In direct mail marketing, a “Johnson Box” is commonly found at the top of the letter. Its purpose is to draw the reader’s attention to the key message first, and then hopefully engage the reader for the rest of the letter. This view is also sometimes referred to as “above the fold,” in reference to printed material such as a newspaper or other folded item.

The Johnson Box/above the fold scenarios have also been adapted for email. Most email clients today offer a “preview pane” in which readers can see the first 20 words, more or less, of the message. These are the first words a reader will see, and will most likely be the words a reader will use to determine whether or not to read the rest of the message. To that end, it is critical that whatever content is used in that portion of an email contains the crux of the message.

Additionally, from an email delivery standpoint, another common practice for email senders is to include in the top portion:

  • A message to recipients to add the sender’s address to their address books.
  • A link to a web page version of the email.

In one test, response rate was increased by 220% when a sender modified the top of the content as directed above. As responsible senders, it is essential that you use this preview section of your message to your advantage. Doing so it will help to generate more response to your campaigns, as well as subscriber engagement.

Until next time,

Jaren Angerbauer, Director of Deliverability, mobileStorm
Eat Responsibly, Drink Responsibly, Email Responsibly