The Importance of Email Preview Text on Mobile Devices

Mobile Email Preview Text

Mobile Email Preview Text


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Writing Email Preview Text For Mobile

Email marketing success relies on getting contacts/subscribers to open and then click through from your emails.

In fact, email success can be boiled down to 4 key stages:

  1. Getting the email delivered to the contact’s inbox
  2. Getting the contact to open the email
  3. Getting the contact to click through from the email
  4. Delivering a consistent and optimised landing page experience to get a “conversion”

More often than not, email marketers focus on the content and design of their emails (which falls into stage 3), but pay little attention to the important step of getting the email opened.

They rush the creation of subject lines, pay little attention to the from name, and seldom consider what the email will look like in a contact’s inbox.

If you think about this for a moment, it doesn’t seem to make much sense. Why spend so much time focussing on the click through, when the first thing that a contact must do is open the email?!

The Email Open

Getting the contact to open the email factors on 3 important pieces of content:

  1. The Subject Line
  2. The From Name (Sender Name)
  3. The Preview Text

We’ve created “The Ultimate Email Subject Line Swipe File” for you to optimise that section. You just need to choose a format and then fill in the gaps!

Download The Ultimate Email Subject Line Swipe File Now for Free!

The From name is usually something that your brand guidelines set. Sometimes you can only use your company/brand name. If possible though, use a name that the contact will trust and with which they are familiar. It the contact immediately recognises and trusts the company/ person that has sent the email, there is a much greater chance of the subject line then getting the contact to open.

Following those 2 pieces of information we get to the preview text.

What is Email Preview Text?

Sometimes referred to as the “second subject line”, the preview text, or as some people call it “preview header text” is a snippet of copy that is pulled from the content of your email. It is usually displayed underneath the subject line and from name in the contact’s inbox.

Here some examples of preview text:

Sky TV have given a compelling reason to open up the email and have even managed to get in enough content to explain what the email is about (Box Sets).

Rick Mulready has also tried to support the subject line with the preview text. The subject line has been cut off early in this email client, but the preview text seems to move on and support the fact thet the content of the email is about “Ads tip of the Week = Month“.

Why is it important?
The preview text gives you the ability to support the subject line, to summarise the content of the email, and more importantly to add a CTA to the text which populates in the inbox.
The preview text is one of those 3 important pieces of information that a contact will use to decide whether they open your email or not.
When it comes to mobile devices, preview text is important

How do we create and set up preview text?
Preview text is taken from the first few lines of content in the email.
Depending on the design and layout of the elements in your email campaign, this may result in certain elements appearing the preview text that don’t support your activity.

Here is an example of what can happen if you create an email design but forget about the preview text:

The “View Message in Browser” text has pulled through to the preview text. THis is a missed opportunity where CMI could have given additional benefits as to why the email should be opened.

The example above from Inc. Magazine shows an additional reason,even if it has been cut off. Another reason why the important content needs to be at the start of subject lines and preview text.

Optimising Email Preview Text

Each email client responds differently to preview text. For example, the IOS email app will usually display ~90 characters of preview text, where as android native mail app only shows ~40 characters.

To truly optimise your preview text, you need to start digging into your contact data to find out which mobile apps and devices are being used. You can then create tailor made preview text for each of those individual segments.

Optimising preview text may be taking segmentation a stage too far, but if you want to ensure that you are testing absolutely everything to increase email open rates, then it is something that you might need to consider.

Here are some tips on optimising preview text:

– Remember that it is the “second subject line”
Support your chosen subject line with the preview text. Consider creating a sense of urgency or scarcity if it suits the purpose of your email too.

– Keep Keywords at the start
Character counts are different across all of the email apps and clients. To ensure that the important parts of your preview text appears in all inboxes, put the important information at the start.

– Don’t repeat yourself
Make the most of the additional space and be creative. Use this opportunity to highlight reasons why the email should be opened. Think of it as its own call to action (CTA) and consider even split testing your preview text.

– Personalise
If you are using personalisation elsewhere in the email try using it in your preview text too.

– Sum up the purpose of the email
Explain the purpose of your email, but remember not to repeat yourself.

– Honesty is the best policy
Just like subject lines, you need to be honest. Don’t use preview text as “click bait”.

And finally, a word on split testing
As with all email marketing approaches, split test your preview text. You might find that certain types of preview text will generate more opens, whilst other formats will produce more clicks.
You will only find out what works and what doesn’t by testing your preview text, just as you do with your subject lines, content and messaging in the email campaigns.

Have you seen any great, or shocking examples of preview text? Share them with us below!

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