Email preheaders are often overlooked, but the right copy can significantly increase your open rate. Most email marketers focus solely on the subject line. It makes sense; it’s the most prominent message in the user’s inbox. If you’re just starting to optimize your email marketing open rates, I suggest you begin with the subject line, and check out our article on email marketing ideas for subject lines.
Once your email subject lines are producing optimal open rates, you can squeeze out even more percentage points by focusing on your email preheader. In today’s post, we will go over the five characteristics that make preheader text effective.
What is preheader text?
Email preheader text is the first line of copy inside the body of the email. It’s an important factor in email open rates because it usually follows immediately after or below the subject line in the user’s inbox. It is also sometime referred to as preview text or snippet text.
The email preheader doesn’t require any special HTML, it is simply the first line of copy inside the body of your email. So, if you aren’t intentially creating preheader text then email clients are just displaying the first sentence of your email.
A helpful hint: If you don’t want your preheader text to show up in your email body, you have the option to hide your preview text. Hidden preview text allows you to include an appealing preheader, but maintain your email body’s aesthetic.
What does preheader text look like?
Traditionally preheaders assist the user; they show company names, send dates and offer a webpage version of the email.
Sadly, most traditional preheaders resemble the one above. This preheader does not optimize its inbox space and users are left with the same text they’ve seen thousands of times before.
An effective email preheader takes tradition to the next level by taking advantage of the space that a preheader text occupies in an inbox.
5 Characteristics of an Effective Email Preheader
An effective email preheader provides more information about the value of the email. A powerful email preheader sets the stage for the mood and meaning of the rest of the email copy. An effective preheader has the potential to increase open, click through and conversion rates.
Each Character Counts: Keep your email preheader concise.
Email preheader text has to be viewable for both a desktop and a mobile user. According to eMailmonday, as much as 70% of email opens are happening on a mobile device. The space for visibility in an inbox is limited and each word counts. Different email clients have varying average amounts of characters displayed, so play it safe and place the most important information at the beginning to ensure its visibility.
Cohesive Messaging: The email preheader should coincide with your subject line.
Consider the email preheader text as an extension to the subject line. If your email subject line didn’t quite do the trick, the preheader text is a second opportunity to engage the user. Email subject lines should also be kept short, so preheader text is an opportunity to expand on content that was sacrificed for an optimized subject line length.
In the example above, UrbanOutfitters doesn’t a miss a beat. The preheader text easily follows the short subject line, creating one engaging message.
Creative language: The email preheader should be just as enticing as your subject line.
Remember, the email preheader is a second opportunity to engage your customer. Avoid repetition. When viewed in an inbox, the subject line and preheader text accompany one another, so don’t misuse this inbox space by repeating the subject line. Use actionable language; give the user a reason to click through.
Uber does a great job of using actionable language to drive their message home. Without repetition, their preheader assists the subject line while delivering a powerful CTA.
Personalization: Optimize the email preheader with customer details.
If the subject line didn’t include personalization, take advantage of the inbox space to engage the customer. Grab your customer’s eye with their own name or utilize geographical details. Personalization can make your email stand out in a generic inbox.
Sephora reiterates their subject line message in the preheader, but adds a hint of personalization by including the customer’s first name.
Emojis: A little dose of humor in your email preheader can go a long way.
Especially if you didn’t include an emoji in your subject line, placing an emoji in the preview text can be a lighthearted, engaging addition. As always, ensure that any emoji usage aligns with your brand’s identity and A/B test for success. If you are unsure about employing emoji’s in your email subject line, the email preheader can be a great warmup destination.
Put Your Preheader to the Test
You have put careful consideration into your subject line. Now, it’s time to take advantage of all the space you occupy in an inbox. Craft the perfect email preheader.
We have gone over the characteristics of an effective preheader: concise length, cohesive messaging, creative language, personalization and the right amount of humor. Employing these different strategies in your email’s preheader can increase your email’s open rates.
Ultimately, remember your objective: getting your email’s opened. Align your text with your brand’s identity, know who you are audience is and A/B test different ideas.