Marketing e-mails Research and User Testing

Marketing e-mails is the powerful communication tool between service and customers. Researches show that 40 times as many purchases came from emails than from Facebook or Twitter. That is why it is important to investigate e-mails from the user perspective more deeply. All e-commerce and service platforms attempt to attract as many loyal subscribers as possible. Registration forms became simplified to increase the opt-in rating as much as possible. Therefore, people daily receive plenty of advertisements e-mails. Graphic 1 ( demonstrates the proportion of different types of e-mails in the typical inboxes.

The Consumer’s Inbox: Types of Messages

types of emails

Price tracking services should put a lot of effort in the professional design to conquer the trust of prospective users. The formula for increasing subscribers could help to attract customers concerned with the values of the site. It includes:

  • determine the clear value of what users will get from marketing e-mails;
  • create the clear message with an immediate problem solving for your users;
  • make the process of registration/signing for e-mails as simple and unbiased as possible. It is important to reduce social costs by using such principles as:
    • keeping form short and easy;
    • requesting the personal information only if necessary. For example, name of the subscriber could be used in personalising an e-mail which will bring positive impact on the relationship with the customer;
    • designing the error messages to reduce an effort of resolving a problem. 
  • increase trustworthiness by showing evidence of social proof and professional user-friendly design.

By signing up for the service, users demonstrate willingness for seeking a solution to their problems – save money on products. Therefore, e-mails will provide ideas for the answer, called Lead Magnets (Ian Brodie). For the researched services, it will be immediate value of the opportunity to buy the wishful items which dropped at a price. Nicely designed e-mails with clear focus on customer needs and desires is the strong B2C tool. Focusing on the multi-platform view of the e-mail is one of the integral parts of the interaction with the customer. As Graphic 2 ( shows, significant part of the e-mails opens from the smartphones and the most active e-mail reading time, according to the recent research, is between 5 and 8 am, presumably during the computing to work. Therefore nicely designed e-mails with a clear call to action are utterly important and will not procrastinate user from buying the item immediately.

E-mail opens by devices

e-mails opens by devices

Marketing e-mails appear to be effective despite the social networks grow and are still to be an instrument of direct customer influence and communication. E-mail also could make a big impact in promoting the service to new customers by existing users. Modern technologies revived an e-mails by giving the opportunity to view them with beautifully designed images, which grab the attention, links and call-to-action buttons, instantly, from all devices. According to Ian Brodie, persuasive e-mails are based on three factors:

  • understanding real needs of the users;
  • clear, unbiased communication;
  • usage persuasion tools such as reciprocity, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity.

User Testings on price tracking e-mails

User Testings which included comparison analysis of marketing e-mails from 3 price-tracking services were conducted. Moderator showed to participants 1 pair of e-mails from the  tested services to compare and comment on the main information visualisation, attractiveness and credibility. Below, 3 e-mails for desktop and smartphone devices could be seen. First example received the biggest amount of positive comments  and the last e-mail layout was less attractive according to the research. Comments from the tested participants follow the e-mails screenshots.

1. (desktop and smartphone versions)

pricedas_desktop    pricedas_mobile

According to the results from User Testings sessions, and Post Task Questionnaires, marketing e-mail from the was chosen by all the tested users, as the most attractive and credible among all three tested e-mails.

pricedas users feedbacks

 2. (desktop and smartphone versions)

camelcamelcamel_desktop    camel_mob

Marketing e-mail from the was placed in the second place according to the research.


3. (desktop and smartphone versions)

tracktor_desktop    tracktor_mob


E-mail layout from the received less amount of positive feedbacks from users.


As a conclusion it can be said that users trusted more professionally looking, modern, clean layout of the e-mail with clear deliverables of its main points to the audience, though none of the e-mails meet the highly professional requirement. Cluttered or less informative design did not attract user attention in a positive way and caused spam suspicion as more efforts needed to scan through the information. Research showed that all users were not willing to share discount items on their social networks but were more happy to share it through e-mails. Probably it is concerned with a willingness to keep privacy of acquiring items, which was mentioned by one of the participants. Undoubtedly marketing e-mails could be of interest of further researches. More accurate data could be gained by conducting more usability testings with involving larger amount of users.    


Brodie, I.: Email persuasion. Captivate and engage your audience, build authority and create more sales with email marketing. Rainmaker Publishing (2013)

White, C.: Email marketing rules. How to wear a white hat, shoot straight and win hearts. The USA (2013)

Weinschenk, S.M., Ph.D.: Neuro web design. What makes them click? The USA (2009)

Fogg, B.J.: Persuasive technology. Using computers to change what we think and do. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (2003)

Nahai, N.: Web of influence. The psychology of online persuasion. Ashford Colour Press Ltd., Gosport (2012)

Jarrett, C., Gaffney, G.: Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability (Interactive Technologies). Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (2008) 

What’s Inside Consumers’ Inboxes & What That Means For Email Marketing (online article, 2015),

Foggs Credibility guidelines,

20 Tips for Dramatically Better Emails (blog, 2014),

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