“Pretty email. Now what?”
One thing I think was missed in this otherwise excellent article — how vitally important it is to think about the experience the email reader will have when interacting with any CTAs. I’m an ecommerce designer — and emails are a vital part of funneling conversions towards a .com site. It’s not enough to make a nice email that hits all UI touchpoints on the surface and not solve for where a user goes afterwards. What happens when they click? Will they click at all? What will they see when they get there? Does it make sense? Is the experience consistent? Will they buy or bounce? Will they come back?
So often I have designed emails on teams where no one is asking these questions. Designers should dare to ask those questions if no one else is. Because if we aren’t asking, it’s UI, not UX. We are wasting our pixel-pushing time by sacrificing engagement and conversion. We are also failing to engage loyalty and trust.
Emails are just one part of an overall experience — and often the first step on that user journey, pushing the user forward into whatever it is we want them to do. If that next click sends them off a cliff, that email is terrible UX, no matter how good it looks.
Also — anyone designing emails should be tracking this data. Analytics are just as big of a deal in the .com world as they are in email. I’ve seen companies that have barely looked at their data and continue to design their emails in the same one-dimensional way for years now crappy results they don’t even know about. Imagine wasting all those man hours and money on email design and not looking at results…
I’ll end this comment with one last thought — if your subject line sucks, and you’re not a brand with a loyal cult following, you have failed at email UX before the user has seen one pretty pixel of your email. Getting people to open your email in an endless sea of them is your biggest battle and the subject line is the gateway to engagement. You will get deleted, or worse, spam foldered.