DMNews chats with Experian CheetahMail creative director Steve Sharp

Q: What was Fit Pregnancy doing before it redesigned its e-mails?

A: It had a very bland template with a lot of long content that was haphazardly placed around the newsletter.

Q: What was your approach?

A: Our approach was to meet with the team and have them explain to us what was working, what wasn’t and what they hoped to achieve. It wanted to reach the users that weren’t clicking or weren’t opening. They were seeing a lot of fall-off.

Q: What strategies did you apply?

A: We looked at the data it had up until that point across all of its campaigns. We were seeing where users were clicking and where they weren’t. Then we let that data inform our design approach.

Q: What did you learn from the data?

A: Users were clicking a lot on only certain kinds of links. Users were really gravitating to the product recall section. Being a father, that was a no-brainer. Of course I’ll click on that because that could have a direct impact on my child. But that link was buried way down below. We took that link and put it above the fold, as well as below the fold, and that garnered a 13% increase in click-through rates.

Q: How did that affect the design?

A: We completely redesigned the template. We added background colors and we made somewhat of a visual hierarchy for the user, so we’re saying that here is the feature section, here is a sub feature and then here is the rest of the content.

Q: What was the response?

A: Unique click-throughs were seven times higher, and the open rate rose by a factor of eight.

Q Why was there such a big increase?

A: A lot of it had to do with the product recall link, the main thing they would click on. We capitalized on that, along with some other best practices, such as moving content around, adding a main navigation bar.

Q: What are the key takeaways from this?

A: Use data as your ally instead of something to be pushed to the side. Let data inform how you design and how to approach the redesign. Numbers don’t lie.

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