How Great UX Can Help Your Email Marketing

Aren’t UX and Email Marketing quite different from each other? How does one affect the other? Let’s begin with the fundamentals…

UX (short for User Experience) has gained a lot of traction over the last few years thanks to the emergence of Web 2.0. We see web designers now touting labels like User Interaction Designers or simply as UX Designers, dedicated blogs (like this one!) on usability and design, brands that are scrambling to keep up with the race to be more user friendly than their competition and so on.

The good news is, the customer wins as a result of this UX obsession. The not-so-good news is that most people confuse UX with UI and spend all their time redesigning buttons and moving around navigation bars on their websites.

In strictly web terms, User Experience includes

  • Brand elements like logos, taglines, colors and trademarked characters used consistently across a brand’s website
  • Website Speed
  • Design and layout – aesthetics
  • Ease of navigation
  • Ease of use
  • Findability of products and services
  • Quality and variety of products and services
  • Quality and consistency of customer communication through:
    • Customer Service
    • Social Media
    • Email Marketing
    • Blogs

If customer communication is a part of UX, how can we afford to ignore email marketing – one of the most commonly used forms of customer communication and the marketing tool that gives one of the highest returns on investment.

Email Marketing 101

Before we jump to draw co-relations between good UX and email marketing conversions, let’s take exactly 2 minutes to summarize the 10 key ingredients of a good email that result in great conversions:

  1. Short, relevant and personalized subject lines
  2. Catchy header that conveys the main message in one glance
  3. Concise, yet interesting copy – use bullet points to make reading easier, sprinkle (real) statistics to be convincing
  4. Single, loud and clear Call to Action – no multiple messages in one email.
  5. Don’t overuse images. But a single, relevant stunning image can speak tons more than your copy can.v
  6. Don’t forget Alt tags on your images, many email providers block images from emails by default.
  7. For the same reason mentioned above, avoid image buttons for your CTA, use text links instead.
  8. Avoid or underplay navigation bars inside the email to maintain focus on your CTA
  9. Mobile optimized
  10. Social media sharing

The UX – Email Conversion Co-relation

So now we know that email is an integral part of a customer’s user experience and we also know what it takes to convert users via email marketing. Let’s put UX and email marketing together and see how you can improve your UX to enable higher email conversions.

1. Similar Look And Feel

Let the look and feel of your emails match the look and feel of your website, physical store and other brand elements.

2. Use Logos and Site Properties to Identify Easier

Let the customer recognize your emails easily. A customer who receives an email from a brand is typically someone who has transacted with / interacted with the brand on some other platform (website, physical store, mobile app etc.). There already exists a level of trust and recognition on the user’s end. Leverage this recognition by using your logo, site colors and other web and offline design properties in your email to build trust.

3. Capture Emails IDs Wherever Possible

As I mentioned earlier in this article, email marketing has one of the highest ROIs among all marketing tools. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers $67 or revenue for every $1.7 spent.

Leverage this by capturing user email IDs at every possible step across your UX – on the site, via social media, through your customer care, at the cash register in your stores and so on.

4. Optimized email landing pages = higher conversions

A great email is only as good as the landing page to which it leads the customer on your website. Don’t waste your email marketing efforts by leading customers to your home page or a generic landing page.

To convert better from emails, create landing pages that are highly relevant and match the email communication, in content and style. But make sure you’re not repetitive and give more information than available in the email

  • Apply the blink test to your landing page – 3 to 5 seconds to understand what the page is about
  • Clear headline, short
  • Clear CTA
  • No site nav, pop up ads, surveys
  • Social media plug-ins
  • Pre-fill field on landing page based on email info

5. Optimize for Mobile

In the year 2014, I don’t really need to make a case for mobile optimization anymore. According to a ComScore study, 4 out of 5 mobile users in the United States use their mobile devices to shop. So it figures that you need to optimize your email marketing for mobile too, ASAP.

  • No drop downs, lesser navigation
  • Offer HTML as well as plain text versions of your email
  • Subject Line < 60 characters
  • Fonts: 13-14 pixels, headlines – 22 pixels, click space – 44 x 44 pixels
  • Mobile optimized landing pages – use HTML5 or CSS instead of flash
  • Message Length – Maximum 320 pixels for Android, iPhones resize your content automatically

Over to You

The area of user experience research and design is vast and endlessly fascinating. These are but my takes on the subject. Do you have more ideas on how to improve conversions via email using good UX? Don’t hold back. Share them in the comments section below!

(Lead image source: Loving Earth)

  • Yael Navina

    Don’t forget “View in browser” link, try to create more personal (not formal) texts, use split testing, write catchy preheaders.

  • Steve Muccini

    Having worked with numerous companies on their mobile strategy, it is safe to say that even in 2014, what seems obvious to the well informed is certainly not commonly understood when it comes to good multi-screen design. We’ve tested sites using Mobilizer to see how the responsive design looks on multiple screens. One client didn’t believe their mobile presence was so bad until he pulled out his iPhone to check. It really was that bad.

  • WebSEOlogy

    Personalized signature with a bio picture helps click-through, as well. People feel more connected, I believe, when they see a face behind the email.