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It's Time For Responsive Design

It's too hard.  That's the number one  excuse I have heard about why companies are not implementing responsive design (what is responsive design?) into their email programs. If our goal as marketers is to continue to create the best experiences with our customers and develop lasting relationships, then we must implement responsive design into our email programs.

Customers are using mobile devices regularly to check & send email. In fact, according to the Google Mobile Planet study, 62% of smartphone users use their phone EVERDAY, and 80% don't leave home without it (Good thing American Express changed their tagline).  But here is the kicker for email marketers, 73% use email at least once a day on their smartphone! It's time we as marketers build a better experience for our customers whether on mobile or desktop. This is why responsive design is something you need to start doing now.

Here is a quick list to get started:

SPG Responsive Design Email

  1. Review your current template design(s)
  2. Prioritize the content as if your email was cut in half (what must stay?)
  3. Design a version with those priorities in mind
  4. Test your design on multiple devices to see how it renders (not all mobile email clients will render the mobile version)
  5. Roll out the design enhancements to your email program and monitor results

If you are curious as to the latest marketshare by email clients, the fine folks over at

litmus have created a public site that is updated regularly with the latest statistics. Visit EmailClientMarketShare.com and bookmark it (is this something people still do?).

I've also included two samples from SPG & TOMS as samples of a responsive template.

The first is from SPG and promotes their iPhone mobile app.  This is a great example of knowing their audience and content. Promoting an app in a stand alone email is the perfect type of campaign to implement responsive design (although all your emails should be).

From a customers perspective, viewing this on my

TOMS Responsive Design Email

phone and having it optimized for mobile, gives me confidence that their app

could be a good mobile experience to interact with their brand.

The second campaign is from TOMS. This takes their current email design and optimizes it for mobile.  This is a good attempt, but I think there were some good opportunities for improvement. Mainly moving up some CTAs / navigational elements and some additional cropping to save more than 100 pixels in height.

This is great to see these new school marketers understanding the need to provide a different mobile experience for email. Overtime and with testing I expect their mobile experiences to get even better!

No more excuses. If you keep saying "it's too hard" then pretty soon it will be "too late" for you as your competitors create the first class experience customers are expecting to receive.  As marketers we want to create the best experiences for our customers and optimizing campaigns for mobile is a part of that, so what are we waiting for?

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