Optimizing Email Design to Capture the Attention of Your Reader

email marketing psychology

A few months ago at a conference, I watched a fascinating presentation on the steps that an email reader takes as they dive into their email. It’s not the route that most people believe and it works very different from a website. When you view an email, you typically view the first words of the subject line and perhaps a short preview of the content that it contains. Sometimes, that’s where the subscriber stops. Or they may click on the email and open it up – revealing the top portion of the email that is viewable in their email client. And then, if their attention is captured, they may scroll lower. For some clients, there’s even an inbetween step of whether or not they wish to view the images – but I believe that behavior is slowly going away.

This infographic from Emma walks through some of the key details of an email that take the reader from curiosity deeper into engagement. Capturing emotion, utilizing people in imagery, focusing on color and whitespace to drive the eye from viewing into action… all of these things can be incorporated to deepen opens and clicks with your subscriber.

I especially love their closing remark with color, though, and I’d apply it to every one of the 12 secrets!

Every audience is different, so it’s important to run a few tests to discover…

We’ve seen some incredible results with long-copy emails that didn’t have much imagery, and other emails that were simply one large image delivered with a link. It’s all dependent on your audience, their level of attention, their expectation upon receiving your email, and what stage of the activity cycle they’re in. Perhaps they wish to read a lengthy description of your offerings, or they’re ready to click a button and register. You won’t know unless you try different combinations. And don’t be surprised if it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Many times you’ll find better results by segmenting and testing different variations across your subscribers.


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