5 Ways to Revive Your Email Creatives
Could your templates be dragging down your ROI? With an average human attention span of only eight seconds, the way that you are positioning your content makes a huge impact on your performance. Below are five things to consider when evaluating and optimizing your email creatives.
The ever rising bar
Subscriber and consumer expectations are constantly being influenced by the content that they’re exposed to. The design tactics, techniques, and technologies that are used across the industry establish an ever-shifting set of standards that marketers must accommodate or exceed in order to make the most of their email programs.
This isn’t a race where you’re running against your direct competition or one where you’re out for a personal best over last year. This is a race where you’re competing with every other brand in your subscriber’s inbox.
Two years ago, the brands that leveraged responsive design or mobile friendly templates were ahead of the industry curve. As more brands began investing in mobile optimization, customer expectations quickly evolved. At this stage in the game, if a brand’s creatives aren’t mobile optimized, they’re woefully behind. On that note, with the Gmail app finally supporting media queries, marketers can more consistently rely on responsive design to help elevate the experience across devices.
Beyond rendering, it’s important to consider other tactics that are becoming increasingly utilized in email marketing such as real-time content, personalized video, tactical GIFs, and kinetic functionality.
Your competition: everyone in the inbox
By gaining insight into your true competition and the general trends and tactics being used within your vertical, your brand can become better equipped to make effective changes to creative, content, and positioning. This can help ensure that that as the expectation bar is raised among your customers you’re one step ahead rather than struggling to keep up.
In working with clients, I’ve found that the subscriber overlap seen in our competitive intelligence tool, Inbox Insight, can be particularly eye opening. Often, brands have their own ideas about their competition and which brands they should be watching. Once we pull the data and dig into the brands that actually have a high overlap, the results are often unexpected yet seem to make sense in retrospect.
Wherever possible, we recommend using data to make determinations. If that’s not doable for now, be sure to consider your audience and the appeal that your brand has. What other brands have products, positioning, or styles that may appeal to that same set? Be sure to monitor brands that may not be in direct completion but may have a similar audience or appeal as these are the campaigns that may be lined up in your subscribers’ inboxes.
Fine tune inbox presence
We often think of the friendly from address and subject line as two distinct components of the inbox experience. With email clients such as Gmail, Outlook, and the IOS native mail app pulling in pre-header text, it’s important to expand how we define that content. These three elements should be evaluated as part of the inbox strategy.
When developing copy and creatives, consider how this information flows when positioned together. The friendly from address provides the brand familiarity and exposure. The subject line should grab attention and position the area of focus, while the preheader should further explore it or offer additional information. If there is repetition, misalignment, or a disjointed tone, rework the content.
Design for the brain, not the content
The perception of product value can be strongly swayed by packaging. The same is true for email design. The majority of email subscribers make quick value judgments as they skim the content of an email. Rather than moving elements around on a page, it’s important for email marketers and designers to consider how subscribers process that information. What catches the eye on the page? Where do the design elements direct focus? Are these the most important elements to prove value and prompt action? These are all questions we should ask as we refine our email design.
All too often, email design and content is oriented around the needs of the brand and the marketer rather than those of the end consumer. Sometimes we’re so focused on positioning the offer, the content, and the solution, we can neglect the fact that the way in which we do so can actually impede success. If your content isn’t easy to process and aspects of your design interfere with how your content lands, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
As you craft and review your content, be sure to evaluate the experience across devices and course correct if anything looks off. Whether you’re using tools like Inbox Preview or manually testing across email clients and devices, this is an important step. According to Adestra, “less than 20 percent of subscribers will read your messages if they don’t render correctly.”
Don’t forget about UX
Lastly, it’s essential that we consider our desired outcomes for each email as well as the user path as subscribers navigate through our content. If our goal is to encourage subscribers to shop content within the email then transition to the site to purchase, we need to design for this. On the other hand, if we anticipate a more pleasant, functional browsing or shopping experience on the website, our design elements and calls to action will likely look very different.
By coming to the table with clear intentions for our campaigns and a good understanding of the types of subscribers that will be interacting with those messages, we are in a far better position to create a streamlined user path that helps subscribers explore our content while helping us hit our numbers. The last thing we want is for our subscribers to get lost along the way.
About Casey Swanton
Casey has a healthy fixation with helping marketers realize the potential of their email programs by addressing human needs, building better relationships, and ultimately driving improved results for the business. Her nine years of experience and obsession with evolving the email space helped land her a spot on ExpertSender’s list of “25 Email Geeks to Help You Get Your Geek On.”