Email Design: The Inverted Pyramid

|by Amy Birch

The inverted pyramid is a design technique which presents information in a format which improves the likelihood of a conversion.

Emails which use inverted pyramids are concise and to the point by design.

The most pertinent information is given in the headline, a short description of the product can then be stated in the email body before the call to action at the bottom.

This clarity reduces the chances of a subscriber not realising what they need to do with the content of the email and what will happen if they do click on a call to action.

The headline: Attention

The top of the inverted pyramid contains an attention-grabbing headline.

The headline needs to present your unique selling point. If there are any interesting aspects of your offer, they should be contained within the headline. However, a headline which is too long is unlikely to have the desired effect so balance comprehensiveness with conciseness.

Presenting the most important information at the top of your email ensures that your main message is read by the recipient. Even if the email recipient goes straight to the call to action after reading your headline, they will have the key information that they need.

The supporting text: Anticipation

The information in the middle of the pyramid is where you build anticipation about your product or service. Tell your reader why they will benefit from taking action, whether they are making a purchase or downloading a whitepaper.

Give the key information about what you are offering that will help the prospect make the decision to convert.

Make your content easy to scan so that readers can pick out the most salient points in your email even if they do not read everything on their screen.

The call-to-action: Action

The bottom of the pyramid is where you convert your lead into a customer.

The bottom of the email needs to present a short, compelling call to action on a well-designed call to action button. Giving clear, simple next steps for the user to follow increases the likelihood that your email will convert.

Conversely, call to action buttons with generic instructions such as ‘Click here’ or ‘Buy now’ are unlikely to be as successful. The CTA button should stand out against the email background; using colours which sharply contrast is best.

Here’s an example of the inverted pyramid in action:

Companies can use the inverted pyramid structure for any email campaign.

Emails with one, clear purpose where the benefits can be clearly presented are easily fitted into the structure.

Whilst more complex email offers can utilise this structure, it would need to be adapted to include a larger amount of text to lead the reader to the conversion.

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