I just bought an iPhone. Since everyone asks this, I’ll just tell you: yes I bought it after the price changed, and it’s a 4gig refurbished, so it’s probably the cheapest one you could probably get at $249.
The iPhone presents a unique challenge for email marketers. I have three accounts I check. Two on iPhone’s Mail, accessed via a POP account from Yahoo and another SMTP server. The third is Gmail Mobile. I access the Google Mobile site, and view messages on Safari. The iPhone mail interface is very slick, and renders very well, except for one or two little glitches. Gmail rendering, on Safari (the installed web server) is probably the tightest requirement set I’ve ever seen for HTML email rendering.
- Edge, the iPhone’s data service, loads at around 200kbps. That’s pretty slow, so heavy image emails don’t get read.
- Some HTML layouts do not allow the iPhone interface to “zoom in” to read the email, so your customers are probably not reading the email, as it appears as 6pt text on a tiny phone. I’ve noticed if there’s a right loading image, in a table, the zoom doesn’t work. I’m testing for other constraints- feel free to comment below if you know of them.
Gmail Mobile on Safari:
- If all of your offer is in an image, Google won’t display it.
- Legalese takes up a majority of most emails from corporations and high profile retailers.
- Google mobile strips out all RTF and text formatting and turns it to straight text, in their styles.
- Google mobile does not recognize alt-text.
iPhone and Gmail on iPhone is a very, very small percentage of your audience, you’re saying, so there’s no need to create a version just for them. But it is possible to alter an existing design to please all interfaces. I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid being caught with their pants down? I saw a former client’s email with absolutely no offer and only legalese, because they had put all of their offer in a single dominant image.
General Recommendations for Design
- Add captions to text, or just make sure your offer is in text somewhere in the email.
- As usual don’t rely on a single image to sell
- Be conscious of the email’s overall file size
- Limit the use of right side images and tables if you want descriptive text to be read (the zoom-in issue).
There doesn’t seem to be a lot on the iPhone now, probably because it’s hard to take a screen shot and describe what we’re seeing, and it’s so new.
Special Report: Email Marketing to BlackBerrys – Usage, Formatting & Rendering Tips When Blackberries were king, and according to this, a very large percentage of “decision makers” are reading your email on small mobile screens.
How can I make the most of my mobile email? Great tips on designing, and crafting, emails for a mobile audience.
iPhone Presents New Mobile Design Challenges A more indepth review of basic HTML and web design issues with the iPhone.