Email Analysis

Effective use of preheaders in email marketing

We’ve recently mentioned how your email marketing open rates depend to a great extent on your choice of Subject Line. You’ll be pleased to know that they need to be supported by a preheader and that these need as much creativity as the Subject Line.

As the preheader is known by other titles, I’ll clarify what I mean by the term. It is the text shown under or after the Subject Line when your marketing email is seen in a receiver’s inbox. What they will see is 1/ who the email is from, 2/ the catchy Subject Line of the email, and finally, 3/ the preheader tells them why they should open it. 

You see the arrangement on TV crime dramas in the format of the hero saying: I’m DCI Vera Stanhope, from Northumberland and City Police. I want to question you about the murder of, etc. In other words, who she is, why she’s important and the reason for the confrontation.

Effective Use Of Preheaders In Email MarketingThe preheader should be used to convince those not totally swayed by the Subject Line that they should open the marketing email. It’s also another way to reinforce personalisation. Not convinced that you need to bother? Read on.

Most emails are opened on mobiles and most ESPs provide the preheader. It’s a fact of life that you should not only accept but plan for as well. Preheaders are shown on laptops and desktops as well as on mobiles. 

A preheader consists of a varying number of characters, 35 on my Moto G5S running EE. Once I’ve checked the sender, I, like most people, will read the Subject Line. If I’ve decided it might be something worthwhile, I’ll read on. It’s the sender’s chance to convince me to open it. That’s free text, what anyone in email marketing dreams of. Yet so many companies spend little or no time on deciding what to include. 

Another factor that you must consider is that preheader text is expected. A subscriber will want to know if it is worth their while spending the time reading the full marketing email. They might be out and about, in a lift or train. They are looking for reasons to delete the email. Those extra few words need to make the difference.

If you have used a Subject Line that is a little ambiguous or humorous, the preheader is the way to explain what you meant. For instance, if you were selling Liverpool as a holiday destination to those who might be more inclined to go to London, you could say ‘Samuel Johnson was wrong’. The preheader could read, ‘Tired of London? Try Liverpool.’

It fits, I’ve just tried it. Feel free to use it.

It can be used for personalisation. It’s the perfect place to explain to those on your email marketing list that you know their problems and can solve them. Give the resumé of your solutions in the preheader.

It seems odd that despite there being a free text option, in the right place to increase open rates, so few seem to bother.



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