Exhibit A: The Password Reset Email
Before putting on my Negative Nancy hat, let's get one thing straight: Twitter can do emails right. Just look at the password reset email I received last week:
For starters, they use casual language that appeals to their audience—nerds like me. Secondly, there is a clear hierarchy of information—I know exactly what happened and what to do next. Finally, and most importantly, they put the most emphasis on the reset link, the one thing I need to click on to get my password reset. Well done.
When I look at an email, I need to be able to quickly figure out what I'm supposed to do next. That sentiment goes for every other email a product or service sends you. All emails need structure, personality, and emphasis on taking the proper action. Lets look at how an email can turnout when we don't keep that in mind.
Exhibit B: The Follower Request Email
Take a look at the email below. At first glance, it seems pretty good. The conclusion is first, they greet me by name, and they even explain why they're emailing me. Well played. It looks like all I have to do is click on the most obvious link—the one surrounded by whitespace that my eye fixates upon first. Wrong!
Look again. You'll see that the most obvious action is actually a link to the Twitter Help, not my friend requests. Since people don't typically read their entire email—much like the Web, people like to skim—and email itself is an interactive experience, the design of that experience has to help people succeed in using it. The whitespace surrounding the help link draws your eyes right to it, skipping over the link you really wanted in the paragraph right above it.
Your emails need to encourage and improve the actions of your recipients. To do so, you have to set people up for the win at all times. This means crafting an email message that encourages an outcome both you and your recipient are happy with. Lets look at how to create a more successful email.
Ingredients for a More Successful Email
Lets operate under the assumption you've already mastered proofreading, spelling, and grammar, shall we? What else is there? Well, here's our top five tips to consider:
- Write a meaningful subject line. Get people to read it and be sure to consider when someone comes back to re-read.
- Put the conclusion first. What's the goal here? Why am I reading this?
- Short and sweet. Short sentences, short paragraphs. You might even consider a limit on the number of sentences.
- Lists, whitespace, and strategic bolding. Help readers digest information quickly with lists, whitespace, and some good ol' bolding.
- Clear calls to action. Okay, the email has been read. Now what? Make that key call to action standout.
Email messages are an interactive tool that have to be designed to perform well. As consultants and purveyors of fine design, it's one of our primary duties to effectively use email as a communication tool. We use email day in and day out and have merged these tips into our own workflow. It's paid off.
With a little extra effort, we get better responses from clients and the task of actually writing emails has become easier. Take the time to not just write your email, but design it.
Want some more information on creating a better email? Checkout email at ZURBword.com for more.