In the newspaper world, “above the fold” referred to the top part of the newspaper – the portion clearly visible when customers browsed the newsstand. Smart editors placed their most important stories above the fold, and smart email marketers should as well.
In the online world, “above the fold” refers to the portion of the screen that you see when you open a webpage or an email. If you have to scroll to see the content, it is not above the fold. Since so many people simply scan their email, it is very important to place your most important and compelling content above the fold.
Email marketers need to keep in mind that most people do not have a great deal of time to spend on their email, especially marketing messages. Time spent scanning a typical email is often measured in seconds, so you need to capture the attention of the viewer quickly or risk losing a potential customer forever.
There are a number of ways savvy marketers use the precious space above the fold to get the attention ofviewers and turn them into customers. One of the most effective marketing tricks is to leave plenty of white space above the fold. It is tempting to fill that valuable space with content, but a cluttered email is more likely to be discarded than a cleaner and more professional looking one. Keeping your message simple and to the point can be very effective.
Smart email marketers also know to place their company name and logo above the fold. Getting the name of your business in front of customers is an essential part of marketing, and there is no better place for your logo than at the top of the viewer’s screen.
It is also a good idea to place any important links above the fold. Links can serve as attention getters, but they have other uses as well. For instance, you can use a link in conjunction with your call to action – inviting readers to click here for more information or to order the product you are pushing. If you place those links below the fold, chances are viewers will never even see them.
Before sending your email marketing campaign, it is always a good idea also to test your email marketing messages on several different computers at various screen resolutions. Keep in mind that the appearance of your message will vary according to the screen resolution the user has chosen. Testing your email at several different resolutions will help to ensure that your most vital elements are above the fold for everyone who opens your email.