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4 Email Preheader Best Practices

Email preheaders are one of the first things your readers see, so getting them right is important. Follow these tips to get more conversions.

An email preheader is the brief text that you see after the sender information and the subject line when you’re looking at an email in your inbox. This email preheader might not seem particularly important, but it’s one of the very first things readers see when they look at your emails. A good preheader can encourage somebody to open your email, while a bad preheader can lead to ignored emails.

Following email preheader best practices will help you avoid mistakes and get more people to read your emails. If your email marketing could use a boost, here are some tips to help you write attention-grabbing preheaders that improve your emails.

What is a preheader?

When you look at the emails in your inbox, you only get a brief look at each email. All you see in your inbox are email subject lines, the name of the sender, and the preheader. The preheader is the text to the right of the subject line that gives a brief preview of the email. In many cases, preheader text is simply the first text found in an email, but that’s not always the case.

A good preheader can draw attention and convince people to open your emails just like a catchy subject line can. You can use your preheader to ask readers a question to get them more engaged with your emails. Following best practices is an important part of making sure you’re writing effective preheaders that make your emails better.

Why is a preheader important in email marketing?

As important as it is to word your emails right and pick the right graphics, none of that does you any good if you people aren’t actually opening your emails. Getting people to open your emails is the first obstacle you have to overcome in email marketing, and that means grabbing readers’ attention before they get a chance to look at the majority of your email.

People read preheaders before they open an email to decide if it’s worth clicking on or not. If your preheader is boring, people might not even open your emails to see all the hard work you put into your email marketing campaign. A good subject line and email preheader can set your emails up for success even if your graphics or calls to action aren't quite as effective as you'd like.

Preheader best practices

Following best practices is important if you want to write the best preheaders. Keeping up with the latest trends can help you write attention-grabbing headers that give your emails a boost, especially if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. If you want to write better email preheaders, here are some best practices you should follow.


Length is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to your preheader. Email preheaders are typically pretty short, but you don’t want to make your preheader so short that there’s no information in it. On the other hand, making your preheader too long takes away from the summary element of preheaders.

The truth is, the length of preheaders will vary a bit depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to ask readers an important question or give them a brief summary of some important news, you might want to make your preheader a bit longer. If you don’t have a lot to say, your preheader can be a bit shorter. The important thing is that you get the length right if you want to draw readers’ attention.

In many cases, email preheaders are about 85 to 100 characters in length. The problem with this is that email devices need to be shorter for mobile devices, If you want to make sure your email headers are tailored to fit a wide range of devices, you should keep your email preheader between 30 and 80 characters. There’s nothing wrong with a short preheader if it conveys your message properly.


You might think a call to action is only for the end of your emails, but they can be very effective in preheader text as well. You can use your preheader to let people know why you’re sending them an email and what they might consider doing after reading your email. This is an important first step because it gives people a reason to keep reading.

As far as your call to action goes, it could be anything. You might encourage people to take advantage of a sale you’re offering or try your newest product. As long as you’re getting the attention of people who are reading your email preheaders and convincing them to open your emails, you’re doing it right.

Incentivize your audience

A lot of people ignore emails because there’s simply no benefit to opening many of them. You can set yourself apart by showing people that you have some incentive to offer in your preheader text. Let people know that your email contains a coupon code or some other incentive that they can only get by opening the email.

Providing an incentive is a good way to set yourself apart in a world where almost every company spends big on email marketing. If a person has 10 marketing emails in their inbox, why should they open your email instead of the others? That’s why you need to give people a good reason to open your emails.

Summarize the body

One of the best things you can do with your preheader is summarize the body content of the email. Most people simply don’t have the time to read all the emails in their inbox, so they might ignore an email if they can’t determine what it’s about from the subject line and preheader. You don’t have to provide a detailed summary of the entire email, but let people know what you’re emailing them about.

Of course, summarizing the body isn’t always the best route to go with your preheader. There are times when a summary works well, but there are also times when using a call to action or offering an incentive can help you write an effective preheader. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what type of preheader is right for each email.


Speaking of changing your email preheader to fit different situations, personalizing your preheader is a good way to get more people to read your emails. With all the marketing emails companies are sending out today, it’s easy for people to feel overwhelmed. If you’re overloading your readers with generic marketing emails, they’re going to feel like you’re spamming them rather than providing them with valuable information.

Personalization is a best practice from start to finish when it comes to email marketing. The goal is to offer something valuable that makes people want to open your emails, that way you have a larger audience to market to. Building a loyal mailing list through personalization also helps you develop long-term relationships with customers that can help your business grow over time.

Adding a preheader with Mailchimp

The good news is, Mailchimp makes it easy to view and edit section design in emails. If you want to add a preheader with Mailchimp or make changes to your preheader, you can do that in just a few short minutes. Here’s a quick walkthrough for adding a preheader with Mailchimp.

  1. Start by clicking on “Campaigns”, then click “All Campaigns” when given the option
  2. Here, you can edit the “From” section to change your sender information
  3. Next, you can edit the “Subject” section, which contains both your subject line and preheader text
  4. Enter your desired preheader text and save your changes

Keep in mind that you can come back and change your preheader at any time. Personalizing preheaders, mentioning discounts you’re offering, and using a call to action can help you convert more sales through email marketing. With Mailchimp by your side, you can get the most out of your email marketing campaign without spending a fortune.

Entice readers with your preheader

As small as it may seem, your email preheader is a crucial part of every email. You can use this preheader to let people know what you’re emailing about, what they can get by opening the email, or what action they can take after reading the email. Effective email preheaders are an essential part of any email campaign.

Email marketing can be tough, but Mailchimp takes the hassle out of the process with tons of helpful tools and resources. Mailchimp can help you write better email preheaders and automate emails to save time. You can even analyze email campaigns to see how effective they are. Try Mailchimp today and revolutionize your email marketing campaign.

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