Why Email Preheaders Are Important for Your Business

Why Email Preheaders Are Important For Your BusinessEmail Preheaders are often the forgotten element when it comes to email design. Many businesses don’t realize they exist or don’t think they are important. It is easy to conclude the former if you feel overwhelmed by CSS trickery or the HTML technical aspects of your email design program.

However, the truth is that your emails will be much more effective with preheaders.

What Is a Preheader?

An email preheader, also known as a Johnson Box, is the piece of text that sits alongside the email subject in many email clients (like Gmail). Usually, the text informs the recipient of the contents of the email.

Many businesses use this space to re-write or advertise the first line of the email message. But, this is a waste of an opportunity to engage your audience and convince them that they need to open your message. You might find that using a different preheader is the key to increasing your open rate on your email marketing campaigns.

What Should You Put in the Preheader?

There are many options you could include in your Preheader. Some of the most frequent examples are things like a summary of the message, the call-to-action, or a note as to why they are receiving the message.

These common Preheaders are good starting points, and you should see some improvement in your email marketing results. However, there are better options that can grab the attention of your audience. Here are some of our recommended preheaders for you to test:

An iPhone screenshot of a Gmail Inbox with the preheaders highlighted.

The preheader’s text purpose is to continue the subject line’s message and support the primary call-to-action.

1. Add Meaning to the Subject

Use the preheader text to add meaning to the value you proposed in the subject line, like a subheading on a web page, for example:

Subject: You need to order now…

Preheader: to get 25% off all Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs.

2. Add Detail

Try providing more details than in the subject line to help the reader decide if it is something that is relevant to them at that moment. Another idea for this is to add a coupon code or details of the special offer you are advertising. A good example would be:

Subject: You’ve only got one week…

Preheader: to claim your free box of chocolates.

3. Tell the Second Story

Telling a story is a highly engaging way to convince people they need to read more of your content. But not everyone will want to read your first story, so create a second story that might interest them. Here is an example to try:

Subject: Free shipping for all products this weekend!

Preheader: 25% off all jeans and jumpers with code WinterWarmer

4. Personalize

Make the reader think you’ve written the message just for them. Personalization is the key weapon in marketing and is super easy with your email marketing software. Here is an example of a personalized preheader:

Subject: Final hours for our amazing sale

Preheader: Sally, don’t miss out on your 40% discount!

What About Preheader Length?

As we are moving towards emails being opened more on mobile devices than on desktops, length is becoming a critical issue. Most mobile devices only show about 65 characters of the preheader text, so it is best if you limit your copy to just that.


Email marketing is one of the best ways for your business to get the attention of your prospective customers. However, with the growing trend of mobile email and email clients like Gmail not providing the content of emails in a preview, the preheader is becoming the most important aspect of increasing your chances of getting your email opened.

Create a compelling email preheader in your campaigns to see more people open them so they can be moved further down the sales funnel – or miss out on potential revenue.

If you need help with your email marketing, contact Mann & Co.

Comments ( 0 )