This blog is Part II in our series on dissecting an email. As we stated in Part I: Subject Lines, we’ve found that not everyone knows all the pieces of a marketing email and how to optimize them for performance. So, Part II focuses on the preheader.

The preheader, also known as a Johnson Box to some, is the short text that appears in your inbox after or underneath the subject line. At H2H Consulting, we call it a second chance at a subject line.

You might be wondering why it is important, especially since the subject line will also be in the inbox, and it’s important because many email servers display the first line of the email next to the subject line. (So even if you have a killer subject line, if the preheader is boring, it could be deleted.)

The subject line is very short as to what displays so the preheader can highlight additional information and showcase some personalization that will increase open rates.

So how do you make the preheader exciting and open-worthy?

First, you should differentiate yourself from others sending emails. Many people have basic preheaders such as “Having problems viewing this email? Open it as a web page” or “50% OFF SALE”, so you should avoid these. Why do these show up? They show up because no one entered content into the preheader space and they are dead giveaways that it is a mass email.

In our preheaders, we like to summarize one of the most important parts of our email. Sometimes that’s our recent blog posts, an event we’re hosting, or sometimes it’s a call to action or a promo code or a that only our email subscribers get. Below is an example of our February email subject line and preheader.


Other tips for good preheaders include:

  • Keeping them short, so that your readers know exactly what your email contains
  • Using classic fonts, so that your audience doesn’t have to strain to read what you wrote
  • Left-aligning your preheader text, so that you can include more words

Hopefully this post has given you tips on how to write a better preheader. Check back soon for our next post in the series, the body of the email!