Most Effective Preheader Best Practice

A preheader to your email, also known as the Johnson Box, is a snippet of text either drawn from the main body of your email or a piece of preview text constructed from HTML code. These can be just as important as the subject line itself. Sometimes your subject line isn’t quite long enough to convey your message accurately. A preheader can extend and elaborate on your message. They highlight the most important information within the email. 25% of readers usually read the preheader to determine whether they want to read the email. Let me walk you through some of our best practice tips and get experimenting!


We bang on about it I know, but personalisation is an excellent way to induce engagement from your audience. I use merge fields in subject lines and preheaders to achieve this within our email campaigns. Personalisation brings a 1-1 connection with your clients and develops a relationship, making your audience 20% more likely to open that email and get clicking!

It’s Question Time

While we promote a statement within your subject line, back this up with a question in your preheader. Questions lead to your audience being intrigued into what you have to offer. Intrigue and curiosity lead to a better open rate. Questions are a good way to guide your audience to your call to action but make sure you answer this question within the body of your email as to not leave the audience left wondering.

Symbols & Emojis

A picture says a thousand words, right? Using an emoji in your preheader can help convey the message and tone of your email without having to use up all those precious characters. Mobile is increasingly becoming the most popular way to open those emails on the road. With that in mind, your perfect preheader should be no longer than 50 characters to get the whole message across. And Hey, it brings a little life and colour to that oh so black and white inbox! 

Shuffle, Don’t Repeat

Pay close attention and utilize your preheader. Don’t repeat your subject line, make the most out of those pesky little characters and extend your message into the preheader and don’t use them for the sake of it. If the first line of your email holds all the information you need, or you don’t deem it necessary to include a preheader, then don’t.

Unsubscribe Text and View in Browser

Don’t start cutting off your nose despite your face. Leaving unsubscribe text in your preheader is only drawing attention to it. Start your email on a positive note, rather than a negative. In the same vein, don’t get complacent by leaving in your default view in browser. This takes up valuable space which could be used for any of the above CTA’s, questions or any other expansive content.

In Conclusion…

Though they may not seem important, preheaders can help you reach fantastic results if used carefully and wisely. They expand the meaning behind your subject line and can drastically improve your open rates. Get testing and experimenting to see what works best for you.


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