The X Factor of Excellent Email

User experience (UX) is more important than ever, and cultivating it poorly can be detrimental to campaign efforts. It is truly the X factor for email and cross-channel communication success.

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UX has developed into a key characteristic that leads digital experiences such as Uber and TripAdvisor, among the many others which bubble up each day. Now, consumers have come to expect top-notch experiences that are able to align across every channel 24/7.

Inbox UX is an essential element for building a unique brand experience because of how it coordinates marketing differentiation opportunities with consumer expectations. Email offers the chance to integrate communications across promotions, transactions, and interactions, on the consumer’s device of choice.

Unfortunately, UX is often an afterthought with siloed marketing teams that are consumed by keeping up with new channels, new data, and various other moving parts. But UX is the critical culmination of cross-channel communication that will ultimately drive consumers to take action. UX is the X factor that brings everything together to create an optimal experience that delivers results.

According to the Quick Start Guide to UX Design, one goal of UX is to “capture the heart and mind of the end-user.” When we start thinking about UX, we need to focus on two things:

  1. Simplify completing tasks
  2. Motivate and engage users

To harness the X factor of UX in email, marketers need to align and optimize the following four elements:

1. Profile and Preference Alignment

Data that has been shared or inferred about an individual is what drives each digital experience. This is why understanding available data and testing various user experiences based on data is such a critical step.

Email is a nimble and measurable channel. Use it as a resource to effectively test data hypotheses that apply across channels. Testing email and cross-channel path optimization based on user profiles is a great way to gain a better understanding for how to deliver messaging at the right place during the time. Using this approach will make messages resonate with users and drive results.

2. Location Alignment

Understanding location elements opens up an array of UX opportunities. With location data coming in from IP addresses and mobile devices, marketers have the opportunity to exploit the “where” quality of data from an individual. It’s important to comprehend how and when to use this data because the UX should be tuned to the delivery of real-time value and measured to assess its true impact. The “they know too much” scenario should also be considered, so that consumers are able to perceive value rather than feel as if they are being stalked. UX testing is necessary for getting this right and maximizing the value of location-based data.

3. Life Cycle Alignment

Observing consumer actions is significant in getting the next touch-point across the consumer life cycle. To do this well, marketers need to start with data and hypotheses.

For example, if a consumer just purchased something, does a message requesting a rating or review work best after a certain amount of time? Does that message need to include a promotion for the next potential purchase? Do additional mobile notifications lead to better results? Do email non-responders re-engage if targeted with a display ad? This is only one scenario in a life cycle; however, even in this simple case, there are still plenty of occasions for UX testing to make a dramatic impact.

4. ISP Alignment

Aligning email communications with ISP features and functionality presents the opportunity for UX optimization by creating experiences that encourage an increase in subscriber engagement.

For example, Gmail recently announced the automatic addition of email with flight, hotel, restaurant reservations, or ticket info to Google Calendar. Knowing this, email marketers can improve Gmail subscribers’ experiences by sharing this information via email messages motivating them to try this feature.

Adding the objectivity of UX testing focused on cross-channel communication can deliver valuable testing insight and drive action plans. The X factor uncovers opportunities for marketing differentiation with new and improved consumer experiences, and has the potential to transform entire industries. Marketers that make UX a key part of the cross-channel planning process will deliver more value to consumers and ultimately, the business.

Article image via Shutterstock

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