One Very Simple Email Marketing Trick that Even Big Brands Aren’t Using

Ali Luke

Last week, I was in Vegas for MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit – a high-profile conference aimed at businesses looking to improve their email marketing.

While some of the advice was definitely aimed at big brands with big audiences, there were plenty of tips that apply to anyone with an email list.

I wrote about what I learned in a post for Zen Optimise (Twelve Brilliantly Simple Email Marketing Tips from MarketingSherpa’s Email Summit 2014), but I wanted to share just one very simple yet really vital tip here:

Make your “snippet” text compelling.

What’s snippet text?

It’s the first few words of your email, which appear alongside the subject line in many email clients, like Gmail. I’ve indicated the snippets in red below:


Here are the snippets themselves:


South by Southwest’s email snippet reads “Having trouble reading this email? View it in your browser. Faceboo…”

genConnect’s email snipped reads “If you’re having trouble viewing this email…”

This is such a wasted opportunity. Why not use the snippet to encourage people to open your email? The myWaitrose email does the best job of this, with:

“Waitrose £5 wines plus how to make Delia’s pancakes…”

(And I don’t know about you, but the words “having trouble reading this email?” or similar aren’t exactly encouraging ones…)

There are plenty of ways to create better snippet text. Maybe your template has a box to include a sentence or two on the top left hand side. Maybe you want to change the way you begin your emails.

It’s up to you. Just be aware of what readers are seeing … and how you can use it to your advantage.


Have you got a great example of a compelling snippet from an email in your inbox? Share it with us in the comments!

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11 Responses to “One Very Simple Email Marketing Trick that Even Big Brands Aren’t Using”

  • Adeel

    Thans a Lot Ali luke.

    I read your article and i realy thankx full to you. I m new in bloging and this blog is very importent 4 me about information about new blog and maintence.


  • Joshu Thomas

    Nice tip, thanks for sharing.
    But personally, I have given up on email marketing and replaced it with facebook marketing. I think people would give more attention and there is wider reach for FB marketing.

  • Ali Luke

    Thanks all! As several of you have mentioned, this is something that it’s easy to miss (or like Tope, be aware of subconsciously without really thinking about it).

  • Tope Fabusola

    Wow! Nice one. I should know. Cos I opened the email that lead me here because of the snippet! Thanks for making me what I have been doing subconsciously for years!

  • Akash Agarwal

    Thanks for sharing this nice topic on email marketing. Email marketing occurs when a company sends a commercial message to a group of people by use of electronic email.

  • Raspal Seni

    Never paid much attention to this e-mail marketing thing, but I surely knew how snippets worked to grab attention.

    I don’t use GMail as my main e-mail, and have snippets disabled on the paid e-mail service I use. Maybe I should enable this option now that my Inbox isn’t flooded. Practicing Inbox Zero since a few weeks.

    Over to ZenOptimize to read what you learnt from the summit!

  • Ravi Chauhan

    Good post, Last few days I’m searching email marketing tips, but we can’t find, after reading your blog i have found useful tips for email marketing. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Nisha Pandey

    Ali, I am in complete agreement that including snippets with appealing text, unlike the old semantic approach can increase your chances of getting noticed. Hafta admit, this trick can benefit all looking for email marketing.

  • Matthew Eaton

    You know, I haven’t really paid attention to this, but you pointing this out makes me curious. I’ll have to take a look at a few e-mails over the weekend and see what they do.

    You are right though, the snippets are exactly like your opening line. If you don’t have something amazing that makes people open it, you put yourself behind the ball, even if they have trust in you already.

    Maybe these people should use the headline analysis site?

  • Sharad

    Thanks Ali Luke for awesome post, Marketing via email is a trickly matter. It is powerful, but easily abused. It is easy, but really difficult. May these tips, tricks and secret make it easy and powerful for you

  • Glenn David

    Hey Ali, I never looked at this part of the mail but now I’ll consider looking it at to increase my conversions. Really thanks 🙂

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