There are a lot of emails out there that get simple things wrong. However, there are a lot of emails out there that do the simple things so well which makes them a joy to view and read. In this Design Spotlight, we are going to be focusing on an email I received from booking.com and highlighting the simple yet effectively implemented features that make it such a good email.
First of all though, scroll to the bottom of this post to take a look at both the desktop and mobile versions in all their glory.
Have you done that? Great! Let’s dive straight in…
Personalisation is an effective feature that creates a personal connection with the recipient. It requires a good source of data on the people receiving your campaigns that is being kept up to date. If you have this in place, you can easily implement this connection and it has a great impact on the reader.
In this example, Booking.com makes fantastic use of their wealth of data and it makes me feel like I am not just a recipient of a generic email.
My name is prominently displayed in the header with a silhouette icon next to it, indicating I can access my personal profile here. From this, I know this email is intended only for me. The use of “Recommended for you” implies that Booking.com has carefully taken the time to pick out deals just for me. I can say with some confidence that this probably isn’t the case but it could be based on that big source of data they may have on me and my interactions with their content previously!
The subtle addition of “Tuesday Inspiration” in the header makes it seem even more targeted and implies that Booking.com are providing me with the boost I need to get through my Tuesday.
As discussed in design – do’s and don’ts, branding is hugely important in order to get your email recognised. Booking.com does this very well as they simply take a lot of features that appear on their home page and reorganise them for email. Once I interact with any call to actions, the transition to the website is seamless as I recognise features that appear on both the email and website. They importantly stick to their small colour palette and font styles meaning that I am not thrown off by differing visuals.
Subject line/Pre-header text
Subject lines have always proved to be important with regards to email campaigns actually being opened rather than ignored by a recipient. A good way of nailing your subject line is by performing a split test, otherwise known as A/B testing. In Booking.com’s case, their subject line may seem generic but they have gone for a sense of urgency and are successfully appealing to my sense of curiosity.
Phrases such as “Last-minute deals” and “Get them before they’re gone!” create the sense of urgency needed in order to get their email opened. As no deal details are included in the subject line, receivers will be curious as to what deals feature in this particular campaign and if they are of interest to them. Name dropping big, popular cities like London and Paris will appeal to a large group of recipients and is linked to the deals recommended for me actually in the main content of the email.
Another feature which shouldn’t be ignored is the pre-header text that appears after the subject line in my inbox. Pre-header text displays the first instance of text in your email which for a lot of senders tends to be “View this email online” or something along those lines. Booking.com have been very clever about their pre-header text. It has been coded so that the text doesn’t display in the template itself, but it is picked up by email clients. This essentially gives Booking.com more space to try and entice recipients into opening their email and interacting with it.
As 88% of people check their emails via a mobile device as opposed to a desktop, it is vital that we consider how our email campaigns look on these devices. Booking.com have gone for a very clean design in the desktop version which makes the design of the mobile version very simple. The majority of the content becomes centred and due to the block format a lot of the content appears in, everything aligns underneath each other into a clean and legible layout. The plug for a mobile app is arguably more appealing to those viewing the email on a mobile device as it is a quicker process to download the app so having this in the content may have more of an effect than you may think.
Call to Actions
Making your call to actions clear and relevant is key to getting your readers to interact with your email content. Booking.com have several call to actions, the majority of which are above the fold. If readers aren’t interested in their main offers, a search bar is prominently displayed across the full width of the email. This search bar is actually a linked image to their website home page which features a search bar at the top. Call to actions are made prominent with the use of bold colours and arrow icons.
An important feature to mention is the unsubscribe button. A lot of email marketers feel it is better to hide the unsubscribe button wherever they can in order to make it more difficult for a recipient to choose not to receive their campaigns anymore. However, this can actually result in more unsubscribes so making it nice and clear like booking.com have in the footer gives readers the option to easily unsubscribe if they would like to.
A final note…
Take this point as you will. Just above the footer, a 20% off offer is advertised for subscribers of this email. This could be seen as a good or a bad thing; although it rewards readers that actually open and read the email, I can’t help but feel this would be better placed at the top. Everyone loves a deal or discount so why isn’t this more prominently displayed? However, one could say that this is a cleverly placed offer, deterring people from using the very obvious unsubscribe button, a final attempt to win you over.