70+ examples of how email preheaders drive opens

The preheader is a small text fragment that precedes the header part in an email layout. Most often it’s the well-known “view in your webbrowser” link, or an “add us to your contacts” request. However, good preheader copy is capable of more than sitting on top of the email as a functional element.

Why the preheader matters

That’s because several email clients pull out the first text information out of newsletters in order to place it next to the subject line as a content preview. Thus, the preheader directly affects open rates – together with the sender name and the subject line. That is, if it’s well crafted, and not just an archive link, which doesn’t convey any value to the subscriber.

Preheader next to the subject line in Gmail, iPhone, Outlook balloon tips, etc.

I’ve often been asked about tips concerning good preheaders. Here are some. Below you will find several examples of how professional senders nowadays use…

  • sender name, subject line & preheader (yellow background),
  • and the preview pane view (screenshot with images blocked and loaded)

… to drive opens. The grey preheader is the first text in the html part of an email, including alt-texts – just as Gmail would extract them. All examples are freshly pulled from my last week’s inbox. (Please find German examples in my posting on emailmarketing.de.)

Get inspired:

Preheader examples, March 2014:

Heels.com 50% Off 50 Bestsellers – Save 50% Off 50 Bestselling Styles Free 2nd Day Shipping & Free Returns….
Old Navy Make It a Maxi – Longing for a new sundress? We’ve got fabulous maxis for the whole fami….
Eventful Tesla at Amager Bio! Find tickets and more.. – WEEKLY EVENTS GUIDE: Your resource for top events happening in your cit….
Banana Republic 3 great brands—and savings all around! – 35% off at Banana Republic & Gap; 30% off at Old Navy. Can’t see the im….
Fingerhut Fingerhut: Exclusive – 10% OFF SITEWIDE – Fingerhut What would you like to save on today? Enter promo code E1512 ….
TigerDirect Hey, get ready for a truckload of savings! – Welcome Do-It-Yourselfers & Savvy Shoppers! To ensure delivery, please ….
Blair Welcome Maxi! Enjoy free shipping on your $60 order – We invite you to enjoy your first savings offer from Blair: free shippi….
Harry & David Thanks for signing up for email. Enjoy 15% off your next…. – Thanks for signing up for Harry & David emails. Enjoy a coupon for 15% ….
Shoes.com Welcome to shoes.com – Have a question? Contact Customer Service shoes.com free shipping. easy….
Marc Cenedella My single best tip – Maxi, Your Suggested Jobs: Marketing Associate , AVP, Market Developmen….
Drapers Online Maxi, can we help with your Drapers subscription? – Drapers Dear Maxi, Thank you for visiting Drapersonline.com . We notice….
Gold Violin 15% OFF your order of any 2 or more items – Get a good night’s sleep, every night— shop now » Gold Violin Unconditi….
Old Pueblo Traders Bonus day. 25% off your favorite item – You get one more day to save 25% off your favorite item at OPT. Please ….
Williams-Sonoma Brunch Favorites Any Day of the Week – Save Up to $130 on Breville Smart Waffle Maker – Shop Now Shop All Elec….
giggle hurry! 20% off toys ends tonight – Save on playtime favorites for kids and babies, in-store and online. Vi….
ProFlowers Today! 39% off Select Customer Favorites – You’ll Deliver a Big Surprise for a Little Price – $19.99 for Royal Spr….
Eddie Bauer Flexion Active Stretch Performance – Featuring The Horiz…. – Travex Event 25% off + free shipping. Can’t see the images in this emai….
RUUM American Ki…. More Snow? More Savings During Our Warehouse Sale – Exclusive Warehouse Sale Just For You! Free Shipping All Orders Over $6….
Thrillist You Deserve Some Fried Chicken – In the South, chains are about fried chicken, biscuits, tacos, burgers,….
The Huffington Post Monday’s Morning Email: Vladimir Putin Doesn’t Care Abou…. – By Lauren Weber with Eliot Nelson Unless Academy Awards selfies are par….
Norm Thompson FREE Shipping + 15% Off. Have a Spring Fling (and save!) – Prints, solids and more. Bargains galore for 15% off + FREE shipping! »….
