Marketers typically send only one type of message to a well-defined list of recipients. But in reality, email is viewed by ten different types of audiences, who read the message in ten different ways. Therefore, it is important to design the message to meet the needs of the largest possible type of audience, rather than creating a separate message for each type of audience.
Things get even more complicated when the audience is constantly changing. The same recipient may read a message from a different point of view from one publication to another, depending on time constraints or mood. This problem can be solved by understanding the primary audience of the email. You can then develop layout tactics and maximize the potential of everyone who reads the email. There are eight audience types: IDs, Skimmers, Readers, HTML Readers, Text Readers, Mobile, Desktop, and Search Engines.
Identifiers have a single purpose. They check the address and decide on other letters cluttering their mailboxes. They confirm and delete the rest of the emails they don’t want to read. Such an audience is most influenced by big storylines and clear branding. The top line or fragment of the email is also shown in the preview pane, so this text is of paramount importance as it can help tell the difference between reading and deleting. Usually, business people who want to empty their mailbox after arriving at the office before their first meeting or while waiting for their flight fall into this category.
Skimmers go beyond the address line and subject line when opening an email. But they read the email as quickly as possible, noticing only headings, subheadings, and calls to action. They then decide to delete the email or read it in detail. When you’re designing an email, these copies need to be worked on to get the message across and direct the reader to a click. Skimmers don’t even run images if they’ve been blocked. So strong text content should be designed to deliver content without focusing too much on images.
Readers are slightly ahead of skimmers. They read the address, the subject line, open the email, and read a few sentences between the title and the call to action to learn more about the subject of the email. This helps them with flipping over the obstacle. This audience also includes images or clicks on a web version link.
Each email must have an HTML and text version of the message. Since most readers these days use their portable devices to check email, the text version will be more useful here than the HTML version with images. The HTML markup takes longer, but it takes a few more minutes to make the text version attractive. Include URLs with as short and clear text as possible. Easy-to-read text messages increase clicks by a large percentage.
Email design is facing a new challenge due to the rise of mobile readers. Some PDAs display the HTML version correctly, while others display lines and lines of annoying HTML code. Again, it’s important to map the right format to the right reader here, but it’s not 100 percent practical. If an interesting message doesn’t display correctly, mobile readers will save the message to read later on your laptop or desktop.
Desktop readers are the largest audience for which most marketers design emails. This audience is also the most likely to take action via email. The design strategy used to optimize emails for other audiences will also be effective for that specific group. Desktop readers can also be skimmers or readers. Therefore, it is also important here to focus on the top line of the email in addition to the subject line.
Search engine audiences start as members of one of the other audience types. When they see something they like but can’t handle right now, they put it off until later. When they have time, they want to find the message in an instant. Therefore, if the message is not highlighted, it will be forgotten. Again, it is important to correctly format the subject line, the top line of the letter, and the sender’s address.