Looking for more email opens?

Email Marketing is the most popular method to advertise in B2B environment. Email marketing is utilized by thousands of businesses of all sizes across the globe. It’s very easy and cost effective method to reach your prospects. But what if no one is looking at your emails at all? To get most out of your email marketing you have to make sure that people are engaging with your emails.

OK, do one thing, look at your inbox now. How many unread emails do you have? I bet you have hundreds of unread emails and if you are like me you might have thousands :). We get a ton of emails in our inbox every day. So for an email marketer, the most critical thing is to ensure that when your prospects look at their inbox, your email should stand out and get full attention.

What is the first impression of your email?

Obviously, who sends the email; the From Name and what it is about; the Subject Line. Though it’s correct but along with from name and subject line, there is one more important thing that subscriber notice at the very first look, a short description of your email. Which I am calling “Snippet Text” or “Preview Text”.

So to improve your open rates you have to make sure that all these three things are well optimized. So remember following equation every time you setup your newsletter:

From Name + Subject Line + Snippet text  = High Open Rate

What is “Snippet Text”?

Many of the email client including Gmail, Outlook, and iPhone not only show the from name and subject line but also some preview text of your emails. Below are some screenshots that will help you understand what I am talking about:

Does snippet text really improve open rates?

The open rates depends on the impression you left at the first glance of the inbox. As shown above there are three things that the subscriber will see in his inbox for your email. So if you have interesting subject line and snippet text, it will undoubtedly improve your open rates. I found people improving their open rates by 20-30% just because of a good snippet text.

I would also suggest to include “Snippet test” too in your A/B testing next time along with other things like subject, from to name, and body content etc.

Which all devices/email clients support “Snippet Text”?

Litmus did a test to see which all email clients/apps display snippet text. Below is the result for your reference:


How can I customize email snippet text?

Snippet text is nothing, it’s the very first text that appear in your email. It can be a paragraph or the alt text of the very first image. I usually noticed following things appear as snippet text:

  1. Blurb about viewing the email online, or…
  2. The salutation that often graces the start of the email’s copy, or…
  3. The first headline in the email (commonly a copy of the subject line)

So you are now are realizing that you are missing one of the most expensive thing of your email. Don’t worry, I have something for you here. You can also utilize snippet text for your emails too from now onward.

You can leverage any of the following three most common approaches to customize snippet text:

  1. Text Placeholder
  2. Alt attribute text
  3. Hidden text

1. Text Placeholder:

You can place the text you want Google to pick up at the top of your email. Like this:


Indeed, many people choose to use this preheader space for a call to action or little teaser anyway. The text’s appearance in the inbox is just a bonus. Others, however, prefer to leave that space free of clutter and use it for an image, or to point people to functional links like the web version, the forward-to-a-friend feature, etc.

2. Alt attribute text:

If you want to preserve the preheader space for something else then you would like to use this approach. As I mentioned above, snippet text can also be the alt text of the first image appear in your email.

You can exploit that by putting a transparent 1×1 pixel image at the very top of your email and giving it the alt text you want to display as snippet text. When the image is downloaded at the recipient end, it’s effectively invisible. The image code will look like below:

<img src="1px_image.png" alt="Boost your open rate by 25%..." width="1" height="1">

The main thing to remember here is to define the size of the 1×1 image using height and width attributes otherwise if the image is blocked on email clients then it will show whole alt text as a placeholder which would not be a good user experience. Some email clients included Thunderbird will still expand the size of the blocked image to fit in all the alt text you used.

3. Hidden Text:

So the both above options have some limitation that you do not want to have. The another full proof solution is using hidden text. Put all your snippet text in the preheader section under a tag. Now do two more things:

  • Set the font-size to 1 px of this span text to make the text small, and
  • Set the font-color the same as the preheader background color. This will make the text “invisible.”


<span style="font-size:1px; color:#fff">Boost your open rate by 25%...</span>

You may have to change the color to match the back-ground of your email.

After reading this post, I am sure, when you draft your next newsletter you will also plan out to draft a interesting and engaging snippet text.

I am sure many of you guys are already leveraging this and some will try this out. Please share your experience with snippet text and by what % you were able to increase the open rates.

Quick Tip for Marketo users:

You do not have to do anything complex. Marketo has made our life easier here. Just go to email settings and add a Preheader..

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