Koroberi is a B2B integrated marketing agency located in the North Carolina's booming Triangle. Koroberi specializes in branding, content creation, PR, advertising and digital strategy.


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Building an effective
email preview experience

You only get one chance to make a first impression — and that applies to email marketing as much as anything else. And it’s not just for the first email you send to a new subscriber; it’s the case with every email sent to every single recipient.

Think about the first things you see when a new email hits your inbox — the sender’s name, the subject line, the preview text and even what day and time you received it. Each of those factors play a part in whether you decide to open, ignore or trash that email. So, how can you optimize each of these elements to get your recipients to open what you send?

In this guide, we share a lot of current best practices for B2B brands, but it’s important to keep in mind: email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all tactic.

You never know if something will work until you try it.

Know your audience

Before you even start creating an email, it’s important to identify and understand the audience who will eventually receive it. The more you know about this segment, the better you can tailor your email for them, including the email’s length, send time, messaging and other elements. Ultimately, these practices increase audience engagement.

Here are some things to think about when tailoring your inbox preview experience to your audience:

  • Industry and department – Learn more about your audience’s roles and interests to help tailor the messaging in your subject line and preview text. For example, if your audience is robotics engineers, you might opt for industry statistics and use logical language. Warehouse managers, on the other hand, might prefer benefit-oriented buzz words like “boost productivity” or “tame operator turnover.”
  • Work schedule – Understand your audience’s daily habits and plan to send emails at times that fit that schedule. Not everyone sits at their computer all day. If data shows that your audience primarily opens emails in the morning and emails sent in the evening get less engagement, focus on send times that are earlier in the day.
  • Device – Find out if your audience checks their email primarily through mobile or desktop. If your audience only uses their phones, be sure to craft shortened subject lines and brief preview statements, so the entire statement is visible on the screen. In many cases, people alternate between opening emails on multiple devices, so preview content that can be easily viewed on multiple devices is ideal.

Pick the right send time

Selecting the optimal send day and time for an email is a constantly moving target – there’s no universal best practice and it can change based on a myriad of factors. Consider A/B testing to find when works best for your campaigns, or you can loosely follow these safe bets.

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Send days

Send your emails on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to help ensure that people who leave work early on Friday or check back in late on Monday see your email. According to MailChimp, Tuesday and Thursday are the most popular days for B2B sends (which could be a reason not to send those days!).

*Source: Mailchimp

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Send time

Generally, we see strong results from email sends in mid-morning (9-11 a.m.) or right after lunch (1-3 p.m.). But keep in mind, that you may want to stagger your sends to recipients in different time zones. And since so many companies send emails at the top of the hour or the half-hour, yours might get lost in the shuffle if they are sent right at those times. Try an odd time. There’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ 2:17 p.m. send.

If your email is promoting an event, scheduling is a delicate balance. Send too early and recipients may not be ready to commit, but send too late and they may not have availability on their calendar. A multi-touchpoint series can help you cover all your bases.

Choose your sender carefully

43% of users mark emails as spam based on the sender’s name alone, meaning that choosing the right sender is a crucial step in building trust and leaving a strong first impression.

One option is to simply use the name of your brand, like “Koroberi.” Because your brand is likely more recognizable than the name of an individual on your team, this strategy is great for general emails to recipients who maybe aren’t used to hearing from you via email.

For more specific messages to targeted lists, you may consider including the name of a person along with the brand, such as “Natalie from Koroberi,” or just a name itself, like “Natalie Curtis.” This is often recommended for account-based marketing emails with dedicated salespeople or sends to a segment that already has strong familiarity with a certain contact.

Here are a few other quick tips for choosing senders:

  • Don’t use no-reply email addresses – This can lead to increased spam reports, deletions or recipients simply ignoring your send. And as the name implies, a no-reply address also shuts the door on recipient replies and responses.
  • Use a trustworthy domain – Send emails from your brand’s domain, which is likely the same as where recipients subscribed to your emails. Emails from free providers such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook look unprofessional and users may be less likely to trust them.
  • A/B test your sender names – As with send times, sometimes the best way to figure out what works best for is to try different options and see which ones resonate with your audience best.

Optimize deliverability

To ensure your campaign is making it to your subscribers’ inboxes, enhancing deliverability is key. There are many factors that can cause an email to not get delivered, some of which can be resolved on your end, while others may require IT assistance on the subscriber’s side.

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Know your sender score

Sender score tracks your reputation on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher your score, the higher your email deliverability. If your sender score is below 70, internet service providers (ISPs) can automatically reject your emails. In fact, some estimate that 83% of the time an email is not delivered to an inbox, it’s because of a poor sender reputation. So, be sure to check your sender score often and correct poor performance before it damages your entire email marketing operation.

*Source: Hubspot

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Authenticate your domain

Authenticating your domain with your email service provider acts almost like a license plate for your email — it serves as a trackable identifier that shows ISPs that you’re a legitimate sender, improving both your reputation and the likelihood of your emails winding up in your recipient’s inbox.

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Ask either recipients or their IT departments to whitelist your emails

Essentially, this step prevents your emails from being blacklisted and informs ISPs that recipients trust you and want to receive your emails.

Pair subject line with preview text

An email’s subject line and preview text are perhaps the most eye-catching elements in the inbox experience and a major deciding factor for recipients to open or ignore your email.

It’s best practice to keep your subject lines short and snappy — approximately 20-55 characters — and reach a delicate balance of being direct yet clever, informative but intriguing.

As for preview text, you should think of it as secondary messaging to your subject line, providing the reader with more information about your email’s topic. It can be a bit longer than your subject line — 75-100 characters is a good length. But be sure to frontload your main points and buzz words in the first 45-55 characters for recipients reading on mobile devices.

Close up of a Gmail inbox with a subject line and then preview text highlighted to show location

Try these tactics that tend to perform well for subject lines or preview text:

Incorporate numbers

Numbers tend to be eye-catching additions to subject lines and preview text, whether you use them in a listicle style (“Top 7 reasons to automate”), as percentages, (“21% of freight invoices have errors”), or some other way. This is especially true when you use non-rounded numerals, as they can feel more real and specific to readers.



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Lead with direct value

Tell your email recipients what you’re offering them upfront. Is it a free resource? A discount? The inside scoop? If they know what value they’ll receive by opening the email, they may be more inclined to click in.


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Ask questions

Questions such as “Is the sales rep dead?” Or “Should your brand start a podcast?” can leave your reader desiring answers, making it more likely they’ll open the email to get those answers.


Close up of an opened email with the subject line highlighted in which a question is asked


Use buzz words

Using words that create urgency (“last chance” or “limited time”), celebratory words (“congratulations”) and action words (“renew”) are effective ways of piquing interest.


Close up of a Gmail inbox with a subject line highlighted with buzzwords featured

Add punctuation

Punctuation can emphasize your point or leave the reader looking for more. For example, ellipses can boost B2B open rates by as much as 14%, as they signal an incomplete thought, enticing recipients to open your email for the rest.


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Experiment with emojis

Emojis grab attention, add personality and save space, making them an interesting addition to traditional copy. Some report that open rates are 56% higher when emojis are part of the subject line, but B2B marketers beware! Some business email clients and spam filters can give you the gray box of doom.


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Still unsure of where to start with improving your
email performance?