All of us get business emails. Typically, they come in plain text and we convert them so we can read them easier. Colors, images, and text come in place. We orient our eyes and scan the boxes and rectangles that hold bite-size pieces of information. We figure out what the email is about–what they’re offering, teaching, providing–and we do this effortlessly. Within seconds we decide–save the email, click through, order, or delete…
It only takes seconds to scan a good email, and at any time you could lose your audience, or you could glean a connection or a sale. Email layouts make this entire process easier, more efficient, and hopefully more effective.
Ever heard of heat maps? EyeTracking.com, FaceLAB.com, and Eyetools.com are just some of the tools used to track eye movements, pupil size, eyebrow and other facial changes that occur when people view online sites, landing pages, and emails. Major companies have utilized this innovation and have improved their connections and sales dramatically. What these tools have shown is that there’s a pattern to how we view online material, and the basics, such as user-friendly layouts can be used by anyone to optimize their site and increase sales.
Great Email Layouts Include quadrants that make it easy for the reader’s eye to follow.
Viewers usually start in the left hand upper quadrant, then go one of two ways–straight across, or straight down. The bottom right quadrant is always last. So make sure that your most important message or content is in the left upper quadrant.
What makes a viewer go across–or down? It depends on what you have anchored. A good visual is more appealing than text, usually, so if you have something important to say, consider using a graphic to accompany it.
You don’t have to divide your email into exact quadrants. I also get rectangles across the top or down the left side, (so that you are forced to read straight across) as well as other configurations. Figure out which layout you like by checking out other business emails, e-newsletters, and websites. Determine what goes best with your message.
Most important: Get a look, (colors, layout, graphics) a logo, a name, and identifiable contact information and stick with it. This is branding in a nutshell. Make sure that this information is always in your left-upper section/quadrant.
Your next most important task is to deliver something. Let your viewers know what this email, landing page, website is all about. If it’s an email or e-newsletter, make sure it’s in the subject line. Mention it again within the body of the email and make sure it’s near the top where the eyes tend to land. Be clear about what you want them to do–click through, call, learn about a promotion or a sale, inform them of something important to read or know about a product or service update are all important messages you want your viewers to know about.
Make sure you reference the purpose of this email in that left hand quadrant and tell them where to go to retrieve it. Give them a place to click or tell them where this information is listed within the body of the email or on your website. Make it easy for your viewers and don’t bury it in too much text.
These simple techniques make your email, e-newsletter, and even your website viewer friendly. Don’t you enjoy getting an email from a trusted business that you appreciate and respect? When you open that email you know what to expect–quality services or products and helpful information. You trust them to deliver good content again and again. Don’t you want your emails and your website to be anticipated?