What’s an e-mail preheader? Do it’s essential to know code so as to add a preheader? Are they totally different on cell and desktop? What do you have to even put in your e-mail preheader within the first place?

Whenever you begin diving into e-mail improvement and the HTML/CSS aspect of e-mail preheaders, issues can get sticky shortly. However they don’t must – there are simpler methods so as to add e-mail preheaders (and know what to place in them).

What’s an e-mail preheader?

Electronic mail preheader textual content is a small line of textual content that seems after the topic line in an e-mail inbox. Electronic mail preheaders give a brief abstract of the contents of an e-mail, and should seem in another way on cell and net e-mail shoppers.

You possibly can add preheaders (additionally referred to as “e-mail preview textual content”) to your emails by utilizing HTML and CSS. Or by selecting email software that allows you to customise your e-mail preheader textual content without code.

Right here’s an instance of what e-mail preheaders appear like in Gmail.

email preheader in gmail example

Electronic mail preheaders for promotional emails in my inbox. Discover that the textual content shows in another way relying on the size of your topic line.

example of email elements in gmail

Electronic mail preheader seems in another way in several e-mail shoppers. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and the assorted cell shoppers all have other ways of displaying previews. Right here’s an instance of what preview textual content can appear like on cell.

The from identify, topic line, and preheader textual content can all present up in another way in several shoppers. On cell, your preheader textual content may not get minimize off by having an extended topic line (Supply, Litmus).

Electronic mail preheaders are a contemporary model of the old-school “Johnson Field,” a method utilized in direct response copywriting to preview the topic of a gross sales letter.

A Johnson Field, created by Frank H. Johnson, is a field on the prime of a letter that summarizes key concepts – the objective is to get extra individuals to learn your letter.

In an article for AWAI, George Duncan of Duncan Direct Direct Associates defined the aim of a Johnson Field:

“You have got a good quantity of your message above the salutation earlier than the particular person even will get into the letter, so that they perceive what territory they’re in. After which in the event that they go on to learn the letter, you’ve bought them sort of saying ‘sure’ to you already.”

In the identical approach, an e-mail preheader is a brief abstract of your e-mail – and the objective is to get individuals to open your e-mail.

The way to add preheader textual content to an e-mail marketing campaign

You possibly can add preheader textual content to an e-mail by including it by means of your email CRM software or manually including a hidden div type to your HTML code. When you don’t add preheader textual content to an e-mail marketing campaign, e-mail shoppers could pull within the textual content for you based mostly on the contents of your e-mail.

Generally, auto-generated preheaders are sufficient. However typically, you’ll need to use your e-mail preheader textual content as a “second topic line” to construct curiosity and get extra e-mail opens.

email preheader mistake

Right here’s an instance of preheader textual content gone incorrect.

“Having bother” is the primary textual content within the precise e-mail, so it’s what will get pulled into the preheader. Nothing towards Poetry Basis, however a extra descriptive preheader would possibly enhance their open charges. (It may be worse – generally an unsubscribe hyperlink reveals up right here).

The way to add e-mail preheaders with code

When you add e-mail preheader textual content utilizing code, you’re basically telling e-mail shoppers which textual content you need to be pulled into the e-mail.

Electronic mail improvement has quite a lot of quirks (in comparison with your on a regular basis HTML and CSS), and coded preheaders mirror that. Coded preheaders are difficult, so that you would possibly want to keep away from them (in case your e-mail software program permits it). So as to add a preheader with code:

  • Add textual content as the primary textual content throughout the physique tag of your e-mail
  • Put the textual content in a div type
  • Use the div type to cover the textual content from the precise e-mail

To e-mail shoppers, your preheader textual content will present up as the primary textual content within the e-mail. When somebody opens your e-mail, that textual content might be hidden (due to the hidden div type).

This manner, the e-mail shopper will pull within the preheader textual content, however individuals in your e-mail record received’t really see it in your e-mail design (so it doesn’t take up priceless design actual property).

hidden div tag preheader

Right here’s an instance of a hidden div type, from an actual e-mail we despatched at ActiveCampaign.

The div type incorporates the primary textual content within the physique tag. Discover that its font measurement is 1, its shade is white, its line peak is one, max peak/width 0, opacity 0, overflow:hidden – principally, there’s no approach an individual is ever going to see this textual content.

The way to add e-mail preheaders with out code

Electronic mail improvement is difficult, and also you would possibly simply need to use the email templates which might be obtainable in your email marketing software.

add a preheader in ActiveCampaign without using HTML or code

Not all e-mail or marketing automation software enables you to customise your preheader textual content with out utilizing code. In ActiveCampaign, you’ll be able to change your preheader textual content in the identical place you edit your topic line.

Altering your e-mail preheader is simply as straightforward as altering your topic line. You possibly can try it for yourself here.

How lengthy ought to an e-mail preheader be?

Your e-mail preheader textual content ought to be between 40-130 characters lengthy. This vary makes certain that your preview textual content seems in each desktop and cell e-mail shoppers.

As a result of preheader size varies based mostly on the e-mail shopper, there isn’t actually a great size for e-mail preheader. 100 characters or extra is a superbly cheap variety of characters to place in your preview textual content – simply be sure that the start of your e-mail preheader has crucial factors.

