Preheader: Why It's Required and How to Create It
Imagine you open your mailbox and receive an incoming email. First, you see the sender's name, then the subject line, and then a small text (subheading). This text is not yet the actual email. It contains information about what will be discussed: gifts or discounts, interesting articles or various promotions.
A preheader, also known as a snippet, is a text for an email newsletter located after the subject line. Below are examples of what a preheader looks like.
A preheader viewed on a desktop screen after the subject line
Next, let's discuss why a preheader is needed, how to create it, what types of snippets exist, how to add them correctly, and which email services are used for this.
Why a preheader in an email is to be used
The following advantages of using preheaders when sending emails are distinguished:
Email preview. The main goal of the preheader is to show the recipient what is in the email. The subject's task is to motivate the recipient to open the message. Therefore, these components should be used together.
Increasing email open rates. Before reading your message, a person looks at the sender's name, the attractiveness of the subject line and the preheader. A well-designed preheader encourages opening the email.
Avoiding spam complaints. When the sender does not set up a preheader, mail programs automatically display a randomly chosen part of the text. Preheaders may contain such fragments as "unsubscribe" or "click the link." This does not interest the client, so these emails often end up in spam or are deleted.
Recommendations for creating a preheader
There is no single template for a snippet. It constantly changes depending on the subject of the email.
General rules for creating a successful preheader:
Create a summary of the message. Explain briefly what the email is about. Include only the most important information, and leave the details for the content.
Add a deadline element. Only a few days left until the end of a special offer or the coupon expires tomorrow? Write about it. Subscribers will read such an email immediately rather than put it off for later.
Encourage action. If you need the recipient to take a survey or read an article on your website, mention it in the preheader.
Create intrigue and interest. For example, share a tip on how to create something without spending any money, come up with an original question, or tell readers about a surprise.
Recommended preheader sizes:
Use up to 130 characters in the snippet.
Check what length is allowed in your email service, as it varies for each of them.
For mobile phones:
Try not to exceed the limit of 50 characters, as phones shorten the preheader length.
Move the key information to the very beginning so that the reader understands the main message.
Keep in mind that when the preheader text is very short (up to 20 characters), email services use the beginning of your email instead of the preheader.
Mistakes to avoid when creating a preheader:
Avoid repetition. Subscribers won't appreciate it if the headline and snippet are the same in meaning. It's better to make the preheader a clear continuation of the topic.
Change the preheader in different emails. Otherwise, it won't attract the reader, and that's an important task for the subheading.
Don't use "flashy" words. "Shock", "Urgent", "Quickly" are perceived as spam. The reader is likely to delete such an email.
Examples of preheaders
- Idiomatic expressions, popular phrases, quotes
Such an email contains the citation from Shakespeare's Hamlet both in the subject line and in the preheader. This phrase captures the reader's interest by standing out from other emails with its uniqueness.
- Current events and news
People are often interested in trends and current events. The app customers use experienced some changes, and people got an email informing of it.
- Reminder or announcement
The store announces the sale. Such a letter is very likely to be opened, especially if the time limits are added.
What types of preheaders are
The preheader is visible to the user both under the subject line and when viewing the email. It is used when the subheading logically fits into the overall style of the message.
An example of a visible snippet in the inbox
An example of a visible snippet in the email
The preheader is shown after the email subject line, but it isn’t viewed upon opening. This option is suitable when you do not want the email to start with a certain phrase, or if your layout does not require any extra text.
An example of a disguised snippet in the mailbox
An example of a disguised snippet in the email
In this variant, there is no preheader at all. If you need no preheader, but at the same time you don't want any links to replace it, follow this way.
An example of a hidden snippet in the inbox
An example of a hidden snippet in the email
Within a pixel
In a pixel format, a small transparent image is used instead of a preheader, for which an HTML attribute Alt is written with the necessary information. Use this format carefully, as some email programs may display Alt incorrectly or mark such emails as spam.
How to add a preheader into the letter
To add a preheader to an email, there are two options: through the settings of an autoresponder (a tool for sending automatic emails) or through HTML. If you are using an autoresponder, find the Preheader field and fill in the information there. If you choose to use HTML code, decide on the type of preheader you want and use the necessary code.
Instructions for adding a preheader:
Without using code
The algorithm differs for different autoresponders, but the actions are similar. In the email settings, find and fill in the Preheader field.
Let's go through the specific steps that usually need to be done:
Select "Send newsletter" in the menu.
Fill in the newsletter settings.
Check those who will receive this newsletter.
Decide on the template (a ready-made one or designed by your own).
Find the "Settings" column and click on Preheader.
Fill in the snippet.
With code application
To add the preheader, copy the necessary code and paste it into the email.
A code for a visible snippet is as follows:
In this case the text will be displayed along with the subject before and after opening the message.
Code for a disguised snippet:
This text will be displayed together with the subject only before opening the email.
Code for a hidden snippet:
This text won’t be viewed anywhere.
These methods of adding a preheader are suitable for both one-time email sending and mass mailing from companies. For the second case, don't forget to change the preheader text.
Features of different email services
The display of characters in email depends on the devices and services you use:
Gmail. The snippet must appear after the subject line. If it is not present, the service will use the beginning of your message as the preheader. The length of the string is about 180 characters. For the subject line, 70-80 characters are intended, and everything else will be cut.
Rambler. The preheader is not shown under any circumstances.
Outlook. Its older versions do not support preheaders. For Outlook, the maximum length is 35 characters, and for Outlook for Mac, it is 55 characters.
It is important to consider the allowable length of the line in the service you use. If it is too long and gets cut off, the subscriber may not understand the meaning of your message. When the subject line and preheader are small, part of the beginning of the message is used for the remaining space. Also, consider which email services are most popular among your subscribers. You can find out this information using analytics.
Preheader is an essential element when sending an email to a client. When you use it, the likelihood of the email being read increases. If the preheader is absent, the subscriber is likely to delete the message or not notice it at all.
To find the optimal and effective header options, experiment with different formats. Check the open rate percentage and analyze the data obtained. This way, you can build an effective strategy for communicating with your clients.