14 Tips for Improving Your Responsive Email Design

by Kathryn Aragon

Last updated on August 3rd, 2017

If mobile design wasn’t your first priority already, it should be now.

Not only are most of your customers opening their emails on a mobile device, they’re clicking through to your website and often making purchases while on the go as well.

How do you optimize your email design to work perfectly on mobile? This infographic, courtesy of Email Monks, tells you what you need to know:

  • Stats that make you sound smart when the topic of responsive email comes up
  • What’s changed over the last 2 years
  • Which email clients are likely being used by your audience
  • Times of day when mobile devices are used most
  • The email marketing tactics most likely to drive action
  • Tactics to avoid
  • 14 best practices for responsive email design

What you Need to Know about Responsive Email Design

Responsive Emails Infographic - Revised


Let’s Review

14 top tips for responsive email design

1. Use a single-column design so emails look flawless on any size screen.

2. Design with finger targets in mind: width should be a minimum of 320–550px.

3. Make CTAs easily tappable: minimum of 44px.

4. Use white space wherever possible to make the email easier to skim.

5. Keep the header clean. Put navigation (if any) in the footer so users see your primary message without having to scroll.

6. Optimize for retina devices. It’s the future of mobile devices.

7. Don’t crowd your links. Put text links on individual rows and convert them to buttons for mobile view.

8. Provide tappable phone numbers for mobile, so users can easily call with a single touch.

9. Limit subject lines to 30 characters or less.

10. For the desktop view, use image width of minimum 480px. At this size, when it’s scaled for mobile, it won’t get blurry.

11. If you’re a beginner, don’t just scale images. Use swap in your media queries.

12. Restrict the length of your emails. Subscribers often skim first, deleting any email that’s too long to easily read on mobile.

13. Place an important CTA above the fold.

14. Before sending, test your responsive email design and make sure it’s compatible across all major email clients.

Top 5 reasons subscribers don’t engage with email

You’re sending too many emails.

The emails you do send aren’t relevant.

The fonts in your emails are too small to be easily read.

Your website and landing pages aren’t optimize for mobile, so there’s no point in clicking through.

Your emails aren’t formatted well for mobile phones.

When people do opt in, here’s why:

1. To get special offers or promotions (69%)

2. To hear about sales (60%)

3. To get reminders and alerts (38%)

How do you measure up? Are your emails designed to work well for today’s mobile consumer?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Kathryn Aragon.



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Kathryn Aragon

Kathryn Aragon is the former editor of The Daily Egg. She's a content strategist, consultant, and author of The Business Blog Handbook. Learn more at KathrynAragon.com. Follow her on Twitter.


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  1. Alex Brooke says:
    April 10, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Hi Kathryn, first off – brilliant article! If someone reading this article didn’t know how to improve their responsive email design, they most definitely will do now! (otherwise they may want to check out responsive email design for dummies 😀 )

    I’d also like to say I think you have some really interesting facts about why subscribers don’t engage with emails. We’ve actually just completed the data for a case study we are working on for our blog and it coves the stage just before email subscription – including processes and outcomes and there’s some really surprising and interesting stats. I’d quite like get in touch with you to see if maybe you would like to contribute to this?

    Thanks Kathryn

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      April 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Wonderful! I’d love to contribute. Contact me through my website, and we can talk in more detail.

  2. Anonymous says:
    November 28, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Use white space wherever possible to make the email easier to skim.A usefull tip.Thanks sharing.

  3. Anonymous says:
    August 30, 2016 at 12:08 am

    We are a bunch of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your website provided us with useful information to work on. You have performed
    an impressive process and our entire community will be grateful to you.

  4. Vikram says:
    March 15, 2016 at 2:07 am

    I think responsive email design will be very helpful for the corporates as we use only email to invite our clients and business partners for the meetings or conferences and if this can be mobile friendly then it will have better impact on our business model and image of the company.

  5. Adam Kan says:
    July 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    i don’t understand that your comment! I am visit your website. This is a helpful for visitor. Great!!!

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