Don’t Overlook These 4 Areas of Your Marketing E-Mails

When you’re vying for precious inbox space, it’s important to seize every opportunity to stand out. Here are 4 ways you might not have tried.

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E-mail marketing is a great opportunity for many businesses to reach potential clients and customers in timely and innovative ways. I’m gonna be honest though— it’s a jungle out there. Campaign Monitor reported recently that the average officer worker receives 121 e-mails a day — that’s a LOT to compete with when you’re trying to catch someone’s attention!

When you’re vying for precious inbox space, it’s important to seize every opportunity to stand out. Everyone knows that eye-catching images and smart copy are important components to successful e-mails, but what if I told you that you’re missing out on opportunities to reinforce your brand and delight your customers right within their e-mail?

(Here’s the part where you gasp dramatically and keep scrolling to read more.)

Sender Name

Playing with your sender name can be risky, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re still building brand awareness. However, if part of your brand’s identity is to push the envelope, or if you’re known for your irreverence, this can be a hidden opportunity to seize your audience’s attention and surprise them. 

Chubbies Shorts is a brand that screams irreverence. Sometimes I get e-mails from Chubbies; other times I get e-mails from a sender I don’t recognize — which typically catches my attention and makes me want to open it.

A screencap of an e-mail from the brand Chubbies
Recognizable sender name.
New name, who ‘dis?

The two e-mails above were sent by the same company using different sender names. I have come to expect the practice from this brand, so now I know it’s Chubbies, not some random spammer. Again, this one’s a bit of a gamble. It is an example of how it’s important to know your audience, but I find it immensely clever and haven’t really seen it done anywhere else.

Subject Line & Preheader

One of my absolute favorite ways to get creative with e-mails is to play with the subject line and preheader. Doing this is your one chance to make an impactful first impression on your audience! Don’t be afraid to get creative and utilize the extra space preheaders afford. Here are a few of my favorite subject line + preheader combinations.

The combination of a question + answer in this e-mail, paired with an emoji, grabs the reader’s attention.
I’m a sucker for a pop culture reference, and this one has two: one in the subject line (I referenced this very thing earlier in this blog), and one in the pre-header with a quote from the movie “Office Space.”
This is a great example of a continuation of an idea, which is one of my favorite ways to use preheader text. Following “Dresses you can zzz in” with “Dreams really do come true” is a great way to play on the theme of “sleep.”

Alt Text

This is an area of an e-mail that gets overlooked all the time. Alt text is wording that you specify to take the place of an image in an e-mail (and also on websites and social media). Alt text is important, first and foremost, for accessibility. People with visual impairments often use screen readers, and those screen readers read the alt text to give the user a better understanding of what is on the page. If you don’t have any alt text descriptions, a visually impaired user cannot “read” the images in your e-mail. Alt text will also be displayed if an image in your e-mail can’t be displayed. If an image is broken, the alt text gives the reader a decent idea of what it’s supposed to be. 

Like the aforementioned sender name, alt text is an opportunity to extend your branding into your e-mails. I’m going to once again bring up Chubbies, because they’re one of the only companies I’ve encountered who utilize alt text to bring their humor into their e-mails. Example:

This 4th of July e-mail they sent back in the summer of 2018 cracked me up. Not great for accessibility, but it is still a unique use of alt text to solidify their brand.

Even if you do not use your alt text for humor or branding purposes, it’s still important for accessibility reasons. Check out some other examples of how brands use alt text to describe their images.

You can find a happy medium of funny/usability here by being witty in describing the images: “Best Organic Chai Gift Set You’ll Ever Find” and “Elements Tea Steep Mug for Max Relaxation” are two examples of ways I’d combine function and originality to describe the items in the example above.

Footer (Including Your Unsubscribe Area)

Finally, let’s talk about your footer. There are elements you must have in your e-mail footers: your company’s name, address, a message of how the reader came to be subscribed, and a way to unsubscribe, plus any important disclaimers.

But just because the footer is at the bottom of an e-mail doesn’t mean you have to do the bare minimum and call it a day. It is still an opportunity to extend your brand’s identity and messaging even further. 

Hey, look. It’s Chubbies again. But look at the way they bring their voice into the footer — even into the unsubscribe section.
This is another excellent example of a brand making the footer their own. They have all the necessary compliance stuff, but they injected their personality into the footer of the e-mail.

People love a brand they can connect with. By utilizing these 4 oft-overlooked areas of your marketing e-mails, you can reinforce your brand and craft messages that will resonate with your audience long after they click the “close” button. If your e-mail marketing needs a little love, give us a shout — we can help.

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