All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Monday, February 11, 2008

Too many links spoil the broth

I am currently challenging conventional wisdom in email. This week, my subject is links. Most people agree that a high degree of consistency between web design and email design is important. One area where that often carries through is in site navigation – boxes of links to part of a website appear in the email template.

3 years ago we conducted a survey on user behaviour. One of the most interesting results was that the more links that existed in an email, the more people clicked them. The novelty of receiving email newsletters, and following their links was still high. This trend has now reversed. The best results, in terms of click-throughs, come from fewer links.

In fact, I would suggest that if the purpose of your email is to get recipients to click through a particular link, then you would be best served by having only that link, and by focussing the direction of both layout and content towards it. Anything else is a red herring.

So when designing an email template, think about links. Yes, have one through to your home page, but do not replicate the navigation menu of your site, as you may lose people who might otherwise have clicked through your key message link.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Don't let branding hide your key impact message

Just as all websites began life with headline banners that covered the width of the site to brand and identify the site, so most Html newsletters did the same.

Again, as with last week’s post, this is valuable real estate, and if you are communicating with an audience who are not brand new, is it the best use of that space?

What is your key intent in the email – is it reinforcing your branding, or perhaps the delivery of a message which hopes to stimulate action and response?

If it is the latter, then you should consider split headlining – reduce your branding to 30% of the headline banner, and replace it with rich text – headline news, calls to action which work in conjunction with your subject line and new top text headline (see last week’s post).

This is unlikely to diminish your brand or identity impact – remember that is already enforced through your sender ID.

It may not look quite as slick initially, but it will improve impact – especially in the preview pane.