5 Preheader Text Ideas to Increase Your Email Effectiveness
“Having trouble 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. After your subject line, is this what you want to be the first line your audience reads?
With roughly 93 billion marketing emails sent each day, the battle for attention in the inbox is real. In fact, approximately 35% of email recipients say they open an email based on subject line alone.
But it’s not all about the subject line – the preheader text goes hand-in-hand with the subject line and can play an important role in whether a subscriber engages with your email. 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!
Being able to preview and test your subject line and preheader is a crucial part of the email QA process – it allows you to see whether the preheader jives with the subject line, and if the message is compelling enough to engage a subscriber. That’s why we’ve added a preheader preview in our new Campaign Precheck workflow. The preheader tool allows you to see your email’s subject line and preheader text in 15 of the most popular email clients, so you can optimize your email for the inbox and boost email marketing ROI.
Preheader Text No-Nos
Check out the example below – Real Simple misses the mark with this subject line and preheader text combination.
This subject line and preheader text don’t give the subscriber a compelling reason to open this email. The user can’t even tell where he or she might be able to win a trip to.
Wasting preheader space with “having trouble viewing this email” is a huge mistake. Repeating your subject line text won’t win you any points, either.
Again, this subject line and preheader text combo from Road Runner Sports doesn’t persuade the user to open the email, which is unfortunate because their emails often contain personalized suggestions and deals based on past purchases. But the subscriber has no way of knowing that from the inbox view.
Now that we’ve discussed what not to do with your preheader text, here are a few ways to maximize your preheader space to increase your email opens and even engagement.
Give an Overview of the Email Content
Use your preheader to give a quick summary of your email’s message. NOVICA does a great job of this with their preheader text below. The subject line tells us a huge sale is going on, but we see from the preheader text that the sale includes jewelry, clothing, accessories and handbags (the 10% off mention doesn’t hurt, either!).
Elaborate on Your Subject Line
Make your subject line and preheader text one cohesive message. Your preheader text can essentially double the amount of space you have to compel the reader to open your email.
In this Priceline.com example, the subject line and preheader text work together to tell the subscriber that there are great deals available. It also reassures the reader that he or she will be able to browse several hotel features before booking.
Tease an Incentive
Does your email include a special offer? Use the preheader text to tell readers what awaits them in the email.
Here, One Kings Lane tells the subscriber about several deals available in their email, and the structure of the preheader text statement—90% off, 85% off, 80% off—makes the user wonder what other deals are included inside the email.
The Honest Company also does a nice job of referencing a non-sale incentive in their preheader text:
Personalize the Message
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. Check out what Nextdoor did with this:
But, as with all personalization, make sure your data is accurate or you’ll wind sending an email with an embarrassing mistake, such as an incorrect first name.
Write Fun, Engaging Copy
You can use the preheader text as a space to write something different to catch your reader’s eye and entice them to open your email. Try telling a joke where they must open the email to get the punchline (one so good, you know they’ll open it). Use emojis to stand out from rows of text. Or, like in the example below, include the name or a sing-able line to a popular song.
PetCareRx does a nice job with this subject line and preheader text combination. They’ve personalized the message with the dog’s name, Fenway, teased the 75% off discount, and referenced the classic Baha Men earworm, “Who Let the Dogs Out.”
Don’t Forget to Preview Your Preheader
After you’ve crafted your perfect preheader message, make sure it looks great with your subject line. Campaign Precheck’s preheader tool allows you to see what the preheader looks like on 15 of the most popular email clients and devices. You don’t need to know HTML to use the tool; the Email on Acid platform will fix any mistakes for you.
What Works Best for You?
What techniques are you using in your email preheader text? Have you found a formula that increases opens and conversions? Let us know in the comment section below!
Author: Alex Ilhan
Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.