Email Design is King, Not Content
There are many segments of email subscribers.
The first, and most important segment, are buyers. Your customers.
Buyers love you. They’ll open and click on a fair share of your emails.
What about the non-buyers?
These can drive email marketers crazy.
When it comes to the non-buyers, the people that are simply subscribers, it could mean big dollars to your business if you can get them to pay attention to your emails.
How do you win these people over once you’ve persuaded them to open your emails?
The answer is design.
Why Design Is King in Email Marketing
As humans, we have evolved to quickly process new information. When we encounter something for the first time we draw on past experiences to give us a fast understanding of something new.
We have evolved this way because there is so much information in the world and it would be impractical to take time to analyze everything. Instead we simply draw on past experiences and assumptions to come up with early conclusions.
An email marketing campaign is just like a first face-to-face meeting.
Instead of you being there in person it is the email making the right impression. Making things even more challenging is the fact that your email can’t speak so that sense is thrown out the window.
As a result, people gain a first impression of your email, once opened, by quickly assessing the design.
It may seem shallow, but it’s how humans have evolved. We look at the design of something, even the design of humans, when first assessing something. It’s a first response to quickly take in information and determine if it’s worth further taking the next step.
Just as physical beauty is an important first impression for human mating, beautiful design is important for email marketers who want to convert openers into buyers.
Emails need to be stunning.
Think of it like a great song.
When you are first interested in a song what is it that captures your attention?
It’s the melody or the music. You hear a catchy hook or an interesting layer of instrumentation and you’re taken in. Once your attention is captured your start looking deeper into the entire song including the rest of the music and the lyrics.
That is how email marketing works.
How to Create Stunning Email Design
Design is emotional.
As people, we pay attention to design because we like to feel emotions. Design brings out various emotions and we respond.
To get to the buying emotions in people it’s necessary to create email designs that make a good first impression.
Here are some examples.
BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
Everybody is using white backgrounds. Even Apple in the screenshot above uses white backgrounds. To stand out, Fossil uses bold background colors.
Part of being stunning is being different. When people see something they don’t expect to see they take notice, which means they may be more inclined to take action.
QUIRKY AND DIFFERENT
Again, being different is the key to standing out. Pier 1 walks a fine line with their brand because they want to be known as a purveyor of quality furniture. But in order to stand out in the inbox they went with something quirky and different.
SIMPLE DESIGN IS EFFECTIVE
It’s difficult to be simple. We have a tendency to try to solve problems for everyone that might be looking at our email. If a single piece of merchandise is interesting and stunning then featuring it might be enough to stand out in the inbox.
This example is from C. Wonder. The story is the jacket and its bold color. The jacket has style. The jacket is different and the designers at C. Wonder understood that and took the distractions away.
You’re leaving money on the table and you know it. We’re all leaving money on the table by not converting those non-buyers into buyers.
We’re struggling to get their initial attention. To get those people interested it’s necessary to focus on subject lines and design first and the content of the email second. Get their attention first and once you have them win them over with the content within the email.
For too long we’ve heard that content is king.
Forget it. When it comes to winning over the people that take only a second to view an email it comes down to first impression and email design helps to make a strong first impression every time.