Tailoring Your Email Marketing Message to the Preview Pane

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In my most recent post, I discussed the important role research plays when writing sales copy. In light of this, let me throw a few stats your way:

•    26.6% of consumers use preview panes instead of viewing your whole email

•    69% of at-work online users typically use preview panes when viewing email

•    38% of online consumers now use email clients that offer preview panes options

•    64% of those offered the option of preview panes set them as their default

Before I launch into how you need to tailor your emails toward the preview-viewers, let me first thank Marketing Sherpa for all of these stats. These guys have made my life as a copywriter much easier.

So, keeping in mind that many of your readers aren’t fully reading your email, what can you do to get the most out of your message preview?

The first thing you should do is consider removing image headers and other wastes of space that typically line the top of email messages. First off, these images often don’t even survive the delivery process. Many email clients disable automatic image download, leaving your readers with a big red X. Secondly, if they do survive delivery, they’ll take up the majority of the preview pane, giving your readers no incentive to view the rest of the email.

Next, you need to do your best to bump the important content in your message toward the top. In fact, 64% of online merchants are now placing key points of their content at the top of the email.

You can also try placing a call to action at the top of your email so that previewers can still check out your offers even if they don’t open your message. Make sure your call to action links are descriptive and go beyond just “click here.” Always test your link placement to see which locations get the highest number of clicks.

Of course, you should always focus on crafting a powerful subject line and headline that deliver a benefit and entice previewers to become readers. Over 50% of your readers will decide whether or not to read the rest of your email based on the subject line and headline.

If your email is a newsletter message, include a table of contents at the top of the issue. Make sure the sections of your newsletter have compelling titles that pique the reader’s interest. Useful, relevant content is a must in email newsletters.

Now that I’ve completely overloaded you with email marketing stats, I pose this question to you: What have you been doing to survive the preview pane? Share your tips in the replies.

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