14 March 2018

what is preview text?

: : for email marketing : :

"Preview text is a snippet of copy pulled in from the body of your email and typically displayed underneath the sender name and subject line in a subscriber’s inbox."

- Lauren Smith, The Ultimate Guide to Preview Text Support

I'm not going to rehash Lauren's excellent article ... go read it yourself!
The article covers:
  • what preview text is
  • how to add it to your email (tip: if you're using Mailchimp, you add Preview Text in the same step as adding your Subject line)
  • which email apps will actually display your preview text along with screenshots of common email programs
  • and some great tips for how to optimise your preview text
Okay, that last bit is worth repeating here (copied verbatim from previously mentioned article by Lauren Smith The Ultimate Guide to Preview Text Support:


Think of preview text as a “second subject line” and use similar strategies to improve your campaigns. Write preview text that is useful, specific, and, if appropriate, has a sense of urgency. This is also an ideal place to experiment with humor, symbols, or other tactics that aren’t quite ready for subject line status.

Keep character limitations in mind, and pack the beginning of your preview text with keywords and phrases that perform. You’ll want the “good stuff” to show up in clients that may cut off characters. But don’t make it too short—you also want your preview text to fill the space displayed in iOS inboxes and Apple Mail. It’s a delicate balance.

It can be tempting to re-use existing subject and headline copy in your preview text. Get creative, using this extra space to play off of the subject line and further encourage your subscribers to open the email. And don’t forget to A/B test!
  • Use personalization: If you’ve had success with using personalization in other parts of your campaigns, try personalizing preview text, too.
  • Sum up the email: If your subject line includes a call-to-action (CTA), use preview text to include more details. For example, if your subject line is “50% off new arrivals,” use preview text to explain what type of merchandise has arrived.
  • Include a CTA, or secondary CTA: Does your email have a few CTAs? If they pair well with the subject line, consider showcasing them in your preview text.
  • Be honest: As always, you should never trick your subscribers into opening your emails. The sender name, subject line, and preview text should work together so subscribers know what to expect when they open the email.
  • Encourage scrolling: If you’re sending a newsletter, highlight a featured article (or two).
  • Don’t forget to update: If you’re using hidden preview text, it’s easy to overlook. As your emails change it’s important to keep your preview text current.