Three Second Marketing, Part One: Emails

Posted by Lisa Smith on Oct 14, 2015 7:43:04 PM



When it comes to email marketing, the first three seconds a potential customer views your email are crucial. The process of marketing your brand’s product or service via email starts the minute your message hits the customer’s inbox. In as little as three seconds, the customer will decide whether they will open, save, or send your email to the deepest depths of their trash bin. The fate of your email depends on three important factors:


  • The From Name
  • Subject Line
  • Preheader Text


The window of opportunity to make a good impression on your potential customer is extremely small, but there are steps you can take to ensure that your email survives the “trash” button. 

1. Establish sender recognition with the email’s “From Name”

2. Craft a click-worthy subject line to grab the recipient’s attention
3. Customize preheader text to improve email open rates 

Establish sender recognition with the email’s “From Name”

The first thing a potential customer will notice when they receive a marketing email is the sender’s email address. This is your first opportunity to introduce your brand’s name, and reassure the recipient that your email is safe to open. Make sure your potential customer can easily associate your brand with your email address or “From Name”. If they see “no-reply” in the address, or the name of a sales representative that they don’t recognize, it is highly unlikely they will open the message. Promotional phrases used in the From Name, such as “deals” or savings” appear suspicious to the recipient more often than not. Also, the From Name should stay consistent over time so that, your recipients never have to question who the email is from. 


Do: Use a simple and recognizable From Name. 



Don’t: Use the word “Deal” or anything promotional in the From Name. 



Craft a click-worthy subject line to grab the recipient’s attention

The second thing a potential customer will notice is the email’s subject line. If you think of your email as a news article, consider the subject line as the headline. The subject line will set the recipient’s expectations for the entire email, and if their expectations are low, your email is headed straight for the trash.  The best email subject lines are short, descriptive and provide the reader with a reason to explore your message further. Avoid using phrases such a “free”, “discount”, or “promotion,” in the subject line because those phrases are often trigger words for spam filters. If you must use them, save it for the preheader text where provide more details about the email's content, and it won't be effected by spam triggers. 


Do: Use a simple, but descriptive subject line. 



Don’t: Be vague about a discounted product in your subject line. 



Customize preheader text to improve email open rates 

Since you only have three seconds to convince the customer that your email is worth opening, it’s important to utilize every tool at your fingertips, particularly the email’s preheader text. This feature will appear next to the subject line in the inbox of most email clients including Gmail, Outlook, and the iPhone. Use the preheader text to elaborate on the subject line, and provide an answer to the question on every customer’s mind: “What’s in it for me?” You may also want to take this opportunity to insert your first call-to-action. The length of the preheader varies depending on the email client, so it’s best to keep it under 75 characters to be safe.


Do: Use the preheader to show your appreciation of the customer’s loyalty. 



Don’t: Repeat the message of your subject line in the preheader text. 



Before you send out your next promotional email, imagine receiving the message yourself and decide whether or not it would stand out in your own crowded inbox. Would you trust the email address? Does the subject line grab your attention? Does the preheader text spark further interest?  As long as you keep these considerations in mind, your marketing email is likely to survive even your three second test!



Topics: marketing