If you have been following the Email Marketing Series, we’ve always started with the steps of email marketing. Conversion is the point once a user has clicked through to the next step, which is bought. For the action of “clicked and bought” the success metric comes down to what action you want people to take, as a conversion doesn’t have to be a sale – it can be a video watch, a share, or download of an infographic or a case study etc. Remember, you must consider what your objective is and what your conversion actually looks like in context.
One of key principles in ensuring your email marketing converts, is looking at your mobile- first design approach. Marketers are seeing more than half of all email marketing experiences opening email on a mobile first compared to a desktop or a tablet, and tablet usage is down dramatically year on year.
Let’s look at some design layouts, call to actions and also some landing pages.
A big difference that you will notice between a mobile version and a desktop version in design is within the layout. A mobile version works as a single-column layout whereas the desktop version tends to work in a four-column layout. What you have to consider in your responsive email design is how they look on different devices and making sure that throughout the design process, you’re actually testing them on a mobile-first device. A good way to do that is to send yourself a test and open it on your phone and see exactly what happens.
The highest conversion you’ll achieve is going to come from a good customer experience and that means that mobile phones are imperative.
Ultimate with design layout, you want a layout that helps people navigate through your content – what that means is the way the eye is moving across the email design.
In this example, some of the key parts that work really well now in this design from South by Southwest is color blocking. Firstly, you’ve got blocks of content, so the eyes are naturally drawn in an inverted triangle, indicating that the reader is starting at the word “interactive” in the headline and following this right down to “register now”. It’s using the Oculus Rift goggles on top followed by film and music with different color blocks. The sections for ‘film’ is blue, ‘music’ is green, ‘interactive’ is orange and the call to action buttons are yellow, so this is a really nice execution of color blocking design. It also breaks up your content, using a title, a subheading, a graphic, and a call to action. We expect a user to click on any part of the blocked area of the email and it’ll take them directly to what they’re looking for.
Inverted Pyramid Design
The inverted pyramid design gives the visual cues for the eye to follow the ‘bouncing ball’ and take a reader directly to what you want them to do.
In this example on the left hand side from Adobe, it’s the call to action button “Check it out.” The example on the right-hand side, a different product altogether, is using color blocking but in a different style the earlier example. Even with the colour blocking example, the inverted pyramid style continues to draw the eye in a downward direction.
Images, Graphics & Colour
When it comes to your graphics and your colours in design, PLEASE consider the photography or the imagery you’re using. This is one of the biggest areas we get let down in as a marketing agency. Clients send us photography and imagery that is poor quality. There’s only so much we can do with a bad photograph – it is what it is.
Investing in your asset library is crucial to bring your marketing communications to life.
You can see in the images below such vivid, beautiful, clean crystal photography that is also emotive, and across very different categories as well.
You’ve got Coachella on the left, and you’ve got whale and dolphin conservation on the right. Color blocking and brand personality is really evident in these examples.
In the flume example, you’ll see lots of sentences that don’t start with a capital letter, and that’s the brand tone of voice in play. When you look on the right hand side with the whale and dolphin conservation, it’s quite different in terms of the formality of language. The call to action buttonS, for both of them, they are very purposeful. Flume says, “download now” – a direct action; whereas in the conservation example, “I wish to end whaling” is very emotive and purposeful. The words that you select for your call to action buttons can make a big difference. If that pink button for whaling said, “learn more”, you may not be as enthused to click through and take the next action that they want you to take, which is going to be a donation or sign of a petition. Keep that in mind when you’re testing that you’re testing the color of buttons and you’re also testing words on those buttons; making sure that you have a hypothesis about what you’re testing.
If we want readers to READ our emails, we have to make them easy to do so – and there are a few different designs you can consider to achieve this.
This example from Internal Dampener is utilising a block approach, starting with a hero video. Following this is product updates that are broken up into individual categories for purchase. Call to action buttons vary by section and are brightly coloured with consistency for action.
In the QRIB example, you can see the breakup of content is slightly different. Whilst still using the block approach, and leading with a hero image, now we have images with short content text beside it, as opposed to underneath it. The buttons may not be coloured, but they are directional. Button language is not just ‘click and read more’, it’s far more specific – it’s see the case study, watch the video, shop the product, pre-order, read more.
Think about your customer, what you want them to do and how to make it easy for them to do that. Readers are naturally drawn to sections that are structured for easy reading.
Call to Action (CTA) Buttons
Oh so many options!
These examples are so different and the variations are truly endless.
We’ve got a hero image at the top of both of these emails, we’ve got a call to action button that are both green, yet slightly different with rounded edges vs one with squared edges. The CTA language is specific for QuickBooks (left hand side), as the reader knows they’re going straight to a subscribe page or a pricing page. On the right hand side, CTAs “see your recommendations” and “find your favourite collection” are exploratory words, where you can expect qualifying information to move a user through the purchase journey.
On top of this, the imagery with ReelGood is very much around the personalised user and the content is called dynamic content.
The QuickBooks example is the cleanest in communicating what it wants a reader to do. It’s distractionless. There’s not a lot you can do. You can watch tutorials and chat with the team, but they’re really ‘greyed out’ and they’re definitely not big green buttons that draw your attention.
For something different, I’m comparing bridal diamonds with marketing professionals content.
De Beers is using evergreen content, where the style of brides, rings and engagement rings doesn’t really change. Their CTA of calling to discover your bridal style is playing on curiosity of the reader and the styles can be different cuts, clarities and colours of diamonds.
By contrast, the marketing example is playing on FOMO whilst establishing their position as an authority. It makes a marketing professional question their integrity and ask “Am I one of those experts?” The statistic statement of “Downloaded by 123,000 smart marketers like you” indicates that if I am as smart as I think I am, that I should know this content, and if I don’t get on board with this, there’s 123,000 other people that have and I might be missing out on something. These are all proof points: raise curiosity, align the reader with ‘YES statements’ (it makes the reader agree with your statement, creating desire) with your product and make the CTA an action they want to take.
Countdowns create FOMO and exclusivity. Great for time sensitive actions such as webinar registrations, or exclusive VIP access or first-to-know information.
Great language choices right here on the right.
“Ready to check out the blog.”
“Yes, take me there.”
“Would you like to get original link building tips and links straight to your inbox?”
They are all YES statements.
And who doesn’t want to be awesome? Completely on brand, full of personality and action-oriented language.
The landing page is one of the most important aspects of your conversion with email marketing.
Once someone takes a click from your email marketing, you are sending them to a destination, and that’s the landing page.
This graphic identifies all of the different elements of a landing page:
- headlines that matter
- the bullet points that matter
- the form with colour directional arrows
- the reinforcement statement
- content blocks
- image and text alignment
If a user arrives at a landing page and can’t find a direct correlation to what they just clicked from, you’ve got less than three seconds to keep them on your site. Check out landing page tests you can run to help improve your conversions.
This graphic is easy to follow. Start by following the coloured circles: 1a, a headline that matches what was clicked, 2a is the hero shot, photo or video, the same image that you used in the email should also be used on that landing page for direct recognition by your audience etc.
I hope you’ve found this blog full of useful tips to improve your email marketing conversion. If you’re ready to start from the top with the Email Marketing Series, check out the earlier sessions to help you on your way:
Series 1: First Impressions With Subject Lines
Series 2: Designing Emails That Convert
Series 3: Finding Your Content Niche