The genius of easy-click emails
A recent flight gives contributor Jason Warnock a glimpse into the future of email marketing and shows why marketers should care about easy-click emails.
Like hundreds of thousands of other travelers, I was a victim of the Delta flight fiasco in early August. After a day filled with flight cancellations and an alternate booking with WestJet, I checked my inbox and discovered an email from Expedia asking me to rate my experience.
The email was simple and elegant and consisted of just five words: “Happy with your WestJet Trip?” Below the text were oversized images of a smiley face (green) and a frowny face (red), inviting me to respond.
At the end of a long day, the Expedia email was a breath of fresh air because it showed me something I hadn’t seen before: the genius of easy-click emails.
What is an easy-click email?
An easy-click email is an email marketing device that drives conversions by simplifying the user response. Instead of overwhelming users with copy and a complex menu of options, easy-click emails plainly and clearly present a single question and two or three visual responses.
Easy-click emails make it convenient for users to respond on mobile (which is becoming the preferred device for reading emails) or desktop devices. But just as importantly, easy-click emails result in better business outcomes because they simplify back-end segmentation.
Let’s take a closer look at my Expedia email. Remember, the question was, “Happy with your WestJet Trip?” If I clicked the smiley face, Expedia might have served up offers for WestJet flights to other destinations. If I clicked the frowny face, I might have received an apology email or maybe a promotion that incentivized me to give WestJet another chance.
Since easy-click emails create segments based on simplified decision data, the content that users receive after they respond is more focused, accurate and likely to result in a positive brand outcome.
And these kinds of emails are incredibly easy to create. A typical easy-click email contains just five elements:
- Basic header — A simple header with the brand name and logo
- One question — A single question that invites the user to make a conversion response
- Response buttons — One to three large, prominently featured response buttons
- Segmented decisions — A back-end hierarchy that delivers focused content to users after they respond
- Basic footer — A standard footer that contains copyright information and other essentials
Although other brands are moving in the direction of easy-click emails, I haven’t seen anything as straightforward as the email I received from Expedia. By stripping down the requested action to the bare essentials, easy-click emails make it simple for the consumer and for the brand.
Why marketers should care about easy-click emails
Easy-click emails increase response rates and encourage a higher number of users to engage with the brand. But the benefits don’t stop there. The easy-click concept is ridiculously easy to adapt to many different types of email marketing campaigns.
For example, most brands struggle to convince customers to review their purchases. But frequently, emails requesting reviews are text-heavy and confusing. Even five-star review mechanisms (like the one Amazon uses in its email marketing program) discourage users from responding, especially if they are using a mobile device.
Here’s an example of such an email I received from Amazon recently. While it asks a simple question, the design is busy compared with the one from Expedia. And if I do click on the star rating, I have to be logged into my Amazon account to record the feedback.
Compared with the Expedia easy-click example, it’s fairly difficult to provide feedback. In effect, I — and potentially many other Amazon customers — are less likely to give feedback.
But what if customers received an easy-click email that simply asked if they were satisfied with their purchases and provided two large buttons for a yes or no response? Happy customers then receive content promoting additional products; unhappy customers receive return instructions or suggestions for alternative items.
Similar strategies could be used for one-click purchasing, social sharing and customer feedback emails.
Marketers should care about easy-click emails because they deliver something brands often lack in their email marketing programs: information. The data captured through back-end segmentation informs the brand’s next action and enables marketers to push more relevant content to customers.
Having this kind of data allows email marketers to send more personalized triggered campaigns, which can be characterized by higher deliverability and response rates.
By how much? Try double the open rate of business-as-usual emails. According to “The Ultimate Email Trigger Report” (registration required) from Yesmail (my employer), just two percent of all emails marketers sent in 2015 were triggered (based on customer data). And yet those emails generated 10 percent of all email-driven revenue, more than four percent of all email opens and nine percent of all unique clicks for the year.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Easy-click emails themselves offer a lot by way of engagement — and most importantly, closer and more meaningful relationships with customers. Isn’t that something we all strive for?