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The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing UX

2022 April 9 06:00 GMT-06:00

Email marketing UX (user experience) isn’t talked about nearly as often as reaching a particular target audience. However, thinking about how different features impact your followers can improve conversion rates and help you gain an edge over the competition.

No one wants to waste time and effort creating emails that don’t resonate. Email marketing UX looks at the promotional tool through the eyes of the user and helps ensure you get an excellent return on investment (ROI).

email marketing UI UX happiness

What Is Email Marketing UX?

Email marketing is getting the word out about your brand or products via your email list. It might be in the form of a newsletter with articles or short messages and offers. UX simply looks at ways to improve the email experience for the subscriber.

A recent Pew Research Center poll indicates around 31% of Americans feel they are "almost constantly" online. The number represents a 21% increase from a 2015 survey on the same topic. What does that mean for your email marketing efforts?

People see many more online marketing campaigns than at any time in the past. They may just skim over yours if you don’t give them a reason to engage. Even small changes can make a huge difference in how successful your email campaigns are. Here are some key things you can do to improve email marketing UX for your brand.

1. Simplify Your Message

Users should understand your point without having to look up terms or think too hard about it. Check your emails for industry terms that might not be clear to the user. If someone has never been involved in your industry, will they understand the main points?

You can run your text through Hemmingway or another online editor to see what reading level it falls under. The program marks any difficult words so you can choose something else. Ask people who don’t work in your industry to offer feedback on how understandable your text is.

2. Consider Mobility Impairments

A percentage of your users will have mobility impairments. Thinking through ways to make interacting with your emails easier to navigate improves the UX for them. Customers such as Blake, an assistive device specialist with Blink, need extra time and effort to complete some tasks. If you can make things easier for them, it keeps them engaged with your emails.

Utilizing assistive technologies allows users to navigate more easily and use Face ID to move to new tasks or choose links.

3. Create a Findable Structure

When users open your email, what are they looking for? The navigation structure and even where you play your calls to action (CTAs) makes your email more or less user friendly.

Keep the same navigational structure and order throughout every email you send. Readers should know what to expect in order to find things easily.

Experts often recommend a three-second test. Can you find various things the user might be looking for in three seconds or less? If not, then it needs some tweaks to improve findability.

4. Use Relevant Images

The old saying goes that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and that is also true in your email marketing UX. You can tell your readers a lot without ever saying a word through the photos and illustrations you choose.

Focus on images that enhance your text. For example, if you share information about a clearance sale, include images of the products you’ve discounted. The more you can say with your photos, the better your user will absorb the info and have a positive email marketing UX.

5. Tweak Your Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing people see when they open their inboxes. It can entice them to open your email or ignore it. Avoid things such as click bait or you risk frustrating your readers. You don’t want to risk your reputation and their trust for one quick read.

Finding focus is a common problem for email marketers, but the right angle can improve readability and engagement. Think about the action you want readers to take or the offer available. What is the unique value proposition for the user? Give them a reason to open your email.

Some good examples include:

  • Inside Our Best Clearance Prices of the Year
  • Get 15% Off Your Order by Reading
  • Introducing Our New Gadget That Saves You Time and Money

Cater your subject line to the email marketing campaign offer. If you really want to improve usability for your audience, you must let them know what’s inside the email. You can have a high open rate but if none of those readers convert, something is wrong with your approach.

6. Ensure Responsiveness

Statista recently reported an estimated 90% of internet users access the internet via their mobile devices at least part of the time. Smartphones have come a long way, but there are still some things you must consider if you want your emails to be mobile- friendly.

Smaller screens mean that some elements must go away or load incorrectly. Some providers automatically adjust things, but if you input specific parameters for a custom template, it may not work on a smaller screen.

Test your emails thoroughly on all types of devices. Do any images or texts run off the screen? How can you fix them for better readability?

Consider older devices that may use an older operating system. Does the email function as it should? How well do forms work? Are images loading quickly and fully? Most third-party email list providers give you an opportunity to test your email and see what it looks like across varied devices.

7. Design for Scannability

Put yourself in the place of the average subscriber. They likely have many different activities and responsibilities competing for their attention, including work, family, hobbies, and other needs. If you can’t get your message across quickly, you risk losing them forever.

How do you design for scannability? Use subheadings, short sentences and paragraphs, and bullet points. The more you can break down your ideas, the easier it is for the user to skim over them and pick up the main points.

Another thing to keep in mind is the way people read. Most pay special attention to what comes first and last. If you have specific points to make, place them at the beginning of a paragraph.

8. Choose the Right Color Palette

The color palette you use for your email marketing UX should match your brand’s image. There is an entire psychology behind color choice. You should at least be somewhat familiar with how different shades make people feel and the emotions you’d like to elicit in your audience.

At the same time, you must choose hues that contrast nicely so your text is easy to read. Be aware of visual impairments such as color blindness that might impact how colors work together. For example, if you put blue on top of red, it might become almost unreadable to some.

Use an online wizard to view how your design looks to someone who is color blind or has impaired vision.

Improve Email Marketing UX in Increments

Email marketing UX isn’t something you fix once and are done with. You must continually strive to improve your open rates and ROI. Try different methods to see what works best with your audience, segment them into specific groups and get creative at times. With a little extra attention, your emails will grab user attention and help make sales.

Eleanor Hecks

Written by Eleanor Hecks

Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a freelance designer with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philly with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy.