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Olha KolomakinaMar 7, 2024 6:24:13 AM11 min read

Email Preheader Best Practices

In emails, the little summary below the subject line is called a preheader. It's like a sneak peek that can make people curious about what's inside. Knowing how to craft a catchy preheader can be a game changer to your email open rates which can improve your email engagement and ultimately drive more conversions.

An email preheader is the short summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. It provides recipients with a glimpse into the content of the email and can significantly impact open rates and engagement.

Source: <Omnisend>

Email preheaders serve as a secondary hook, enticing recipients to open emails by providing a sneak peek into the content. They offer an opportunity to convey value and relevance, making them essential in any email marketing strategy. Moreover, the tests conducted by Rejoiner demonstrated that including a preheader in your email campaigns can increase open rates by as much as 7.96%.

Mastering the art of crafting effective email preheaders involves implementing best practices that optimize engagement and drive desired actions from recipients. Here, we delve into five essential strategies for maximizing the impact of email preheaders in your campaigns.

Best Practice #1: Crafting Compelling Preheaders

The Importance of a Strong Opening
The preheader serves as the first impression of your email content. The first few words of the preheader must complement the subject line, creating a seamless narrative that encourages recipients to delve deeper. This approach increases the likelihood that the email will be opened.

Tips for Creating Attention-Grabbing Preheaders

To craft preheaders that seize recipients' attention, it’s important to consider incorporating action-oriented language:

  1. Create Urgency or Curiosity. For example:
  • “Limited-time offer: 50% off!”
  • “What’s inside? Open to find out!”
  • “Last chance to register for our webinar!”
2. Highlight Benefits:
  • “Discover time-saving productivity hacks inside!”
  • “Get healthier with our weekly wellness tips.”
  •  “Copy paste not working? Solve it in just a minute!“
3. Incorporate Statistics or numbers:
  • “75% of our customers saw results within a week.”
  • “Join 10,000 satisfied subscribers.”
  • “Ranked #1 by industry experts.”

4. Use emojis to stand out in the inbox:

  • "🌈 Dive Into Something New! 🚀 Check out our latest arrivals!"
  • "🚀 Blast Off with Savings! Limited 💰Time Only!"
  • "🌟 Explore What's New! Discover our latest flavors inside! 🆕"

Also, because there is a lack of space you can use for a subject line and preheader you can ensure that the preheader works together with the subject line. By creating a captivating sentence you want to deliver it to your recipient and splitting it between the subject line and the preheader.

Examples of Effective Preheaders

Below are effective examples of promotional preheader text that you can easily replicate:

Subject line

Preheader examples


Revolutionize Your Agreements!

Experience the Efficiency of AI-generated contracts! 🤖✨ 

Encouraging exploration

It's time for an adventure

Get ready for an adventure with our latest arrivals

Prompting action

Don't miss out on these deals!

Limited-time offers you won't want to pass up

Urging urgency

Sneak peek: New arrivals incoming!

Be the first to discover our latest additions

Generating anticipation

Best Practice #2: Keeping it Concise and Relevant

The Role of Conciseness in Preheaders

Being brief in preheaders is crucial for giving a clear and short preview of the email's content. With more people checking emails on mobile phones, where screens are small, keeping things short ensures that important details are seen without scrolling, which boosts the chance of getting noticed.

A well-crafted preheader invites recipients to open the email. But if it's too long, people might lose interest and skip it. So, keeping preheaders brief is key to grabbing attention and getting recipients to take action.

Avoiding Irrelevant Information

It's essential to avoid irrelevant information in preheaders to maintain clarity and engagement in email marketing. Here's why it matters:

  • Maintaining Relevance: Keep preheaders directly related to the email content to avoid confusing recipients.
  • Respecting Recipients' Time: Irrelevant preheaders waste recipients' time and may lead to disregarding future emails.
  • Enhancing User Experience: Relevant preheaders contribute to a positive user experience and strengthen brand trust.

Ideal Length for Preheaders

The length of the text differs based on the device and the email client the recipient uses.
As a general guideline, the character restriction for email preheaders can vary from approximately 40 to 130 characters. This spectrum guarantees that your email preview text displays suitably in desktop and mobile email clients.

