Before I jump on my soapbox about why preheader text is important in email marketing, allow me to first explain what it is. Preheader text is a sentence or two that appears at the top of an HTML email. It’s coded to display prominently next to or below the subject line in the inbox of most mobile and desktop email clients. Preheader text is sometimes also called preview text or snippet copy.
Preheader text is one of a limited number of marketer-controlled variables that influence whether a subscriber opens an email.
This copy is on the short list of things that influence an open, which includes subject line, from name, send time and day, and whether a subscriber found value in previously viewed email from your brand. To overlook preheader text and not experiment with different calls to action and benefit statements is short-sighted and could cost you opens.
In fact, if you’re not mindful of the preheader, your subscribers could see some pretty garbled things in their inbox. They might see “Having trouble reading this email?” Or perhaps the alt tags of your email header graphic and navigation, or even the code wrapped around the first image in your layout. Nothing says hello quite like “<a href=”http://www.brandname.com target=”_blank”><img src=http://assets…”
This is not a great first impression.
What should you write in your preheader?
Your subject line and preheader together should tell a compelling story. Consider adding copy that complements or builds on your subject line. Preheader text should be written to further entice readers to open your message or take another action. Preheaders should be about 10 to 15 words, not including any View Online or Update Your Preferences links. In fact, in most cases, these two links should be moved to the footer of your email unless they are the primary call to action.
If you’re not using a preheader now, consider testing into it. Run A/B split tests so you can determine if your preheader text drives higher opens or clicks than the version of the same message without it. We’d love it if you shared your results with us! Drop us a line at .