Since its launch in 1999, Research in Motion\’s BlackBerry device has become the defacto option for busy professionals seeking a mobile email option. With a user base of just over 8 million subscribers, it\’s not exactly a mass medium but is a very desirable target audience for savvy email marketers. BlackBerry consumers include many high level executives and other important decision makers so this is definitely a group of people you want to make sure you hit.

However, there are some very important restrictions that have to be followed when trying to reach the BlackBerry audience. This is especially true if your email message was designed in HTML. Here are some important rules to follow:

\”¢ Keep it short and sweet. BlackBerry users don’t have a lot of time to read messages so get to the point quickly and succinctly.

\”¢ Make sure to limit the header to 50 pixels max high, 320 wide so you can put as much text on the opening of your page and grab the reader\’s attention.

\”¢ Place links and pictures at the end of the article so you don\’t distract your reader (blog style). You want the text to be front and center as that is what they will be able to read first.

\”¢ Thumbnails will be rendered proportionally smaller so don\’t worry about resizing.

\Ӣ Use H1 and H2 tags on your mobile email version. The headline will stand out (see example below). Make the body text a small but viewable size.


\Ӣ Make sure your subject line is compelling and more importantly, connotes exactly what the message is regarding. Otherwise, you run the risk of not having people understand the content of the message due to the HTML restrictions noted previously.

\Ӣ Do not use any sort of scripts within the HTML page. BlackBerry devices have minimal JavaScript capabilities.

\Ӣ Limit the size of your HTML page to 200K or under. Blackberry devices have tight restrictions in terms of the cache and your message might not get completely displayed.

Following these simple steps will ensure that you are not only reaching this coveted audience but also increase your chances of these subscribers actually reading and responding to your campaign. These rules also should be applied across all of your campaigns in general to increase their overall effectiveness.

With spam filters and email clients that turn off images as a default, things are starting to hark back to a simpler era, before Flash and other media heavy options bogged down mail servers. I think you\’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more receptive your subscribers will be to messages that are simple and get right to the point without a lot of superfluous items.

What\’s your preferred email device and how do you want to receive mobile emails? Is it a good idea to keep it simple stupid or do you still want the bells and whistles even when going mobile? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.

Steve Chipman