Do you know how long a reader spends looking at your email? According to Jakob Nielsen, web usage expert, users spend an average of around 50 seconds to read our email? More and more, we are reading and processing emails at high speed.
At times, our inbox is inundated with messages to answer and in order to allow sufficient time to carry out our other tasks, we have to become efficient at reading the emails we receive. What can we do to ensure that the messages we send by email attract the readers attention and that he doesn’t reach straight for the delete button? Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
Use these 5 tips to create emails that engage your readers with your message and its content.
1. A solid structure
In order to see the trees, first you need to see the forest. Start with the overall picture to be able to outline a basic structure of your message Develop a ranking of your information to decide the following points
- # Which is the most important specific information?
- # This is the main concept that you want your reader to understand from your email. What is the main concept that you want to transmit?
- # Which is the second most important specific information?
- # This could be some kind of secondary information, ongoing promotion, or permanent products that are on sale, or a list of services, etc.
- # Which is the least important information? This could be contact information or copyright, terms and conditions and others of the sort.
When designing and implementing your newsletter layout, choose between one or two columns. One column can focus the users attention towards the centre, however, two columns can have the same effect if the content is organized efficiently If you choose two columns, remember that in the Western world we read from left to right, therefore the most important topics should be on the left of the display, as it is here that the reader´s eyes will be drawn. You can create your own email newsletter in HTML.
2. Use images, but don’t overdo it
Images attract the readers attention, but they also mean that emails take longer to download, therefore use them in moderation. Many email recipients have their images disabled. They may allow HTML, though may not download images automatically, as is the case with Gmail, where one usually has to agree to see the images. Check that your email message can be clearly understood if images are not visible from the start. To do this, add a description “Alt” and “Title” to each image.
This way, if the reader can’t see the image, then they can at least read its description. If the images play an important part in your email, add a short phrase in the header image of your email, to say something like: “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to download images.” Observe how this sentence will only appear if the user has their images disabled, and which will lead them to enable image mode.
3. Don’t complicate the design
In your email program, you have the option to choose from several fonts and colours when you start writing your email. Don’t complicate too much. Choose a dark and neutral colour, such as dark grey or black, at least for use in the general body text and introduction These will be the most important areas, which will contrast with other colours you can use in areas of less importance.
In these, use a lighter background to achieve less contrast, but take care to ensure that the contrast level still leaves the texts sufficiently legible. By setting these secondary areas with a lesser level of contrast, the reader’s eyes will first be attracted to the main highlighted areas, and afterwards move to the areas of less contrast
Remember to use one single colour for hyperlinked text. Whilst normal text can be dark grey or black, the hyperlinked texts should be of the standard blue, or even the colour of your branding or logo, to be in harmony with your brand or website.
4. Keep your emails short
If your reader is only going to spend 50 seconds looking at your email, then there isn’t much time to read your message. Think of your message as a summary, and imagine that you’re a journalist: cover the main story, give some main supporting facts, and then provide a snapshot and a call to action so that the reader will understand what they can do next.
5. Do not use CAPSLOCK
Avoid using capital letters in your emails. Firstly, because it gives the impression that you are shouting, which is rude. Secondly, because it makes it difficult to read, because in general, text usually flows with both capital and lowercase letters. Imagine having a book written entirely with CAPITAL LETTERS.
It would be very uncomfortable for the eyes. Capital letters slow down the reading process, which is the opposite of what we want to achieve. Use these tips for creating emails that will be read and they will help you to ensure that your reader spends more time and is more engaged with you.