5 Steps to the Perfect Email Preheader

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5 Steps to the Perfect Preheader

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.

However, the preheader valuable inbox real estate, and a perfect email preheader can make the difference between conversion and a deletion. Before we get into the nitty gritty though, let’s cover the basics.

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.

The 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 intentionally 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.

Example of preheader text

Sadly, most traditional preheaders resemble the one above. This preheader does not optimize its inbox space. Thus, users are left with the same text they’ve seen thousands of times before.

An effective 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 preheader provides more information about the value of the email. It sets the mood and meaning of the rest of the email copy.

In essence, a preheader has the potential to increase open, click through and conversion rates. Ready to get to work?

1. Each Character Counts: Keep it Concise

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. Since different email clients have different display settings, play it safe and place the most important information at the beginning to ensure visibility.

2. Cohesive Messaging: Coincide With Your Subject Line

Consider the preheader text 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.

Preheader with cohesive messagingIn the example above, UrbanOutfitters doesn’t miss a beat.  The preheader text easily follows the short subject line, creating one engaging message.

3. Creative Language: Make the Preheader Enticing

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.

Preheader with creative messaging

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.

4. Personalization: Include 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.

Preheader with personalized messaging

Sephora reiterates their subject line message in the preheader, but adds a hint of personalization by including the customer’s first name.

5. Emojis: Add Humor

Placing an emoji in the preview text can be a lighthearted, engaging addition to your message. 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. It can also be a great place to add humor. When used appropriately, humor increases customer engagement.

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.

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 emails opened. Align your text with your brand’s identity, know who your audience is and A/B test different ideas.

Looking for More Ways to Increase Your Conversions?

Check out UpSellit’s 27 Attributes of an Effective Email. This in-depth guide covers the ins-and-outs of crafting the perfect remarketing email. It’s a great resource and it’s totally free! Download it today and start writing awesome emails that convert.

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