You've probably seen countless email subject lines in your inbox accompanied by phrases such as "To view this email in a browser, click here." This is the preheader. For fans of the cinema, it’s the Steve Buscemi of the inbox. It’s essential to the film, but never the star of the movie. I digress; however, only to emphasize an undervalued component that attracts people and earns their $12 ticket.
The gold coast piece of real estate displayed in the inbox below the subject line is one more opportunity to appeal to your recipients and improve open rates. When preheaders support the subject line, messaging to healthcare professionals (HCPs) is delivered clearly and succinctly.
Mobile is Transforming Email
Studies show that two-thirds of HCP email is opened on a mobile device. In general, you have about 40 to 50 characters to make your case in the subject line on a mobile device. If you optimize the preheader, you get another roughly 40 to 60 characters, effectively doubling your first-glance marketing space. Smart healthcare marketers embrace the preheader opportunity.
Let the Subject Line and Preheader Work Together
Your emails make beautiful music when the subject line and preheader harmoniously work together. Use these techniques to achieve that balance, and put the subject line and preheader to work generating opens.
- Reinforce the subject line. For example, you can reinforce the content of the subject line, "OAB: New Choices," with a preheader that reads, "New research shows alternate MOA for XYZ." The two elements complement each other with valuable information.
- Promote secondary content. For example, if you send a newsletter or a digital journal, use the preheader to highlight an interesting article.
- Include a stand-alone call to action. The preheader is an ideal space for a call to action that supports the subject line. For example, if your subject line announces an upcoming event, use the preheader to ask readers to register online today.
- Introduce a dynamic element. Some marketers effectively use the preheader to add a personalized element that complements the subject line.
It's best to tackle the preheader text during the campaign development process, so you can control the message and design the most powerful combination to reinforce it.
Don't Forget to Experiment and Test
Most email marketers diligently A/B test their subject lines, and some even test other elements, like CTAs. But, given the preheader's prominence in the open-or-delete decision, the preheader should be added to the testing list. Experiment with different subject line/preheader combinations to see which ones work best. After all, even a few percentage points in your open rate will majorly impact your ROI.
Your subject line is limited in character length. By optimizing your preheader, you can double, or even triple, your opportunity space to generate an open.