Today’s readers need only a few seconds to decide whether they want to open an email. Just a couple of seconds — is that a lot or a little? It’s enough to motivate the recipient, but only if you know how to do it. In this article, we will consider something less obvious than the sender or subject line.
What is the preheader?
The third element that influences the open rate is the preheader. This is the text that is located at the beginning of the email in the “Inbox” that comes immediately after the subject line.
Preheaders are displayed in most desktop email clients (Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.), browser-based email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), and programs for Android and iPhone.
What’s the preheader’s efficiency?
An effective subject line cannot be too long. The optimum length is about 50 letters. But what if you can’t convey the essence of your email newsletter with 50 letters? Please note that the length of the subject line is shorter for mobile phones. For example, iPhones only display 35 letters. The preheader, which helps to extend the essence of the theme, will help us. It looks like this on the iPhone:
Nearly 70% of smartphone owners open emails on their mobile devices, so it’s irrational to ignore preheaders. Preheaders increase the open rate and the efficiency of your newsletter as a whole. With the help of the preheader, you can attract the recipient’s attention to your newsletter and encourage them to open it.
What types of preheaders are there?
- The most popular variant is the text, which is at the beginning of the email. You should take care to have the sense of the text displayed instead of using such phrases as «Don’t see the image» etc.
The first sentence of the email is «The classic Tom Ford lock pump, now available in different styles». This preheader perfectly complements the subject and reveals its content.
This variant of preheader can be further refined, and email marketers of Engadget did just this:
The preheader consists of an alt tag text logo (“gdgt”) and two links that go right after the logo.
- An alternative to the first type is the invisible DIV preheaders in which you can put any information. In this case you have more freedom in your actions because the text isn’t displayed in the email. Such text is effective in conjunction with the subject line, but it’s absolutely meaningless apart from the subject.
This example is from the «PeiWei» restaurant. The preheader expands the subject line: «Sergey, your chance to win food, gift cards and one of three Grand Prizes»
The email begins with other text, which is more logical than «food, gift cards and one of three Grand Prizes».
The optimal variant for all marketers is the text, which is at the beginning of the email. Although, the second variant is also effective.
Four ideas on how to use the preheaders
- Support the subject line
The preheader gives you more chance of your newsletter being opened. Use this opportunity to expand the meaning of the subject line. For example, what does this subject line mean to you: «Two is better than one»?
It becomes clear with the explanation: «California and Spicy Tuna Rolls for Lunch».
The preheader is the perfect place to put a strong call to action and create a sense of urgency. There are two of these components in the newsletter from the brand «UnderArmour»: «Outlet event ends today. Gear up before it’s gone».
- Personalize your emails
Competent personalization is key to success in email marketing. The preheader can also be personalized. Due to the personal appeal, I even pay attention to limited editions of cosmetics.
- Attention to detail
Make sure that your recipients don’t have any misunderstandings. Pay attention to the word order and length of the preheader if you don’t, the important information will be cut off. For example, the full preheader «Enjoy 50% off handbags for VIP clients» may not show up and only show «Enjoy 50% off handbags». Make sure that the text of the header matches the content of the email. If you talk about free delivery in the preheader, then write this information in the body of email.
Don’t forget email marketing’s golden rule: test! Every business has its own audience with their own preferences and interests. Your objective is to determine what marketing methods will be effective for your subscribers.