5 Tips To Get Higher Email Open Rates on Mobile


You get up in the morning. You see 100 emails in your inbox and you are checking them on your mobile phone … how do you normally react to them?

Open them? Or spam them?

It usually takes less than three seconds to make a decision.

If the emails are from an acquaintance or from familiar names you open them based on the subject line.

But what about emails from unfamiliar sources? You open some of them either out of curiosity about their possible surprise element with a sort of skepticism of them being spam.

And what about emails that have subtle marketing intent?

Well, we all know they don’t see the light of the day!  When we read emails on mobile, the subject line is a critical element that influences the open rate.

That is why our inboxes are always cluttered with unread emails of which most of them are of promotional types.

As more and more people are increasingly using mobile, it is important to design and execute well thought out emails that can survive stringent demands so that you can get higher email open rates on mobile.

Fews statistics all small businesses should be aware of:

  • 66 percent of all emails are now being opened on mobile devices.
  • 70 percent of people delete the email if it message doesn’t resonate.
  • 75 percent of people who receive email that isn’t optimized for mobile will just delete it.

How Can You Make Your Emails More Engaging on Mobile?

It starts with an attention-grabbing subject line. That is just the start but that is not everything. We like emails with attractive images and crisp content. It would be great if they have a short story to tell. Such emails are highly likely to be opened and more so if they are equally readable on the small screens. Making emails look good and interesting to read on the small screens is definitely a challenge and an opportunity.

Below are the most essentials steps get higher email open rates by creating mobile-friendly emails that are attractive, readable and interesting for your readers.

1. Design: Focus on Visual, Text Size and “Tap”

The look and feel of the emails on mobile screen is the first thing reader’s notice; they decide in an average of three seconds to either open or ignore a mail. Since the visual aspect is very important, it is always desirable to use an email template that is 400×300 pixels with bright colors that complement your brand palette.

Tip: An image size of 20K is good enough for a HTML text banner.



The usage of enlarged fonts in emails means your readers do not have to struggle reading the content. Simpler, single column layout adds to the richness of the design.

The alpha tip: Body copy, 14 point, and headline, 22 point.

The link tip:  If you are sharing multiple links, make sure they are separated for easy “clicking”.

Mobile is all about ‘tap’ and not ‘click’, think in terms of finger targets. Email tabs, buttons and white spaces all must complement the finger tap.

2. Streamline Words: Focus on Short Headlines and Stories

To get higher email open rates, streamline words and create a short, scan able and interesting story. About 20 percent of consumers believe that a good subject line makes them open and read the email.

Try a pre-header below the subject line and generate 19 percent higher open rate! For a pre-header, go for different content with between 70-75 characters.

Catchy and meaningful subject lines that clearly explains the topic, enhanced by bright images in the right places is what your readers are looking for.

3. Call to Action: Focus on One Action Per Email

Emails help your potential customers learn about your business and connect with you. A good call to action is important to make this happen. Here are 3 tips:

  • A call to action is only about one objective redirecting to onelocation.
  • A bold and clear call to action.
  • Call to action placed on the left, with a button of a minimum 40×40 pixels in size.

4. Compatibility: Focus on Operating System and Image Display

Readers won’t feel distracted or confused the emails are compatible with the mobile devices. Your email provider should provide the basics:

  • HTML supported email,
  • Images should be on display and not blocked,
  • Auto scaling of the width for different screen size
  • Font should not scatter or overlap
  • Functional for following operating systems such as iOS, Android, Windows

The Oh No! tip:  Preview the email before you send it. All email providers have this function.

5. Email Marketing Best Practices

You may want to check for the following before you shoot those mobile-friendly emails:

  • No navigation bars – Navigation bars do not work well on mobile emails. They are not built for finger tap and tend to break.
  • Contextual – If you know who will read the mail, where and how, you can work on the content that is compatible and consumable.
  • Color palette – Use bright colors to keep your readers spirits up.
  • Concise and Precise – It is OK to talk about your product but consider ‘less is more’ with enlarged fonts, your emails will get the respect they deserve.
  • Analytics: You cannot track everything. Understand email analytics, identify the basic metrics and track your emails open and click rates to see which emails are really working on mobile.

Business growth is all about effective communication.

If you come across a modern, bright, crisp and easy-to-navigate mobile-friendly email, you will spend time on it. If you master your emails on mobile, the desktop is already a win.

Here is the mantra to get higher email open rates: Think mobile, think small, win big.

Which tips do you plan to use in your upcoming email campaign?


Mobile Email Photo via Shutterstock

3 Comments ▼

Chaitra Vedullapalli


Chaitra Vedullapalli Chaitra Vedullapalli is currently the CMO of Meylah, a turnkey native marketplace platform. Chaitra is a co-architect of Ignite Washington, a city by city digital readiness initiative to foster local economic development. Chaitra has a proven track record of enabling global transformations, architecting innovative business models and leading communities with excellence. She is recognized as Top 100 Small business influencer and holds a patent in Web Methods.

3 Reactions

  1. Thank you for the article. I enjoyed #3 – as having a convoluted message will make them close it as quickly as they opened it. One clear and concise call to action is more than enough.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Chaitra: Could you mention some small business owners that have managed to get a higher email open rates on mobile devices?

    I will try to read less email messages on my mobile phone during the day! 😉

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