Inspiration: Microsoft Welcomes New Users with Bold Text and Bright Colors

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After signing up for Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium Preview at the end of July, we received a series of really great emails and wanted to share them with all of you!

The welcome email: Where it all begins

The first email I received welcomed me to Office 365 and did so with a bang!

The subject line of this email, “What’s different about Office? Find out now,” persuaded me to open the email and learn more about the benefits of the products and services that I had just signed up for.

When I saw the email in my preview pane, I was immediately impressed with it. The red color and the large “Begin” text were both shocking and instantly got my attention. The email made me excited to “begin” my journey with Office 365 and (I think!) that’s exactly the intent of it.

Microsoft 365: Begin - images on

What else intrigued me about this email? I really love how simple it is. Many emails that I receive are full of images and text, but this one is short and sweet. The four lines of text under “Take an epic test drive” simply state four of the major benefits of Office 365. With an average of only 47% of email openers reading or skimming emails, it’s important to keep text short and to the point and Microsoft definitely does this successfully.

Unique Call to Action Design

One of largest and most eye-catching aspects of the email is the arrow. This points out the “See how to get your Office 365 Preview started” call to action; the lines above and below this text lead the reader’s eye to the arrow and put further emphasis on it. I have to commend Microsoft for “thinking out of the box” and not using a typical “button” for their call to action. I think this is really unique and I like it!

Microsoft 365: Begin - arrow call to action

However, I have to wonder whether some people will look for the typical buttons and not realize that this is the call to action. I also suspect that some subscribers may think that the arrow is just a design element rather than a clickable call to action. If this is the case, the text “See how to get your Office 365 Preview started” is also clickable, so hopefully subscribers would know to click on that.

The secondary calls to action – “What is Office 365?” and “Ask questions and get answers” – are also very prominent in the email, which is an added bonus. The white spaces above and below each of those rows make them stand out. In addition, these calls to action are extremely relevant for someone who just signed up for Office 365; new subscribers are definitely going to be interested in what exactly Office 365 is and they are going to be happy that there is a portal where they can ask any questions that they have. Nice work in keeping the content relevant to your readers, Microsoft!

No images? No problem.

Another positive of this email is how great it looks with images off!

Microsoft 365: Begin - images off

The email essentially looks the exact same with images on and off! The only major change is that the large arrow and Microsoft logo are gone; however, because they used a bold background color and live text rather than images in the majority of the email, everything else essentially appears the same. The large headline text easily appears in my preview pane, even when images are disabled.

Preheader & Mobile Rendering

Are there any aspects of this email that Microsoft could work on? I’ve found a couple of places that I think could use some room for improvement. I think the preheader, “Trouble viewing the email? View it as a webpage,” could use a little work.

Microsoft 365: Preheader

Since the preheader is one of the first aspects of your email that your readers may see—should it really ask if they are having trouble viewing your email? I think they could have done something a little more creative with this.

Another aspect of this email that could use some improvement is how it renders in mobile clients—including Windows Phone, Microsoft’s own mobile operating system.

Microsoft 365 Windows Phone

The text of the main call to action, “See how to get your Office 365 Preview started” is barely legible on mobile devices and definitely needs to be larger.

And the beat goes on…

So far, we’ve received seven emails in this welcome series—the first on July 27th and the most recent on August 27th. While the first few emails came about every 2-3 days, they’ve since spaced out a bit more to about 7 days between messages. Each email was very similar to the first—just basically a text and color swap! While I won’t go into too much detail on the subsequent emails, I did want to share a common element from each: the single-word headline present in each email.

Microsoft 365: Begin

Microsoft 365: Personalize

Microsoft 365: Unleash

Microsoft 365: Multiply

Microsoft 365: Evolve

Microsoft 365: Achieve

Microsoft 365: Collaborate

By selecting a bold and inspiring word and accompanying color to start each message, Microsoft highlights core features and functionality in the new Office Suite while positioning itself as modern and forward-thinking. If you click on any of the headlines above, you can see each of the emails in their full glory, rendered in 30+ email clients and devices!