The Best Practices for Creating Responsive Emails

More consumers are opening emails on mobile devices. Are your emails and websites responsive?

Business-to-consumer marketing faces a constant struggle: delivery. In our overly saturated digital world, it’s difficult to get a message in front of your target market long enough for them to retain it. Due to humanity’s shrinking attention span, if you do not grab the consumer within the first few seconds of exposure, they will move on. Email marketing has proven to be one of the most successful ways to capture consumer’s attention, as long as you follow a few suggestions and guidelines.


Why Use Responsive Email Design?

Each year, more consumers are opening emails on mobile devices. Emails that are not optimized for mobile or “responsive” are likely to lose their luster if opened on a phone or tablet. Therefore, we need to verify our designs are easily readable on all platforms and devices. If we fail, a non-responsive email will inconvenience mobile subscribers with tiny font, difficult links, shrunken photos and cut-off content. This could mean less email opens and smaller response rates. YIKES!


What Does “Responsive” Mean?

Building a “responsive” website or email means creating the design and the code to provide the optimal viewing experience over a range of different platforms and devices. Most emails sent are only created for desktop viewing.


The Best Practices for Creating Responsive Emails:

SINGLE COLUMN LAYOUT: A typical desktop email is 600 px wide. A mobile email is 320 px wide. If your design has multiple columns, they will appear squished and shrunk to meet the smaller size on mobile. It’s best to stick with a single column layout so it’s easier to read across all devices.

CLEAR FONTS: No one wants to squint or zoom in just to read a small or curly font. Select clear, simple fonts so they will be readable on a smaller screen. A rule of thumb is big, bold headers and short, simple descriptions that never go below the size 12pt.

LINKS VS. BUTTONS: Have you ever opened up an email on your phone and tried to tap a link with your finger, but the link was so small that you tapped a different link by accident? SO IRRITATING. What’s the solution? BUTTONS! Instead of inserting tiny hyperlinks, make your “call-to-action” stand out with big, bold buttons. They are easy to see and easy to click or tap!

PHOTOS: Don’t always rely on images in your emails, as they can slow down the load time and could test the patience of your readers. Not all email programs display images, so don’t include important information in your photos and always include a text description.

SHORT & SWEET: Ensure the length of the email is short, so subscribers can skim through without being overwhelmed by the amount of content. On that note, restrict your subject line to 30 characters or less. Keep it simple!

TEST, TEST, TEST: Always send yourself a test before sending the email to your subscribers. Check it on your PC, phone, or tablet if you have one. Verify its legibility on all platforms, as one could look drastically different than the other.

What’s the Next Step?

As you continue to market in this crazy, digital world, always consider the experience of the consumer. Keep in mind the path they will take once they click on your email. If you send them to your website, you will also need to optimize your website to be responsive. Unsure if your website or emails are responsive? Let us take a look or create a responsive website and email campaign for you. For more information, contact me at 203-426-9193 or

>> Stay tuned for my next post in February on Choosing the Best Fonts and Colors to Represent Your Brand.

About the Author

Alyssa Canfield

Alyssa’s ability to translate concepts into visually appealing and impactful presentations creates a competitive edge for our clients. She uses her creative eye to bring life to still images and print designs.