How to Write Attention Grabbing Preview Text

May 14, 2019

To help increase open rates, it’s important to pay special attention to everything the subscriber sees before they choose to open the message. Many focus on developing a good subject line and from address, but completely forget about the preview text. Preview text is the short text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in some email clients, highlighted in yellow below:

Preview text

Preview text is automatically extracted from the message body, and is typically the first line of text in the message. Sometimes it’s easy to add a specific line of text to the beginning of a message, however, sometimes it’s not possible to add extra text to the very top of an email. To solve this problem, you can easily customize the preview text without having to add a line of visible text to the top of your emails. Critical Impact’s preview text option is added to the top of the message, but is hidden when the email is opened.

Distill the Most Important Information

When writing the preview text, focus on the most important piece of information. By selecting the most signification sentence, your subscribers will be able to see the key offer so they know what is contained within the message. This also clearly sets their expectation for what the message will contain.

Inboxes can display anywhere from 35 to 140 characters of the preview text, depending on browser width and the email client. So you should order the most important information at the beginning of the sentence.

Maintain the Mystery

If your goal is to make subscribers curious enough to open your message, then you should use a question or incomplete thought to stir up interest. While it can be beneficial to just add more context, make sure you’re not giving away any surprises in the preview text.

For example, encourage them to open the message by giving teaser text that can only be fully understood by opening the message. For example, “One of our favorite breakfasts to make on Saturday morning is…” This text leaves us wondering, what IS your favorite breakfast recipe??

Remember the Subject Line

Make sure the preview text works well with the subject line. To make them play off together, think about how the subject and preview text will be displayed, and how the preview text can add more meaning or expand the idea of the subject. This should go without saying, but don’t use the same exact text in the subject line as in the preview text.

Create a Call to Action

Did you know that you can create a call to action in the preheader text? Your first goal when a subscriber receives a message is to get them to open it. So, why not give them a push in that direction? For example, you could directly say “Open this message to learn how to…” You can even add brackets around text to call attention to the action, like “To learn more [click here].” This kind of treatment encourages the subscriber to click to open the message.

You’ll be surprised what a difference one line of text can make in the opens from your next email campaign!