Do You Use Snippets For More Opens?

Did you know that your “from” and subject lines aren’t the only inbox tools you have to convince subscribers to open your email marketing messages?

Some email programs also display an auto-preview of the top of your email, sometimes called a snippet.

That snippet could be the extra nudge subscribers need to open and investigate further.

The power of the snippet hasn’t yet been proven, so before you make any permanent changes, we encourage you to split test a few broadcasts. To get started, here are four ways to set up a snippet-friendly version in under five minutes.

Extend Your Subject Line

If your emails are topped with a line of text, those words will also display after your subject in the inbox.

So choose these words carefully. They’ll act as an introduction to your content, and you can also use them supplement your subject line with a tease of what’s inside.

Remember, snippet length will vary depending on each reader’s screen size, so frontload the important words.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook iPhone

Viewed on iPhoneViewed on iPhone

Relegate Requests to Sidebars

You may have housekeeping items at the top of your email, such as a whitelisting request or a link to unsubscribe.

To keep them from monopolizing auto-preview space, shift them slightly from the main body to the top of a sidebar. They’ll still be easily accessible, and they’ll give you room to put snippet-worthy text where it needs to go.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook iPhone

Sidebar example

Snippet-ize Your Images

Your message may be designed with a logo, header or other image at the top. These won’t show in a snippet, but if you set alt text, some programs will show that instead.

So write this text in a way that serves two purposes. It will need to stand in for the picture in case images don’t display, and it should also be able to pick up where your subject line leaves off.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook

Viewed in OutlookViewed in Outlook

A Secret Strategy: Slip It In

It’s possible that you’re thinking, “These ideas don’t work for me. I don’t want text or an image at the top of my design, and I don’t want to move anything. Can’t my snippet just disappear once the email is opened?”

Actually, in some places it can. There’s an easy way to make a snippet that doesn’t show in your email. The mechanics? Assign alt text to a tiny image – then render it invisible by matching it to your background color.

If you’d like more specific directions, they’re available here.

Programs this will show in:

Gmail Outlook

Viewed in GmailViewed in Gmail

Test It Out!

Send your originally planned broadcast to half your list and a snippet-friendly version to the other half. Do you notice any changes in engagement?

Let us know your results and your own thoughts on creating snippets in the comment section below!