email marketing best practices

Email Preview Panes Mean Less Must be More

These days, the majority of email users (around 70%) view their email messages via preview panes, making it even more critical that your email subject lines and first couple lines of body text make a statement. Preview panes make checking email more efficient for users, ensuring they can get a snapshot of each message immediately, without having to open each message first. More and more, users are feeling inundated with emails overwhelming their inboxes, so they are more likely to scan each new group of incoming emails at once, and batch delete without opening. So as an email marketer, this means meeting an additional challenge in order to get your emails opened to achieve maximum ROI from your email marketing campaign. It’s essential that your email messages get straight to the point AND create intrigue and interest, which will lead to higher email open and click-through rates!

How, you ask, can I make my emails pop, to ensure maximum email deliverability?

1) Compelling subject lines: Short and snappy subject lines stand out and are easily readable in preview panes. Well-written and relevant subject lines also illustrate the main point of your email message. For even more on headline words that ensure an opened email, see our blog post on subject lines.

2) Keep the content simple: Because people spend, on average, less than 10 seconds scanning their email inbox before batch-deleting those emails that don’t appeal, simplicity (along with compelling) must reign. Shorter headlines can be strong, and the body of the email can contain white space. Scanning emails is a lot of text to process, so helping yours stand out from the crowd with a few well-designed but bold elements will definitely ensure your email “pops” out from the text-heavy rest.  And that means more email opens and increased email deliverability.

3) Clean, uncluttered email: People approach their email with a short attention span. Where people used to read email, now they are scanning, skimming and deleting. Users are becoming more discriminating about whether to open and act on their email messages or just delete after scanning the preview pane. So be sure to be clean in design and to-the-point in your content. Write to the preview pane, and think about what your users will be able to learn from the first three lines they’ll see. For more on clean and simple design, see our recent blog post on how typography can help your email marketing campaign.

Published On: September 19th, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practicesTags: ,

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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