Front-Line Microcontent is the collective term for those small phrases that draw in your reader before the email is even opened, such as the “From” line, the Subject Line and the Preheader. Most associations and organizations spend an inordinate amount of time crafting their content and images while considering microcontent almost as an afterthought. Microcontent is actually the most powerful type of content and crafting it poorly can defuse the effectiveness your entire email marketing campaign.
If your subscribers don’t see something of relevant and immediate interest in your emails in the first couple of seconds prior to deciding to open it, that message is not going to make an impact and therefore your organization’s goals will not be furthered. In order to quickly grab the attention of your supporters, you need to spend considerable time and effort crafting informative microcontent. When your subscribers are busy in their daily lives, the decision to open and read an email or to just delete it unopened will often depend on the impact of that Front-Line Microcontent.
The From Line
The From Line should be the same in every one of your editions, but it is imperative that the name placed there be attention-grabbing and unmistakable. The only allowable variance from the consistency of your From line is if your organization is currently in the midst of a well-publicized initiative or campaign that you may want to place there, as in From: American Red Cross, Japan Earthquake & Pacific Tsunami Appeal. In many cases it is not advisable for associations and organizations to place an individual’s name in the from line unless that person is a chairman or spokesman of global renown. From: Jerry Lewis, Muscular Dystrophy Association is going to be far more effective than From: Bubba Merkin, Association For Humane Fish-Baiting Practices.
The Subject Line
Your Subject Line must be packed chock full of alluring details about what is contained inside the email to incentivize the reader to click on Open rather than Delete. This is a tall order as most experts insist that the Subject Line be no longer than 35 characters and there are some schools of thought that place the maximum limit at an extremely condensed 25 characters! Unlike the From Line, the Subject Line should be unique each and every time and you should not waste its precious characters on edition numbers, dates or other sender info that belongs in the From Line or even in the body of the content itself. Research has shown that unlike in the case of commercial concerns such as retailers, emails from associations and organizations that integrate the essence of the call to action within the Subject Line perform very poorly. If you are asking for a donation right in the Subject Line, it makes it easy for the recipient to conclude that they do not want to donate right now and delete the email.
Unlike the present day when mobile web enabled devices and online email services such as Gmail have emphasized the Preheader right next to the Subject Line, an entire generation of email marketers has never learned the value of this feature as many traditional email clients did not display it at all. Powerful Preheaders have been proven to significantly increase response rates, so it is important that when writing this important example of Front-Line Microcontent, you enhance the Subject Line, not duplicate it. The Preheader is a tease of the content within the email and should serve to tempt and entice the recipient in finding out more by opening it.
You should consider spending just as much time as you do drafting the entire body content of your email on composing these three critical Front-Line Microcontent phrases. You will find that like many other associations and organizations who meticulously craft this type of content, the positive impact on your overall email metrics will be clearly measurable.