Your e-mail content should match how consumers tend to interact with the medium so that your audience can easily internalize and take action on your message. Consider the following comparison between using e-mail to deliver a message and using a billboard to deliver a message.
Imagine planning to put up a billboard next to the highway where people drive by at 65 miles per hour. You aren’t likely to get good results if your billboard message includes two paragraphs of text along with an office phone number,cell phone number, fax number, e-mail address, and detailed directions to your office because no one driving by on the highway can internalize such a detailed message so quickly.
And some of the information on the billboard is also difficult for people to take action on even if the billboard’s layout makes it easy for drivers to see. For example, drivers aren’t likely to send an e-mail to an unfamiliar e-mail address in the body of the billboard message because (hopefully) the drivers aren’t in front of their computers then.
People interact with e-mails in much the same way that they interact with billboards because people tend to hastily scan through the content of an e-mail to see whether anything is worth responding to or reading in more detail. Be sure to use headlines, images, links, and text in ways that allow your audience to internalize your message as they scan.
In contrast, people take action on e-mails much differently than they do from billboards and other indirect mediums. People who see a billboard have to employ another medium (such as a phone or a computer) to make contact with the related business, but people can actively respond to e-mail messages by using the medium itself. For example, people can easily respond to an e-mail by
- Clicking a link in the body of the e-mail
- Downloading a file linked within the e-mail
- Forwarding the e-mail
- Replying to the e-mail
- Clicking a phone number in a mobile e-mail
- Printing the e-mail
- Saving the e-mail to their inbox