If you’ve been sending emails for awhile, you may be looking for something new or different to help your emails stand out. Have you considered changing up your email headers?
Headers are easy to forget about, as they’re part of the email templates you regularly use. But you can make these required pieces more on brand and more targeted to your subscribers.
While there are laws that govern some of what’s required in the header of a commercial email, you can still liven things up. Let’s take a look at some fun and useful headers that can inspire you to try something new.
Understand what’s required by law
When it comes to email headers, creativity is important, but there are some additions that are required by law.
The anti-spam laws of most countries require the following information to help recipients know they’re opening and interacting with the right email, and to give readers some protection from email senders who may have ulterior and malicious motives.
The information in the header of an email needs to be accurate and not misleading. This means when your email lands in someone’s inbox they know your company sent it, as well as a bit about what will be inside it.
- From label – The from name should either be the name of your business, or your own name if your subscribers know you by it.
- Reply-to email address – The reply-to email address needs to be a functioning address and it should connect to you or someone in your company who can answer any questions. Also, the domain in your sending email address needs to be correct.
- Subject line – This is probably the trickiest one. The subject line must pertain to the content of the email in some way. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your subject line, just don’t try to use it to trick people into opening your email.
If you’re using an email marketing service like Campaign Monitor, the header will be automatically added and you just need to make sure it’s accurate.
5 Examples of excellent email headers
When it comes to email headers, the subject line and pre-header are where you can start to have some fun, as long as nothing is deceptive. No matter what you decide to do, be sure to stay on brand and use your logo, as it helps your subscribers know they’re looking at an email from your brand.
Since there are laws about some of the content in the header, seeing some creative approaches can help you see what’s possible. The following examples are in compliance with anti-spam laws and still shine.
1. Birchbox shares loyalty information
Birchbox has all the required information in their header. The team also had a little fun with an emoji in the subject line.
Their header image is really creative in that it contains information about their loyalty program. The reader can click to find out more, see how many points they’ve accrued and also subscribe to their service all from the top of the email.
2. AFAR makes good use of preheader text
Preheader text remains one of the most under-utilized parts of an email. Preheader text shows up right after the subject line in the inbox and is the first line of text from the email itself. Afar doesn’t try to hide the preheader text. Instead, it’s called out by the gray box and is so compelling it helps to lead the reader into the rest of the email. AFAR has also included their social media icons up at the top of their email in an easy-to-find spot.
3. King Arthur Flour includes transactional info
King Arthur Flour uses their shipping notification email as a way to help their customers find helpful information and ideas. They link directly to recipes and their blog to encourage customers to explore what the brand has to offer while they wait.
4. Conde Nast Travels links to their best articles
Conde Nast Traveler has made it super easy for their readers to get to their articles via email. Above their header image, they’ve included links that go directly to the posts that the team feels will be interesting to subscribers.
5. Sublime Stitching keeps it simple
Sometimes less is more. Sublime Stitching has simple pre-header text, and includes their logo and a few links to their website. It’s easy to read and gets the point across without too much clutter. For a brand that has bright embroidery patterns, this makes it more compelling for a reader to dive into the rest of the email.
While headers may seem basic, they can be optimized to add some oomph to your emails. Keep in compliance with the law, and if you’re using email marketing software that shouldn’t be too difficult, but still add your own touch. As with all things in your email, it’s best to A/B test any major changes you make so you don’t see drastic impacts to your business.