3 ways to get the word out to nonreaders
Email newsletter subscribers read word-for-word just 19% of the e-zines they receive, according to the Nielsen Norman Group’s latest eyetracking study.
They skim — or even just glance at — email newsletters 75% of the time.
So how can you write an email that’s easy to skim?
1. Show the parts.
Subscribers want to see distinct sections. Use formatting to show the parts:
- White space
- Bold-face text
- Rules and lines
- Section headlines
Pass the squint test: Squint at your newsletter. Can you see the parts?
2. Use formatting.
Break copy up and draw readers in with formatting.
Readers’ eyes are drawn to:
- Bold-faced words and lead-ins
- Bulleted lists
- Short lines of type
- Blah-blah intro text
- Maintenance links, navigation
- Separate pieces that aren’t clearly delineated
3. Put your messages where readers’ eyes are.
Readers look at:
- Headlines. If they could get the gist of the e-zine from the headlines, they were happy with the newsletter.
- First 1-2 lines of text. Get to the point faster in email.
- Bulleted lists. Subscribers read the first item more than subsequent and the first words in each bullet more than subsequent.
- Links. But not generic links.
So put your message where their eyes are: In the microcontent, or online display copy.
Does your email newsletter pass the squint test?
Source: Kim Flaherty, Amy Schade, and Jakob Nielsen; Marketing Email and Newsletter Design to Increase Conversion and Loyalty, 6th Edition; Nielsen Norman Group, 2017