MAKE IT POP!: The Preheader Express

With the ubiquity of image disabling, the escalation of mobile email viewing and the expectation that recipients will not scroll, email senders have been hot to hop on the preheader train. For those of you who haven’t yet left the station, the preheader is the usually small and subdued text blurb at the top of an email that includes some combination of the below:

(1) View with images prompt
(2) Add to address book prompt
(3) Content teaser snippet(s)

Preheaders are meant to inform a recipient of:
(1) Who an email is from
(2) What the email is about and what to do about it
(3) How to view it with images

Below, check out four preheaders pulled from the tops of emails I received last week from Aveda, Blue Nile, Pottery Barn Kids and Stride Rite. The examples are displayed in order of increasing complexity: Aveda’s preheader takes the most basic (and common) form, while Blue Nile, Pottery Barn Kids and Stride Rite get fancy, adding additional details and click-through opportunities. Stride Rite gets brownie points for linking to a landing page with “add to address book” instructions for major email providers, but in my opinion rides the preheader express one stop too far. Theirs is epic, pushing the email itself down 122 pixels.

I am absolutely a best practices advocate, but let’s test to determine whether we are on the right track or off the rails. How much preheader is enough?! If any of y’all have performance stats to share, I’m sure the eec community would be grateful.

I’d like to get on a train to Cabo San Lucas right about now.

As ever,
Lisa Harmon
of Smith-Harmon