As one of the hottest smartphones on the market today, Apple’s iPhone is a device that needs to be taken into account when devising your mobile email strategy. While designing for this platform isn’t so much a big deal when formatting your marketing message in plaintext, it presents some rather unique challenges when HTML is involved. If you want to make sure your email looks good and performs well on an iPhone, there are specific steps you must take.

Keep It to the Left

Determining what is the best way to format email for mobile can be a tricky endeavor indeed. While there really is no right or wrong way to go about it, more email marketers are discovering that important content is best kept at the top-left when designing for iPhone users. This is a good idea for two reasons. First, it grabs the subscriber’s attention and lets them know your message is worth a closer look. Secondly, it entices those taking a glance at your message via the preview pane. Since the left side of your email is almost certain to be seen on an iPhone, catchy content can compel the subscriber to either scroll down and view more of the message or open it and read it in a full window.

Optimize Images Accordingly

One of the biggest challenges the iPhone presents to email marketers has to do with images. Of course the device is more than capable of displaying images, but you have to be very careful how you use them if you want them to display properly. Luckily, Apple has provided a convenient way to optimize images for older iPhones with standard resolution, as well as the new iPhone 4 with its retina display. Regardless of which version you are designing for, you can assure that your images always look crisp and crystal clear by creating your images at twice their original size and renaming the file.

For example, if you have an image file named “mylogo.jpeg” that is 200×100 pixels in size, you would want to change it to 400×200 and name it to something like “mylogo2.jpeg”. The iPhone has been fine tuned to automatically scale down images by 50% exactly, so as long as you make them twice the size, they should look the same way on a mobile email client as they would on a standard desktop version.

Only Include the Essentials

In order to keep your email short and sweet for the often scanning iPhone users, you should limit your message to only the essentials. So what can you afford to leave out? That all depends. Since the window you are targeting is substantially smaller, it may be wise to exclude your social sharing buttons, forward to a friend link or both. This could be a hard decision to make depending on the nature of your campaign, but it could also be necessary to enhance the readability of your message.

The iPhone accounts for a huge percentage of the smartphone population, and that factor alone means it could account for a significant portion of your audience. Research shows that more people are reading their email on mobile devices, so if you have not embraced this strategy yet, now is as good a time as any to plan your mobile email marketing.