So you’ve created the perfect email.  The HTML, CSS and design have all united together in a beautiful choreography, like a ballet dancer waiting to wow their audience.  Now – the last thing you want is for your email’s inbox performance to display View Online or Unsubscribe links as the first act people see.

You need to make an impact in the inbox, enticing the receiver to open your email above all others, and not delete it in one foul swipe.  “How do I do that?”  I hear you cry.  Fear not friend, Preview Text is your saviour.

What is Preview Text?

Preview Text is the first sentence or words from an email that are displayed in your inbox, under the Sender and Subject Line.

The format in your inbox runs like so:

Sender Name

Subject Line

Preview text

Most email providers, like Enabler, will let you control and customise the preview text that’s displayed in the inbox by allowing you to write your own sentence.  This way you can ensure you grab the attention of your audience before they even open the email, by avoiding the appearance of default text in your Preview Text – because lets face it, View Email Online isn’t really going to drive engagement.


Now You See It, Now You Don’t

There are two ways to use the Preview Text:

  1. Displayed in the email at the top

  2. Hidden in the code

More commonly, the Preview Text is hidden away to work it’s magic in the background.  If it’s displayed at the top or head of your email, it is referred to as a Preheader Text.  Don’t worry, you can still use hidden Preview Text alongside your Preheader.  If you set the Preview Text container above the Preheader in the HTML, it will appear first.  This could help push down text you don’t want displayed (like that pesky View Email Online)

Email Header example:

Get the best offers available today

To view email online click here

Email HTML example:

<div class=“preview-text” style=”display:none;font-size:1px;color:#333333;line-height:1px;max-height:0px;max-width:0px;opacity:0;overflow:hidden;”>Welcome to the new online store. </div>    
<table width=”100%”>
        <td align=”center” valign=“top”>
            Get the best offers available today <br>
            To view email online <a href=“##”>click here</a>


Might look complicated, but what this clever piece of HTML does is bump the view email online text out of the inbox preview, like so:

Inbox results example:

Sender Name

Subject Line 

Welcome to the new online store.  Get the best offers available today.

The Preview Text Hack

So everyone has their own inbox display preferences, and sometimes we don’t get the choice.  You could be displaying 1, 2, even 3 lines of preview text, or annoyingly all of it – it all depends on the email provider.  This could result in the above inbox example displaying text you don’t want your audience to see, i.e:

Sender Name

Subject Line 

Welcome to the new online store.  Get the best offers available today. To view email online click here.

But don’t worry, we have it covered.  There’s a little hack that can help with this:


No… I didn’t just fall on my keyboard and hit the keys at random.  This bizarre-looking strong of code stands for:

  • Zero width non joiners, or &zwnj;

  • Non breaking spaces, or &nbsp;

The idea is &zwnj;&nbsp; repeated will create white space after your preview text, effectively giving you an invisible buffer to bump down the unwanted copy from the Preview Text.


<div class=“preview-text” style=“display:none;font-size:1px;color:#333333;line-height:1px;max-height:0px;max-width:0px;opacity:0;overflow:hidden;”>Wow that’s short…&zwnj;&nbsp;&zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; &zwnj;&nbsp; Text you don’t want displayed</div>

The result, a beautifully tidy inbox display:

Sender Name

Subject Line 

Wow that’s short…

Emojis in Email

😀 😃 😄 😁 😆 😅 😂

These little characters have been around since the late 90s on our mobile phones.  In 2017, emojis have taken over our messages and have now stepped out of our mobile phones and onto the big screen with ‘Emoji Movie’.  There’s even a World Emoji Day on July 17th.

Now, coming to a subject line near you, the emoji is finding it’s place within your email inbox.

Like in the example above, some companies are opting for the subject line emoji as it can help capture the audiences’ attention, plus it allows you to have a bit of fun with the wide selection of icons available.

However, like a lot of new ideas in email (for example video or GIFs), emojis are not accepted across the board, as they will render differently across different devices and email platforms. Emojis are built around Unicode which is a standard set of figures that will display different emojis, for example:

U+1F602 = 😂

U+1F60D = 😍

U+1F601 = 😁

(A full list of emoji icons and their codes can be found here)

If you are planning on using emojis in your subject lines, test before you send otherwise your hip looking emails might turn out  looking a little square, as this ☐ icon will display if your emoji code can’t be recognised.



A few more things to take into consideration when composing your Preview Text are:

  • Avoid letting the View Email Online into your Preview Text

  • Think of the Preview Text as a continuation of your Subject Line

  • Try some A/B testing with different Preview Text

  • Try not to repeat what is stated in the Subject Line

  • Test your Emojis

  • Try to use personalisation in your Subject Lines or Preview Text

  • Use the Subject Line or Preview Text to promote scrolling by referencing key points or articles lower down your email.

  • Be mindful of your character count – Preview Text can vary in different email clients and platforms, so don’t leave the best bits until the end.

Preview Text shouldn’t be an afterthought.  These small techniques can help to improve your open and click-through rates, and show your email as being professional and well thought out.


