How Important are Email Preheaders?

Let’s start with the definition of an “email preheader.” It’s that short line of text in the recipient’s inbox that is displayed after the subject and introduces the content the recipient will find within the email.

Bottom line: This small yet essential element of any email marketing campaign can make or break the success of your campaign—and if you don’t control it, your email software probably will!

In Campaign Monitor’s software, for example, you will find the Preheader text field between the Section Spacing and Language fields:

Often neglected or left blank entirely, when used strategically the preheader can boost open rates and consequently CTRs and conversions. In today’s digital landscape with people receiving so many emails on a daily basis, preheaders help recipients determine the email’s relevance and convince them to open the email. You’ve heard of screening phone calls, well preheaders allow you to screen your emails. And, with 49% of users opening emails on smartphones nowadays, preheaders have become an essential part of any email campaign—even trumping the subject line in terms of its importance. The cherry on top: preheaders help to reduce spam alerts and increase the deliverability of your emails.

Most importantly, if you don’t use the software’s preheader, one will automatically be created for you that will show the recipient the first text string in the email.

Keys to writing effective preheaders:

  • Make the most of the characters available. Most email clients have 100 characters, including spaces – use this space to elaborate on your subject line or feature a discount
  • Lead with the key content you want relayed to the recipient (preferably in the first 35 characters)
  • Test Emojis! Often used in subject lines, it’s a great way to draw attention to your preheader
  • Use personalization to catch a reader’s eye
  • Include a CTA to call attention to the email
  • Be fun and clever – tease the content of your email
  • Test, test, test.


Desktop Example

Mobile Device Example

OVER TO YOU! We’d love to know if you are using preheaders and how they have impacted your results. Just leave your comments below.

Debbie Dawson

Debbie Dawson

Senior Account Director at Eclipse Marketing Services
Debbie has over 20 years of award-winning consumer marketing experience. She loves the challenge of determining what motivates consumers and creating marketing campaigns that solve problems in creative ways. Follow Debbie on LinkedIn
Debbie Dawson

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