Email Marketing | Preview Text Feature | Preheader

Email Marketing: Are You Making The Most Of Preview Text?

Email marketing is a must in this day and age. It remains one of the most effective marketing tools with teams spending hours each week crafting perfect messages. While the body of the email may be spot-on and the subject line perfect, one important area that gets overlooked is the Preview Text. 

Email Marketing | Preview Text Feature | Preheader

This little snippet of information shows up in the Inbox, below or after the sender address and subject line. More often than not, the preview text is just the first few words of the email content, but it can be so much more. 

The preview text is one of the first things a reader sees when they get an email. Using preview text strategically is a way to optimize emails and boost the chances of the email being opened. It’s still a little-used feature which means that anyone who starts using preview text now stands a better chance of standing out in the Inbox. 

A Teaser For Your Message

Preview text, also referred to as a preheader, is best described as a teaser. It teases what’s to come in the email, prompting the reader to click through and open the message. This gives marketers a second opportunity to compel a clickthrough. The first is the subject line, the second is the preview text. 

For maximum effectiveness, the preview text should complement the subject line, not compete with it or repeat it. For example, if your subject line is “Fall Boots on Sale!”, a good preview text might be “Enjoy 30-50% off all styles!” This reinforces the subject line message while also providing a bit more information about the specifics of the sale, causing readers to pause and consider their next action.

Most email marketing software gives you an opportunity to customize the preview text. If you don’t customize it, the message likely defaults to “Click to view in browser” or simply pulls the first several characters from the body of the email and displays them.

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Not All Email Clients Support Preview Text

One tricky thing about using preview text is that it doesn’t display in all email clients or it may not display based on the reader’s settings. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it, just be sure not to include information that clarifies the subject of the email. There’s a temptation to use the preview text as a continuation of the subject line to gain more character space, but if you do that you risk cutting off your subject to readers whose clients don’t support preview text. 

Another thing to be aware of is that preview text character limits vary from email client to client. They also differ depending on whether the email is accessed from a desktop or a mobile device. Some early versions of Outlook (pre-2013) don’t display it at all. Apple Mail displays the most characters at 140. Most other clients are in the 40-50 range. 

The simplest way to get around the character limit issue is to limit yourself to the 40-50 character range. You could also write in bite-sized chunks or let the preview text flow into the opening content.  

One more tip: given the character limits, it’s important to front-load your keywords and keyword phrases. 

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Make The Most Of Your Email Campaigns

Preview text is an incredibly useful, but also incredibly underused, email marketing tool. It can be used as a call to action, to provide detailed information that won’t fit in the subject line, to encourage scrolling, to highlight what’s inside the email, or to personalize the email to the customer. It’s quickly becoming a must for any successful email marketing campaign. 

Do you use preview text in your email marketing? Have you noticed preview text in emails that you receive? Contact Orlando Content Marketing for help pairing subject lines and preview text or for more tips on making the most of your email marketing campaigns.


Photos by:

Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Henrik Dønnestad on Unsplash


Liyya Hassanali

Liyya Hassanali is a seasoned Orlando-based content creator with expertise in SEO and marketing. She writes regularly for Orlando Content Marketing clients and her own clients.