So go ahead, try some different combinations of subject lines and preview text.  Test, test, test those combinations, then sit back and watch the positive responses.

Well done!  Your performance is complete and your audience is demanding encores!

Enabler is supported by a team of email specialists who have won the RAR Award for Email Marketing in both 2017 and 2015, an accolade they are particularly proud of as it’s based on independent votes from clients.

Okay, that all sounds great, but who are the people behind the awards? I recently brought the Enabler team together to find out what attracted them to email marketing, their advice for creating great emails, and how they see the medium changing in the future.


The Team

“How did you get into email marketing?”


I’ve always been into digital tech, and started having a look into careers while at university.  I applied for general marketing jobs wile still there, and once I’d tried email there was no going back  – it was my one true professional love!


I as introduced to email marketing while at uni too, then went straight into it when I started working.


I only started it when i joined Pancentric – it’s been a bit of a baptism by fire, but I’m enjoying it.


I also only got into email marketing when I started here.  I had more of a technical web background before I started doing email, but my main focus is supporting our clients and giving them the best knowledge of Enabler and email.


I was building websites and interactive learning tools before working at Pancentric.  When I started, I was part of just a two-person Enabler team.  It’s great to see how the team has grown!


“What do you like about the medium of email?”


There is still a simplicity about Email; it’s built in an old-school style and has become one of the easiest forms of correspondence to date.  There are many types of email, and its limitations are now being challenged daily.


It might sound strange, but I love the limitations.  You constantly have to find ways around problems like deliverability, design, code and mobile responsive elements.  You have to innovate to keep up to date with the ever-changing email landscape.


Paul mentioned the simplicity of email, which is something I like about it too, and I also like how quick it can be to get a campaign up and running, then to see the instantly measurable analytics – businesses can start seeing results within minutes of their emails being sent.


I like the immediacy of email, and that the recipient can open the message in their own time, so it’s less intrusive than a phone call.  It also tends to produce a much higher ROI than calling ever could.


Yeah, the speed of email is great, and its mobility makes it really convenient.  You can view emails on so many different devices and platforms now, so although you can open them in your own time it’s harder to dodge them than phone calls – hence why it’s great for marketing purposes!


“What is your best tip for creating a great email?”


Plan.  I can’t really give more important advice than that.  Think about what you’re trying to achieve, what impact it will have on your recipients’ experience, and what you want the outcome to be.  Talk to experts and keep testing everything you do.


Yes, definitely keep the recipients in mind at all times.  Only include content that is relevant to your target audience, and test thoroughly before sending.  There’s no room for mistakes in email marketing, as you need to immediately impress the recipient.


Keep it simple.  An email is an opener or advert for something further.  You don’t need to load everything possible into an email, as you may lose the recipient halfway through.  Capture people’s attention with detailed intros, stylish imagery and interactivity that will be remembered.


I agree that emails should be kept short and clean – avoid overcrowding, as you won’t hold your recipient’s attention if there’s too much to take in.


Thinking more broadly, I’d say to focus on targeting those who are genuinely interested in your brand.  Use advanced segmentation techniques and data personalisation wherever possible, as they often boost engagement rates.  Also, try to make sure you only send an email when you have something truly valuable or helpful to say, and when you have a clear message or call to action.  Don’t bombard people!


“Which brand do you think sends great emails, and why do you like them?”


I’ve got a couple of brands that I follow really closely for great design, build and innovation. B&Q are doing some fantastic stuff with mobile responsive design and build.

Burberry emails are crazy innovative and great if you like exploring new tech in email, and ASOS is incredibly good at email strategy – very well timed, topical emails that make me want to click every time.


Innocent Drinks illustrate perfectly how to keep customers intrigued, with their Friday morning email newsletter.  In addition to sneaking in product-related information and freebies, there’s always plenty of interesting, entertaining articles and sometimes a humorous take on recent affairs that’ll make even the grumpiest person smile on a Friday morning.


Litmus, who are at the forefront of email, are knocking out some really interesting emails.  The last one I received had an interactive form to complete within the inbox itself.

GUESS emails are bold and well-styled have large impactful imagery and good use of space.


Yeah, I think quite a few fashion brands are producing some cool emails at the moment.  Shout out to Ralph Lauren of course, whose emails I spend a lot of time designing, but I also like Zara’s email styling.


Firebox is another one that sends clever and funny emails. They theme their subject lines around celebration days, sales and their product categories such as Favourites and New Stuff. Their email styling is great too – clean and simple, not too text-heavy and often incorporating GIFs to showcase their gadgets.  They also seem to have intelligent personalisation of products to their recipients (but maybe I just like all of their stuff!)


“How do you think email might change over the next few years?”


Email has come a long way over the last few years and is starting to catch up with its digital big brothers of the web.  Its progression is constant, and I feel like it has a lot more to prove. I expect to see plenty of more interactivity via CSS3/4, hopefully an email build that will work across the email client board and perhaps more collaboration from the email clients themselves.


