How To Write The Perfect Email Preheader Text to Boost Results

If you think that you drafted a stunning subject line for your email and your open rates will be skyrocket, you are wrong! However, email preheader text can help you here. Before learning what it is, ask yourself this: what if the subscribers eventually decide not to engage with your email?

Email Preheader Text Mistakes

After you work hard with optimizing the subject line, it is crucial that the subscriber should at least open your email and check its content. Else your open rates will be affected leading to a decrease in your ROI.

Have you checked what you are missing here, that can transform your ordinary email into something extraordinary? Yes, you are right!. You didn’t consider the all-important email preheader text. Among other factors that affect the email open rates, the importance of email preheaders text are increasing at an exponential rate.

Did you optimize your email preheader text, that can impact your open rates directly? In fact, studies have shown that preheaders can improve your open rates by almost 30%.

Technically an email preheader text should be the sentence or phrase that has to be there to tell the subscriber about the email content. That way if the Subject line alone couldn’t be convincing enough, show him the benefits of engaging with you through the preheader text.

Therefore, don’t believe if someone tells you that email preheader text are not that important. You should actually ask them why they think it is unimportant. But as you know why preheaders are important, you should know the answer yourself.

What is an email preheader text?

You must be wondering what a pre-header text is and what is so great about it. Also known as “Johnson Box”, the preheader text is a summary text that follows the subject line of an email. It appears as a snippet when viewed in the inbox.

An email preheader text also acts as a tip-off of the email content without the necessity of opening it. It helps a reader to decide if he wants to open the email.

If you check the below image, the pointer will direct you towards the email preheader text. Look at the email from Here the subject line in bold speaks about an offer on a certain mobile phone.  The sentence following it supports the fact but is not quoting the same thing. Now, if you want to buy a mobile phone, then you might be tempted to open the mail and check the offer at least once.

Email Preheader Text

So essentially, the text draws your attention towards the email even before you open it. It tries to create an irrestible temptation to engage with the sender.

For writing an email preheader text, if you are repeating the same sentence as the subject line has, you have been doing it all wrong. Pulling up the same text as the email contains is a big turn off for most of the subscribers. Moreover, most of the emails will land up unopened if you keep sticking to the same tactics across every email campaign, without generating any impact on your business.

So how do you change all of these and what should your email preheader text look like? Most of the successful email marketers think that a good preheader text is very essential. It alone can improve the click rates by over 30%.

However, there are some email preheader text mistakes that can hurt your email marketing campaigns. Knowing about these mistakes will help you write more effective preheaders that would your subscribers.

How to write the perfect email preheader text?

In today’s world of overflowing mailboxes, the subject line of the email is crucial. You must know how to write the perfect subject line.You must look into all the aspect of the subject line and optimize it accordingly. Additionally, your subject line should be personalized, have a sense of urgency, and should be targeted towards the right audience.

However, optimizing your subject line is not the only factor in deciding the success of your email campaigns. Simultaneously to the subject line, the email preheader text has a major role to play in determining if the user will send your email to the Spam/Trash folder or mark it as important.

Keeping your email preheader text in accordance with the subject line of the email will help you in multiple ways. Preheader texts actually plays the supporting character and upholds the value and meaning of the subject line. It also tells your subscribers about why he should open the email, or builds up their curiosity.However, if your email preheader text is wayward and not aligning to the context of the subject line, things might turn messy for you.

Follow these simple steps of writing a email preheader text to increase your email open rates, leading to more business.

1. No repetition

Preheader text plays a pivotal role in facilitating open rates for your email campaign, but need not be too flashy as the campaign itself. It is to be used more as an extension of the subject line but NEVER as its repetition. The campaign should smoothly glide from the subject to the preview and hold the interest of the viewer so as to make him go through the contents of the email.

Look at the following two images. The first email intends to reach out to those who need help to get rid of an addiction. Look at the text that follows the subject line. It is just a repetition of the subject line. So instead of adding some text to add value, or support the subject line, they wasted the space by repeating the same thing twice.

Avoid repition in preheader

Now, look at the mail from eBay. It speaks about new deals and the duration of availing the offers in the subject line. It is followed by another text which informs the reader about the reason for the promotional sale, which in this case is Cyber Monday. Since the supporting text adds value to the subject line by adding minute details of the deals or the occasion for offering such deals, the chances of opening it increases.

