July 31, 2014

Campaign Critique 01: Jaina Mistry

Warning: This is a new type of post. It may take a while to get into my groove, but here goes nothing…

In an effort to encourage open discussion around email design, I’m starting a new series of blog posts called Campaign Critique. Each post in the Campaign Critique series will look at an email campaign submitted by a reader. I’ll discuss what I think works with the design and where I think things could use some tinkering.

Hopefully we’ll all learn something in the process.

If you want your campaign reviewed, you can submit it here.

For the inaugural Campaign Critique, Jaina Mistry submitted a design she worked on for TheGoodDeal.co.uk, a UK classified ads service. She explains:

The campaign is an automatically triggered campaign that will be sent to the user upon signing up to the newsletter via a Facebook fan page. The trigger is immediate—there will be no delay between sign up and when this email is received. The user may or may not be an existing customer with the website. The campaign is meant to be a short introduction into what the user has signed up for and a confirmation that they are indeed signed up to the newsletter.

Jaina’s design is fully responsive and works beautifully on both desktop and mobile devices. You can view the online version here.

TheGoodDeal Newsletter Confirmation

Overall, the email campaign works well. It’s well-designed and presents all the necessary information in an accessible manner. Having a responsive email means that Jaina is already ahead of a lot of email marketers out there, which isn’t a bad place to be. Jaina does a great job of prioritizing information on mobile and hiding unnecessary stuff like links in the navigation bar and newsletter images.

On top of all that, Jaina’s code is pretty damned nice. It’s well-organized, commented throughout, and puts ALT text to good use. No real complaints there.

However, there are a few things I would consider rethinking with the design.

I see a lot of people using social links in their emails. While I understand the thinking behind them, I’ve never found them to be effective. In my experience, social links see negligible clicks in most campaigns.

What’s more: they take up valuable real estate. Ideally, I’d either remove the social links or drastically reduce their size.

Granted, I don’t know much about TheGoodDeal.co.uk’s audience, so they may very well get some utility out of those links. If that’s the case, keep them in. More likely, though, they include them in the design because they feel like they need to, without it achieving a goal. I feel like that space could be put to better use or removed to streamline the email.

Redundancy

There are a few bits of content that seem redundant. The social icons are included in the header and lower down in the email, as is the “thank you for signing up” message. Removing that redundancy frees up space for other purposes. If the social icons need to stay, keep them at the bottom. If people are going to share, they’re apt to do it after they read the message. Use that space up top for some extra copy or visible preheader text.

Likewise, removing the red “thank you” banner underneath the navigation bar allows subscribers to focus on the more prominent “thank you” hero image. The eye is drawn there anyways, why distract it with a secondary banner?

Copy and Content Order

There’s some good content in here. However, I think reordering the content and revising some of the copy could improve the campaign. While thanking new subscribers is a great practice, a lot of people just want to get to the offers and get started. I think the copy could be revised to shorten up the email a bit and put more of a focus on the £20 credit offer, all while welcoming them to the list.

Maybe something like:

Thanks for signing up for TheGoodDeal.co.uk newsletter—a monthly email packed with our latest offers, news, and exclusive competitions.

TheGoodDeal.co.uk is the home for classified ads in the UK. Buy, sell, rent, and swap goods for free! To help you get started, here’s £20 in credits to spend on TheGoodDeal.co.uk.

I’d then move the social links lower and jump right into the “get started” section. It seems that the ultimate goal is to get people to start using TheGoodDeal.co.uk, so why hide that content below some social icons? Thank them for signing up, give them an offer, and make it easy for them to kick the tires.

Always reduce friction.

Brand Consistency

Checking out their website, there are a few places where the email newsletter could be updated to be more consistent with the look of the site. While the home page uses a light-colored background for the header, similar to the email, most of the site has a dark blue header.

TheGoodDeal dark header

Also, the footer of the website has a full-width dark blue background with white text.

TheGoodDeal dark header

If this is the interface that people will be using in the application, I’d vote for using something similar in email campaigns to get them familiar with it. Keeping things consistent through the web and email reduces that friction and helps keep a brand instantly recognizable.

The Disclaimer

Full disclosure: I hate disclaimers in email campaigns. Which sucks, because I know most businesses require them for some reason or another. When you can’t kill it, reducing the visual weight often helps.

In this case, I’d recommend using lighter-colored text for the bottom disclaimer. The current dark grey text puts it on the same visual level as all of the other copy in the email. It draws the eye down, forcing subscribers to focus on something that is, while still important, not as important as the offer above.

TheGoodDeal dark header

Something like above keeps the information visible, but reduces its visual weight and keeps the eye focused on the content above.

Wrapping Up

Jaina has done a great job with the TheGoodDeal.co.uk email newsletter “thank you” campaign. A clean, well-coded, and responsive design welcomes new subscribers regardless of what device they’re reading on. While there’s room for improvement as far as content organization, redundancy, and some visual clutter goes, it’s a campaign that will serve a growing company well.

Special thanks to Jaina Mistry and TheGoodDeal.co.uk for sharing their design.

Want to submit an email for a Campaign Critique? Send it over.