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Designing emails with preview in mind

August 6, 2010

Ever thought about how your message looks in email client preview windows? Graphic designers are the first to admit they often overlook this. In this article, we’ll take you through some points that will help enhance your email in the preview window and increase your open and click through rates.

When designing an email, you not only want your email to look good design wise, but also create an impact when previewed in the customer’s email client as the majority of customers will use the default preview pane to view your email. The default preview in most email clients is at the bottom of the screen, although some will opt to have their emails preview to the right of the screen, which is something to bear in mind whilst designing. To complicate matters more you have to think about the possibility that the customer might not want to display images in the preview window.

The preview will be used to decide whether an email is opened or not, which emphasises the importance of getting your design right. Not only is it design you have to consider, you have to think about getting your key points to your message across via the preview pane.

6 ways to enhance your email in the preview window

1. Look at the top of your email – what is actually there, is it appealing? Can this be put somewhere else? Think redesign.

2. If you try and think of your preview window as a snap shot of your email, you need to grab the reader’s attention to make sure they read on as most will decide to do so via the preview pane. Have you thought about which part of your email, your customers are clicking on most and what interests them the most? Make sure you get this information near the top of the emails.

3. Use Alt tags for all images – describe image or action if it has a hyperlink on it. It’s so important if customers have images blocked when an email is viewed in the preview pane as this will give the customer confidence in allowing images to be turned on. It increases the trust between your company and your contact.

4. Create a tracked static link and show ‘view online’ at the top of the email.

5. Subject lines also need to be considered and email clients handle these very differently so the number of characters should be kept quite short.

6. Test and test again. Make sure you like what the email looks like in your own preview window and in other email clients you have accounts with.

There is no doubt that the use of the preview window is used more and more. It’s time to start thinking about redesigning now before it’s too late.

Posted by Joel Jarman
Email Design

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