Which part of your email do people read?

September 28, 2011 1:29 pm

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5 Tips for a better email campaign

Where do users look as they stare at your email? Do they read or scan your email? Which parts of your email are ignored?

Email Transmit confirms that most people scan more than they read. Users don’t spend a lot of time reading emails even email newsletters (average time: around 51 seconds). And most of us skim or only read part of an email (35% of your subscribers skim your email on average).What should we do about it?

1. Keep it Short
Keep the most important points of the message near the top. Short paragraphs encourage reading. Big blocks of type look imposing and difficult and your readers’ eyes will glaze over.

2. Use Headlines
Headlines draw eyes before pictures and before the small font text. So use those headlines to get attention and to intrigue your audience so they keep reading.
3. Align to the Left
As the heatmap image above illustrates the right-hand elements get scant attention. That’s because readers of left-to-right languages (like English) are accustomed to scanning from the top-left first. Keep this in mind when designing multi-column layouts.
4. Focus the Message
The top left area of the body of an email is the “gold coast.” Load it up with your most appealing and important headline and graphic. The call-to-action can go further down on the left side of the body or top right. Try to avoid putting vital information or CTA on the lower right or anywhere below the fold. Don’t try to include everything in one email. Focus the intention content and call-to-action.
5. Make it Scan-Friendly
People don’t read (or look) in a smooth panning movement like a movie camera in an establishing shot. Our eyes jump around. So prepare for that zig-zag mode of reading and scanning. Limit body copy to easily-readable paragraphs preferably under 60 characters in width. Use small selective images to reinforce your message.
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