More Important Than Ever

For digital marketers--really anyone who sends and receives emails on a daily basis--subject lines and preheader text are more important than ever. In fact, according to CoSchedule, 35% of recipients report that they open their emails based entirely around the subject line and preheader text. That means there's a huge percentage of people that may never read your otherwise perfect email, simply because of a bad subject line, so figuring that out is critical.

What Are Subjects Lines & Preheader Text?

Before we dive into why they’re important, let’s talk about what subject lines and preheader text actually are. Subject lines and preheader text are the integral parts of an email, previewing what’s inside.

They’re the first thing a prospect sees when they receive an email, whether on mobile or desktop. Subject lines are the first text that is bolded, The first this you see. Every email you receive from any organization has this text. Preheader text is the descriptive text that follows. As a default, the preheader text is the first line of the email, but ideally it should be customized to incentivize prospects into opening the email.

What To Consider When Creating Subject Lines

Subject lines are the very first thing a prospect will see, even before opening an email. Six or less words is the sweet spot for length, though there is some flexibility to that. Just don’t try to write full sentences, because you can lose readers by doing that, and depending on where the prospect is viewing the message, part of it could be clipped, effectively clipping your chances of having your email opened. Instead, try to include verbiage that is designed to entice and draw your prospect into your message. Try stoking their curiosity, doing what you can to push a sense of urgency about your email, or tailoring your subject line to be more personal and relevant to the prospect receiving it. Keep in mind that 64% of people say that they open emails based on the relevance of the subject line, so make sure your marketing strategy is targeting the right prospects for the best click through rates.

What To Consider When Creating Preheader Text

Preheader text, the equally important younger sibling to subject lines, also has several considerations that need to be made when planning an email. It should be hard-hitting, drive the prospect toward your main CTA, and around 30-80 characters. While there isn’t a best length for the preheader text, sticking to these numbers is good practice as some mobile devices will cut off the preheader text after 80 characters, so make sure you’re keeping it short, or at the very least, including the most important words of the message in the very beginning. If it’s less than 30 characters, it might be too short, and actually pull in the first line of the email to fill out the rest of the preheader, and the result can feel a little clumsy. Think of your preheader as a sort of thesis statement, summarizing your message in an easily-digestible bite that makes your prospect hungry for more. Also, be sure not to repeat the subject line, as that looks lazy to the outside observer, and could affect your open rate. Make your preheader text work with your subject line, and you should see more success!

Measuring Subject Line & Preheader Text Success

A great tool to measure how successful the subject information for an email was is the open rate in Pardot email reports, which can be found after an email has been sent.

When analyzing the success, keep in mind that the higher the open rate, the more successful your subject line and preheader text were. A/B testing is also going to be crucial in discovering which subject lines and preheader texts are working best for you. When it comes to marketing, everything is always going to be in a state of flux, and every audience is going to be unique, so you’re going to want to analyze this data as much as possible in order to target these prospects more accurately.

Pro-Tip: A/B testing is an effective method to determine what draws your prospects into opening emails. If you have questions or doubts about your subject information, just set up an A/B test on your next email send.

Subject information can be nearly as important as what's contained inside an email. With the tips and tricks above you should be set up to start understanding why certain subject lines and preheader text succeed and others don’t.

Have additional questions about your subject lines and preheader text? Fill out the form and a Pardot email marketing expert will be in touch to help.

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