Sunday, 15 September 2013

How to Get More People to Read Your Emails

I don't know about you, but I have an aversion to books with small print.  I read a lot - and I buy a lot of books.  But, not infrequently, I'll open a book to have a look through and put it back on the shelf because its format is so unappealing.

The same, it seems, is true of emails.  People who read their emails on mobile devices like the type to be clear and readable.  They don't want to have to be scrolling all over the place to get an idea of what the email is about.  If the email looks as though it's going to be hard to read, 70% of recipients will click 'delete'.

So, in the same way that I must have missed out on reading some very interesting books because they were printed in such dense type, there are many people who may be missing out on interesting emails because of the format in which they've been sent. 

 Nowadays our emails not only have to read well, in terms of content, but they have to look good too.  And, with over half the adult population using smartphones - and well over 80% of these using  their smartphones to read and send emails - it's essential that our emails show up well on all mobile devices.  Responsive website design has been around for a while.  Now it's the turn of responsive email design to be in the limelight.

There is some confusion, however, between the terms 'responsive' and 'mobile ready'.  From the names, one would suppose that they were one and the same thing.  But they're not.  If you have constructed an email which looks like this:

'mobile ready' will simply deliver the identical format - but smaller to fit the screen size.  This, of course, may mean that the typeface is now too small to read without a magnifying glass, so the recipient is likely to click 'delete' straight away.

A responsive design, however, will change the format to:

Now the typeface remains clear and all the recipient has to do to read the entire email is to scroll down.

A few days ago, the autoresponder service GetResponse announced that all the emails sent via its service will, from now on, be in responsive format.  Apparently it's the first service to offer this, although I daresay that the others (such as Aweber) will not be far behind.

I've been using GetResponse for a couple of years and, although it has a few quirks that annoy me, on the whole it has proved to be very satisfactory.  I chose it in the first place because, of the well known autoresponder services, it was the cheapest.  It took a little time to fathom out how to use all its bells and whistles but, having done so, I'm pleased with the design of my weekly newsletter and of all the emails I send to my list.  In addition, it provides some useful and insightful analytics on all the emails I send.  I know, for example, that the great majority of the people who open my newsletter do so on a pc.  It's possible that GetResponse's new format will mean that people who have been receiving it on mobile devices will find it easier to read so that the overall number of people reading my newsletter - and my emails - will increase.


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