Here is the table of character references that can help assess the length of the preview text.preview text
Source: <Email on Acid>

Best Practice #3: Incorporating Personalization

Benefits of Personalized Preheaders

  • Relevance and Connection: Personalized content speaks directly to the individual recipient's interests, preferences, and past interactions with your brand. By tailoring your emails to each recipient, you increase the likelihood of capturing their attention and driving meaningful engagement.
  • Increased Engagement: Personalized emails outperform generic, one-size-fits-all messaging by generating higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This highlights the importance of delivering content that connects with recipients individually, encouraging greater interaction and response to your email campaigns.

Methods for Adding Personal Touch

Personalization is a cornerstone of successful email marketing, enabling businesses to connect with subscribers on a personal level. Incorporating personal touches like addressing recipients by name, referencing past purchases, and tailoring content based on behavioral data can significantly boost email engagement and response rates. Here are some of the methods with examples:
 1. Recipient’s Name: Address recipients by their first name. For example:

2. Past Purchase History: Reference recent purchases or recommend related products based on the recipient's buying behavior.

  • “Loved our shoes? Check out our new arrivals!”
3. Behavioral Data: Tailor preheaders based on user behavior (e.g., abandoned cart, browsing history).
  • “Complete your purchase! Your cart is waiting.”

Personalization Dos and Don'ts

Of course, personalization in email marketing offers the opportunity to create tailored experiences that resonate with recipients. However, it's essential to strike the right balance and approach personalization with care. Here are some key dos and don'ts to keep in mind when implementing personalization strategies in your email campaigns:


  • Ensure that the personalization efforts are accurate (correctly using recipient data).
  • Make it relevant to the recipient’s interests.
  • Respect recipients’ privacy and preferences.


  • Over-personalize to the point of making recipients uncomfortable.
  • Use outdated or incorrect information.
  • Violate privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR).

Best Practice #4: Testing and Optimization

Significance of A/B Testing

As a fundamental aspect of email marketing, A/B testing is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of preheaders. This method compares two versions to determine which resonates better with the audience. Through A/B tests, marketers gain valuable insights into recipient preferences, refining preheader strategies for enhanced engagement and conversion rates.

ab testing
Source <MediaInfoline>

Key Elements to Test in Preheaders

To enhance the effectiveness of preheaders, marketers can employ strategic testing of key elements listed here:

  • Wording: Evaluate different wording choices to determine which resonates best with your audience.
  • Length: Test varying lengths of preheader text to identify optimal brevity without sacrificing clarity.
  • Personalization: Experiment with different levels of personalization to measure recipient engagement.
  • Call-to-Action Phrases: Test the effectiveness of different call-to-action phrases in driving recipient response.

By systematically testing these elements, marketers can pinpoint which variations generate the highest levels of audience interest and response, ultimately refining preheader strategies for improved email effectiveness.

Continuous Optimization for Better Results

Testing and optimizing preheaders isn't a one-time thing. It's an ongoing process aimed at improving how well preheaders work. Continuous optimization helps marketers keep up with what audiences like, changes in the industry, and new technology. By looking at data regularly, trying out new ideas, and learning from A/B testing, marketers make sure their preheaders keep grabbing attention and getting people to take action.

Best Practice #5: Mobile-Friendly Preheaders

Growing Significance of Mobile Email Engagement

With the majority of email users accessing their inboxes on mobile devices, the significance of mobile email engagement cannot be overstated. Marketers must acknowledge this trend and prioritize mobile optimization to effectively connect with their audience.

Tips for Ensuring Mobile Compatibility

To ensure that preheaders are compatible with mobile devices, several key considerations should be taken into account:

  1. Concise Preheaders: Keep your preheaders brief. Mobile screens have limited space, and a concise preheader ensures that the essential information is visible without scrolling.
  2. Front-Load Important Content: Place the most relevant part of your preheader at the beginning. This ensures that even if the preheader gets cut off, recipients still get a glimpse of the key message.
  3. Avoid Irrelevant Details: Irrelevant information clutters the preheader. Stick to the essentials—what’s in it for the recipient? Avoid jargon or lengthy descriptions.
  4. Test Across Devices: Preview your emails on different devices (desktop, mobile, and tablet). Ensure that the preheader displays correctly and remains impactful.
  5. Customize for Each Campaign: Most email service providers allow you to customize preheaders for each campaign. Tailor them to match the email’s content and purpose.

