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Emails have a very specific anatomy to them, and each piece needs to be carefully crafted for it to be a success. The email snippet, subject line, and body content are all vital pieces of the larger puzzle and are valuable pieces of real estate when it comes to getting your message across and encouraging engagement.

68% of email opens now occur on mobile devices.

A statistic like this emphasizes the fact that an email subject line and the snippet are essential. However, they only provide so much space to the writer. This means they must be short and to the point.

Before we can dive much deeper into a successful email snippet and other aspects of email anatomy, we have to understand the basics. Let’s take a look at what a snippet is and how you can grab subscriber’s attention to click on your email with a snippet.

What is an email snippet?

The email snippet is the very first line of text that your email recipient will see, following the email subject line. Since so many marketers still don’t realize the importance of the email snippet, some leave this section blank, which can result in a default error message that reads, “Not displaying correctly? View this message online.”

Not a very inviting message for your readers, right?

Instead, you want to make good use of this valuable real estate and grab your reader’s attention, while also enticing them to open your message.

Instead, you want to make good use of this valuable real estate and grab your reader’s attention, while also enticing them to open your message.

Preheader text and Johnson boxes

While email snippets have been around for some time, they haven’t always gone by the same terminology. In fact, this area of text goes by a few different names, including the preheader text and is also known as a Johnson box.

While email snippets have been around for some time, they haven’t always gone by the same terminology. In fact, this area of text goes by a few different names, including the preheader text and is also known as a Johnson box.

Email snippet best practices

Just as with any other part of an email, the snippet has a few key best practices that writers should really keep in mind when designing and writing the email and before sending:

  • Snippets should remain between 40-50 characters in length.
  • They should be a continuation of the subject line.
  • Include a specific, actionable CTA to encourage readers to open the message.
  • They should be included in your email testing prior to sending.

How to measure the success of your email snippet

An email snippet’s success can be measured by monitoring a few key performance indicators (KPIs) carefully. These KPIs help you determine how well a campaign is doing and where to improve in the future. This is done by comparing your KPI benchmarks with those of your given industry.

KPIs to monitor include:

  • Open rate – The percentage of people opening your emails
  • Click-to-open rate – The number of unique clicks compared to unique opens
  • Click-through rate – The percentage of people who clicked on a hyperlink, image, video, or CTA in your email
  • Unsubscribe rate – The percentage of people who choose to opt out of receiving future emails

Do email snippets really matter?

Email snippets are essential because they’re the subscriber’s first impression of what you’re offering to your customers. While the subject line should catch the eye, the email snippet should get your readers to want to open it. Without this combination, your emails might not get opened.

What now?

Now that you know what an email snippet is, it’s time to learn how to use it to your advantage. Take a few short minutes to learn how to optimize for Gmail’s snippets and Outlook’s AutoPreview.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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