Is preheader a part of your email marketing strategy to increase open rates?

Written by Sita Kalluri on August 31, 2015

What's your strategy to get emails opened?

For ages email marketers focused on Sender name and Subject line to get good open rates and very recently have also added the email send time/ day to their strategy. One important element of email that significantly improves the chances of email getting opened, but is often neglected is the email preheader.

What is email preheader?

A preheader is the text following the subject line, usually in smaller font, when an email is previewed. Also called as Preview text or Snippet, this is how it appears in the inbox:



How a preheader helps

  • Shows snippet of what's in the email before it is opened
  •   Reinforces the subject line and increases the probability of email being opened

Creating effective preheaders

Preheaders are like second subject line and give an nice opportunity to marketers to make email stand out in the crowded inbox. Here are some tips to create effective preheaders:

  • Remove the utility links from the preheader

Most of the preheaders we see today contain default text like view in browser, forward to friend, unsubscribe, privacy, etc. By doing so, marketers have wasted on a valuable opportunity to engage with customers.


  • Do not repeat the subject line text in preheader

Telling the same thing twice hardly increases the chance of email being opened! Ensure that the Subject line and preheader have different text.


  • Include special characters in preheader

Special characters increase visibility, attract attention and add an element of fun, thereby increasing the chances of email being opened.



  •  Keep it short

While there is no character limit for preheaders, the amount of preheader text that gets displayed entirely depends on the email client. Gmail for instance allows 100 characters of subject line and preheader to be displayed. So having a short preheader (of 60-75 characters) will ensure the message is conveyed effectively.

Know your customer

Some email clients do not support preheader text (example Blackberry and earlier versions of Outlook). Itâs important to know your customer profile when planning an email strategy.

Test on multiple clients

Test preheader text by viewing it in multiple email clients in both vertical as well as horizontal view to get an idea of how many characters recipients see.

Its time marketers optimised on this important element of email to improve open rates. Give it a try and let us know how preheader helped your email marketing!


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