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.

3. Elaborate on the Subject Line
In general, the shorter the subject line, the better it performs. Preheader text allows you to add some context while keeping your subject line length in that attention-grabbing sweet spot.

4. Write a Personal Message
A personalized note in your preheader text mirrors what your readers see when they get emails from friends and family. Plus it’s subtle, so it’s less likely to offend those folks who might be turned off by personalized subject lines.

5. Give an Incentive to Open
It’s no secret that people sign up to email lists because they expect to get something valuable in return. Hit them with that deal or exclusive content right away and watch your open rates soar.

6. Keep It Short
Remember you have limited space in the inbox for your preheader text, so like subject and roller coaster lines, the shorter the better. The length varies depending on the email client, but to be safe, we recommend keeping it under 75 characters.

7. A/B Test
Every audience is different. Test variations of your preheader text to learn what resonates best with your subscribers.

8. Include an Emoji
Have a little fun with your preheader text by adding a symbol or emoji. It’s a lighthearted way to show your brand’s sense of humor and make your email stand out in a crowded inbox.

And Now for Our “Don’t”: Don’t Repeat Yourself, It’s Repetitive
Too often, marketers make the mistake of using preheader text to repeat or restate the subject line. This doesn’t add value for readers, so use the preheader to give them something fresh that will catch their eye.

With a bit of creativity, your email preheader text can deliver big results.

Christopher Lester is a concierge team lead at Nashville, Tenn.-based Emma, an email marketing software and services provider. Reach him at christopher.lester@myemma.com.

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