Last week’s post discussed the importance of preheader text, and this week’s post continues that theme. Alex Ilhan (@omgitsonlyalex) of Email on Acid presents excellent ideas to help you improve preheader text.
Last week, I talked about how your subject line and preheader text can and should work hand in hand to grab reader attention and increase open rates. So often, Mr. Ilhan points out, one of the first things your audience may see is “Having trouble viewing this email? Click here to view it in a web browser.” And he asks if this is how you want to use such valuable real estate.
Clearly, the answer is a resounding “no.” And here are five simple ideas to help you transform reader indifference into a desire to engage.
- Offer an overview. Use the preheader to summarize the message you want to convey in the body of the email. I bet you can think of great examples of content that stimulated your interest and examples that squandered the space.
- “Make your subject line and preheader text one cohesive message.” In her 2015 post, Pamella Neely also urges the use of this technique.
- Make a special offer. That is, use the preheader to tell readers what they’ll see in the email. This is an excellent place to mention discounts, freebies, or perhaps a special event.
- Get personal. This works for the subject line, and as Mr. Ilhan says, it most likely will work with your preheader. But make sure you get your reader’s name and any other personal details right.
- “Write fun, engaging copy.” This is probably not as easy as it sounds, so get colleagues and friends to read your copy and offer their opinions. Humor can be dicey, and what you think is terrific may fall flatter than half a pancake when read by discerning eyes. Fatuous humor is annoying, of course, but you definitely don’t want to offend anyone.
- Bonus point: Preview your preheader. There are tools out there that allow you to see what preheader text looks like on popular email clients and devices. I’m guessing that there’s no need to advise you not to skip this step.
We all get too much email. It bounces merrily into our inboxes, lying in wait for us every morning. Even those of us who like email confess that it gets pretty overwhelming at times. So use preheader text to ease the burden on your readers.