How to Use Email Preheaders for Better Open Rates 101

Your subject line and preheader are the two main factors that determine whether or not an email is opened by subscribers. While much has been written and spoken about the subject line (which is a teaser for your email, just like a movie trailer is for a movie), the discussion around the preheader has not been as well-developed. If you don’t take it seriously in 2022, you will undoubtedly be at disadvantage. Let me tell you why.

Why do you need email preheaders?

Your subject line can be as beautiful as it is. However, 6-8 words will not generate curiosity in the mind of your reader. Even if they’re completely blown away by your subject line, most people need more context to make them open the email.

Your email preheader is crucial. A well-crafted preheader can make your subject line more effective than it is if it’s at 100%. Trust me, this is a must-have in today’s email fatigue and inbox clutter.

Besides, mobile clients accounting for 41.6%” of all email opens currently. While it is possible to argue that subject lines are more important than preheaders in a desktop environment (which could be true), this is not the case for mobile devices. Both of these are equally important. In the coming years, more people will access their email via phone. Your email engagement metrics could be at risk if you don’t pay attention to your preheaders.

Don’t worry. But we won’t allow that to happen. We will share with you all the ingredients that can be used to create the perfect email preheader. Are you excited to learn more? Continue reading, the recipe is waiting!

Initiate A Dialogue

Conversational preheaders are a great way to make them more effective. What better way to do that than by asking your readers questions? This is the time to ensure your preheader enhances the appeal of your subject line. This advice applies regardless of whether you’re writing a preheader. This tip should be taken with greater gravitas because you are directly initiating a conversation with your subscribers. It is a good idea to make your preheader declarative if you’re using it.

This is not a hard and fast rule, but it will make your message more readable. You’d agree that it can be annoying to follow up on a question with another person.

These are some examples of email pre-headers that will help you gain a better understanding of what I have just mentioned.

Subject line: Black Friday Early Deals Vitamix, All-Clad, and More

Preheader-Why wait? Get the best deals of the year now!

Subject line: The perfect gift for all beauty lovers on your wish list

Preheader- Did they mention that they are only available at Sephora?

Subject line: DEALS. DEALS. DEALS.

Preheader – Did we mention that we have deals?

Subject line: Klaviyo Customer Education this Week

Prehe@der – Who doesn’t love coupons?

One last thing, to emphasize our last point: If you frame your subject line in a question format, it is best to keep your email preheader a declarative statement.

Check out this example.

Subject line: Ready to rent a Peloton Bike or Bike+?

Prehe@der – Discover our flexible payment plans.

Add A Bit of Humor

If I say “bit”, I don’t mind you adding a few drops, as long as you don’t get too carried away. I want you to be cautious when using the word “bit”. The bottom line is to use humor. Humor is the best way to disarm your subscribers and address any apprehensions, or unsavory preconceived notions they may have about you. People look forward to seeing a brand that puts a smile on people’s faces. Who wouldn’t want to smile?

Despite all that, humor is one of the most difficult codes to crack. Even though I am far from being a master of humor, it is something that I can definitely do. I won’t give you the inside scoop on how to make your preheaders funny. Instead, I will give you some examples to help you.

Subject line: Still wiping? That is what we hate.

Prehe@der – It would be easier with a bidet.

All tr!cksters are welcome to use the subject line

Prehe@der – I don’t want you to read my e-mails.

Subject line: Shop by Price

Prehe@der – Let’s face it, this is how we all sort anyway

Subject line: It’s all about the best

Prehe@der- (And we mean ALL)

Pay Attention to The Length

This is the most important thing you should consider when creating your email preheader. If your email preheader is too long, none of the humor, candor, and authority you put into it will be effective.

You may be wondering why. If you don’t work within the preheader’s character limit, it will either be shortened (if too long) or pick text from the body (if too short). Both are undesirable outcomes.

What is the optimal email preheader length? The ideal preheader length is anything between 40 and 130 characters. Different email clients have different preheader length requirements. It is best to determine which email client is most used by your subscribers, and adjust the preheader length accordingly. After you’ve done this, send yourself a test mail to see how your preheader looks across different devices and clients.

Use Preheaders To Strengthen Your Value Proposition

I hope you now have a better understanding of how the tag team’s subject line and preheader work. If you haven’t, this point will help you achieve that goal. Let’s first discuss the PRIMARY goals one set with subject lines.

  • Make an announcement
  • Spark curiosity
  • Encourage a sense of urgency
  • Provide a concise summary of the email to readers

You don’t have the time or space to discuss the value proposition of any of the products and services you mention in your email if you’re trying to pass these notes. The email preheader is your friend. These are brief summaries of the USPs for the offers in your email. This will give your subscribers the push they need to open your email.

Do you want to know how the top business people do it? These are just a few examples.

Subject line: This sweet treat will blow your children’s minds.

Prehe@der – It’s Fairy Bread.

Subject line: A secret recipe for the perfect gift

Prehe@der- A framed recipe that can be passed down through generations.

Subject line: Save on Anti-Aging Cream and Serum Combinations

Prehe@der: Age-defying skincare products to keep your skin glowing throughout winter

A/B Identity Test The Best Version

You can’t rely on intuition and instinct when it comes to understanding the preferences and tastes of your subscribers. These are critical factors in your decision-making process. However, analytics is a crucial component of being able to nail the job. Data and the inferences that it produces can help you see past your biases to make calls that are more in line with the objective reality.

A/B testing is a powerful tool you should use. Preheaders are written by brands. You will start with a list of 15-20. Then, you will narrow down the top ones to two equally worthy options. How can you decide which option will be most effective for your audience? Enter: A/B testing. This allows you to compare your best options with each other, ultimately revealing which one is the most effective.

Wrapping it Up

Email preheaders can be used to complement your subject line and give your email engagement an important boost. Although it is difficult to master them all, we hope you can quickly learn the basics with these examples and the guidelines provided.

For further email marketing best practices, check this Email Marketing Guide and the Complete List of Spam Words to avoid.

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What is the optimal length for an email preheader?

The ideal preheader length is anything between 40 and 130 characters

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