There’s always been debate over whether email marketing will lose its power and when this could happen. However, we’re here to tell you that it’s still a very important component of any digital marketing or lead generation strategy – and it will continue as such for the foreseeable future.

However, the focus is shifting away from desktop readership and towards mobile devices. If you want to succeed in email marketing today (and in the months to come), you need to focus on mobile-friendliness.

Email has long been a major part of marketing, and if marketers want to see the success continue, mobile optimized emails are a necessity. According to The Radicati Group, the number of email accounts in the world will surpass 4.3 billion by 2016, with 730 million of these being accessed through mobile devices.

This shift to mobile devices is actually a good thing for marketers. According to Venture Beat, with mobile devices making email so easy to access, promotional email open rates have now surged to 31 percent compared to 11 percent in previous years. That number is looking to surpass 50 percent in the near future.

This shows that the world of email marketing is quickly shifting towards more mobile-friendly content, and your business can definitely benefit from this change. In order to see increased success with your email marketing, however, you’ll need to take some steps to optimize your emails for small screens. Use these tips to get your mobile-friendly email marketing strategy started.

Focus on the Subject Line

One reason promotional emails have had higher open rates this past year is that email marketers are getting smarter about their subject lines. When a consumer sees an email in their inbox from an unknown address with a message that says “buy my product today,” most consumers will simply delete the message without even opening it.

But if a consumer sees a message from a real person or a brand that has a relevant topic in the subject line, they’re much more likely to give the message a chance.

Likewise, when it comes to optimizing your subject lines for mobile use, be wary of length. For mobile email, any subject more that 15 characters may not be entirely viewable, which can look spammy. Because you have very little space, you’ll need to put some thought into a message that can be delivered in just a few characters.

Think about Length

Make sure your email message is as clear as possible. Screen real estate is particular valuable on mobile devices because you only have so much of it. No subscriber wants to scroll through an endless message filled wall to wall with text. They’re likely to delete the email before they read the whole thing and refrain from opening future emails.

Also, consider the presentation of your content and forget what you learned in school about traditional paragraphs. Readers today prefer short, concise sentences or bullet points; make your content easy to read.

Be Aware of Imaging Rules

Images are an excellent way to enhance emails, but be cautious when using them for optimized mobile emails. IPhones are automatically programmed to display images in email, but Android and other smartphones may not have the computational imaging feature turned on by default. Many consumers don’t know that their phone is to blame when they can’t see the images in an email. They’ll assume that you’ve simply done a poor job of drafting a mobile-friendly email and write it off as junk.

To avoid this, use only small images that benefit your content. You could also program the message to use images for desktop email and smaller images for mobile email.

Also, be sure to test the email on a mobile device before mass marketing it to your consumers. Making sure it looks good, even without the images, will boost your email open rates for the future.

Simplify the Design

Images, graphics, and brightly colored content are excellent ways to improve your email if you integrate them correctly. This is more challenging when it comes to mobile optimization.

To begin with, consider the layout of your email on your desktop. Many marketers use columns to organize the content and make it easier to read. However, multiple columns don’t go over so well with mobile devices. A single column is best for easy readability and navigation on mobile devices.

If you choose to use images, place them near the top of your content rather than in the middle. When your users scroll through the email, an image in the middle of the text seems bulky and out of place.

Use colors wisely and don’t overwhelm the reader with bright flashing colors that fill the screen. Though these colors probably look great on a large screen, too many colors on a small mobile device will only confuse and over stimulate your reader, which is the last thing you want. Reserve bright colors for the things you really want to stand out.

Also, since mobile emails will be viewed on such a small screen, be sure to keep the pixels small, between 500 and 600 px wide. With such a small space, you’ll be able to simplify the design even more, since you won’t have room for anything fancy.

Use a Clear CTA

Finally, pay special attention to the most important part of your email: the call to action. Your call to action needs to be big, obvious, and stand out. This is the proper place to use those bright colors that draw attention. When your reader has finished an email, they should have no doubts about what to do next if they found the message relevant.

Furthermore, they should be able to easily access a mobile version of your site. If they go to your page, and it isn’t optimized for mobile use, they’re likely to become frustrated and leave your site, defeating the purpose of the email.

Mobile-friendly features are becoming more and more pervasive in the digital marketing world, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re smart, you’ll jump on the mobile bandwagon now and get ahead of your competitors.