UP Community Newsletter

Re-design of EDM (electronic direct mailer) template based on campaign data.

Context: Project completed during time as Community Manager at Padang & Co. EDMs (Electronic Direct Mailers) were key touchpoints to promote our open innovation initiatives. 
Team: Graphics for EDM were created by visual designer.
Dates: Jan 2015
Role: Data Analysis, Research, Design Development, Testing, Copy-writing
Skills: Interaction Design, Evaluative Research, Marketing, Branding

At Padang & Co, we organized a number of open innovation initiatives around a range of themes - from health and healthcare to sustainability. I was in charge of building and managing the Urban Prototyping (UP) community of passionate change-makers. This involved planning and executing outreach campaigns to keep them informed of new and upcoming initiatives and encourage participation. EDMs (electronic direct mailers) played a crucial role in doing this. 

However, from analyzing campaign data, I found that the EDMs did not perform well in translating readership to event registration and sought to re-designed the UP EDM template. Here's a look at the revised EDM design in detail:
Re-designed EDM
1) Branding

The UP logo as well as social media links are contained in the header in order to situate the reader upon opening the EDM. The primary brand colour is used as an accent throughout the EDM in the buttons and headings. The white and grey bands in the background ensure the EDM look and feel is consistent with the UP website and microsites. 

Catering To Different Levels Of Engagement: Structure & Glanceability

The EDM is split up into three sections - introduction, body, and event details. The introduction is design to be a self-sufficient section that includes essential information - event name, key dates, overarching theme along with links to the microsite and registration page. 

The next section contains more specific details of the initiative. Every section ends with a call-to-action that serves as an exit point for readers.

Finally, the event details section provides a snapshot of the events associated with the initiative as well as a brief overview of what to expect. The idea is to "feedforward" important information from the Eventbrite registration pages to equip readers and give them a reason to click.
The EDM design also takes into account those who are skimming or glancing over it. Clear sections with bold headings combined with keywords and graphics are designed to attract the eye of those glancing over the EDM, giving them a gist of the section.


The EDM typically contains two primary call-to-actions; to sign up for and to learn more about the initiative. The triggers for these call-to-actions are buttons located in each section, each with a label that clearly states the action that can be completed upon clicking.

Testing & Validation
Ultimately, the re-design of the eDM helped funnel more people from the community to learn about the hackathon (via the microsite) or register for the event directly (via registration pages). This can be seen in the significant increase in click-through rates on the important links.

Changes in click-through rates on registration links

1) Discovery

Given that EDMs were  a primary channel for communication, it was important that they were successful in converting its recipients into participants. However, after analysing campaign data for previous events, I saw a few areas of opportunity for improving the performance of EDMs.
Primary outreach channels for campaigns
Old EDM Template
Old EDM design with click map

Insight #1
Highest proportion (31%) of click-throughs 
were on Insights Brief PDF document.

The insights brief provided additional details on the themes and challenges of the hackathon (or other initiative). The microsite gives readers access to the PDF as well as other important information, however, linking to the PDF itself drives readers to a dead-end.

Insight #2
26.5% of readers were going to the microsite 
to read additional information.

The EDM has two main call-to actions: 1) To learn more about the initiative through the microsite and 2) to register for the associated events. One of the primary roles of the EDM is to trigger awareness of the initiative and generating interest to learn more by channeling readers to the microsite. 

Insight #3
Low click-through rates 
on registration links.

This EDM had a 14.3% click-through rate for hackathon and 9.5% for pre-hackathon workshop. The current EDM design and content did not succeed sufficiently in persuading people to register.   

Insight #4
UP branding not strong enough.

From conversations with members of the community, I realized that the connection between events and the UP brand wasn't always apparent to them.

2) Ideation

Target Audience

To think about re-designing the EDM, I started by considering different types of readers, the time they might spend reading through the EDM and their level of interest in the content. 

Wireframing A MailChimp-Appropriate Layout

Based on this, I created a few wireframes of the layout to explore the hierarchy of the content and incorporate UP Singapore branding. A key constraint of the design was that it should be capable of being built using MailChimp. This meant that only certain modular options were available. 
Wireframe of potential layouts

EDM & Beyond

The re-design of this EDM was part of a broader attempt at increasing engagement and reducing attrition rates throughout the outreach and communication process, includeding:

1) Re-design of Eventbrite page to include key information relating to event
2) Sending out follow-up emails after registration to encourage registration for related events
3) Changing timing of event reminder to 5 days prior to event, rather than 2 days
4) Providing opportunities to sign up for related events at the end of an event

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