Eye candy is a reference to something that is easy to look at. Email marketing experts frequently create eye candy through the use of a tool called the heat map. This tool tracks eye movement when someone is looking at an email, landing page, or website.
A heat map is a thermographic representation in various colors that shows you which parts of the email…or other document… is getting the most attention. Designs and layouts can be adjusted based on heat map results so the content you want focus on, gets eye attention.
There are a number of companies that specialize in analyzing emails, websites and landing pages using heat maps. If you’re looking for a reference to see what a heat map is, and how they work, check out www.listrak.com, www.clickdensity.com, and www.eyetools.com. They are all companies that specialize in this area, along with a number of others.
It may well be worth the money to have a professional organization do a heat map analysis of your email layouts. Eyetools advertises: “We’ve helped Sprint double sales, IBM increase email conversions by 60%, and small companies increase sales by 80%. ” I have no affiliation whatever with Eyetools, but those numbers are not only intriguing, they’re compelling for any organization who wants to increasing their online ROI. Heat map analysis of the full email campaign, which includes your organization’s landing page, and webpage will tie everything together and ensure your dollars are well spent…and give you the results you pay for.
If this seems more than your budget can handle presently, or you just want to see what you can do creatively on your own, here are four tips:
- Use visual anchors to draw attention to email content. Differentiate headlines from the content immediately below it by using different fonts, colors and styles of text. This could include graphics where the images of the text has a special design element, or you could place the content inside a border (boxed outline). You can also bold the text. However, if you use bold text, keep in mind that heat map analysis reveals reader will often skip the content for several lines above the bold text.
- Use text links. You can embed text links in a large body of content, and they will draw attention, along with the surrounding text. You can also use stand-alone text links much link bullet points to draw attention.
- Use borders to draw attention. Borders draw attention not only to the content above, or left or right of the border. Use in conjunction with visual anchors to strengthen the visual impact.
- Use quadrant analysis. Most readers scan emails by beginning in the upper left. Then, how their eye will scan is based on the strength of the visual anchors — either moving down on the left, and then back to the top right,and down the right side or from left to right top, and then bottom left to bottom right. The upper left gets the most attention, so this is where your visual anchors will have the most impact. Your brand, your main headline, and your primary call to action, if there is one, will have the most impact somewhere in the upper left quadrant. Strong visual anchors in the upper left quadrant, including bullets and graphics, will focus your reader’s attention on your most important content. For important links in other quadrants, use navigation links and directions in the upper left as well.
Maybe you never considered needing eye candy to be successful. If you’re not getting the sales, or email conversions you’re looking for, though, remember we’re all attracted to sweets…including eye candy. And making eye candy is not only fun…it’s good for your health (non-caloric) and your pocketbook.