Does your email design and navigation make it easy for subscribers to do not only what you want them to do, but also the actions they want?
If not, your email becomes less valuable and easier to ignore or unsubscribe from. All the time and money you spend on creative, segmentation and improving deliverability will be wasted.
Why Email is DifferentThe objective of most, though certainly not all, email marketing messages is to drive recipients to your Web site where they will take an action or read content and ads. So your email's design and navigation should not be completely inconsistent with your site. However, email has many design and inbox challenges that Web designers don't face.
Instead of duplicating your Web design or navigation, your emails should incorporate major elements of it but also use navigation that reflects both what you want readers to do and what your email users want to do with the email.
Review your template or recent messages. How easily can a subscriber or customer find administrative content or links other than your core message? Does your home page link or contact information stand out? If someone wanted to change her preferences or unsubscribe, is the link obvious?
Then, look at your most recent email metrics reports to see which links readers click the most. What you think of as throw-away information (like links to your site's home page or specific shopping channel) could be among your most popular links.
Three Action Categories to IncludeUsability incorporates both functions and design. These three categories cover the actions your subscribers likely want to take with your email as well as the actions you want them to take.
Many span more than one category and can appear in more than location in the email. Testing will show you where readers are most likely to use those elements.
1. The Email ExperienceThese elements help your reader make the email work better: to have it render correctly, be sure it lands in the inbox rather than the junk folder, and share it:
2. Core Message ElementsThese make it as easy as possible for your reader to take the actions you want:
3. The Administration CenterHere you package together information that appears in every message, plus some functional elements listed in the other two categories:
Incorporating Usability into Email DesignEmail design covers three parts: the preview pane, the main content or body, and the administration center:
In spite of poor practice by many companies, email still has value for both sender and receiver. Just obey some basic rules and you’ll do well:
Often, when faced with these extra steps the easiest thing for a subscriber to do is simply mark your message as spam. So that’s what they do, even if they know they opted in and the message is technically not an unsolicited message. Spam complaints are the most heavily weighted factor on deliverability. Making it easy for a subscriber to leave will help you reach more of those who want to stay.
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