The 13 golden rules of creating winning content for mobile emailers

Creating winning content for emailers /emails on mobiles is not just about crafting exceptional content fit for your specific reader but about ensuring that the content is customized for the shrinking screens of the 4.7 inch handhelds and not the 9 inch laptops or even larger desktops. Not to mention creating something good for the shrinking attention spans.

Most people today check their mails on their handhelds anywhere, anytime; right in their beds, their loos or cars. They check, glance over content and probably reserve it for later; in which case, they forget the ‘later’ part given the tight schedules they have. The click-through rates have shown a decrease and this is the main problem that a promotional emailer needs to address.

The solution is not a single line solution but 13 golden rules that I have crafted, to help you create winning content for emailers/email on mobile.

Golden Rule # 1: Write a subject line. A good one.
effective subject line
Compelling subject lines are specific to the reader, to the subject of the emailer and to the response expected at time. You need to think, “Which are those words that will seduce my reader into reading my emailer.” Eg: Instead of saying ‘Summer Packages for Switzerland’, it is better to say ‘Travel to the Alps this summer’. For Indians, visions of the soothing coolness of the Alps in the scorching Indian heat can be tempting.
Subject lines to avoid are ‘Free’, “Opportunity”, “50% Off”, “Click here”, etc. These are sure to get your emailer into the spam folder.

Golden Rule # 2: KISS R – Keep it simple, short and relevant.
This is as self explanatory as it can be. An emailer has to be written with a specific response from the reader you expect, in your mind. Don’t write stories or go around in circles. Come straight to the point in the opening paragraph or a line.

Golden Rule # 3: Use a salutation. Always.
An email without a salutation or emailers without them, are a no-no. As a receiver of your emailer, if you can make him or her, feel special, by using her/his name with a salutation, nothing like it. Emailers without them are rude. Please use salutations that befit your relationship with the receiver. Even for mass mailers should ensure you at least begin with ‘Dear Sir/Ma’am’. If you can make these mass mailers personalized (there’s a software to get that done), it adds to the value of your emailer and the better the chance of the reader opening it. Do not use exclamations in your salutation. Eg: Avoid saying Hi!!!

Golden Rule # 4: Think from the readers’ point of view.
By writing an email/emailer, we are trying to get the reader to do a specific action; like clicking on a link, giving a missed call, or sending an sms, or something else. The whole idea of writing that emailer is to get that response you have in mind from your reader. So, when you craft an emailer, think from the reader’s point of view and write; don’t write from your point of view and write; else all you might achieve is getting the reader to send your emailer into the trash bin on his handheld.

Golden Rule # 5: Avoid salesy content.
Make it conversational. Persuasive. Smooth. Not promotional. The moment you start thinking sales and start promoting your product aggressively on the emailer, be sure you have lost your reader there and then.

Golden Rule # 6: Use blocks, headers and colors.
Good, pleasant emailers are about using colors, visuals and images and laying out the content in an eye-pleasing manner. Minimalistic design but delightful UI helps the reader to read, register and take action.

Golden Rule # 7: Know what to show and what to hide in a mobile emailer
The size of the handhelds being small, the emailers crafted for a mobile phone are different. Only the top priority content is displayed. It is important to ‘Think Mobile’ when crafting content in such emailers. Know what to show and what to hide.

Golden Rule # 8: Well begun and well ended is fully won.
The first impression of an emailer is the subject line. The next is the opening. The opening statement or paragraph should be in conjunction with the subject line, else the reader feels deceived. The middle has to be the main subject and the ending should be a clear indication to the response you seek from the reader.

Golden Rule # 9: Avoid SMS language on mobile emails. Emails are formal.
This is again a part of the pitfalls of typing emails on handhelds. Just as we type messages on our handhelds in SMS, we tend to type emails in SMS as well. Emails of any kind are of the more formal family than messages. We must take utmost care therefore, not to use SMS for emails on mobiles. The reader is immediately put off.

Golden Rule # 10: Avoid typos.
To err is human, but we must try and reduce the errors. In our rush, we tend to ignore proof reading our emailers and end up creating a mess called ‘typos’. ‘Typos’ are unintentional typing errors that get created in the act of typing, unknowingly. A typical error is typing ‘form’ in place of ‘from’. Please do a thorough manual proof check besides the default spell check that your mobile offers. Also make sure that your mobile Auto Correction command is off, as this is known to create gross errors. There was an incident where a man was typing an email to a woman customer, he wanted to type ‘Nashik’ (a city in Maharashtra, India) but the mobile Auto correct function suggested ‘naked’. In the nick of time, the man noticed this and corrected it. After that he disabled the Auto Correct forever. Typos can break a professional relationship in this way.

Golden Rule # 11: No capitals in emails please.
The use of capitals is taken as rude. The reader sees capitals as if you are shouting, and immediately logs out of your emailer, with a residual negative impression in his mind about you. Check your Caps Lock at all times.

Golden Rule # 12: Read 5 times before you hit SEND.
Once an email has gone out, you cannot call it back. It is gone, to create goodwill or damage. So read your email/emailer 5 times, before you hit SEND.

Golden Rule # 13: The main purpose of your email/emailer, what is it?
Emailers and emails need to be well thought out. First decide:
1) What do you want the reader to do after he reads your emailer?
2) Accordingly, plan the subject line
3) And thus craft the content and work on the design.

These 13 golden rules can help you craft winning content for emailers on mobile, so there are more mobile opens and better click through rates as well. Give it a shot. All the best!


About the Author:
Sonali Karande Brahma is a Brand and Digital Strategist in the business of Branding and Communication for 20 years. She is currently Head-Digital at Seagull Advertising. She has worked for B2B names like Thermax, Mahindra, Atlas Copco, Sandvik Asia, Tata Technologies, Harbinger Group, Mobisoft Infotech, to name a few, as well as B2C brands like Nirlep, Mother’s Recipe, Amanora Park Town, Ranka Jewellers, Gifting Nest, etc. Sonali is part of the core IT cell of the BJP in Pune. You can read about her on and reach her on


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