If you give someone a blank web page and let them fill it with images, text, videos, GIFs and other pieces of content, they will probably stuff it to the edges, intoxicated by the freedom of expression granted by an unlimited canvas. But if you tell the editor that he has to convey his message within the constraints of a short email, the size of a sticky note, competing with tons of catchy missives landing daily in someone’s inbox, he will probably reduce the volume of information, think longer and deeper about the headline which will trigger (or not) the opening of the email and make sure that the content grabs the much coveted goldfish attention span of the reader. Spatial editorial constraints spur creativity. Simplicity usually enhances quality. And curation always performs better than information overload.

sticky note space creativity

On a web page, a weak headline can be saved by a good call-to-action or a fancy animation. In a user’s inbox, short headlines determine the fate of the message: the cha-ching opening or the ruthless trash bin. And the very first lines of the message, usually read on a mobile device, are key to further engagement. As we wrote in a previous piece, crafting a good newsletter is an art form. It’s amazing to see how something as simple as an email can be both the worst or the best messaging channel depending on how much efforts you put into it. You can basically say the same from any blank canvas but the outcome is here much more polarized: yes or no, life or death. And if you’re really bad, really nasty, the flushing reflex can be accompanied by a one-tap Spam complaint, which negatively affects your overall reputation. So, GDPR or not, you’d rather not screw your email strategy.

Another way to phrase it: what if this little email thing was the one and only digital estate to survive an internet Armageddon? How would I keep my brand alive just by existing within the boundaries of this epistolary format? If you crack the code of email efficiency, you’ll be able to apply your skills to broader territories: videos, web pages, native apps, etc. Emails are future-proof, the leanest editorial / transactional platform, the pivotal ingredient of all MVPs. You can be the best javascript coder on earth, a multi-awarded full stack expert, and lose the Battle of Attention if you’re bad at emails: welcome messages, drip in campaigns, abandoned cart recovery, newsletters,… The list of @ touches goes on and on. Which can all increase your chances of success or accelerate your fall.

Never underestimate the power of @.

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