Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma3 min readTips and resourcesMay 1, 2014

Increase Your Email Open Rate with Preheaders

Increase Your Email Open Rate with Preheaders

What the heck is preheader?

The preheader is the first bit of text that shows up in many email clients immediately after the subject line.

Those snippets appear in most mobile devices and in some desktop clients, such as Gmail and Outlook.

Why should I care about preheader?

Reason #1

Litmus reported that better preheader text increased their click-through rates over 30% and reduced spam complaints.

Reason #2

49%of all email opens happen on a mobile device. And their inbox looks similar to mine:

Do you see the difference between messages?

iPhone cuts off subject lines after 35 characters in portrait view, but displays about 140 characters of preheader.

140 characters or two full lines!

It is often the difference opening or deleting an email.

Don’t use preheader to say… Can’t see images? Click here to view this email in your browser.

It makes way more sense to write short subject line and then expand your message with preheader.

What should I write in preheader?

  • Don’t repeat your subject line. Preheader goes just after the subject line. So there’s no point in repeating it.
  • Continue the conversation from your subject line. Preheader text is a great chance to elaborate on your subject line, expanding on that same thought or idea. Write a preheader that is a continuation from the subject line.
  • One-line summary of the email to get subscribers to keep reading.
  • A strong call-to-action (CTA) used in the preheader can urge the reader to check out the message and prepare him to navigate wherever you want them to go.
  • Include the key offer and benefit of your email.
  • Try adding personalisation. Using names of customers is a great idea to encourage them to open email.
  • Include dates in your customers have only a few days to act. Not everyone opens your email when it arrives. Emphasize the end date of the offer by adding it to the preheader.

Good examples

  • Old Navy | Make It a Maxi Longing for a new sundress? We’ve got fabulous maxis for the whole fami….
  • Williams-Sonoma | Brunch Favorites Any Day of the Week Save Up to $130 on Breville Smart Waffle Maker – Shop Now Shop All Elec….
  • BuzzFeed | Why? WHY? You people are absolute monsters. Show some respect for your fellow humans!
  • ideeli | Nicole Miller, Cargo Cosmetics, Tom Ford… You Can Never Have Too Many Beautiful Things in Your Closet.
  • Derek Halpern | LOL. I looked like that? Why “before and after” pictures convert… Hey, Ilma, I know you’ve seen those “Before and After” pictures in marketing
  • Gap | Shorts on SALE! 25% off women’s regular price shorts ends 5/4. In stores only
  • Brit + Co. | THIS is How You Celebrate Cinco de Mayo Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner! We have everything you need…
  • Klout | Unlock the Value of Social Marketing – Hey there, we’ve noticed that you create a lot of great content about marketing
  • Litmus | Video backgrounds in email + 3 ways to optimize for mobile This newsletter does not have a video background. But it could! Read how…

How does this work in MailerLite?


Click at the top of your email and write your text in “Teaser text” column.

Good luck!

P. S. Let me know how the preheader affects your open rates.

Ilma Nausedaite

Hi, I’m Ilma, COO at MailerLite. I love seeing our customers succeed. When they win, we win (like being named one of the top 5 fastest growing SaaS companies). Email is my passion, although I took a rather unusual path. Before MailerLite, I worked in finance and art, which turned out to be the perfect mix for marketing.