Sell your story to desktop and laptop recipients
Eight out of 10 businesspeople and more than half of consumers use preview panes to decide whether to open an email, according to Lyris Technologies.
That makes the preview pane is one of the elements desktop and laptop readers consider when deciding whether to open or delete your email message.
Feel the pane
But the preview pane can be a pain to email communicators. According to a survey by EmailLabs:
- More than half of email recipients don’t see images in the preview pane because their companies or email programs block them. Counting on an image to get their attention? Chances are, you won’t get through.
- Three-quarters of email recipients who use a preview pane use it in a horizontal format. That means they can only see four inches or so of your message. However, one-quarter use a vertical pane, so you can’t count on that four-inch horizontal bar of real estate being seen by all your recipients.
- Nearly half look at just the first few lines to decide whether they want to read your message.
Overcome the pane barrier
How do you make the preview pane work for you?
- Sell your content in the top left corner. That two- to four-inch space is where horizontal and vertical panes intersect — and it’s all you can count on previewers viewing.
- Think horizontal. Your second most valuable real estate is the top two to four inches of your message.
- Tweet your key message. Most email systems preview the first 50-75 characters of a message. So write your opening sentence as a tweet — or more like half a tweet, suggests Steve Rubel.
- Focus on text, not graphics. Most people don’t see graphics in the preview pane, so make flags, logos and other images smaller and move them out of the upper-left corner.
- Move administrative information to an administrative center at the bottom of the message.
A world of pane
In this environment, it’s important to pay special attention to your “from” lines and subject lines. Three out of five email recipients say they consult those to decide whether they’ll even scan the information in the preview pane — or just delete it without looking.
Does your preview pane snag eyes? Take EmailLabs’ Email Preview Pane Rendering Quiz to find out.
Loren McDonald, “Designing Emails For the Preview Pane and Disabled Images,” EmailLabs, Oct. 28, 2005