Listed below are 3 issues to bear in mind whenever you determine on the size of your preheader textual content:

  1. On many desktop shoppers, the size of your e-mail topic line determines how a lot of your preview textual content is displayed
  2. Cell e-mail shoppers usually present much less of your preheader textual content. Most cell preheader textual content is between 30 and 55 characters lengthy.
  3. In case your preview textual content is just too quick, e-mail shoppers could pull in textual content from the start of your e-mail

Even in case you don’t want all of it, it may be a good suggestion to jot down an extended e-mail preheader (with the details originally) so that you simply don’t by chance show a line of textual content from the remainder of your e-mail marketing campaign.

short email preheader

The preheader for this e-mail was “Pleasant Reminder.” However it’s too quick – so Gmail pulls within the first line of textual content from the e-mail. The result’s a bit clunky and will have been averted with an extended e-mail preheader.

How do you write an e-mail preheader? 4 finest practices

You possibly can add a preheader to your e-mail campaigns, however what do you have to put in it?

An ideal preheader can work as a second e-mail topic line – it’s a possibility on your to seize consideration and persuade extra individuals to open your emails.

Listed below are 4 e-mail preheader finest practices:

  1. Add a name to motion
  2. Don’t repeat the topic line
  3. Make your topic line and preheader textual content work collectively
  4. Use the preheader to construct curiosity (don’t simply summarize)

1. Add a name to motion

Generally all it’s essential to do is ask.

Similar to your e-mail has a call to action, including a name to motion to your e-mail preheader may get extra individuals to open.

preheader call to action

Right here’s an instance from copywriter Joel Klettke.

Fairly direct. Fairly efficient.

A preheader name to motion follows all the identical guidelines as a traditional name to motion:

  • Hold it quick (you don’t have a lot room anyway)
  • Make it sound straightforward
  • Promise a profit

Or, when all else fails, simply ask individuals to open your e-mail.

2. Don’t repeat the topic line

Why say the identical factor twice?

duplicated preheader and subject line

New tutorials…free tutorials…principally the identical factor. “Survive the winter” doesn’t add something to make me click on.

Your topic line and preheader textual content shouldn’t say the identical factor. The preheader is an opportunity to construct in your topic line by…

  • Including particulars
  • Constructing curiosity

Your topic line might be solely 30-75 characters lengthy – including preheader textual content offers you one other 100 characters to play with!

Plus – though e-mail preheaders aren’t at all times distinguished on desktops, cell preheaders could be nearly as distinguished as the topic line.

using preheader as a second subject line

Open Books makes use of the preheader textual content as a second topic line. On cell, the preheader really will get extra space!

Deal with your e-mail preheader as a second probability at a primary impression. Put extra work into it than simply repeating the topic line.

3. Make your topic line and preheader textual content work collectively

Like Open Books, you need to use your e-mail topic line and preheader collectively to make your message hit stronger.

Your e-mail preheader shouldn’t simply repeat your topic line. However it shouldn’t be completely totally different both. You should utilize the preheader to construct on an amazing topic line – and get extra individuals to open your e-mail.

Try this instance from Brendan Hufford.

preheader curiosity gap

The topic line opens a curiosity hole. And the preheader builds on it.

When your topic line and preheader work collectively, you’ll be able to construct curiosity.

Talking of which…

4. Use the preheader to construct curiosity (don’t simply summarize)

In 1994, behavioral economist and Carnegie Mellon professor George Loewenstein printed a paper titled The Psychology of Curiosity.

The paper is a big evaluation of the psychology analysis on curiosity – it’s 24 pages lengthy and has been cited 1400+ occasions.

To spare you a bunch of technical studying (though it’s nice), the advertising gold is on web page 17.

Snippet of text from the 1994 paper The Psychology of Curiosity by behavioral economist and Carnegie Mellon professor George Loewenstein

In different phrases, how are you going to make another person curious?

Loewenstein names 5 methods that you could make another person curious. I’m utilizing 3 of them proper now (will you be capable to work out which of them, after I present them to you?).

Listed below are the 5 methods to make individuals curious:

  1. Ask a curiosity-inducing query
  2. Begin a sequence of occasions, however don’t end (e.g. an unfinished story)
  3. Violate expectations
  4. Suggest that you’ve the knowledge they don’t
  5. Suggest that they used to know one thing that they’ve since forgotten

The beauty of this record – you’ll be able to actually use it as a guidelines. How lots of the 5 does your e-mail preheader use? Or your topic line, for that matter?

An instance will assist. Which headline is probably the most intriguing?

  • The way to earn half one million {dollars} a yr
  • How will you earn half one million {dollars} a yr?
  • Do you will have the braveness to earn half one million {dollars} a yr?

The primary one makes use of technique 4. The second provides technique 1 by asking a query. They’re each boring (and a bit scammy).

The third one asks when you’ve got braveness.

It nonetheless asks a query. It nonetheless implies information. However it breaks your expectations, and that’s why it turned the headline for one of Eugene Schwartz’s classic ads.

Whenever you write your preheader, undergo every of the 5 factors. How will you add extra of them – to construct curiosity?

(Warning: This system could be too highly effective. Solely use 3 at a time, or you could possibly come throughout as clickbait.)

Conclusion: Electronic mail preheader in 2023 (and past)

What does the yr must do with e-mail preheaders? How are e-mail preheaders in 2023 totally different from e-mail preheaders in 2022?

There are just a few tendencies and modifications that might have an effect on your email marketing:

  • Office messaging (like Slack) replaces quite a lot of office e-mail
  • Extra individuals do e-mail advertising (as a result of it really works, and automation is getting higher)
  • An individual’s inbox is more likely to have extra promotional emails – which implies it’s essential to make your emails extra engaging (helloooo preheaders!)
  • Assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Dwelling can learn emails aloud, which would come with e-mail preheaders

We’ll see how the tendencies shake out. Within the meantime, you will get higher leads to 2023 (and past) by completely nailing your e-mail preheaders.


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