8 Uses of Preheader Text to Improve Email Open Rates (Plus 1 Technique to Avoid)

Click to enlarge and see the preheader coinciding with No. 1.

Click to enlarge and see the preheader example for No. 3.

Click to enlarge and see No. 4.

Click to enlarge and see the fifth example of a preheader.

Click to enlarge and see the eighth example of a preheader.

Bad news, friends. Your subscribers spend less than three to four seconds deciding whether or not to open your email. And because at least 75 percent of folks first read email on their mobile devices, it’s all too easy for them to swipe and delete without a second thought. The good news? Email marketers have another tool to grab subscribers’ attention: preheader text.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, preheader text is the slightly grayed-out text that shows up after the subject line when checking emails in your Gmail account or on your phone. It’s common to put a lot of thought into what’s inside your email, but when you neglect to pay the same level of attention to your preheader text, your email loses its curb appeal. The default message, “If you’re having trouble viewing this email … ” is the equivalent of having a hip boutique in a happening neighborhood and allowing the landscaping to get overgrown with weeds. It’s just not enticing to potential customers.

So what do you put there instead? I’ve compiled eight “do”s (and one “hey, don’t”) for customizing your email preheaders so readers open up your email and stay awhile.

1. Tease the Content of Your Email
Sometimes my email subject lines are less than perfect. (I feel so much better now that that’s off my chest.) So if you’re anything like me, you’ll write the occasional dud. The nice thing about preheader text is that it gives you another chance to encourage readers to open your email. Use it to capture the main point of your email with some compelling, eye-catching copy.

2. Provide a Strong Call to Action
Your preheader text can be a great place to include your call to action and create a sense of urgency. It will encourage your subscribers to open right away, before they get distracted by the compilation of cat gifs their friends just sent.

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