​Responsive Design is Better Than a Dedicated Mobile Site

Responsive email design

The Importance of Responsive Design in Email Marketing

For some time now in the marketing world it has been emphasised how websites should be ‘responsive‘, meaning that they can be easily viewed and used on a mobile device and tablets. All websites are now being built or updated to be easily viewed in this way. We now expect online content to be easily viewed on our mobile, if it isn’t we simply shut the page and move on with our busy lives without reading anymore. Small text, hard to click links, poorly formatted phone numbers and content that doesn’t fit on the screen can be frustrating for users.

If you’re not aware of it, responsive design is characterised by online content which automatically changes to fit the device it is being viewed on. The layout, text size, images and buttons all change to become more appropriate for the device being used. Content can also be hidden or moved to better fit the format. In short everything becomes easier to read and easier to interact with. You may have heard of ‘scalable design’ and ‘fluid design’ but only responsive design goes the full distance in this area.

Your target market are much more likely to use their mobile devices than ever to access the internet, including checking their emails. It isn’t just phones, it’s tablets too. According to this website 61% of people have a better impression of a business when they offer a ‘good mobile experience’. It also states that 25.85% ‘of all emails are opened on mobile phones’. Litmus also gives the number of all email opens on mobile as being 50%. That percentage is growing on a daily basis…you may well be reading this on your mobile right now.

Consumers require a consistent experience when viewing both websites and emails, regardless of the device they use. 48% of users say that if they access online content that performs poorly on mobiles it gives them the impression ‘of the business simply not caring’ (as cited by this article).

People often use their mobile to shop online, and the easier a site is to use the more likely people are to spend their time and money on that business. The same thing applies if you have a marketing email that encourages users to redeem an offer or make a booking. This article suggests that responsive design helps to increase conversion rates.

Of course, many people still use their laptop to open and click emails. Infact this study shows that desktop users are currently more likely to click emails than any other user (for now at least). Approximately half of all opened emails are opened using phones or tablets however. The reason why mobile/tablet users haven’t been clicking as much as desktop users is because of the general lack of responsive design out there. The study shows that if responsive design can be utilised you can expect ‘a 15% increase in unique clicks for mobile users’.

As with many new developments in marketing, the use of mobile responsive design shouldn’t be seen as a magical solution. ‘Consumer experience is critical’ as this blog post highlights. Just because you are using responsive design it doesn’t mean you don’t need to still think about the quality of your content. It also shouldn’t be seen as just ‘mobile responsive’, it’s tablets and other devices too. The content and substance of the email should also be tailored to consider the recipient. What does a mobile user want? What does a tablet user want? When creating the text and wording of an email you need to consider how it will be viewed and used on those devices. As with all marketing you need to think of your target audience.

If you want to target the 18 to 34 year old demographic there is even more reason to make your online content mobile friendly as some research states that 46% of 18 to 34 year olds say that mobiles are their ‘first and most important screen’.

When the first whispers of ‘mobile responsive design’ began to appear on the internet in 2013 there was a debate whether it was better than separate dedicated mobile sites. Nowadays the general consensus is that using a responsive design template is better than having different versions for different devices. Google also favours the use of responsive design.

Responsive design is a technically complex process. There are several technical elements behind it. Part of the problem that designers face is that not all of the media query tools available to them work on all email clients. There are different ways around these technical challenges however and the internet is constantly responding to these issues. Responsive design is complex at first but the results are worth it in the end.

This article from 2014 cites a survey which says that 42% of marketers never use responsive design in emails despite 50% of their marketing being read on mobiles. These businesses will feel an acute need to change in the coming months. Responsive email design isn’t just a desirable extra anymore it is now seen as vital. Companies need not fear too much however, it isn’t too late to be upgraded.

Here at Airship we have created a responsive email tool and invested time in ensuring that all our designers in our web, email and content teams understand responsive. Ensuring that your customers can fully interact on any device is paramount to achieving ROI. If you need help or advice, get in touch with Airship today.