In the US, mobile digital-media usage is clearly on the rise and is now outpacing desktop usage 51 to 42 percent, respectively. What are consumers doing with mobile access? According to Litmus, they’re reading email. In fact, more than half of all emails viewed today are opened on mobile devices.

As a marketer, your mobile-marketing plan needs to be strong, and your mobile campaign should look very different from your desktop version. Need a refresher? Here are five simple — but highly effective — tips for designing mobile-friendly email-marketing campaigns.

Tip 1: Understand Your Audience — Analyze the Data
Before investing time, effort, and money into mobile-marketing design, it’s helpful to know where the majority of your subscribers are, what they are doing, and how they view your emails. How many of them are using mobile devices, and which devices are they using? We know from the most recent Litmus report that over 50 percent of email views are on mobile and many of them are multitasking.

Adobe Campaign’s second annual consumer email survey found that 69 percent of consumers check email while watching TV or a movie, 57 percent check it in bed, 79 percent sneak it in on vacation, and 3 percent even check it in the middle of the night.. Yet, each customer is different, and with many variables to design for, understanding which device, email app, and even activity people are engaged in can help you decide how sophisticated to make your mobile design.

Tip 2: Simplify Subscriber Experience — Design and Functionality
The driving force behind any great email-marketing campaign is subscriber experience. The first thing to think about with mobile marketing is the subject line. Keep it short, pithy, and compelling. Is the beginning part of the subject line persuasive enough? Can you read it — and more importantly — can you understand what it’s about without having to turn your phone sideways? Be sure to design in a single-column format. It’s much easier to scroll up and down through content without having to also scroll left or right. Simplify user experience through design and functionality, and mobile-marketing success will follow.

Tip 3: Use a Single, Clear Call to Action — Easy to Click
Promotional emails can be pretty lengthy. Yet, with mobile, the key to success is brevity. There’s no need to elaborate on mobile. In fact, a third of survey respondents said they prefer email that’s informal and short, with a full half of 25-34 year olds using emoji to express thoughts at work.

How do you get your message across quickly? A single, clear call to action. When a subscriber knows what he or she is expected to do, there’s a better chance they’ll do it. Too many links can be distracting. A primary call to action — with an easy to tap link (think button) — is all you need. It’s simple really. Design for the thumb — not the mouse, meaning avoid making images into links or using font that’s small or difficult to tap.

Tip 4: Utilize Whitespace — Give Content Some Room
Mobile content works best when it’s spaced appropriately. Remember, it’s tough to see everything on a phone, so be sure to allow for plenty of whitespace to give your text some breathing room. Again, the best email designed for mobile takes finger size into consideration. Whitespace around links is good — nothing frustrates more than an accidental click.

Tip 5: Consider Context – Capitalize On Mobility
Because people today are on the go, mobile presents a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on contextual email. If you know your audience is likely viewing your email while they are doing something else, it makes sense to design content that’s specific for that instance. The good news is, to be effective with mobile marketing, email doesn’t need to be long and drawn out but works best when it’s short and informative — think of contextual email as providing a service.

Almost half of consumers surveyed said they would rather receive a marketing message via email than by direct mail. If you know your customers are going to a ballgame or a concert, the right email can preview the event, share info about where to park, and even highlight where to get dinner before or after the show. Great contextual email designed for mobile can reach your customers in the moment with information they need — and that’s powerful.

Final Thoughts
Mobile email marketing isn’t complicated — you simply need the right strategies to do it well. By analyzing the data and understanding your audience, you can target subscribers with mobile design that makes sense for them — in the moment, with messaging that’s easy to understand and act on, and when they need it most.