How to Create an Eye Path In Marketing Emails
By Amanda Gagnon June 1, 2012
Big fonts, bright colors, pictures and graphics are powerful attractions
Big fonts, bright colors, pictures and graphics are powerful attractions for the drifting eye.
Placed haphazardly in your marketing email, they can yank readers’ eyes around your message in an unorganized, ineffective fashion.
Instead, you want to position them deliberately in the order you want readers to see. There are a few ways to make this happen:
Resist the Temptation to Cram Everything Into Your Email
If you’re sending a newsletter, you may have an awful lot of bits of information you want to feature in each message. But too many items create visual clutter.
They also compete for readers’ attention. As they say, with too many options, readers will choose none at all.
According to Flint Mcglaughlin, director of MECLABS, your email’s job is to sell your landing page – whatever page on your site you want readers to click through to. So introduce your offer in your email, then list the rest of your selling points and any other relevant information back on your landing page.
Use the F-Pattern
It’s practically the golden standard for designing web pages: laying out your elements and text in the shape of an F, as first proposed by Jakob Nielsen. Start at the top left, move over to the right, and continue that pattern vertically down the page. Eyes used to reading from left to right are trained to follow that pattern.
Of course, if you’re writing to those whose native language is read from right to left, according to Nielsen, you’ll want to reverse your pattern.
And if you’re skeptical, might we suggest split testing your layout? Create two versions of the same message, using the same template and sharing the same information. Just lay one out in the F-pattern, and use a different layout for the other version.
Place Your Call to Action Carefully
Whatever the topic of your email, there’s most likely an action you want readers to take. Positioning your call to action carefully can help you create an effective eye path.
Some marketers swear that call to actions should be placed above the fold so readers don’t have to scroll to respond.
If you go with that placement, call readers to action as soon as you’ve provided enough information for them to understand the context, then follow with any relevant details, much like a journalist’s inverted pyramid structure.
Others insist that you shouldn’t call your readers to action until they’ve demonstrated interest by scrolling below the fold. If you like this idea, build up your offer all the way down your eye path, eventually pointing it to your call to action at the bottom.
(And of course, you can split test call to action placement as well.)
What Path Do You Follow?
It’s far easier to delete a cluttered email than to struggle through navigating it. Clean design, on the other hand, makes it easier for readers to respond.
Do you use any techniques to lead your own subscribers through your messages? We’d love to see your ideas, so if you would, share them below.
And if you’re looking for email design inspiration, follow AWeber on Pinterest – when we come across brilliant marketing, we’ll pin it for you!