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The Importance Of Email Pre-Headers

Marketers are going a long way to ensure that they get every bit of visibility out of email marketing. In the last five years, mobile users have increased email usage by 30%. By now, the number of people who use email on mobile devices has exceeded the number of people who use desktops for email. Whereas a lot of thought goes into creating the perfect email for marketing, the pre-header is usually an underestimated real estate in an email. Yet, this can be an essential consideration that helps you grow sales and revenue, improving the ROI of your marketing budget.

In this article, we will cover what a pre-header is, how you can use it to create the most effective marketing campaigns that increase your open rate and action rate.

What Is A Pre-Header?

Preheader follows the subject line in an email when you open this in the inbox. This is a feature used for screening the content of the email. People get lots of emails during the day, and they might not want to open every marketing email. As a marketer, you can utilize pre-headers to make an impression on your client or entice them to open the email.

You need a compelling summary of the information you are providing in that email or message – which is where the pre-header comes in. This is a great tool to increase your open rate.

If you utilize pre-headers effectively and send 100 emails, you can check the bounce rate to know how many people are receiving the information. For example, if 30 emails bounced back, then the other 70 people have likely been able to read the pre-header and get the information.

If your email open rate is relatively high, then your pre-header is doing the job, and you don't need to do any additional work on it. However, if you see a low open rate, there is a need to adjust your pre-header and fix it.

There are some best practices when it comes to writing pre-headers. You should know the content of your email thoroughly before designing the pre-header. Try to understand what exactly you are trying to convey to the reader.

How Long Is A Pre-Header?

You should monitor the length of the pre-header. A solid pre-header should contain anything within 100 characters. Any longer than that and people will lose interest. People have a short attention span of about 8 seconds, so it is essential to capture that with exciting messages.

Don't forget to be creative. Don't use the dull black and white combo and put it on the top of your page as an obligation. Catchy colors, stylized fonts, and bigger words can make more of an impact.

Why Should You Optimize Pre-Header Text?

Pass The Pre-Screening Test

Subscribers and readers will often screen your email by simply reading the pre-header. If you want to increase your click-through rate and open rate, master the pre-header text.

It Works As Advertisement

The pre-header itself acts as the advertisement. Even if people are interested in your message, they might not want to go through the entire email and the pre-header acts as a tl;dr of the message.

How To Write The Perfect Pre-Header Text?

Remember that even if the pre-header is used for pre-screening purposes, the text is not only for viewing in the inbox next to the email subject line. It will also come up when the subscriber opens the email campaign. So, while the text part of the pre-header is essential, you should also focus on the look and feel of every other element you are putting in that email. The reason you should keep it short is it is already being read before opening the email, and you don't need to reiterate it in the email body. Keeping it short will give people ample time to catch up with the rest of the content. 

Using Pre-Headers As An Extension Of The Subject Line

Considering that subscribers will read the pre-header right next to the email subject line, these two should be assimilated to paint a picture for your viewers.


'Lose the last 10' is a very targeted subject line for people trying to lose the last few pounds. This might make the email look limited to others. However, that is the intended effect. This is specifically for people who want to reduce the last few pounds and not for other people with different fitness goals. You can optimize this with a pre-header that amplifies the offer you are giving them. 'Lose the last 10' + 'at 10% off' tells people precisely what you are offering.

Include Call To Actions In Pre-Headers

Call-to-actions are the best way to increase interaction between the subscriber and your email. You can ask people to click here, read this, or any other action you want them to perform. This gives a clear indicator of the next step, and people are more inclined to open an email when they know the next step.


The small details matter. Using a pre-header text might not be the top of your priority list, but it can give your email marketing campaign the added advantage of enticing your subscribers. Your readers have more context on what the email is about and are encouraged to perform actions. Always remember to utilize the best practices when you are designing your email. Assimilate your subject line with your pre-header, and you have a winning formula for your next campaign.



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