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Great Tips on Email Creative

Bill Nussey, Silverpop
by: Bill Nussey (@bnussey)
18 December 2006

When Silverpop released its study, "Email Creative That Works," I was excited see creative best practices that were truly measured rather than subjectively recommended. At the Email Insider Summit earlier this month, Greg Edwards, the CTO of EyeTracker, took measuring creative success to an entirely new level.

Greg's company is pioneering the use of eye-tracking technology to help marketers design better creative. EyeTracker's tools watch a panel of users to see what they actually look at. From this data, gathered across countless clients and email campaigns, Greg was able to share some great insights on creative best practices:

  • People don't read full sentences, so don't force them into your copy.
  • "Front load" your first few bullets or words with the most important information you need to share. You may not get them to read any more if you can't grab their interest.
  • Use graphics and layout to guide recipients' eyes. You don't need to be blatant about it, but apply the same thinking a merchandiser might use when laying out a retail store. What will people read first, and where will they go next?
  • The design needs to support a clear call to action. Don't just tell them they can have 15 percent off--make sure to show them exactly what they need to do to get that savings.
  • Recipients absolutely will scroll "below the fold" if the layout is properly designed.
  • Design your content with two levels of readers in mind. The first level is the five-to-10-second quick reader. The second is the reader who wants to dig in and really understand your message. Many marketers intermix these two sets of recipients in their layout and copy, and Greg strongly recommends thinking of them distinctly.
I don't have a lot of personal experience with eye tracking, but Greg cited examples of click rates going from 4 percent up to 16 percent and higher simply by analyzing the way people normally read messages. A gentleman from a Fortune 100 company sitting next to me leaned over and mentioned that his company uses eye tracking, and that the results Greg was citing were in line with his company's experience.



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