Did a Switch to a Responsive Email Design Increase Clicks By Over 200%?

posted this in
Content Marketing, HVAC
on June 12th, 2013

Mobile device usage is soaring and responsive web design is all the rage right now (for good reason.)

But an oft-ignored or overlooked part of how the web is changing to be more mobile-centric is email marketing. Which is strange, since checking email is one of the most common activities on a smartphone.

It was for this reason that we recently transitioned each of our email marketing clients to responsive designs. That is, the width of the email shrinks with the device width, so it looks good on smartphones as well as desktops and tablets.

And we’ve been blown away by the results.

The client with the largest email list more than doubled their average click-through rate.

The success wasn’t limited to just that client, either. Across the board, all of our client’s email click rates were above their list’s average and it wasn’t a one-time event. The numbers are still looking up a few months after the first send.

Responsive email example

An HVAC client’s email newsletter is shown before and after the conversion to a responsive email template. The new version (right) displays better on smartphones and mobile devices and has resulted in more clicks.

What really made the difference?

Although it’s impossible to be 100% certain that the change to responsive email designs directly caused the increased activity on client’s emails, it’s easy to see that it’s at least very plausible. Here’s why:

  • The old templates looked terrible on mobile devices. Most of the content was obscured, difficult to read or impossible to click on.
  • People skim email. If your customers can’t quickly read through your email (without pinching to zoom in and out) it can get deleted.
  • A large portion of the subscribers are mobile. The client who experienced the most lift reports over 48% of their opens as being on iPhones. While those numbers are notoriously inaccurate, it at least means there is a substantial number of iPhone users on the list.
  • Not much else changed. The exact content in the newsletter changes from month to month, but the layout and other links stay relatively the same. Also, all the previous months had almost identical click-through-rates.

Are your mobile readers interacting with your emails?

As stated earlier, checking email is one of the most common ways smartphone owners use their devices. Have you made sure your emails look good on mobile devices? If so, what kind of results have you seen? Send us a tweet and let us know.