Preheader Text: The Key to Elevating Email Impact and Deliverability

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

When you send an email, you have a chance to make that message more effective and valuable to potential customers, subscribers, and readers by using a bit of space on the subject line, not necessarily as the subject line itself, but as preheader text – simply, before the header. The preheader text is that little bit of text that appears next to, or as an extension of, your subject line in a potential subscriber’s email inbox.

What is Preheader Text?

Preheader text, also called the email preview text, is the first portion of the email that shows up to the right or directly below the subject line whenever one views an email in the inbox. Usually restricted to about 100 characters, it’s a snippet of text calculated to entice the recipient to click on your email by telling the recipient a little about what lies inside.

Why Preheader Text Matters?

The preheader text in your email serves as a crucial bridge between your subject line and the content of your email. This additional line of text can decide whether an email is opened or ignored, especially in a densely populated inbox. Let’s delve deeper into its strategic importance:

Maximizing Open Rates

So while the subject line is the first thing that draws email recipients’ attention, it’s the preheader text that gives email marketers their chance to sink the hook and increase open rates. It’s the preheader’s moment to offer something more than the subject line says it will – a promise left dangling – or to provide an irresistible incentive that didn’t make it into the subject line. Say you’re emailing to promote a sale, for instance, and you tell recipients in the subject line what the discount is: ‘20 percent off sitewide’. The preheader is an opportunity to say that the promo code ends tomorrow or that your company is throwing in free shipping to sweeten the deal.

Enhancing Email Visibility

In many mobile devices, as well as in a number of desktop email clients, preheader text shows up in the inbox listing along with the subject line. This gives your email a bigger presence in the recipient’s inbox. If the subject line fails to grab attention, a good preheader might just seal the deal. This is particularly important in the mobile-ruled world, where many users scan their way through received emails. A good preheader helps prevent your email from just passing them by.

Preventing Unwanted Email Truncations

If you don’t put in a specific preheader text, most modern email clients will default to the first few lines of your email as the preview text. And they’ll oftentimes chop off the end to try to get the full message to fit within the constraints of the smaller window in your inbox. This can often mean that the text that shows up by default is a bit of a worst-case scenario: maybe something like ‘View this email in your browser’ as the first line, or unformatted links. It’s not the most inspiring thing to entice your reader onto the next step. When you have control over your preheader, you know that every part of your email making its way into the inbox is intentional and strategic.

Adding Context and Clarity

Preheaders can elaborate on subject line wording that’s a bit vague or obscure, giving the rest of the message greater context. They can also address concerns the subject line might raise to help recipients overcome inertia and open the email. A subject line that entices with ‘Big news!’ could be helped by a preheader that hints at what that news might be, so that we are reassured when we do click through.

Encouraging Immediate Action

Sometimes it’s not so much about informing as motivating the reader to take action. A preheader might contain a compelling – such as ‘Hurry, sale ends tonight!’ or ‘Click here to claim your deal now!’ – that creates a sense of urgency, leading to a decision to act now rather than later, where the historical response has often been to lose track of the email altogether.

How Preheader Text Enhances Email Deliverability

The preheader message is a crucial factor in email deliverability as it signifies the relationship between the email content and the user. A strong preheader helps the subject line to work harder – especially when both are crafted to send out a strong association between the email content and your recipient and it builds a better sender reputation. The longer that sender remains on the list of well-known, trusted senders, the more likely that your emails end up in the inbox and not the spam folder.

In addition to leading to better-quality opens, another capability of the preheader is to reduce the incidence of spam complaints. After all, we all hate getting that junk because it makes managing your busy schedule harder, and it wastes our valuable time. Likewise, your recipients will likely not want to waste their time having to remove your email from the spam bin, so the sooner they know why your email is landing in their inbox, the better for you both.

The more likely the recipient is to find your message useful and interesting to their needs and lifestyles, the less likely it is going to be flagged as junk mail, thereby facilitating the operation of lists that producers and senders themselves have set up with specific controls.

To Sum Things Up

The reality is, that preview text – also known as preheader text – is an email marketing element that you can’t afford to ignore. By making the most of this prehead space to complement the subject line, you can make an even better first impression, boost your open rates, and boost the overall effectiveness of your email communication. The ideal email preview text is targeted, clear, and engaging. It makes your email message stand out in a crowded inbox.

Related Posts

Email Marketing Tips

Navigating the ever-changing world of email marketing requires a deep understanding of how to effectively communicate with your audience. Successful Read more

Sales Emails That Work

Today, an average email user usually gets 150-200 emails a day. People swiftly go through the emails, focusing on the Read more

Are you looking to achieve optimal email engagement without exerting too much effort? Let us guide you through the fundamentals Read more

Email marketing has been a popular marketing strategy for a long time, but with the increase in competition, it's becoming Read more


Tanya Tarasenko

Copywriter at GlockApps