May 10, 2016
Powerlines
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Deep thoughts on why the preview pane matters
We are pretty dedicated email geeks here at PWR and are full of tips on how to do email right: use personalization, A/B split test, think mobile...the list goes on and on. But we’d like to share our two cents on one consideration often overlooked: the email preview pane.

Most people will give your email one second consideration before deciding if itŐs worth their time. And nothing strikes terror into the heart of anyone with a toe in email marketing like the dreaded idea of Ňspam.Ó One way to make a good impression, earn attention, and ensure you don’t look spammy is to look good. (And, of course, be relevant...nothing trumps relevance!)

Your email should be designed so that it looks good when viewed through a preview pane with images blocked. That means...

  • main text elements are visible above the fold (upper left quadrant);
  • calls-to-action have text links in addition to images;
  • alt tags are written to be informative and engaging or, at least, not totally lame;
  • the email headline works with the from line, subject line and preheader (here’s a quick intro if the term is unfamiliar) so someone scanning those elements gets a feel for your content;
  • header images should not be so deep that they push text elements below the fold, leaving folks looking at an empty box through the preview pane;
  • text length should be tested so it isn’t chopped off by some systems in a way that changes the meaning of your text;
  • tests should be run prior to send so you know how the email renders across systems and devices.

Still not convinced the preview pane matters? We aim to convince you it does, because...

1. No one wants an inbox full of code...
email with code
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2. Staring at a blank box doesn’t make you want to spend time with an email...
empty email
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3. “We’d hate to see you...” might not be the right message...
email with wrong message
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4. Gobbledygook doesn’t inspire action...
Gibberish In Email
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5. And knowing there is a “hidden preheader” kind of defeats the point!
Excessively long preheader
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6. But, if you let recipients know enough about the content that awaits them, they’re more likely to engage.
here's how to make the most of your preheader view
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So donŐt forget, beauty is not just skin deep and a truly beautiful email is informative, relevant and looks good through the all important preview pane!

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Email is crazy effective when done right
Email is crazy effective when done right

“Across all age groups, email is the preferred method of commuicating with companies (with about three-quarters of consumers/buyers choosing this).”

– MarketingSherpa
 
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