Preheaders: The Most Underrated Email Component

We talk about email marketing a lot on this blog. It’s one of the most written-about topics in our history. It’s the subject of my first book.

But in searching back through old posts, I can’t find a single mention of the “Preheader”.

So I came to the conclusion that this is the most underrated email component. It’s underrated precisely because nobody talks about it. And most casual email marketers don’t even know what it is, might not have ever even heard of the preheader before.

The preheader is the text that appears immediately after the subject line when an email is previewed, before it is opened. It’s the only thing other than the subject line and sender that someone will see if they never open your email. And for that reason, it has a lot of value to you as a marketer. It’s almost an extension of the subject line, which we all agree is supremely important.

So now that we know what a preheader is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how we can use it to our advantage.

If you don’t specifically create a preheader, that doesn’t mean nothing will show up. What will show up is the first couple words of text in your email. You don’t want that. You have the control, so you might as well use it.

Use the preheader to expand on your subject line and give the person a reason to open your email. Tell the reader what they will get when the open your email.

Depending on how long your subject is and what your subscribers are using to read email, you might get 5 words of preheader text, or you might get none. So just like you do with your subject lines, be concise. Say whatever it was that you were not able to say in your subject line, or add to the subject line in some way. I’ve even see some companies basically repeat the subject line over again, which is a little strange and a wasted opportunity in my opinion, but better than nothing.

The key is, take advantage of the preheader. Don’t ignore it, like so many email marketers have for so long.