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Using Heat Maps In Email Marketing to Help Design Your Emails and Gain Insight on Subscriber Analytics

by Alyssa Rice

If you knew the existence of an email marketing tool that could tell you what your recipients are reading, where to position your material within an email and how to lay it out, you wouldn’t hesitate to jump on board. That’s exactly what heat mapping technology does, but many marketers aren’t taking advantage of this tool – especially as it relates to performance analytics. Once you know more about how heat mapping works and the insights it offers, it makes sense to implement such a solution and start learning more about what makes your target audience tick.

What are heat maps and what do they represent? In the context of email marketing, heat mapping is a visualization representing where and how recipients interact with your email. The “hotter” areas where users spend the most time clicking or hovering with the mouse are displayed in shades of red and orange. Cooler hues like blue and green tell you that visitors spent less time in that general vicinity.

By tracking and measuring interaction, heat maps tell us about an email’s usability and the visitor experience. The features people are attracted to and those they shun are all laid out in a rainbow of color.

How can marketers effectively incorporate heat maps when creating content? The information revealed by heat mapping solutions can play a starring role in the content creation process:

  • Heat mapping shows that email visitors scan information rather than reading every single paragraph. Lesson: Use bullet points, numbered lists and bold font to separate sections.
  • A heat map indicates that images draw a lot more attention than text, as people tend to click through much more often. Lesson: Incorporate pictures and video wisely, with the email’s objective in mind.
  • There’s limited interaction “below the fold” of an email, heat mapping reveals. The term refers to what a viewer sees when they open an email, without having to scroll. Lesson: Either keep it short and sweet or leverage your most important content and images toward the top.

Why should marketers use heat maps in connection with assessing analytics? Analytics gauge the performance of your email marketing campaigns, measuring opens, clicks and interactions. Essentially, they can tell you that an email provides a great visitor experience or let you know that you have work to do. Heat maps, on the other hand, identify specific areas that are getting the most attention or that are lacking. They give you a picture of the features that are driving interaction, so they’re a useful tool to implement alongside your other analytics solutions.

Heat mapping gives marketers a clear view into what attracts email recipients to certain content types and presentations, digging deeper than metrics such as unique opens, referring sites and bounce rates. A quick overview of a colorful heat map will tell you what you did right and where you need to make some improvements. There are many different solutions available, with a variety of features, so there’s definitely a good heat mapping technology fit out there for you. You’ll soon start to wonder what you ever did without it.