As more and more people use their phones to check both work and personal email, having responsive emails is becoming just as important as having a responsive website. If you’ve landed on this post you’re probably already aware of this, but you might need some more assurance before dishing out on a slew of responsive emails. And we don’t blame you. This isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly or without any insight to back it up.

Before choosing to go responsive, we suggest you take the time to analyze your communications and consider the potential pros and cons of going through with a redesign. Especially in the finance world where some companies’ email clients don’t support flashy HTML, responsive design isn’t always a sensible choice. By looking at your audience and your emails, you’ll get a clear picture of whether making your communications responsive is an investment that will improve your traffic, or if it’s something your audience isn’t ready for yet.

Your audience

Your audience will be the biggest clue on whether you need responsive emails. Find out what devices your contacts are using to open and view emails. Most email providers can give you this info or you could use a landing page along with a free analytics tool such as Google Analytics. Fund providers sometimes send emails to a single firm or market research sent from one firm to another. If the recipients all use an ancient version of Lotus Notes there’s little point in creating a beautiful responsive version that won’t render correctly. But if a large percentage of your audience reads their email on their iPhones, then you should be offering a good user experience on this device.

Your emails

The next step is to look closely at your emails. How much of a design compromise is needed to make the email responsive? How does that affect your brand guidelines? Also consider rationalising the number of separate templates you have so the design and coding task is simpler.

Create a bullet list of the design changes needed. Better still, take a screenshot of your email and tally the elements that will need changing. This will help address brand issues and give you a to-do list for the design stage.

The production process

Now it’s time to look at how you create your emails if you were to move forward with the responsive redesign. This stage will help you map out your resources: How many people are involved in the process? Which tools would you use? If you build your emails in Dreamweaver or FrontPage you’ll need to be clued up on CSS3. Online HTML editors are easier to use but may not support responsive email code due to coding hacks. Do your homework now so you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Engagement rates

Always baseline your current open and click rates so you’ll have a “before” picture of your traffic. Then you’ll be able to successfully measure the impact of making your emails responsive. Open rates shouldn’t change, but you should see an increase in click rates. If you’re still on the fence about moving toward responsive emails, we recommend redesigning one communication to measure its performance and make a decision from there.

And that’s the analysis stage completed. By the end, you should have a clear picture of whether responsive design is right for you. If you decide to move forward, we’ve broken up the production process into three more stages, which you can read about here.

If you’d like to learn more about our analysis stage, or any of the other stages we use while redesigning emails for clients, contact us at