During a recent webinar, Shar Van Boskirk, a respected analyst at Forrester Research, revealed how Forrester evaluates the email user experience using a four-dimensional model.
Eighty-five percent of B2B marketers use email. Email continues to grow at 10 percent per year. Companies are slow to adopt best practices to improve the performance of the email marketing campaign.
The four dimensions upon which Forrester suggests you can improve the user experience of your email campaigns are Subscription, Value, Presentation, and Trust.
a. Can users subscribe to the program?
b. Is registration intuitive? This is a variation of the direct marketing fundamental: Make it easy for people to respond to your offer.
c. Can the user learn about the benefits of the program while subscribing? It makes sense to reinforce your offer and provide personalized options to incent subscribers to complete the subscription process and begin the retention process.
a. Does the email provide essential content? As always, relevant content is critical to earning the trust and respect of customers and prospects.
b. Is the content engaging? Engagement can be defined as getting the reader to interact — hopefully with behavior that generates return on investment (ROI) or provides ROI opportunities down the road.
c. Does email content meet the expectation set by the original registration? Do you know the recipients expectations?
d. Can the user share the email?
a. Does the email header invite opens? This involves structuring your email with snippets, links, copy, etc., that encourage the recipient to open the email.
b. Is the message self-explanatory without graphics? Since so many email clients block images by default, it is essential to use HTML text that is legible even if images are not rendered. You should also use alt tags that display text in the event an image is blocked.
c. Can users understand the email at a glance? It is important for email copy to be quickly and easily scannable by the reader. Brevity helps. Formatting the text with bullets is a great way to achieve scanability.
d. Are there ways to read the message via mobile? Mobile devices are becoming so popular that it is more important than ever to design your message so it renders well on smartphones or provide a link to a mobile version of your message that is easily readable for mobile clients. Smartphone penetration is approaching 50 percent in the U.S. and is a key way for users to triage email.
a. Does the “from” email address communicate a recognizable sender? Forrester advises against using “unfriendly” addresses such as email@example.com.
b. Can customers control their email profiles? Provide links to a preference center integrated with your subscription process that allows users to control frequency and type of messages received.
c. Does the email footer instill trust? Clearly and conspicuously include company name, address, and opt-out mechanism in compliance with the federal CAN-SPAM law as well as copy advising the recipients why they are receiving the email.
What are you doing to improve the performance of your email?