The question of the day comes to us from Mike C., who asks: “What’s a snippet and how do I write one?”
Ah yes, the snippet: an often-overlooked, but super crucial piece of copy to craft an effective email. A snippet is the tiny line of text in an email that shows up at the very top of the email when you open it and, in many email services (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) shows up right after the subject line. Snippets, by the way, are also sometimes referred to as “pre-headlines” or “preheaders”.
Snippets are important because they give you more words to further entice someone to open your email and/or entice them to take the action you want them to.
A snippet should be a short summation of what the reader is going to find in the body of the email if they open it up. And, if the purpose of the email is to get someone to take an action by clicking, the snippet should also include that link. That allows someone who reads your snippet and instantly knows they want to take that action to immediately do it instead of having to open up your email.
An example? Thought you’d never ask. So, let’s say we’re writing an email to promote a sweepstakes. We’ve created an email body that has all kinds of wonderful information about the prizes. Our subject line could be:
Get Away in Style! Fashion and Travel Prizes Galore
and our snippet which, again, allows us to get into a little more detail, could say:
Here’s your chance to win a 4-nt trip to Manhattan, $500 at XYZ Store and more! Enter now.
and “Enter now” would be a link to the landing page with the sweepstakes entry form.
Make sense? The snippet is just one more way to let your fabulous copy do more selling.
Many companies already include snippets in emails as a matter of course, but if they don’t (or if they do, they waste their snippet space to just say something like “Be sure to add us to your address book”), suggest it to them. It’s another way for you to add value and help make their emails as effective as can be.
Your turn! What are some of the best snippets you’ve seen? What about some of the worst? Let us know in the comments below!