Today, half of ALL the email opens in the world happen on a mobile device. And, in the next 3 years, that’s expected to jump to 78% (or 59 trillion emails a year, but who’s counting).

If you’re sending email, you’ve probably already noticed that your messaging just doesn’t convert as well on mobile as it does on a desktop.

That’s concerning.

With more and more email going to phones and tablets these days, boosting conversion on mobile can be big headache. So, lets take a step back and ask:

How do you write emails for those tiny screens?

First off – Mobile Email is Context, Not a Screen Size

A common mistake, when writing and sending mobile emails, is to think about them as a screen size that your message needs to fit inside – it’s not. An email sent to mobile isn’t just a smaller copy of your desktop email.

People refer to mobile as the size of device someone is using, but it’s really much more than that. Phones and tablets travel around with your customers – they’re with them wherever they go. So, when you consider all the things people could be doing throughout their day, the term ‘mobile’ actually refers a wide range of reader use-cases – where they are, what they’re doing, and how & when they can respond to your message.

On mobile, you need to consider where and when your reader interacts with an email on their device, but more importantly, you need to consider how they can take action on an email after they’ve viewed it.

Responsive Design Isn’t Enough

If you’re looking at an email on mobile you might be on the bus, or waiting in line for food, or sitting on your couch at home.

What’s the difference between these situations and looking at your emails in the office, at your desk, in front of your computer.

Well – everything, frankly.

For one, your workflow is different. The time and focus you have for an email on mobile isn’t the same as on your desktop. The resources you have access to on mobile are limited – you can’t hop from app to app and navigate the web as easily on a mobile device.

All these factors contribute to how likely a reader will take action on your email – if they can take action at all.

Optimizing for the Whole Experience

When you’re writing a mobile email for conversion, it’s important that your message fits nicely on their device, but what’s really going to change your conversion rate dramatically is thinking about and understanding the workflow your reader will take after they click the CTA.

You need to consider whether the action you want them to take is easy or optimized for someone on the go, armed only with a tiny screen and a pair of thumbs.

To get you thinking about mobile in this way, we’ve put together 5 ways to boost your email conversions on mobile devices.

1. Cut the extra taps and swipes:

On desktops, we put up with a lot more clicking, searching, and filling things out. But if you’re checking email on a mobile device, you’re more than likely on the go, and when that’s the case, every tap and swipe counts.

Your customers don’t have the time or patience to fill out huge forms or hunt around on the site for what they’re looking for. So, when you’re sending mobile email, streamline the process of obtaining or entering information for them and cut out any unnecessary actions in a conversion.

Click-to-Call is a great example of using mobile to your advantage.

If you have a phone number customers can reach you at, make it easy for them to do so. They’re already on their phone, so why not capitalize on the opportunity. If your customers can open an email and click to start talking to a real person, that beats navigating a website on a tiny screen any day.

2. Don’t make mobile too conversion focused:

General “optimizing for mobile” advice includes:

  • Large Call-to-Actions
  • Large Text
  • Lots of White Space
  • Simplify

That’s great advice, but an easy trap to fall into when you’re optimizing for a tiny screen is to focus too much on the conversion and not enough on the joy of browsing and shopping.

Simplifying and cutting out the extra taps and swipes is great when a customer is ready to buy, but compressing the process of discovering and learning about your product or company misses the point of the sale.

Mobile screens are small, but customers still need all the key product details before they can make a purchasing decision. Be careful not over optimize the process, leaving only a bare-bones checkout process. That’s not going to win you any customers.

3. Make sure your mobile CTA doesn’t lead to a desktop experience:

There’s nothing quite as jarring as going from a mobile email one moment to fumbling around on a desktop landing page the next – pinching and zooming and poking helplessly at tiny links on a mobile device.

That’s just frustrating.

If you’re sending your customers to a page that’s not mobile optimized, your conversions are going to tank. No two ways about it.

nytimes_desktop_mobile_grovo Perfect.

4. Speed matters when it comes to mobile conversions:

Customers expect mobile to be fast, and when it’s not, they move on.

Wherever you decide to direct your customers after they click, it better load quickly. According to a report by Radware, the majority of mobile visitors will abandon a website after waiting just 3 seconds for it load (!).


5. Pay attention to your analytics

The best advice we could possibly give about writing and sending mobile email is to just look at your mobile analytics. Every audience is different, and none of these rules apply to every market.

Try A/B testing different calls-to-action and different link locations to find the best converting workflow. Mobile customers can be fickle, but if you’re aware of where, when, and on what device your audience is viewing your emails, then, you can work toward making mobile email work for you.


When you’re thinking about your company’s mobile emails, responsive is only the first step. Think about the workflow your reader will take after they click the CTA. Consider your customer’s next steps based on where they are, what they’re doing, and how they can respond to you.

PS – If you’re taking your first steps into mobile email – check out our free responsive email templates. We have email layouts for every occasion.