Message & Media: Stop Them in Their Tracks
• Buttons: Text links in body copy generate clicks, but a button is a stronger visual call to action. Make it red and it's the first thing seen, and one they're likely to "push."
• Corner slash/snipe: An angled violator draws the eye because it disrupts the neat horizontal rows of words and graphics. Use it to call out something important that you'd like to have seen first.
• Color: Using color isn't unique to email; it's effective for disrupting and violating eye flow in any channel, immediately drawing in the scanner.
Traditional bursts and banners, as well as other variations on violators, continue to be used across all direct mail formats, from postcard and self-mailers to solo and 3-dimensional packages. As with violators in any channel, it's the combination of copy, color, shape, graphics and placement that makes them work.
• Free: Red circles and bright yellow bursts may seem old hat, but when they're calling out something free, they work.
• Handwriting: When everything else is in black type, something as simple as a single handwritten word attracts the eye.
• Arrow: Put your call to action inside an arrow that points to the business reply card and the eye jumps on it.
According to Jakob Nielsen, visitors often leave Web pages within 10-20 seconds. But pages with a clear value proposition can hold a person's attention for much longer. Violators—copy elements that stand out and provide helpful value—can increase the length of time spent on a page.
• Easy action: A button or other violator at the very top of the page can eliminate the need to scroll. E*TRADE positions an "Open An Account" button in the upper right-hand corner of its home page.
• Carousel: OverDrive, a digital distributor of e-books, audio books, music and video, uses a carousel of three slides on its home page to grab a visitor's attention and provide a series of reasons to go further into its website. In this case, it's a combination of movement, placement, graphics and copy that violates the otherwise static page content.