3 Tips for Maximizing Prime Real Estate Within Emails
There are multiple challenges to overcome when trying to ensure an email campaign's success. Once you've overcome obstacles such as deliverability and inbox competition, additional challenges await you, including blocked images, preview pane limitations and mobile device rendering limitations.
It's essential to design your emails for prime real estate (i.e., the above-the-fold zone), which is approximately 300 pixels to 500 pixels from the top-left corner both vertically and horizontally. By doing so, you're taking into account many of the common obstacles that prevent your emails from being read and acted upon. Follow these three tips to optimize your email campaigns:
1. Understand the user experience. When designing an email campaign, account for how a reader will actually interact with it. Consider these factors:
- Recipients take just seconds to decide if an email is worth taking a closer look at. Over 50 percent decide not to scroll.
- Recipients generally read left to right, top to bottom.
- Recipients click all over the place, including nonclickable areas. Ensure all nonstructural template graphics, including supporting imagery, icons and, most importantly, your logo, are clickable.
- An email's first paragraph is generally the most read, so make sure it focuses on your primary message with a system text call to action.
- Use bullets (with the strongest benefit listed first), as recipients don’t usually read entire sentences or headlines.
By understanding how your emails are read, you can tailor their design and content to better facilitate the user experience towards your desired objectives.
2. Give every email the “who, what, why” test. Every email you create should allow recipients to quickly answer the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
- Why should I do that?
There are a variety of creative ways you can help answer these questions. The most important requirement is to include some system text that clearly outlines your brand name, primary message and at least one clear and actionable call to action. Keep in mind, the closer you are to the top and left edge, the more likely your primary message will be read — regardless of the preview pane or blocked images.
3. Incorporate a preheader. Using a system text preheader is an effective tool to overcome blocked images and quickly communicate the value of reading your message. This is especially true if your emails are image-heavy postcards where your entire message could be blocked out.
Every preheader should include the following:
- an engaging teaser system text statement with an underlined system text call to action;
- view online- and view mobile-version prompts; and
- a safe sender/add-to-address prompt for welcome messages.
Ideally, the preheader is placed at the very top of the email and aligned to the left so it's above any blocked image and not cut off by the right side of a vertical preview pane. Also, make sure it's not white or another light-colored system text. Otherwise, you risk the preheader not being legible should the background color be removed by the email client.
These tips aren't intended to restrict the creative process, but to make sure your email creative is strategically designed by working within the limitations of the channel. It's important to resist the temptation to design for only the best-case scenario. The true test for any email is how it looks and performs not on a large monitor where the email might be viewable in its entirety, but the more likely scenario of a 13-inch laptop or mobile device with only the above-the-fold zone displaying. The more you address potential worse-case scenarios by maximizing your email's best real estate, the more successful you'll be.