There's a reason that mobile is the new buzzword in email marketing: healthcare professionals (HCPs) open 60 percent of their emails on a mobile device. Optimizing your email campaign for mobile cannot be approached with a push-of-a-button mentality. To fully leverage the opportunities inherent in today's mobile platforms, marketers must offset the limitations of mobile with responsive design programming. If an email is not easily read on a mobile device, the likelihood of that email being deleted or ignored is as certain as death and taxes.
The Creative Process
In addition to a small screen size, one of the most important considerations in mobile design is mobile navigation behavior. The universal navigation motion is the vertical swipe; readers shouldn't have to scroll horizontally or pinch the screen to view content. When they do, marketers miss the opportunity to engage their audience in the mobile environment by forcing them to search for content outside their visual field. The door to future engagement is thrown wide open when marketers cater to the way HCPs consume content.
Another factor affecting design is "mobile mentality." Mobile readers want content that is easily skimmed with a clear and concise message. Each screen in a mobile email should contain one well-formed morsel of valuable content that spurs the reader to swipe down and eventually click on one of the calls to action.
Finally, effective mobile design accounts for constraints in mobile networks. Not all email recipients have high-speed mobile networks; doctors are notorious for using outdated technology. Avoid high-resolution images and overall file sizes larger than 95 KB, so emails are easily opened and read on slower devices.
Designing for the Device
We know that 60 percent of HCP’s are opening their emails on a mobile device- but what type of mobile device? It comes as little surprise that ninety-five percent of HCP emails are opened on an Apple iOS device; 75 percent are opened on iPhones and 20 percent are opened on iPads. Even within the Apple family of products, there is an expanding number of resolution quality and aspect ratios to consider. Responsive design, while more expensive, becomes essential when programming for mobile. The upfront expense is offset by the return on investment, driving reach and engagement.
It's also important to note that Apple's dominance over the last five years likely won't last forever. Reinforcing the need for responsive design across an array of operating systems and devices will be essential as Apple’s competition catches up.
Crafting Mobile Content
Mobile communication is fast and lean; think Twitter or SMS texts. Therefore, content for mobile email must be pared down from the traditional media-rich content designed for the Web. To keep readers engaged, content should render instantly as they swipe.
Mobile content doesn’t end with a mobile-optimized email. Email content needs to connect seamlessly with mobile-optimized action so that the recipient can complete his or her task in the mobile realm. Consider the ways people use mobile apps in their daily lives. On a typical Saturday night, one might use Fandango to check out movies and purchase tickets and then head over to Google Maps for directions or order up a ride with Uber. Similarly, well-designed mobile emails spur more mobile engagement. Calls to action such as "download our podcast," "connect to our webinar," or "add to my calendar" must lead to mobile-optimized next steps in order to enrich the mobile experience.
Today, only five percent of healthcare emails are optimized for mobile, and just a fraction of those are truly designed from the bottom up to exploit the unique aspects of mobile behavior. To engage HCPs on the devices they use most, we must remember that mobile email can never be a simple adaptation of print or Web-designed assets. Design email with mobile in mind to optimize rendering, provide the best user experience.