Preview to Win: How Email Preview Text Drives Open Rates
When it comes to email marketing, there are a million different things you can optimize. You can run A/B tests of your subject lines, your email copy, your font, your images, your CTAs and more. However, there’s one aspect of emails that many B2C marketers tend to forget about testing: preview text.
This is the text that shows up to the right of your subject line when you view an email in your inbox. You may not realize it, but your audience will often read this text along with your subject line and it can strongly influence whether or not they click.
Because it’s so easy to overlook, many marketers aren’t using this text strategically — and they should be. Here’s how to think about your email preview text and find another way to engage your buyers through thoughtful email marketing.
What Exactly Is Preview Text?
Preview text — also known as preheaders — is often thought of as a continuation of the email subject line. Most email clients only display about 50 characters of a subject line and so you can use the preview text to continue selling an open to your audience. You can get as creative as you’d like to be with your preview text. Just remember that consumers generally read the preview text in conjunction with the subject line, so use that to inform how you write this sensitive copy.
Reverse Engineer Your Email Goals
What is the goal of great preview text? One way to think about it is to actually reverse engineer it from your overall email goals. Let's say you're hosting a 20 percent off sale online and your goal for the email is to drive $X in revenue. Back into each goal individually:
- Overall goal of the email: Drive $X in revenue from your sale
- Landing Page: Convert the customer $
- Email content/CTA goal: Click through to your site or landing page
- Subject Line/Preview text goal: Open the email to read more
In other words, the goal of your preview text is to earn attention from your readers. You have limited real-estate in the inbox, so use it wisely to stand out from the noise. With nearly 100 billion marketing emails are sent each day, you have to use the preheader carefully to win the battle for attention.
Tips for Great Preheader Text
Now that you understand the importance of preview text, how do you approach writing it effectively? The copy you use for preheader text can vary wildly depending on the subject line and content of your email. However, here are a few basic rules to follow.
Eric Keating is the Vice President of Marketing at Zaius, a B2C CRM marketing platform. A go-to-market business leader, Eric is focused on helping top consumer brands grow by improving their understanding of customer behavior. Prior to joining Zaius, he was the vice president of the software-as-a-service division at Millward Brown Digital.