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legal newsletter on a phone

That Legal Newsletter You’re Sending Is Being Read On A Phone

If you are sending newsletters to your contacts’ inboxes, chances are you are reaching their mobile device. The upswing in smartphone usage (over 53% of U.S. cellular users have smartphones now) has resulted in an explosion of mobile users relying on their mobile devices to access their email.

Our clients who use email newsletters for delivering legal information and maintaining their reputation and client relationships are adjusting their digital communications to fit the new behavior. Statistics say 43% of email is now opened on a mobile device. A June 2012 study from Prosper Mobile Insights showed that 51.1% of US smartphone or tablet owners viewed email only on these devices (emphasis added). Meaning, at a minimum, one quarter of your audience (especially the younger, more affluent ones) will never see your newsletter in a conventional desktop inbox.

Does it matter if your newsletter isn’t optimized for the mobile user? Yes, it’s crucial. An unattractive email newsletter is a dead email newsletter. Seventy percent (70%) of recipients delete emails that don’t render well on their mobile device immediately. Look at these figures from the Blue Hornet research study.

Figures on email use from Bule Hornet


That same study cites 75.4% of recipients reporting that receiving an email that looks bad reflects poorly on their perception of the brand. So, if you want to retain your readers and ensure that what you deliver to their inbox is doing your firm some good, your message MUST look good on a mobile device.

How do you make sure that your emails look great? Elaine Noble, our long-time collaborator and designer, provided some tips on ensuring that your message reaches your target audience no matter how they choose to read your newsletter.

  1. Ask the reader. Make sure your email provider or designer is familiar with and employing “media queries,” a piece of code on the email message that asks the receiver the type of device in use and then responds by changing the way the email is presented. It can take your email from a fixed width for desktop computers to a simple “100% width” setting for mobile devices and at the same time, increase the font size, change how the menu appears, even change how the page flows when you scroll down.
  2. Go bigger. It may seem counter intuitive to make things larger for an email that’s going to be read on a smaller device, but if you are including a link for a call to action, such as an RSVP for an event, make the button/link large enough that they don’t have to pinch/zoom just to be able to select it. Big buttons are not only more visible on a mobile screen, they’re also easier to interact with. Consider using 17-22 point size fonts so that it will be easy for people to read your email on a smartphone.
  3. Tweak the layout. You don’t have to stick to one column for mobile devices. In fact, two column layouts sometimes work better, since the mobile device will display each column separately, not adjacent to one another. This is occasionally a problem for email clients like Gmail.
  4. Curate your content. Provide a way for mobile devices to see your message if it is not displayed correctly in the email client by including a link. Sometimes this feature is provided by the email provider you use to send your newsletter or alert, but make sure that the link leads to your own website. This way, each newsletter builds new content for your own blog, as we described in a previous post.

Are you sending email newsletters that help or hurt your firm’s marketing? Have any tips we left out? Comments welcome!