The Hidden Power of Email Preheaders - Do's and Don'ts

The Hidden Power of Email Preheaders - Do's and Don'ts

Posted by Joel Platini on 10 August 2020 in Email Marketing

Are you worried that the open rates of your emails in your email marketing are very low despite having the best subject lines?

You might need to do some tweaking to your email preheaders.

But, if my subject line is good why do I need a preheader?

You see, around 60 % of users access their emails through mobile devices. In mobiles, email preheaders are more crucial than subject lines

Preheaders can boost your open rates if done right. So, follow us as we show you how to properly bring out the power of email preheaders which is the best email marketing strategy.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a process of using emails to promote a business or promote an eCommerce store. The best email marketing practice is to create a strong interactive relationship with customers through newsletters, promotions, discount emails and so on.

In the eCommerce world, emails are the primary medium for communication with businesses and customers.

Online stores sort to email marketing because it is cost-effective, requires minimal effort and it produces the highest ROI than any other marketing medium.

Cart recovery emails have become a great deal for eCommerce stores. You can send emails to customers requesting them to recover their abandoned carts.

Why does your store need email marketing?

With the rise of Social media, email marketing has become a sleeping giant. Most of the new age marketers don’t resort to emails and they ignore it.

That’s why it is compelling for us to say how email marketing can help your store in ways than you imagined.

  • It is cost-effective to set up and requires minimal effort to initiate than social media marketing.
  • You can create customized campaigns and personalized content.
  • Emails have the highest ROI so you can easily increase your sales and revenue.
  • Emails give you an opportunity to have a straightforward conversation with customers.
  • Email marketing can help you increase your traffic and customer engagement.
  • Email marketing can be effectively employed to improve leads and conversions.
  • You can foster loyalty with customers by interacting with them through newsletters when they aren’t shopping.
  • You can build better awareness and credibility for your brand using email marketing.

These are some valid reasons why your store needs email marketing. It can expose your store in more cost-effective ways than any other marketing medium.

What is an email preheader?

Email preheader is the preview text that comes after the subject line in the subscriber’s inboxes.

We all know that nowadays people access their mails form mobile devices than desktops. So, email preheaders are necessary to boost the open rates and conversions of your email.

The most important aspect of an email preheader is the length since it is more effective in mobile dives, it should be short enough to fit and entice the customers at the same time.

Including Email preheaders is one of the best email marketing practices that can help you increase you open rates and conversions.

Why do preheaders boost email open rates?

The success of email depends on its open rates, subject lines and preheaders are the ones the influence open rates. If it can’t persuade the customer to open the mail, then it is of no use.

That’s why preheaders are necessary to boost email open rates. Nowadays the competition is high and customers get subscribed to many newsletters.

So, the only way to make them open your emails is by making your mail stand out from the crowd, by using preheaders which is one of the best email marketing practices.

A recent study shows that most of the eCommerce stores don’t include preheaders while sending newsletters. So, you should seize the opportunity as it gives you a competitive edge.

Email Preheaders Do’s and Don’ts

This article will show you what you should do and what you shouldn’t while writing email preheaders.


Support the subject line

What we said earlier is true, you need preheaders to boost your open rates, but what do the customers see first when they open their email?

The subject line, right?

To engage with customers better, your email preheader must always emphasize your subject line.

But always remember, your email preheaders must compliment the subject line it shouldn’t be an exact copy of it.

Look at the following email preheader example on how your email preheader should complement your subject line.

You see how the preheader emphasizes the subject line, that's how a good preheader should look like and it is the best email marketing practices.

Personalize the preheaders

Customers love it when an email has their name on it, it shows how much they matter to your business, it creates an emotional impact.

So, the best email marketing practice is to take advantage of the impact and personalize your preheader, it is one of the best email marketing strategies. But always follow the ‘Any 1’ rule.

Either you personalize your subject line or preheader, don’t personalize both, it will feel sketchy and you might probably end up as spam.

The statistics prove how true it is, it shows that the personalized emails had better open and conversion rates than other emails.

Remember, what we said about standing out from the crowd, well personalizing your emails is how you do it. Customers will be enticed to open an email that has their name on it thus making your emails succeed.

Use psychological triggers

When you are sending an email you want the customers to take action right?

You have to increase their curiosity, show them what they’re being offered in this deal and persuade them to open your email.

And how to do all that?

Using psychological triggers. Yes, the customer won’t be interested in your email unless you have a pretty sweet deal.

So, instead of revealing that deal in the message, employ one of the best email marketing practices and tease them in preheaders.

But be aware of the spam triggers, don’t reveal too much, keep it subtle and persuasive it will do the magic for you.

You can create a sense of urgency, sense of scarcity or FOMO using your preheaders.

