Are you getting the maximum number of click-throughs for your emails? You may find that you can benefit from using preheaders to get even more. This is a technique that many marketers aren’t using but that can drastically increase ROI for your campaign.
A pre header, preheader or Johnson Box is a short summary text that will follow the subject line in an email as it is presented in the inbox. When you browse through your emails deciding which ones to open, you will likely see the sender, the subject line and a short snippet of text. That short snippet is the preheader and chances are that it will play an important role in your decision on whether or not to read further. Think of this like a meta description for your emails.
The key thing to understand when using preheaders, is that they aren’t enabled by default. If you write an email normally, then it will only show the start of your message. To be able to make the preheader separate from this message, you need to use HTML for your messages and a tag right after your body tag, just like this:
Many marketers claim that using this technique has helped them to drastically increase their open rates.
While you are at it, there are a number of psychological strategies you can use in both your preheader and your subject line in order to significantly increase your open rates. Here are a few of the best:
A good place to look for inspiration when researching how to ensure your e-mails get read is your own inbox where you can look at precisely which subject headings managed to grab your attention. You'll notice that a lot of the most effective e-mail marketing messages work by addressing you, the reader, directly by saying 'you' or even using your name. 'You've got to see this!' is a very effective subject headline because it addresses the reader directly thereby grabbing attention and standing out among the other marketing messages. Our brains are hardwired in such a way that we pick out stimuli that appears to affect directly, so if you want to catch someone's eye you should use 'you' or that person's name.
Our brains are programmed to seek out things that appear to be personally relevant, but they're also trained to pick up on things that appear urgent and require direct action. If you can convey this in your subject heading then via a 'call to action' you'll find your message stands out in a crowded inbox. A great example is to start the heading with 'Please Respond!' or 'Hurry, Offer Ends Soon!'.
The main problem for most marketing messages is that there's so much competition vying for the reader's attention. If you want to get noticed then a good strategy is to try and look less like marketing and more like a genuine message to that person. One way to do this is to ask for the reader's help in some way which is something that most marketing e-mails won't do. Meanwhile this will massage the ego of the reader which is always a good way to pique interest.
For example then, if you want to try a different approach to the usual one, a subject line such as 'Let Me Know What You Think...' or 'Writers Needed!' will be likely to get opened fairly
regularly. Likewise any apparent business propositions can also be effective, so topics like 'Re: Your Website' or even 'A Business Proposition...' will appeal to anyone career minded.