Email marketing design is all about communication. The more of your message you get over and the quicker you do it, the better. This is accepted by the gov.uk website where you can tax your car and obtain information about government requirements and systems.
Whether as a brand awareness campaign or, as they suggest, a desire to make their content easier to understand, in a recent press release they stated that they would no longer use Latin abbreviations as readers might be confused. You would, no doubt, expect something of a furore in the popular press as well as the more refined. And you would be right.
The headlines suggested bans and dumbing down, but logic is on the side of gov.uk. Many people do not understand what is meant by eg as can be seen by the number of times it is used to denote a specific and ie would be the proper abbreviation. I would assume Ph.D will remain.
I’m all for making things simpler and abbreviations have their place. In fact, I’d suggest they are not used enough.
The premise behind the move is one we could usefully consider. The simple truth is that if your customers might not understand the meaning of a word or abbreviation it should be replaced by something they do.
Your email marketing list will give you a clue as to what your subscribers would prefer. That’s not to say that the balance between confusing your audience and patronising them is an easy one.
I’m a big fan of erring on the simple side. If a multi-syllable word can be replaced by one with fewer then go for it, even to an abbreviation. Your marketing email will be scanned and if the reader doesn’t get the full message at first go they are unlikely to have a second one.
Have a look at http://www.plainenglish.co.uk/ the site of the Plain English Campaign for ideas on how to clarify your copy. Do you see what they did there? Not Campaign for Plain English. Too many words.
It is not about dumbing down. It is all about getting your message across simply and clearly.