Introduced almost 30 years ago, digital marketing has evolved dramatically and enriched its arsenal with many efficient tools. Alongside SMS campaigns and web push automation, email marketing automation is one of such tools designed to build a strong relationship between the brand and its customers. Like any other sales channel, email is a highly competitive arena, where the content strategy plays the first fiddle. However, usability carries as much significance as it directly influences your overall email marketing efforts.
What is Usability, and Its Main Components
Supported by automation marketing software, email usability is what helps readers squeeze the most of an email campaign. Today, people are overloaded with digital information, and such info abundance resulted in the so-called attention gap. Customers no longer want to spend time reviewing big volumes of information. If your email is too long or inconsistent, has a poor design, or provides confusing information, chances are good the customers will not want to even open your campaign again.
The email with good usability incorporates the following features:
- appealing sender name;
- relevant subject line;
- brief preview text;
- clear design;
- consistent body structure;
- well designed email signature.
Now let’s have a look at how you may improve each of these elements.
1. Sender Name
Do not underestimate the importance and influence of the sender name. A mere look at it can make the recipient open it or mark it as spam. Well-recognizable and easy to recall names are more likely to engage with people. An email sent by a person rather than a company has more chances to be read, so consider putting a name of your sales manager into your next ecommerce campaigns. In emails sent on behalf of the company, words ‘team’ or ‘family’ added into the ‘from’ name make the email look more friendly. Brands that send different types of emails can come up with a unique sender name to each of them. The ‘from’ name can also indicate the frequency or time when you send your campaigns. The words ‘daily,’ ‘morning,’ ‘weekly’ incorporated in the sender name of the regularly sent triggered emails show recipients what content to expect in the copy.
2. Subject Line
The top of your campaign is the first thing to grab people’s attention. The topic suggested in the subject line should be covered in the email, otherwise people will not want to respond to the offer. For example, the subject line “Tonight only: a sauna fan’s must have” topping the email about the advice on how to take sauna correctly will be considered as misleading. People who have clicked on this email expected to hear about sales, or find a first order coupon inside rather than read about sauna procedures.
To not bruise your clients’ trust, make sure your subject line does reflect what people will find in the email. Also make sure to keep the subject line between 40-50 characters to make the email easy to consume by email clients and mobile devices.
In a consistent email, the preview text should work together with a subject line, providing readers with additional details and proving one more time your campaign is worth opening. For example, the subject line “Life is better in the woods” teamed up with the brief preview “Equipment and advice for safe family camping” both extends the idea of the message and forecasts what to expect in the campaign. Most email clients will cut the preview text overcoming 90 characters, so try not to go over this figure. Your preview text should look good on mobile devices as well.
A well-thought design enables users to easily reach every section of the email and elicit the necessary information in the most convenient way. It should focus people’s attention and be visually appealing. Many users prefer emails framed with a borderline or emphasized by a background color, as they add the structure a better overview. Other things able to drive the attention towards the content include:
- big and clearly visible words and logos;
- supporting images;
- complementary brand colors;
- emojis and symbols;
- animated GIFs or video;
- responsive framework;
- web fonts.
You do not necessarily have to include all the above into your email campaign. Test what suits your audience the most and stick to the technique that brings more opens and clicks. You can also use ready-to-go email templates that already contain all necessary elements.
5. Body Structure
Your email effectiveness stems from how consistently you have managed to organize the information. A well-structured email body should be split into several brief paragraphs not overloaded with hundreds of words. A brief friendly hello, purpose of the email, consistent concept introduction and several essential details are enough for one message.
When explaining why your offer is worth the attention, focus not only on the features of your offer but also on the benefits it brings.
Let’s imagine you are a shoe company sending an ecommerce email to promote new summer sandals. Apart from technical characteristics, such as material, size and color, you need to state why these particular shoes will save the summer. Office-friendly, easy-packable, slip-resistant, adjustable – these words would push the customer to click on the CTA button rather than simply leather, black, size 10.
What is more, companies willing to be ahead of the game may consider applying a newly introduced AMP technology that lets customers easily pick the size, model and color patterns straight in the email. They can also add the necessary item to the cart without clicking on the links or downloading separate pages, which will definitely make the shopping experience with your company more easy and convenient.
6. Email Signature
An email signature that goes in the footer of your campaign should be the embodiment of the whole message – clear, concise and informative. Do not overload it with text – your name, position, website address, and main social media profiles are more than enough. To give your signature a personalized touch, add to it a personal photo or an image that represents the values of your brand.
The above tips are not the holy grail of email building, but they help get started. Next time you craft an email, use these practices and you will most likely see that your campaigns will get response and feedback.