The Times, They are a Changin’ Part 2: Information Stations

In last week’s Changin’ Times piece, we took a look at the importance of combining a powerful subject line with an equally intriguing pre-header. This week, we’re digging a little bit deeper with a breakdown of where your most important information should be placed within your email newsletter.

Previously, the gold standard for important information was making sure that it appeared “above the fold”. Much like the newspaper cliché from which it was derived (for those of you under twenty-five, newspapers were daily printed publications that were hurled at the intended recipient’s front doors by delinquents on bicycles. We don’t know much else about these ancient artifacts other than the phrase “stop the presses”, which apparently meant something), “above the fold” refers to any material in an email newsletter that does not require any scrolling to see – in other words: everything the reader sees first.

Today however, mobile devices and larger screens are changing the way readers interact with email newsletters. Designs that include short-form articles with links to longer content, graphic leads (images that pull the reader’s eye down – remind your subscribers to enable all images on mobile devices), and small tables of contents up top encourage subscribers to do more scrolling while enjoying your newsletter.

So, what does that mean when it comes to information placement in the world of email marketing? Well, the reality is: not too much. You still want to lead with some of your best info (keeping it “above the fold”), but these new trends allow you to be a bit more fluid with your layout. If you’re advertising a coupon, for example, try placing it above the fold, but let your readers know that there’s more information about next month’s coupon at the bottom of the email newsletter. Now, you’ve encouraged them to scroll down, giving them an opportunity to bask in the beauty of your Monet-esque design; plus, you’ve given them a reason to look forward to your next email. No doubt about it: it’s a win-win.

We’ll be back next week with another installment of our Times blah blah Changin’ series exploring the value (or lack thereof) of split and multi-column designs.