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Myth 13: the pre-header doesn't matter in email marketing

Category: Email Marketing

Imagen Myth 13: the pre-header d

"View in browser" is the most common pre-header, but leaving this phrase as the default shows that it has not been personalised and can give a bad image. It is a bad practice of those who believe in the false myth that this element does not matter in email marketing. The reality is quite the opposite: it has a fundamental role in the strategy.

The main function of the preheader is to support the subject line, to complement it as if they were a team: title (in bold in the inbox) and subtitle. As with non-massive messages, mailers display the first words of the campaign, which is why they are often the links to the online version, the date of a newsletter or the greeting of the preheader.

The preheader has a lot of value in the email marketing strategy and personalising it is just as important as writing a good subject line. It is very useful, depending on the function you want it to fulfil on each occasion. 


Expand the information to take advantage of the number of characters

The display of the subject and pre-header depends on the email manager used and the device, so there is a recommended limit of characters to try to ensure that it is read correctly by the maximum possible number of users. If for the subject is between 30-50, for the pre-header it would be 60-70 characters

The option for those who do not want to personalise the preheader is to use the maximum space in the subject line, but better results are achieved by constructing two sentences that support each other than with a subject line that is too long and can be cut off on some devices.


Summarising the content of the communication

To summarise is to choose the essential and sometimes the subject line falls short to condense everything relevant in an email, especially when it comes to monthly mailings that cover several concepts. For example, if in a newsletter you want to explain what the theme of the month is or if it is a campaign with several offers, you can use the preheader to summarise what the user needs to know, that is, what will lead him to open the message. 


Highlighting a second main idea

This situation is very common in newsletters that compile several news items. The one that the company considers most important is the one that occupies the subject line, but there are many other interesting ones that remain in the background and that could also be the reason why some of the recipients would want to open the email. That is what the pre-header is for. 

For example: if the subject line is "The new XYZ model is now in your nearest shop", the preheader could be "Come by to see the ABC, the most desired model". This same function can be applied to cross-selling, following the same case it would be "Hurry up and get your perfect complement too".


Clarifying a fact

When the subjects that are written with a number are too general, the preheader comes into action to provide that detail that avoids misunderstandings and eliminates brakes to the opening. It can be adding the deadline for a promotion, indicating the number of stock available for an offer or the points available on the loyalty card. In this way, it is possible to answer the most direct question that the user has generated in the subject line, such as "until when do I have time" or "is this a discount for all products?


Reinforce the message by repeating the idea of the subject line

Repeating is a good way to get the message across in the user's mind. Writing a second version of the subject line using other words, such as synonyms or similar expressions, gives twice as many attempts to achieve the objective. This type of wording is also useful for users who scan the screen, rather than reading all the information in their inbox, because they are more likely to stop at a key word that makes them want to read on.


Give a sense of urgency

This is a law of persuasion that works in any marketing element, including the pre-header of an email campaign. If the subject line makes the message stand out, it can be complemented with a warning, such as "Don't miss out: today only!", or a question that interpolates the benefit of hurrying, such as "Do you want to be one of the first to get it? The intention is to put a bit of pressure, but without going too overboard so that it does not look like a misleading offer, click baiting or even spam.


Attracting attention with personalisation

We have more and more information about users, both during the registration or sign-up form and thanks to their interaction with the campaigns or the website itself. And there are many options to include a dynamic tag and personalise an email marketing campaign. It is very common to use the name in the subject line, but also the preheader is a good place to incorporate other data that attract attention, such as your city or profession. For example: with this subject "[Name], do you want to drive the latest XYZ model?", the preheader could be "It's in [City], very close to you".


Explain the direct benefit of opening the email

When the inbox is full, one way to try to get the email opened is to make clear why it is worth spending a few minutes on our message. It could be to get a free gift or a discount, but it could also be to get the latest news or to read an exclusive, for example, depending on the type of campaign we are sending. 

This makes it possible to distinguish between the reason for wanting the product being promoted (which could be explained in the subject line) and the reason for opening the message (the pre-header). The perfect complement!


Differentiate your mail with a personal touch

Any differentiating element that can be used in the subject line fits perfectly in the preheader. One example is emojis, which, when placed first, serve to make a visual difference with the subject line. But something that can only be done with the preheader is to leave it completely blank. This way you can draw attention among the rest of the messages because it is unusual for there to be an empty space in the inbox.

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