Making your emails mobile-user-friendly – Vol 1

It is no secret that people are using mobile devices to read and respond to their emails. This is a trend that is here to stay. This means WE have to change the way we write emails knowing that it may be read and responded to in a mobile device. Here are some tips to make your email mobile-user-friendly.

1. Be concise

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter. So I wrote a long one instead.”

– Mark Twain

It’s hard to read a novel on a mobile device. Try to keep it concise so that you still get the their full attention. Otherwise, your email will be “read later”.

2. Work on your subject line

I see emails with subject lines that say something like “Hello” and “Hi” or “From <name>”. As you can see these are not compelling enough for a person to skip them over and get to the email that has a better subject line.

3. Be re-user-friendly

Remember that if your email needs to be forwarded, it’s hard to edit content on a mobile device. The best would be to make your email self-sufficient and actionable so all the recipient needs to do is to click and forward.

4. Don’t mix multiple messages in one

If you include multiple messages in one, it makes it difficult to be acted upon especially if the messages relate to different groups of people.

5. Include your contact numbers

Sometimes it may be easier for your recipient to call you back. If you include your contact numbers, calling you back is only a click away.

6. Copy someone only if it is REQUIRED

The last thing people want on their mobile device is noise. If you are email is not increasing their email signal-to-noise ratio, you are hurting them.

7. Highlight key items in your attachments in the body of the email

Sometimes you receive an email where the body says “You should really take a look at this..” and nothing else. You are supposed to open the attachments and interpret things.

The problem is not all mobile devices can handle attachments well. With the limitations in the form factor, it is hard to expect someone to see through the attachments (word, excel, pdf you name it) and interpret why it was important to see them.

8. Avoid mystery and drama in emails

You have seen those emails I am sure.

Any sort of mystery in emails is tough. Business and TV are different in the sense you don’t want drama at all in business and in TV all you want is drama. If your email is related to business, then avoiding drama at all costs will help.

9. Take care when sending calendar invites

Programs like Outlook will help you create a calendar invite. However those invites work well only with Outlook. So the information you want the recipient to see (time, date and location of meeting) may not be visible on the mobile device. The simple solution is to also include that information in the subject line and/or the body.

10. Reduce dependency on other systems

For example, don’t ask the person to check your latest notes about a customer in the CRM system. The recipient may not have access to the CRM system on the mobile device. Instead summarize the notes that you wrote in the CRM system on to the body of the email.

Have a great week ahead!