I am personally hoping that Microsoft will adapt Outlook so it is more in line with other providers, allowing B2B emails to become more innovative and exciting.


I also hope to see improvements to email client’s support of modern coding techniques, with less need for individual email client hacks.  I think we will definitely see more automation this year, with more options for smarter campaigns.


I think email content will become more targeted and concise as a result of more sophisticated segmentation techniques.


I agree – I think segmentation will also lead to greater personalisation and recipient interaction.

That’s everything from the team for now! Hopefully they leave you with some new ideas, direction, and inspiration.

Do have a think about some of the email techniques and projections for the future, and see if you can get ahead of the game to impress your recipients. Maybe our team will mention your emails next time!

With so much going on in a Marketing team, you will often find you don’t have enough time to get everything done.  You will have had days where you’re in back-to-back meetings, and still have a whole hoard of tasks to do by the end of the day.  This is where an automated system would be super useful!

Luckily, there’s a little thing called Marketing Automation that can step in.  The basic idea of marketing automation is to set up a system to perform actions based on triggers (i.e. if a customer clicks an email link it triggers a second personalised email being sent several days later).  Once the email automation is set up, it then runs in the background without any additional work required, making your life and workload a lot easier.

There are many people that would benefit from having a Marketing Automation solution, but from a sales perspective, here are the top three reasons to start implementing automated emails campaigns right now:

  1. You can have pre-defined marketing programmes cultivating leads for you, while you’re off doing tasks that require more face-to-face contact.

  2. It allows you to optimise your time efficiently and achieve your goals without missing a beat.

  3. It allows you to be at the forefront of email marketing trends, bringing your business into the 21st Century.


So how would you put a Marketing Automation plan together?

Here is a useful Marketing Automation Workflow for you to refer to when setting up your campaign programme:

 (Click image to download)


What you need to think about:

Planning is exceptionally important in the world of marketing automation, for many reasons. Firstly, the term ‘marketing automation’ has, unfortunately, become somewhat of a buzzword, where marketeers seek out automation software under the misguided impression that it provides them with the digital marketing wizardry to automatically generate new leads. This misconception leaves many marketeers with sophisticated tools to automate the middle of their campaign funnel, but no solution that actually generates new leads at the beginning of the funnel.

In your planning phase, you should get to know the system you’re using and plug any holes in your lead generation funnel, allowing you to get your automated ducks in a row.

Secondly, planning helps to prevent you from making mistakes when you set your programme live.  It will ensure you have fully thought through every possible step / action your customer may take, thoroughly planning out what components you will need in order to make your campaign run successfully as an automated system.  Sounds complicated, but its far from it (and if you get stuck you can always check with us).

For example, email templates, forms, surveys and website content – make sure the right links are in place, and test that the right automation is being trigger when an action occurs (i.e. a link is clicked).  There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful automation programme set up, only to find your customers aren’t ending up where you want them to go because you’ve missed a step in your automation set-up.

You might think that I’m going overboard and stating the obvious when I say you need to plan out every step of your marketing automation, but if you really want it to run successfully with seamless automation, then planning really is the key.

To help you along, I’ve set up an example workflow of a functional marketing automation programme.  The example below demonstrates a ‘Welcome Programme’ for a new customer being added to a contact database, taking you through every automated step for every action or inaction the customer may take within the programme, including time delays.



Now you have had a look at how a Marketing Automation programme could work, I’m going to take you through some does and don’ts of the automation world:


  • Integrate your inbound marketing strategy with your marketing automation. Inbound strategy is all about providing valuable, aligned content, and this should not change at all if you start using marketing automation.  If anything, it should be enhancing your communications, as you will be able to provide the content your customer’s need, at the exact time they need it, without any manual input during the process.

  • Send relevant content to your customers, and make sure you are providing them with what they are looking for.  People make the mistake of trying to drive business objectives without actually considering the customer who is going through the journey.  This is arising trend within the industry, with many companies providing workshops detailing how to achieve a customer driven strategy.

  • Set up engagement and retention campaigns to keep your current customers coming back for more.  After all, it’s much easier to sell to someone who has previously bought from you.  Content marketing is an essential part of making sales, and automation can help you do this.  Make sure you’re keeping on top of your content and constantly improving it, making sure it’s more relevant to your customer’s as they progress on their automated journey.


  • Set up Automation without planning first or thinking about what you want to achieve. There is no point setting up a complex automated programme without getting the strategy right first.  Don’t be that person.

  • Mass email customers.  This is literally the worst.  I have unsubscribed from so may brands over the years because they are emailing too much, and none of the content was relevant.  If nothing else, you will end up having your emails marked as spam, so just avoid bulk emailing.

  • Start before planning.  So I know I harped on about this, but it’s seriously important.  Don’t spend days or weeks of your life setting up an automation programme before you have taken the time to properly research and plan every step and action.  Plan – you won’t regret it!

I think you’ve got enough there to start you on your Marketing Automation journey.  If you want to discuss how Marketing Automation could work for your business, our Enabler team would be happy to chat you through our Automation software and how it could help deliver you deliver on your goals.