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Harnessing the Power of Preheaders

Email marketing has drastically changed over the past 7+ years. Now more than ever, people are viewing their emails on their phone while on the go. This allows email marketers to get their message to their audience anytime, anywhere – creating a whole new world of tactics to try. While the smart phone phenomenon kept growing, marketers learned quickly mobile phone email inboxes rendered an additional line of copy in the inbox before the email is opened.

What is the mysterious copy line and how can this be utilized better? This mysterious copy line is called a preheader. A preheader will automatically display using the first line of text from the html.

Here are 2 samples of emails from my Outlook inbox.

Note the email without a Preheader also has a very long subject line and is getting cut off in my inbox. This would be even worse on a phone. Instead of a long subject line, try breaking up the subject line into 2 parts, use one part as the subject line and the other part as the preheader, similar to the 2nd example above. This way your complete message is readable from recipient’s inbox and you are maximizing your brand’s message before they even open the email.


It’s been considered best practice to include the unsubscribe link towards the top of the email so it is easy for people to opt out. Doing this drastically decreases spam or junk complaints, but it typically is what pulls in as the preheader as well, as in the ‘Without a Preheader’ image above. This is a prime location to get any additional message across to entice people to open your email. I personally don’t want to open the email that has the preheader “Having trouble with this email? View it online.” The second line someone reads of your email should not be suggestion there could be a problem. It just doesn’t sit well and discourages opens.

The more emails I received the more I took notice of those who utilize the preheader and those who did not. Over the last few years more and more companies are taking advantage of the additional real-estate a preheader provides from the inbox. It’s a simple but highly effective change that boosts open rates and engagement.

Our in-house marketing team is here to support your marketing efforts. For every email we send out, our copywriters suggest subject line and preheader combinations to maximize the effectiveness of the email. Want to learn more about our copy writing services? Contact us now.