Charlotte Baker

Email Marketing: How to get seen in the inbox

Your inbox is a battlefield with every email fighting for attention, so it’s important your email stands out. To help you do just that, here are some tips that will give you a fighting chance.

Every email marketing agency is aiming to get the ‘Oh what’s this?’ or ‘I need to read this now’ reaction, but in reality most emails get ‘that can wait’ or ‘this can be deleted’. To get the best reaction from the recipient, extra care has to be taken with your ‘lines’.

What are these lines I hear you say? When the recipient opens his/her inbox, they will see 3 lines that are the gateway to your email: the From Line, Subject line and Snippet line.

From Line

This simply displays your email address or name but can be crucial in your recipient’s decision to open your email. You want the From line to be preferably your company’s domain name and long enough to represent your brand properly but if it’s too long, subscribers won’t be able to see the whole thing which could shy them away from opening the email.

Subject lines

Subject lines are perhaps the most influential way to get the best reaction from the recipient…if you do them right! These lines tend to describe what is expected in the email; however more and more companies are using weird and wonderful subject lines to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few do’s and don’ts for subject lines.

Keep it short and sweet

The best subject lines are simple and to the point. You won’t have a lot of time to impress your recipient, so it’s a good idea not to go overboard with the amount of text in your subject line. Also, with the increasing number of people accessing their inbox on mobile devices, if your subject line is too long it will not be seen.

Keep calm

Avoid ALL CAPS. No one likes being shouted at, so why would you scream at your subscribers? Caps are often seen as ‘dodgy and desperate’, as well as being difficult to read and are therefore unlikely to have the desired effect of grabbing the reader’s attention. There is no great harm in one word being CAPS, but keep the rest lower case as you don’t want to scare off the reader.

Make ’em laugh

Everyone wants to laugh, so why not take this brief opportunity to connect with the reader. Clever puns or quick jokes can be very engaging and entice the recipient to open your email. Here are a couple funny subject lines that have caught my eye; Emerald Street used the subject line, ‘In your face!’ to well, get in the readers face! Urban Outfitters went with ‘7 inches? Music to our ears’ to make the audience giggle‏. However, be aware that there is a fine line between being amusing and being darn right annoying. Speaking of which…

Symbols, ♥ them or  them?

A growing trend you may have noticed in your email inbox is the use of symbols. They can differentiate your email from competitors by breaking up the text and adding some fun to your subject line. Despite their popularity, think twice before using them as the novelty won’t fit with every business. Additionally, less is more with symbols, if used too much the ‘cute’ factor can wear off very quickly.

It’s time to personalise!

The use of personalisation in the inbox has rapidly increased as another fresh way to standout. It is no longer simply about the forename and surname, email marketers are now incorporating behavioural information and transactional data. So for example, you can send emails based on the subscriber’s activity on your website or their previous purchases. Amazon is a prime example of this, regularly sending out emails based on the recipient’s purchase history. Asking a question can also make your email feel more personal. Tumblr recently asked me ‘Hey. What’s up?’I answered by opening their email. Everyone’s a winner. Again, be wary your emails don’t come across as creepy. No one likes a stalker.


It’s not just about the Subject Line. You have a bonus line to work with and use to your advantage. Your subscriber is on the go all day and doesn’t have time to read through piles of emails, so why not offer a helping hand by giving them a taste of the good stuff? A snippet provides an auto-preview of the first text in your email and allows the reader to work out how urgent the email will be. Therefore it is important that the first words at the top of the email are relevant.

So there you have it, get your lines right! Show some love to the From line, Subject line and Snippet line, and you’ll be the main attraction in everyone’s inbox.