Subject line in Email

2. Optimize length

Usually, you can easily add a preheader text to your email campaign. However, there can arise some difficulty while trying to optimize it.

Email clients supporting preview text dedicate as many characters to it as the subject line, and in some cases, twice of that. Thus, it usually pulls up characters from the email to fill up the available preview space.

So the marketers are left with two options. Either going with the long preview text or then truncating it, or go short with preview text. In both the scenarios, the marketing campaign would fall totally flat on the customers.

A quick fix to this would be adding a white space to the preview text so that no distracting content is part of the preview. A chain of zero-width non-joiners and non-breaking spaces would do the trick.

Check the email sent by Vistaprint. You can see that the subject line itself has taken up all the space, without allowing any preheader text to appear. Thus the sentence may lose some value with no preheader text following the subject line.

Email Preheader TipsTeam Paisabazaar, on the other hand, included no preheader text as well as kept the subject line precise.

It could have been possible that sender of the email found no appropriate text that can boost the value proposition that the email already has. So, he decided to keep it blank, instead of inserting unnecessary preheader which can confuse the recipient.

Optimize length In preview text

3. Avoid Distraction

Do not use too many distracting elements in your preheader text such as smileys or colourful text. These can actually backfire on you as the email service provider may itself mark it as spam and your email it will not be delivered to your client’s inbox.

Check this promotional mail from Simply Brain Fix. They have inserted a few smileys and symbols in their subject line and making it look cluttered. So the value proposition might lose its meaning amid the icons.

Also, the preheader text is making the email more confusing as they inserted >> Display Image.

You can find the image of the food which ‘Kills’ Dementia anywhere on the internet if you want to view it. Instead of providing some useful fact about what the image might be, the email uses a link to some external source. This can make you cautious about opening it, so the open rate will be hampered.

Perfect Email PreheaderIf you see the below email from Paytm, you will find that they are also following the same technique of value proposition. But they have kept the subject line or the preheader text free from any smiley. Naturally, it will look soothing to your eyes, with a greater probability of clicking on it.

4. Mobile and Desktop View

Today the world is always connected thanks to the availability of smartphones and its access to high-speed internet. Therefore, preheader texts are needed to be optimized for both the mobile phone and the desktop. You never know which device is the preferred mode of operation for your client. So, if the preheader texts are not optimized, the recipient might lose interest when he is switching his device.

Look at the screenshot of an email when I opened the mail-box on my mobile phone. The subject line says about holiday savings just for me. The email preheader text adds value to it by asking me to shop for the best deals on gifts and much more. The subject and the preheader combination is great so I might open the mail at least to click to check out what it is providing me.

Preheader visibility on mobile

Now look at the desktop version. The email preheader text is exactly the same as used in the mobile version. In addition, the text in both the versions is of the same length and is completely visible. Thus, whichever the device will be, the users will get the same insight and can act upon it.

Preheader visibility on desktop

5. Make your email preheader text urgent

Always include a sense of urgency in the text you are writing. An email which has some value proposition along with a sense of urgency allows more interest from the recipient.

To understand how this works, check out the following emails from the same sender, and with the similar subject line.

Email Preheader Tips

The email above speaks about an offer for $5. I might be interested or I may not. Since there is no urgency in the email, I may postpone the checking of the email, and eventually, forget all about it.

Email preheader with sense of urgency

The same sender has included the word “Today is your last day”, which adds to a sense of urgency that supports the subject line. So, the probability of opening the email by a person interested in their product will increase drastically as he might not be willing to lose out on the opportunity.

You must approach your subscriber with something that they don’t want to miss out on. Giving them a deadline will just boost the open rates.


An you saw from the email preheader examples, it is capable of making a big difference in your email open rates. But keep it small and simple with some introductory text. Mention what the subscribers can expect from the email, or give them an indication of the email content. Don’t reveal the secrets but don’t make it too dull either. When you are running an email campaign, the first impression is the only thing that matter to keep you ahead of the competition. The preheader text can give you the right push.

Sandip Acharyya

A former metallurgical engineer, Sandip switched to be a digital marketer and writer. In Way2Online, he authors in-depth guides and articles that tell about the various digital marketing techniques, to help entrepreneurs and marketers to grow and improve their business. He likes to spend his leisure by reading books, watching movies, and making music.

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