As one of the most prominent features of an email, an email header is a sure-fire way to differentiate your email newsletter or campaign from the billions sent and received daily. It sets the tone of your email content and should support the visual identity of your business or enterprise.
To be specific, an email header is the top part of an email template. It may or may not include a simple navbar. It can be as simple as an image or as complex as a custom-coded HTML/CSS widget. Regardless of complexity, it’s a sign of an established brand with a mature online presence.
A Note on Email Preheaders
Headers are often confused with pre-headers. A preheader is a text that is shown next to or under the subject line of the email depending on the email client.
It is used to give a brief idea about what the email is about and is an important part of modern emails. It is unique per email and is generally not part of your email template.
Although many email marketers use the first sentence of the email as a pre-header you can specify a unique pre-header to create a more organized structure and display of your email. Think of it as a sub-headline - if you couldn’t cover the email idea in the subject line, a well-crafted pre-header will be your friend to convey your message.
Email Header Ideas - What to Do?
You might feel daunted by the task of creating an email header or believe it requires strong design or coding chops. That is not the case! But before we dive into empowering you to take control of your email branding, here are some elements you might include or consider concerning your email header:
- Your Company Name and Logo - in fact, a logo can often serve as a header in and of itself.
- Congruence with Brand Identity - this is a must. It is incredibly important to ensure that the brand is congruent with and supports the visual identity of your enterprise.
- Header Versatility - The email header should be versatile enough to fit into the template of the majority of your emails. It must work well across screen sizes, email clients, and fit in with the email content.
Email Header Ideas - What NOT to Do?
Brainstorm email header ideas while keeping away from these general mistakes:
- Don’t Make it Long - People actually want to read what you’re offering in your email content. Keep your header small (for specific metrics, shoot for under 70 pixels)
- Complexity - There’s no need to cram your header. Oftentimes, simple header designs are most effective.
- Don’t Stuff the Navigation - If you’re including a navbar, keep the number of links limited. Simple, focused interfaces get more clicks than stuffed ones.
- Don’t Experiment Too Often - Once your email header is established and part of your template doesn’t change it too often. It’s meant to be part of your email template.
- Don’t Sell in the Header - Focus on branding rather than selling.
Tips to Improve Email Header Ideas
Email headers are like your front soldiers, don’t let them fall
Improve your email header designs by working on these nine crucial tips.
1. Just Add Your Logo
Sound weird? Too simple? It’s NOT!
Once your brand gets enough recognition, it’s easier to use the logo alone.
Most of the brands are well-known among the community that they do not need any options to add in the header except their logo and name.
Since the logo is itself a branding tool, you don't need any extra branding features to add to your email header.
2. Offer a Discount or Free Trial
You can put forward a lucrative offer that your reader can’t refuse -- If he needs your service, he is definitely going to opt-in your offer.
Make sure to display the free trial or discount offer clearly at the email header and isolate the call to action button with some unique colored button or font.
In this way, the chances of that CTA getting noticed become higher.
If the prospect is interested in your offer, he is going to click the link to know more about it.
Here’s an example of Shopify who is offering a free trial to build an eCommerce website.
3. Promote Products
Promoting your new brand products is a great way to use the email header space.
You may introduce new services, affiliations, working sectors, subsidiary brands in the email header design.
Since it’s against the marketing principles to keep chanting ‘sale, sale and sale’, keep the promotional activities limited to the awareness stage. Don’t start selling them right away at the email header.
Make sure to provide value to your readers in some sort of information. If there isn’t much to read in your newsletter, it’s less likely that the people will click on your promoted product.
4. Provide an Account Login Option
If your newsletter subscribers have already signed up for a service, you’re in a good position to direct them to the login page every time in a newsletter header.
It’s a great tip to bring your forgotten customers back to their dashboard with the help of a call to action button on the email header.
Take an example of this blue host affiliate program; once the user stops logging into his or her account, Bluehost sends an email with a $100 referral bonus and a link to the login page.
Isn’t it amazing?
5. Use Clear Navigation
People need options for their next actions -- If you provide them at the very start, they are more likely to end up at one of your landing pages.
Clear navigation is necessary for the prospect to make decisions easily. Don’t fill up too the navigation menu with tens of options as this would result in low click-through rates.
If you’re an eCommerce store, a navigation option directing towards your collection would be a working option. Similarly, a blog would be looking to get more traffic by diverting the options towards their content assets.
6. Add Dates to the Header
One of the very intelligent ways to draw the attention of the reader is to add a date on your header.
The benefit of it is that your readers will know on what date they got this email, which makes their email sorting easier.
At the end of the day, it’s all about providing ease to your email reader.
Look at the email header example from DigitalMarketer Insider.
7. Add Images
Visuals are attractive and can get more attention than words.
However, the image should relate with the original idea of the email (Don’t overuse stock images in emails since it puts a bad impression on the business)
It is advised to edit the image according to the email requirements. You may want to edit text, resolution, size, and crop to display the best aspects of the picture.
8. Show Affiliations and Partnerships
Displaying affiliations to big corporations often builds trust among the audience.
As you link your brand with well-known partners, people start interacting with your business.
This email header tip is especially helpful for those businesses who are good enough but aren’t getting any recognition. You may also display your customer brands and testimonials if you optimize the header space nicely.
Have a look at Manchester United’s newsletter.
9. Use No Header at All
Sometimes you don’t really need a header -- Yes, it’s right.
As a completely new start-up, you are good to go without a header. Adding pictures related to your business is good enough when you’re getting started.
The thing that matters is you to start your email marketing campaign -- New business owners focus too much on the fine-lines that they forget the bottom line of marketing which is to ‘make sales.’
Your email marketing campaigns can’t be successful until you start running them.
Experimenting yields innovations - You must also do the same with your email marketing campaigns.
Start with the tips and tricks in this article and as you proceed, improve header ideas and write catchy emails.
The whole email creative is yours - be imaginative, and use any of the above tips that suit your business.