Make use of emojis

As this is a preheader, it is not possible to use images in them, that part can be fulfilled by using emojis.

Emojis are a great way to visually persuade your customers to open their emails. They are colorful and distinctive which can make your emails pop out from the cluster.

In this image, you can clearly see how the emails that stand out are the ones with the emojis. Using emojis will grab customers’ attention to open it thus increasing your rate.

Most businesses don’t use emojis because they think that it will not give a professional look to their emails. But a recent study from Adobe found that, including emojis in your emails can make it look credible and likable.

So, why don’t you give a try on this best email marketing strategy?

Use Call to action

The ultimate goal of adding preheaders is to make people open the email, then you should do it right. Add an attractive Call-to-action button to show why they should open their emails.

But in the case of your email preheaders, using the conventional ‘Read now’, ‘Buy now’ CTAs won’t be quite effective.

You might want to get creative in that.

You can see how they’ve used their CTA in a sentence, this will encourage customers to open your emails.

Here are some tips on how to use CTAs in preheaders,

  • Make it clear
  • Don’t write too much, keep it short.
  • It must talk directly to customers
  • Topic-specific
  • Keep it simple

You can use these tips to craft the best CTA which is the best email marketing practice to increase your open rates.

Ask questions

A bit conventional but an effective one, your emails must always be ready to grab the customer’s attention at any possible time.

How do you get a customer’s attention effortlessly?

By asking them questions, not just any questions, you must ask them the questions that they are interested in and emotional about.

That will keep them curious, but make sure you have your buyer personas before asking them any questions. These buyer personas will show you, what to ask and whom you ask.

Asking questions is one of the best email marketing strategies as it will show them how you care for their presence in your business.

A/B test your preheaders

A/B testing your emails is a great way to find what your customers like and it helps you to know them better.

A/B test or split testing is an activity where you create two preheaders and send each to a set of customers and see which one has a better open rate.

Patience is the key, keep testing your emails until you get the perfect open rate and use them in your marketing campaigns.

A/B testing your emails is one of the best email marketing practices as it is crucial and it helps you to create a better engagement with customers.


Using the same content as the subject line

Yes, the common mistake that most of the email marketers keeps making is drafting the same content for both subject line and email preheader.

Using the same content for both will trigger spam and at the same time, it won’t look professional.

A recent study shows that around 58% of people read the subject line and preheader before opening their mail. That’s why it is essential to not draft the same line for both as it may look sketchy.

Like we said before, always draft the preheader in a way that it complements the subject line.

Not including the email preheader

Probably the biggest mistake that you as an Email marketer shouldn’t make is ignoring the preheader.

There are a couple of reasons why it happens,

  • They might not know the true power of preheaders.
  • They simply don’t know that preheaders exist.

These reasons might look strange but it’s the truth. Research shows that preheaders influence 7% of open rates, by omitting it they are missing a huge opportunity to increase their open rates.

We did an exercise ourselves where we sent two emails, one with a preheader and one without. The results showed that the email with a preheader had 109% of open rates than others.

So, it’s time you start including preheaders in your emails as it is one of the best email marketing practices.

Using the unsubscribe option in the preheader

Including an unsubscribe button in your email message is the best email marketing strategy, it shows that you have nothing to hide.

But displaying it in your email preheader is not a smart move.

This message is a clear example of it, you can see how the opt-out options are more clear than the subject line. When a customer sees it that’s the first thing he’s gonna click.

Always allow your customer to see the offer you’re trying to give and then let them decide their outcome.

Never give them a chance of moving out before they read your email.

Adding links in your preheader is the best email marketing practice to convert customers but adding too many of them can lead to frustration.

Yes, many people access their emails through mobile devices so when you add many links it will get cramped and chances are that you might click the wrong link.

Or in some cases, the reader might get frustrated with too many links and will end up not clicking any one of them, thus troubling your conversions.

So, avoid having too many links and keep the user experience simple to please the readers.

Long Preheader text

Last but not least is messing the length of your preheader.

Too long preheader might get cut off, like we said most of them access through mobile devices, so it is not a brilliant tactic to draft a lengthy preheader.

The customer won’t be persuaded enough to open your emails when half of it is not visible. So, whatever the message is, keep it clean and short.


Email preheaders have a hidden power, they boost the email open rates and conversions. This article showed you the best email preheader practices, what you should do and shouldn’t.

Follow the guidelines given and you’ll see how the preheaders bring success to your email marketing campaign.

Author Bio

Joel Platini is a Content Writer and Graphic Designer with an immaculate experience in writing keyword enriched content for eCommerce websites. Familiar with WooCommerce plugins he has written how-to guides with elegance and finesse.