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A no-no in email marketing - just one simple tip to improve your email engagement

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Are you using your preheader/preview text box effectively when sending out email campaigns? If not, you could be really missing out on improving the performance of your emails.

We recently covered this as part of our 'Become an email marketing superhero' masterclass:

But I wanted to highlight this specifically as when I look through my email inbox, I often see so many examples of poorly used preheaders/preview text boxes that mean I subconsciously ignore the emails in the future.

Here's an industry-specific example from ResearchGate from my inbox. Subject line for me - great, and it's personalized too. But the preheader is duplicating the subject line and as short text, my Gmail pulls in some of the main text from the email into the preheader view. A missed opportunity, maybe ResearchGate will update the emails and I'll be pleasantly surprised when the next one arrives!

Subject Line: Lou, people are reading your work
Preheader: Lou, people are reading your work Lou Peck Your weekly report is here View report This message was sent...
ResearchGate preheader email example
ResearchGate email example

Here are some preheader tips to help you improve your emails:

  • Provide valuable context to encourage opens and build curiosity

  • Keep short and attention-grabbing - provide more insight for the subject line, make sure they work together

  • Great place to express some personality

  • Add a call to action

  • Don't repeat the subject the line

  • On many desktop clients, the length of your email subject line determines how much of your preview text is displayed

  • Mobile email clients can show less of your preheader text (30 and 55 characters long)

  • If your preview text is too short, email clients may pull in text from the start of your email

Subject Line: New ebooks now available.
Preheader: Choose from our latest selection of ebooks. Click here to view it online
Subject Line: Like to relax with a good book?
Preheader: We bet you do! Here are 10 new ebooks to whet your appetite

Character length:

  • Between 40-130 characters long (both desktop and mobile email clients)

  • Rule of thumb – around 100 characters – most important points at the beginning

The OASPA one shows a nice example:

Subject Line: Major OA Diamond Journals Study completed
Preheader: Report emphasizes diversity and sustainable pathways for diamond Open Access

And Keap Sales and Market.

Subject Line: 20 low-cost ways to market your business
Preheader: Free webinar: Tips to maximize your marketing dollars and grow your sales
Email inbox preheader examples

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