E-Mail Navigation, The Most Effective Way To Use It – E-Mail Thursday

TOPICSEmail Marketing


Today’s Topic is The most effective way to use E-mail Navigation. I am your host, Caitlin. An Email navigation can easily be done incorrectly and there are some key rule of thumb “do not’s” that are worth understanding.

One very common mistake is making the e-mail navigation too similar to the website navigational structure. The user only has a few seconds of attention span when reading Emails, so you really only have a few seconds to get the important elements noticed. An email is also smaller in width than a website causing limited horizontal real estate. The last thing anyone wants to do is cram a bunch of links and content into a tight space.

Another frequent mistake is using a vertical navigation rather than a horizontal one. Smith-Harmon Studies show that 88% of the top online retailers use a horizontal navigation . A horizontal navigation will be one of the first important elements to appear in the Email preview pane. If the navigation was vertical, it would render 3rd or 4th in the preview pane and could easily go unnoticed. Testing a horizontal versus vertical navigation and tracking the impact to click-thru and conversion rates, is the ideal way to determine whether or not you should follow this rule-of-thumb.

A navigation should also not have a lot of links. The Email should keep your readers focused on the main message or promotion. You can expand the links accordingly; for example, if an Email campaign is promoting Men’s Jeans, you want to make sure the top navigation is at least segmented to the Men’s departments. In addition, of the few top navigational links, the “mens” should pop the most.

Gap does a great job pointing out that this campaign is for their Athleta company but also displays the association between the other brands that fall under the “Gap” umbrella. The Email campaign is for swim suits and the first navigation link is for the “swim” department. This is also the first link I see when I open my preview pane, which has a clear and distinct connection to the Email campaign. Athleta also has 5 or 6 top navigation links that will more than likely interest the recipient of the Email.

If you are wondering what links are important to place on your email navigation, a “sale” could be one of them. Smith – Harmon Studies show that 52% of major retailers include a “sale” link. This major retail company highlights the “sale” navigation link with the same color of the sale banner. This shows the relativity between the navigation and the Email campaign.

So Let’s summarize our findings.

To be effective in your e-mail marketing approach, you want to find a balance between the following:

  1. Limit your core e-mail navigation to the mix that is necessary for each e-mail
  2. Test the placement of navigation between the top and the left. If you cannot test, then find comfort in the fact that 88% of top online retailers use the horizontal approach.
  3. To keep the email motivation consistent, highlight a sale section of your navigation and re-emphasize it somewhere in the body of the e-mail, if possible.
  4. For each specific e-mail, feel free to introduce or emphasize links that are directly related to that promotion itself

I hope today’s e-mail Thursday was helpful. Exclusive Concepts offers Precision email marketing to help you deliver relevant emails – that is the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

We would be happy to audit your current e-mail approach or even the opportunity that we believe exists for you.

Give us a call at 1-800-504-4324 to reserve a free audit today.