it’ll create discomfort in readers’ eyes.


Leave enough white space between – paragraphs, links, buttons, and images.

Spaces, padding, and margins in between interactive elements will give readers:

  • Breathing space
  • Make content scannable
  • To click on the elements they intended to

Quick Tips:

  • Keep text shorter than 20 words
  • Limit paragraphs to 1-3 sentences
  • Add 10-pixel padding around interactive elements

You added images, texts, gifs, embedded content, etc to craft an interactive email. Now, ask yourself – will it load quickly on mobile?

In most cases, it won’t! Rather, it will cut off potential email clients.

So, we recommend you reduce the overall email size, because tiny emails mean:

  • Faster load time
  • More Accessibility
  • Better deliverability

Quick Tips:

  • Emphasise more on text instead of large images
  • Keep the HTML weight of your email around 75 KB

With the rising popularity of the dark mode feature, there’s a high chance your audience set their mobile theme to dark mode. 

Stats say: On average 35% of Apple email clients used Dark Mode!

That’s why, you should ensure – your emails are adjustable with both light and dark modes so readers have the best experience.

Mobile Optimized Emails - Light Mode
Mobile Optimized Emails - Dark Mode

5 don’ts of mobile-friendly email

Some things raise concern and they should not go unnoticed! That’s why, before hitting the send button experts make sure these things are optimized.

Here are a few things pro marketers avoid before sending their valuable emails:

Slow load time is a curse when you are sending promotional emails as it affects your email marketing KPIs.

And, mobile devices load images slower than other large devices!

Hence, you need to shrink the image size before sending emails to an audience.

Large images are data drainers – slowing download times and potentially demoralizing readers. Moreover, some devices might not load those images.

Our advice? Trim image sizes, and remember to optimize ALT text. It ensures – your audience still gets the gist even if the images don’t load.

Quick Tips:

  • Strike a 50/50 or 60/40 balance between text and images
  • Use an online compressor such as TinyPNG to shrink large images

The menu bar or what we typically refer to as “Navigation Bar” is an essential element for websites – allowing users to browse through effortlessly.

But, for emails – it’s NOT NECESSARY!

Because, in mobile devices, it’s a complex task to size them appropriately and even if you manage to do that, it’ll be frustrating to click on menu options precisely.

When we say “link stacking”, this is what we mean:

Flunent Forms

So, when you stack up multiple links on emails – it’s highly likely readers will accidentally click on the wrong links.

Besides there’s a big chance of mistakenly adding the same link to multiple destinations.

Quick Tip:

  • Add links, but avoid stacking, and make sure to check links while testing.

By default, phones squeeze each element. It turns into a major concern when you use small font sizes – as readers either have to zoom in or start squinting their eyes to read details.

That’s why, large fonts are:

  • Readable
  • Skimmable
  • Touch-friendly

And, when your goal is conversion through your emails, then these factors make your email accessible to all users.

Quick Tips:

  • Consider text sizes of 14px and 20px as a minimum for the body and header
  • Use dark text color on a light background

Mobile email readers are always on the go. 

If generating leads, traffic, or revenue is your goal, you must – make the best use of clickable elements such as CTA’s(Call-to-action), social media icons, etc.

While creating promotional emails, craft button-like CTAs, which are:

  • Eye-catchy
  • Touch-friendly
  • Actionable & Big

Also, often readers don’t go through the whole email, so we suggest- keeping calls to action at the top

That way, you are stating your point quickly, and avoiding your potential lead from slipping away.

Quick Tips:

  • Make CTAs at least 44 x 44 pixels
  • Avoid image-based CTAs
Mobile Optimized Emails - Buttons

Bonus: Test, tweak, triumph

Putting all your efforts into mobile optimizing your emails won’t be a bargain if they aren’t tested on multiple devices!

Very often, your crafted email might look perfect on one device and different on others.

That’s why, you should proofread your emails and test their responsiveness on multiple mobile devices.

But, do you need multiple devices to test your email? No, you won’t. 

Multiple email marketing platforms such as FluentCRM, include test mail and preview options to test your designed email across multiple devices.

Mobile-optimized emails = Better ROI & leads

With more and more people connecting through mobile phones, the future of email marketing hugely depends on mobile optimization.

Needless to say, email marketing is a medium to:

  • Make profit
  • Bring in leads
  • Generate traffic
  • Increase brand awareness

And, whatever your goal is, the best way to achieve it, is to make sure your email marketing campaigns are well-optimized. Not only for mobiles but for other devices.

Our final suggestion- use analytics to find out your audience’s device usage and apply the best practices of mobile-optimized emails if you haven’t applied them yet.

So, which tips did you find helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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