Saturday, December 20, 2008

Email text or images - conversion rates?

I was just reminded of a case study put out originally by Marketing Sherpa it revolves around a solution to overcome the default setting of most Email clients to block images when you send an email.

The normal wisdom is to send a text version with a graphics version, but this example demonstrate a middle approach which is great, and as such should definitely be included here as a top tip.

So the classic solution is to send an email with the two versions, the text version and the graphics version. The bad news is that the majority of readers will plump for the graphics version and then not show the images. doh! What happens is that when your email client plumps for the graphic version it shows the alt tags. This is just bad. Alt attributes on the images should be used to describe the offers and give reasons to click (best practice). But it still looks bad...

The simple solution is to apply some basic html color coding of the background. So you design up an email to send and instead of creating 100% graphics - you will want your logo to show and one or two other bits - but what about the headline - the call to action?

No doubt your email will be using a simple basic table layout the graphics, so you decide that your main headline will fit within a specific cell in the table and you set the background to a contrasting colour. You do the same for the text in the cell and no matter what happens, all consumers will see your offer and it will look as good as it can with graphics turned off and the effect will be invisible when graphics are turned on. Thus ensuring that either way you get your message across.


Impact on Email response rates

Tests show that implementing a tinted background with text can have a major impact. The details are as follows:

* visible Red-brown color box that measured 441 pixels by 400 pixels
* “Limited Time Offer” (font size -- 49 pixels)
* “Free Shipping” (57 pixels)
* “Ends 10-31-07” (35 pixels)
* “Start Now” button (18 pixels)
* “Free Shipping available on orders over $99 to a single destination within the U.S.” (15 pixels)

According to Marketing Sherpa report the uplift in campaign results from switching to prominent text on a background colour was:

* Deliverability 10.1% higher
(care needs to be taken with large fonts which can be a SPAM signal).
* Open rate rose 28.6%
* Clickthrough rate jumped 83.4%
* Revenue skyrocketed 379.3%

An additional top tip that should increase conversion rates would include a list of other offers / departments at the bottom of the email - theses should be very short, factual and not special offer / price discount led.

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