We kicked off our Email Olympics blog post series last Friday. If you want a quick refresher on what we’re doing and an introduction to each email competitor, skim through our opening ceremony post first!

You have just a few precious seconds to snag your recipient’s attention as they scroll through their inbox. Finding the right balance between standing out from the crowd with creative or eye-catching tactics, while making sure to include relevant information to let recipients know what to expect once they open, is the tightrope walk email marketers make every day. Today, we’ll be analyzing our three Email Olympics competitors to see who will take home the gold for The Inbox Impression event!

The image below is how the emails looked in my inbox, but keep scrolling to read the three pieces of criteria we’re evaluating for each message—the from name, the subject line, and the pre-header text!

Tillas Sandals

From – Tillas Sandals
Subject Line – These ‘flops were made for walking
Pre-header Text – Check out our BIIIIG summer sale going on now! It’s a can’t miss event!

Evaluation – The from name “Tillas Sandlas” is great because there’s no question for the recipient as to who sent them the message. Though the subject line is cheeky and cute (I even kind of sang it in my head to the tune of These Boots Were Made for Walking), I think that it could be more descriptive. We only know that the email is about a sale once we get to the pre-header text, which can be a bit of a gamble since some inbox configurations don’t include pre-header text in the inbox preview.


From – BellyFloppers
Subject Line – Welcome to BellyFlop
Pre-header Text – Hey, water-lover. Thanks for downloading our app, come see what all the fuss is about.

Evaluation – The from name BellyFlop uses is creative, but still branded. Though the subject line “Welcome to BellyFlop” doesn’t have a ton of personality, I would say it’s a solid approach because it’s what new users will anticipate seeing in their inbox! And finally, the pre-header text they use is awesome. BellyFlop thanks people for downloading (which we highly recommend including in welcome emails), and entices them to open by saying “…come see what all the fuss is about.”

Congdon Park

From – Neighborhood HOA
Subject Line – (Sun Emoji) Here comes the sun (Sun Emoji)
Pre-header Text – August 2016 Newsletter including events calendar. Email not displaying correctly?

Evaluation: The from name used by the Congdon Park HOA leaves a little to be desired. Though it’s probably unlikely that recipients are receiving mail from many different Neighborhood HOAs, I do think that including a bit more detail would resonate more with the community, e.g. Congdon Park HOA could be more effective.

Though use of emojis in the subject line is potentially eye-catching, it could be a little risky depending on your audience and also, how they will render in the inbox. (Make sure to A/B test new tactics like using emojis and make adjustments to your program accordingly!) And finally, I’m a fan of their pre-header text. It gives the recipient an idea of what the email is (a monthly newsletter) and specific content it includes (an events calendar).

The Winner

In this case, I’m going to give a little more weight to the subject lines since I personally (and I have the inkling others) tend to mainly look there first when scrolling through my inbox. Though it may not have been the flashiest email, I’m going to give the gold to BellyFlop. There was some personality in the from name, a clear and direct subject line, and the perfect mix of messaging in the pre-header text. Both of the remaining emails used somewhat confusing subject lines, so I’m awarding Silver to Tillas Sandals over Congdon Park because they had a stronger from name, which means Congdon Park takes bronze!

Stay tuned later this week for our next event, The First Glance. And in the meantime, check out our Email Marketing We’re Geeking Out About posts for more email marketing inspiration!

Kate Schmeisser
When Kate isn't trying to teach herself the ukelele, make it through the mountain of books on her nightstand, or figure out if they are actually being serious about suggested serving sizes on ice cream, she is the Creative Content Manager.