Cyndi Greenglass

Preheader text is like envelope teasers – get it opened!
Posted by Cyndi Greenglass on June 9, 2014 in Digital Solutions

Bad news, friends. According to Christopher Lester in Target Marketing Magazine, subscribers spend less than three to four seconds deciding whether or not to open your email.

And because up to 75 percent  of folks first read email on their mobile devices, it’s all too easy for them to swipe and delete without a second thought. The good news? Email marketers have another tool to grab subscribers’ attention: preheader text.

 What are preheaders and why should we care?

Preheader text is the slightly grayed-out text that shows up after the subject line when checking emails in your Gmail account or on your phone. It’s common to put a lot of thought into what’s inside your email, but you also need to pay the same level of attention to your preheader text because:

  1. People increasingly preview your emails in a browser setting so the preheader is the first thing they will read after your subject line.
  2. Up to 30% of business people have their images turned off, so having a preheader allows you to have a compelling message, even if the images do not load.

In other words, the preheader can act like the “teaser” on an envelope – and its entire job is to get the recipient to open the email!

Repeat after me:  The preheader is not an excuse to repeat the subject line.

Too often, marketers make the mistake of using preheader text to repeat or restate the subject line. This doesn’t add value for readers, so use the preheader to give them something fresh that will catch their eye.

Below are some great preheader tips shared by Target Marketing Magazine:

1. Tease the Content of Your Email
Sometimes email subject lines are less than perfect. The nice thing about preheader text is that it gives you another chance to encourage readers to open your email. Use it to capture the main point of your email with some compelling, eye-catching copy.

2. Provide a Strong Call to Action
Your preheader text can be a great place to include your call to action and create a sense of urgency. It will encourage your subscribers to open right away, before they get distracted by the compilation of cat gifs their friends just sent.

3. Elaborate on the Subject Line
In general, the shorter the subject line, the better it performs. Preheader text allows you to add some context while keeping your subject line length in that attention-grabbing sweet spot.

4. Write a Personal Message
A personalized note in your preheader text mirrors what your readers see when they get emails from friends and family. Plus it’s subtle, so it’s less likely to offend those folks who might be turned off by personalized subject lines.

5. Give an Incentive to Open
It’s no secret that people sign up to email lists because they expect to get something valuable in return. Hit them with that deal or exclusive content right away and watch your open rates soar.

6. Keep It Short
The length varies depending on the email client, but to be safe, we recommend keeping it under 75 characters.

7. A/B Test
Every audience is different. Test variations of your preheader text to learn what resonates best with your subscribers.

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