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How to Write the Best Email Headers

Email headers are an essential part of marketing emails. Read this guide to learn what they contain and how to optimize them.

An email header is the top section of an email and can include sender and receiver details, the subject line, date, and additional header content.

A good email header is an integral part of crafting the perfect email. After all, your email header is the first thing recipients will see when they look at your email, so you need to make a good impression. A suitable header goes beyond the subject line and sender info at the top of your emails; there’s also the header within the copy.

Getting emails right can be tough, whether you’re trying to format your email to make it more readable or write a catchy subject line. The good news is that understanding the basics of email headers is a huge step in the right direction. If you’re looking for tips for email content and design to make your email headers better, here’s what you should know.

Why are email headers important?

Humans naturally read things from top to down, which means the top of your emails is the first thing readers are going to see. Not only that, but your email header contains sender information that your customers use to identify you.

Email design helps make your emails easy to read and provides all the information your customers want to know in a digestible format. People need to know who the sender is, what the email is about, when it was sent, and more. You can also use email headers to include vital contact information about your business and graphics that enhance your emails.

A little effort goes a long way when it comes to improving your email headers. Simply writing catchy subject lines can separate your emails from all the other emails in an inbox.

What’s included in an email header?

So, what do email headers contain? Email headers feature several parts, including the sender and receiver information, subject line, date, and any header content you may put in the actual email.

At the very top of an email, you’ll see the sender and receiver information. This might not seem particularly important, but many email users look closely at this information to make sure an email is coming from a trusted sender. Part of perfecting your email header is ensuring your sender information is easy to identify to legitimize emails you send.

After the sender and receiver information, the subject line is the next important piece of an email header. Subject lines are a crucial part of email design because the subject is one of the few things people see before they actually open an email. Writing compelling subject lines that get readers to click is essential for content optimization, especially with email marketing campaigns. The date and time of the email are typically located in this pre-header section as well.

Finally, there’s the header content you choose to put inside of the actual copy of an email. This content can vary quite a bit based on your business and the email you’re sending, but companies commonly use this space to include a logo or banner, contact information, and other details that improve readability and makes it easier for customers to reach out.

Best practices for email headers

So, what is an email header supposed to look like? Mastering email header design can be challenging, but following a few best practices is a good start. If you want to create a better header for email marketing, here are some of the best practices to keep in mind.

Differentiate your header and footer

It can be challenging and time-consuming to carefully craft a header and footer, but it’s best to make your header and footer different from each other. Differentiating your header and footer helps create a start and finish to your email, making it easier to read and more appealing to the eye. If your header and footer look the same, people may think you copied and pasted your header into the bottom of your email.

You don’t have to do anything flashy to make your header different from your footer. In fact, your footer can even include some of the same information about your company and your logo. Your footer is a good spot to link to a few important pages on your website, such as your privacy policy, terms of service, and a link to unsubscribe to emails. You can also include links to your social media profiles.

Include your logo and company name

Your header should always include your logo and company name. Banners are a great way to highlight your company logo and name while incorporating your brand’s colors. You can also go with something more minimalist for a professional look. If your banner includes multiple images or text formatted in a particular way, A/B testing is a crucial part of making sure it looks the same across different email clients.

Including your logo and company names makes it easy for people to identify your business right away, which is vital for branding and security. You want people to know when they’re getting a legitimate email from your business. A recognizable header with your company name and logo is an excellent way to achieve that goal.

Add a functional menu

If you want to take your header to the next level, you can add a functional menu. This is a popular choice for retailers who want to make it easy for customers to take action based on email content. For example, a clothing store can provide links to various departments and categories, including shoes, hoodies, clearance items, and jeans. If a customer is interested in checking these categories out based on what they read in the email, they can do that with the click of a link.

Using functional graphics and menus is an integral part of email design. At the bottom of every email, ensure to include a basic menu that links people to your privacy policy and terms of service, plus a link to unsubscribe from emails.

Use a versatile header

Versatility is essential for business emails, so make sure your email header is versatile. After all you don’t want to craft a new header for each email you write. Taking the time to get your email header right can save you a lot of time in the long run. Ensure your header isn’t designed for one specific type of email, and instead, make it flexible so that you can make changes quickly if you need to.

A versatile header isn’t just important for different types of emails. You’re also going to send emails to people using different email clients, so you need to make sure your header looks good across multiple clients. This can be a tough task because different email service providers may render the same email differently, which means your email header may not look the way you want.

Keep it simple

If there’s one mistake many business owners make when designing an email, it’s overdoing it. Sure, you want your emails to look professional and put your company’s identity on display, but there’s a tipping point. Your email header should be detailed and include your company name and logo, but it shouldn’t take up a significant portion of your emails. Your header also shouldn’t detract from the content of the email itself. You want readers to have a clear idea of where the actual content of an email begins.

Remember that designing a great email header is a lot easier said than done. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit, and try simplifying your header if it looks too crowded or complicated. When creating a professional email header that enhances your emails, a little work goes a long way.

Create an engaging email header with Mailchimp

Email headers are a big part of email design, but they’re tough to get right. The point of an email header is to draw attention, but not too much. Making sure all the pre-header information is correct is also crucial. You should also make sure your header is different from your footer, so readers have a clear idea of where your email starts and ends.

If you need help creating an engaging email header or maximizing your email campaign, Mailchimp can help. With Mailchimp, creating a high-quality email header that works with all the popular email clients is easy, and you can even run tests to see how your header will look. Plus, Mailchimp reports allow you to get detailed information about your email campaign and more. If you’re having trouble perfecting your email header, try Mailchimp today.

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