viewing this email? Click here to view it in a web browser.”
No doubt you’ve seen this phrase at the top of hundreds, if not thousands of email messages. However, you don’t want this to be the first thing after your subject line that your audience reads.
With 93 billion marketing emails being sent each day, the battle for attention in the inbox is real. In fact, approximately 35% of email recipients report that they open an email based on subject line alone.
Real Simple, one of my favorite magazines, misses the mark by a long shot with this subject line + preheader text combination.
Given the information I see in my inbox, I don’t have a compelling reason to open this email. I can’t even tell where I might be able to win a trip to.
Wasting preheader space with “having trouble viewing this email” is a huge mistake. Just repeating your subject line text isn’t winning you any points either.
Again, this subject line + preheader text combination from Road Runner Sports doesn’t really persuade me to open the email, which is unfortunate because their emails often contain personalized suggestions and deals based on my past purchases. But I have no way of knowing that from my inbox view.
Preheader text allows you an average of 50-100 characters to use in conjunction with your subject line to convince someone to open your email. So, make the most of it!
Here are a few ways to maximize your preheader space to increase your email opens and even engagement:
Use your preheader to give a quick summary or overview of the content contained in your email. NOVICA does a great job of this with their preheader text below. The subject line tells me a huge sale is going on, but I see from the preheader text that the sale includes jewelry, clothing, accessories and handbags (the 10% off mention doesn’t hurt, either!).
Subject line elaboration
Make your subject line and preheader text one cohesive message. Think about it: By including your preheader text, you double the amount of space you have to compel your reader to open the email you’ve sent.
In this Priceline.com example, the subject line and preheader text work together to tell me that there are great deals available and reassuring me that I’ll be able to see a number of things about the hotel I choose before I book it.
Does your email include a special offer? Let your audience know in the preheader text what awaits them upon opening the email.
Here, One Kings Lane tells me about a number of deals available in their email and the structure of the preheader text statement—90% off, 85% off, 80% off—makes me wonder what other deals are included inside the email.
The Honest Company also does a nice job of referencing a non-sale related incentive in their preheader text:
Subject line personalization has been shown to increase email open and conversion rates, and it’s reasonable to believe that the same would be true of personalized preheader text. Tailor your message and catch a reader’s eye by using their name in your preheader message, like Nextdoor did below.
But, as with all personalization, make sure your data is accurate or you’ll wind up doing this:
My name isn’t Pamela, and emails from SiriusXM typically receive a swift right swipe because of this error.
Fun, engaging copy
Do something different to catch your reader’s eye and entice them to open your email. Tell a joke that they have to open the email to complete (one so good, you know they’ll open it). Use emojis to stand out from rows and rows of text. Or, like in the example below, include the name or a sing-able line to a popular song.
PetCareRx does a really nice job with this subject line + preheader text combination. They’ve personalized the message (with my dog’s name, Fenway), let me know about the 75% off discount being offered and referenced the classic Baha Men earworm, Who Let the Dogs Out.
What works best for you?
What techniques are you using in your email preheader text? Have you found a particular formula to increase opens and conversions? Let us know in the comment section below!