Is your email design just decoration?
We often speak about the art & science of email marketing as separate functions. However, I’d argue that these two concepts are not separate at all. The science will influence the art and the art will influence the science.
The ART applies to elements such as design, layout and responsiveness; while the SCIENCE relates to the tactics we employ under the hood to ensure deliverability and the technical aspect of how tracking is inserted to measure engagement of the content in an email.
Whichever view you take on the topic, it’s clear that sharing knowledge between creative teams and the analytics department is absolutely necessary. It’s not always easy and I suspect, in most cases isn’t being done at all.
The question is: could the analytics team be creative, or the creative design team be more analytical? And does it mean that design is merely decoration if it is not informed by insight from engagement analytics?
Let’s take a look at what good email design entails:
Good email design should:
- Respect the branding and corporate identity due to the important emotive association a customer will have with a brand or logo
- Enhance the content, making it easy to understand and consume
- But most importantly, it must almost invisibly support the overall communication goal and motivate the customer to take the primary action
Achieving these things are at times challenging and perhaps the design team must be exposed to reports or metrics that go beyond the automated fast paced A/B split test results.
Keeping it Brief
Good design starts with a good brief – a detailed, comprehensive, inspiring brief from the Account Manager to the creative team. If the designer is regularly exposed to results and reports, and knows what works and why, the brief time should almost be halved.
I like the sound of faster creative briefs and less boring direction and edits after the 1st round of design.
But there is always a BUT…
I also believe that the very nature of design is emotive and subjective, that while the stats and analytics can enhance the creative process to a point, the numbers can never fully dictate it.
Science is also technology though and innovations such as SVG animation or flat design, allow the designer to create a fresh, different email template layout and content arrangement. This could also very well improve the results, increase engagement rates and set a new standard or best practice for a particular client or communication. I really like the sound of that.
Bridging the gap
A Creative Director or an Email Communication Specialist could bridge the gap between art and science in email marketing by facilitating the integration. Maybe there is even room at an ESP for a brand new and exciting job function where the entire role is geared toward facilitating this integration?
Get in touch with us for an integrated approach to the art and science of email marketing…
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