If you’ve sent emails from a marketing perspective at any point in your life, you probably know what preheader text is. If that knowledge has somehow eluded you, here’s a quick intro:
Preheader text is the line of text after the subject line when you view an email in your inbox, and on a good day, it’s used to convey the overarching idea contained within the message. Many people will look at the preheader text as being somewhat redundant, though. They’ll think to themselves, “Why would I need to worry about that? The subject line will carry all that weight!”
We hear you, and we respectfully disagree. Your subject line does carry a lot of weight, but why not give it some help? Just because you can carry an armchair up to a third floor apartment doesn’t mean you should. Think about your back. With another set of hands, that job gets done a lot more smoothly. That’s what preheader text can be for you. It’s that friend helping you move in return for pizza and beer. Just a helpful friend!
Your preheader text can mean the difference between your email being opened or being ignored. It can be used to draw attention in a way that can enhance your carefully crafted subject line. If you have the power to increase your open rate simply by paying a bit of attention to your preheader text, why not give it some love? Here are some best practices on how to get the most out of your preheader text!
How Long Is Too Long?
Now this is an easy one, so let’s lead with it! A preheader will typically have between 50-100 characters. It’s not a ton of real estate in terms of text, but you can do a lot with a little.
In the hands of a good copywriter, that can mean two powerful sentences that can bring more clicks than an email with some default preheader (Default preheader text is just the first few words from the body of the email).
That being said, the email client of the recipient will determine how much of the preheader is seen. In order to optimize your preheader to work with *most* clients, you will probably want to shoot for around 50 characters. With that target, you have the best chance of your entire preheader showing up in the prospect’s inbox. You can go longer, but with that target in mind, you should try and shirt the most important part of the preheader to the beginning in order to make sure it’s seen.
Let ‘Em Know What To Expect!
On a basic level, the preheader text is a great place to let the reader know what’s inside your email. A good subject line can be catchy, but it can also leave a lot to the imagination.
When potentially readers are left to imagine what could be in the email, it can cause their interest in your message to wane. The preheader can remove that mystery! If your subject says, “The Face Of Digital Marketing Is Changing,” it’s compelling, but that could mean a lot of things. If you add a preheader that says, “Things You Need To Know About Marketing To Mobile Users”, then their mind has a specific direction, and who knows? Maybe you know something they don't know about mobile marketing. People will often want to know what they’re getting into, and the preheader can help with that!
Preheader text basically gives you one or two sentences to say whatever you want to intrigue your readers. It’s a whole other field that can be used to connect and inspire.
That being said, when it comes to marketing, one of the best ways to promote engagement is the strategic use of urgency. Saying things like, “Limited Time Only!” or, “Don’t Miss Out!” increases the likelihood of your message being opened when it’s first seen, and decreases the chance that it will be lost to the ocean of white noise that is a busy inbox. If you have a deal going on? Let them know in the preheader! Limited spots left in a webinar? That spot could be theirs! Why oh why did they wait until the last minute!? No one likes missing out, so bringing up the fact that your prospects are running that risk might be just the push they need!
Subject & Preheader Can Lift Each Other Up!
The subject line and preheader text can work together to promote more opens. For example, if you have a subject that
says, “It’s Our Biggest Sale Of The Year!” a prospect may not be sure if it’s worth it to click on the message. But if the preheader says, “40-60% Off Select Plans!” Then suddenly, it might seem a lot more worth their time. It doesn’t have to be purely informational, though! These two elements in tandem can be used to show the personality of your organization. Be creative with your preheaders! Personality attracts interest! Even if your subject line is something relatively flavorless like, “News Of The Month - February 2022,” your preheader can read something like, “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” and instantly add a bit of fun where there hadn’t been any before.
We Are Once Again Asking That You A/B Test
It’s easy to say that preheader text will increase your open rates, but it’s a whole different story when you can see it in action.
A/B testing allows you to try out different preheaders to see which style resonates more with your prospects. Heck, you can send out some messaging without a preheader, and then the same message again with a short preheader and see the difference that little line of text can make. A/B testing allows you to fine tune your strategy to your unique audience to get the best response possible. That’s more opens, more clicks, and more conversions! It’s one of those little things like the email footer that may not seem like it makes a huge difference, but all these little things really do add up!