Responsive Design and Preheader Considerations

Responsive design is crucial for ensuring that preheaders adjust smoothly to various mobile devices and email platforms. By applying responsive design principles, marketers guarantee that preheaders appear well across different screen sizes, resolutions, and orientations. Furthermore, preheader text should be formatted to ensure clear readability on mobile devices, enhancing the overall user experience.

By emphasizing mobile-friendly preheaders and employing responsive design strategies, marketers can effectively connect with their audience across all devices, resulting in higher email open rates and enhanced campaign performance.

3 Real-life Examples of Great Email Preheaders


Real-life examples provide valuable insights into crafting effective preheaders. Take, for instance, Grammarly Inside Header: "Inside: your weekly stats +45% off Premium - make sure you're logged into Grammarly."
This preheader stands out for its clarity and brevity. The preheader communicates the recipient's weekly stats, offers a tempting 45% discount on Grammarly Premium, and reminds users to log in. This concise yet informative message provides immediate value and creates a sense of urgency with the limited-time discount offer. Using "your" adds a personalized touch, making the message feel tailored to the individual recipient. email on acid

Source <EmailOnAcid>

Example 2

A different example of a preheader made by Marshalls follows LUXE for *fa la la la* less!  ‘Gifts that’ll get you on their Nice list. Marshalls’ preheader example is not only attention-grabbing but also along with the subject line makes it humorous. It uses a catchy and festive tone with the use of "fa la la la" and "Nice list," capturing the reader's attention and evoking interest. The use of symbols like the star emoji and the asterisks adds visual interest and draws the eye to the preheader in a crowded inbox. Lastly, the preheader hints at exclusive or desirable items, encouraging recipients to open the email to discover the curated selection of gifts available, thereby increasing engagement and potential sales.


Source: <Omnisend>

Example 3

This example from Buffalo Audubon Society: “Giving Tuesday is here! Tracy, today is giving Tuesday! We have a goal to reach 2500 dollars today” effectively grabs the reader's attention by emphasizing urgency and personalization. It immediately communicates the purpose of the email and encourages the recipient, Tracy, to take action. Stating a specific fundraising goal, motivates Tracy to contribute towards achieving the target amount.

Giving Tuesday

Source: <Omnisend>

Mastering the Art of Email Preheaders

In conclusion, email preheaders serve as secondary hooks that entice recipients to open emails by providing a glimpse into the content. They significantly impact open rates and engagement, making them integral to any email marketing strategy.

To master the art of crafting compelling email preheaders, it's essential to follow these five fundamental best practices:

  • Crafting Compelling Preheaders: Use action-oriented language, highlight benefits, create urgency or curiosity, and incorporate statistics or numbers.
  • Keeping it Concise and Relevant: Ensure preheaders are brief yet informative, avoiding irrelevant information to maintain clarity and engagement.
  • Incorporating Personalization: Tailor preheaders to individual recipients by addressing them by name, referencing past interactions, and leveraging behavioral data.
  • Testing and Optimization: Utilize A/B testing to evaluate different preheader variations and continuously optimize strategies for improved engagement.
  • Mobile-Friendly Preheaders: Prioritize mobile optimization by keeping preheaders concise, front-loading important content, and testing across devices.

In essence, mastering the art of email preheaders requires attention to detail, strategic thinking, and continuous optimization. By following these best practices and understanding the pivotal role of preheaders in email marketing, marketers can unlock the full potential of this essential element and achieve greater success in their campaigns.

Make Your Email Marketing Profitable


Olha Kolomakina

Olha Kolomakina, PR & SEO Outreach specialist at GrowthMate – a digital PR agency that helps ambitious B2B brands generate more revenue. Olha is a PR & digital marketing expert with over 10 years of experience in IT (B2B, e-commerce, SaaS, IT services). She is passionate about inbound marketing.