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Meet the Queen: Optimized User Experience

Kitterman Marketing Email User Experience

We recently introduced you to King Email and his powerful ROI potential. Now let’s introduce his formidable sidekick, Smooth User Experience (UX).

UX is art.

What sounds like a serious tech term is, to me, a nebulous concept somewhat akin to “art.” Email UX is the structure of the email as it relates to the user. At its best, it’s smooth, invisible to the user, and effective at driving the following stream of events:

User opens email > skims the message > clicks the main CTA button > takes desired action on the clicked-through-to page.

Click, click—or cha-ching!

In email marketing, clicks translate to ROI. That’s because when a user clicks and goes deeper into your website or other asset, they’re engaging more deeply with your brand or offering. This engagement often generates conversions—helping you maximize your email ROI, which by some estimates can reach 4,300%.1 Yup, you read that right.

Want to fine-tune your email UX? Consider these rules of thumb:

Visual and social are everything.

Writers and some old-fashioned marketers may be hard-pressed to admit it, but today’s online marketing experience is, above all else, visual (that is, experienced by seeing) and social (shared and propagated via social networks). People process visual data 60,000 times faster than text, and emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%.2

So do rely on visual elements to define the structure and flow of your email. Limit copy. And include those social buttons.

CTA button or text link?

If you’ve done email marketing, you’ve probably run into this question: Do I present the top call to action (CTA) as a button or a text link? The answer is either, as long as you’re making the CTA pop to achieve your top objective, which is to drive conversions. These could be clicks to a product or help page, a blog or a registration form, or completion of registration.

So take a step back from your finished email, squint, and ask yourself, “Is my text-link CTA jumping off the screen?” If not, make it a button. Buttons may command higher conversions. People like to push them.

Size also matters.

Since so much email is opened over mobile and over low-speed cellular networks, you need to pay attention not only to mobile-friendly design but to accommodating limited data plans, slow networks, and variable mobile email client behaviors. 

To drop the download weight of your email:

  1. Select the appropriate image format:
  • GIFs for small, low-color images (arrows, lines, logos)
  • JPEGs (exported at 60–70% quality) for photographic images
  • PNGs for small images with transparency
  1. Reduce the overall number of images. The best practice is to use HTML-based text whenever and wherever possible.
  2. Apply shorter copy. It will reduce weight, and most readers skim anyway.

One last design consideration.

Use email client–compatible CSS for colors and fonts (i.e., inline styles). Learn more.

Happy emailing!

1Direct Marketing Association
2Social Times

Natasha Blog PicNatasha Petroff is a senior copywriter at Kitterman Marketing with 15 years of experience across technology, higher education, nonprofit and other realms. Her marketing philosophy is centered around value—that is, promote the true value of products and services in a clear, open voice, and business will follow. The day job: applying that approach to every piece of work, flexing to meet each project’s needs, and stretching to beat the latest record for quality.

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