Some email clients like Gmail and the email application on the iPhone are displaying a short snippet of each email next to the sender and subject on the list page of the inbox. Outlook users can enable this behavior by enabling the AutoPreview function. These snippets use the first text that appears in the HTML version of the email. Often emails are starting with a text and link to an online version of the email or the option to unsubscribe. Such texts as snippet in the inbox are hardly an invitation to open the email and are even more likely to have a negative effect.
With a simple trick it is possible to include a special teaser text in the email that will be use for the snippet without actually being displayed in the email itself. This can be achieved by adding an invisible DIV-element with the teaser text as first element of the HTML body.
As Gmail ignores the inline style sheet parameters for display and visibility, it is necessary to set the font-size to zero to avoid any extra white-space. Tests have shown that other common email clients won’t display the teaser text when the email is being opened.
Both Gmail as well as the Apple Mail application on the iPhone are displaying about 90 characters of this teaser text. In Outlook the amount of characters depends on the width of the inbox list.
With this simple change to your email template it is possible to add a teaser text with extra information or a call-to-action to increase the open rate of the email campaign.
This article was originally written for the August edition of the Tripolis Newsletter.