Gap The most flattering dress ever – Plus, 35% off at Gap & Banana Republic; 30% off at Old Navy. Online onl….
MarketingSherpa Reader Favorites: Content marketing, social media and pr…. – Learn strategies for turning internal resources into valuable content m….
Runza Runza® $1 off coupon – Runza(R) Cream Cheese Kick Burger Member Name: Maxi Mmann Member ID: 30….
Tasting Table TT NYC | This is how you dim sum – Dim sum pro tour with Nom Wah’s Wilson Tang ‘It’s a family thing,’ says….
Fabric.com Famous Savings on Famous Characters- Who’s Your Favorite? – Never Miss a Sale! FREE SHIPPING ON U.S. ORDERS OVER $35 Fabric.com 15%….
LIFE – TIME.com LIFE’s Top 10 Photo Galleries of the Week for March 3, 2014 – History Culture Icons Curiosities Photographers Every Monday LIFE deliv….
The White House The White House Hosts Its First-Ever Student Film Festival – The White House, Washington DAILY SNAPSHOT Monday, March 3, 2014 Featur….
Bob Evans Farm Kids Eat Free* Extravaganza! – Starts today! – Maxi, All day long! Kids Eat Free* weekdays from 3/3 – 4/19 Email jumbl….
Scribbler Cards Start the day with a smile, it irritates people – For daily laughs and giggles, visit Scribbler.com. Does this email look….
ICE.com Rainbow of Colors – Rainbow of Colors – 25% Off Gemstone Jewelry Can’t see images in this e….
Piperlime DL 1961: discover this figure flattering denim – As always, we have free shipping and free returns. Can’t see images? Cl….
Walgreens Online…. BOGO 50% OFF Walgreens Brand Products | 20% OFF Contacts – Our Brand, Your Savings – Buy 1 Get 1 50% OFF Walgreens Brand Products ….
RetailMeNot $7.99 Electric Wine Opener | 20 Free MP3 Downloads | 2 F…. – Today’s Hot Product Deals Hot deals under $5, hot kitchen deals, freebi….
Shoebuy.com Mardi Gras Madness! 20% off today! – Be bold with the colors of Mardi Gras! Get 20% off your purchase! Click….
Dunkin’ UpDDate Making a difference, one Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwic…. – Dunkin’ Donuts Try the new Eggs Benedict Breakfast Sandwich from Dunkin….
DailyCandy The Essential Oscars Recap – Golden Memories DailyCandy Fashion Beauty Entertainment Food & Drink Ho….
April Cornell Fabulous Fashions to put a SPRING in your Step! – Cure the Winter Blues! April Cornell – 1-888-332-7745 1-888-332-7745 (E….
UncommonGoods Special Delivery – Email not rolling out the welcome mat? Click here . Unsubscribe Uncommo….
Finish Line These kicks get all the attention… – Finish Line logo MEN WOMEN KIDS SALE FAN GEAR Check out the kicks that ….
Waitrose Wine Direct REDUCED TO CLEAR! Don’t miss our special offers, availab…. – Don’t miss our Wine Clearance ! Amazing deals available on wine by the ….
Athleta Take Your Style to Court – Enjoy everyday free shipping and free returns. Can’t see images? Click ….
Dealradar Dealradar: Your Personalized Deals in Raleigh for Tuesda…. – Dealradar New deals in Raleigh March 4, 2014 Inner background Food & Dr….
Costco Wholesale Great Savings On Computers And Furniture – Plus, Update …. – Dell XPS 14 14.0″ Ultrabook | Mortgage: Purchase & Refinancing What’s N….
Lane Bryant Pant Event – Now 40% Off! – Black + White = Spring! | web version | Save $75 Now Lane Bryant Caciqu….
hmv This weeks hmv.com newsletter, bringing you the most rec…. – this week the best entertainment in music, film, and everything else ha….
Manchester City City Triumph In Capital One Cup Final | See Our Winners …. – Untitled Document Manchester City Are Capital One Cup Winners | Celebra….
Ballard Designs Save 20% on Everything that Hangs on the Wall – Plus save on all Rugs My Account | Mobile Version | Web Version SAVE 20….
Jelly Belly Get Green, Save Green for St. Patrick’s Day – Get a Green Deal on Candy for St. Patrick’s Day at JellyBelly.com*! You….
Mike’s Cigars get a free brass knuckle from Room 101 – Maxi, Good while supplies last American Express logo Order Online or Ca….
Papa John’s It’s a Fat Tuesday Feast at Papa John’s! Look Inside… – Fat Tuesday Feast! Any 3 Medium 3-Topping Pizzas for only $7 each. ORDE….
Shoebuy Private …. You’re Invited – Up to 75% off Propét, ASICS, Lucchese S…. – Shop now – this event ends Thursday Mar. 6th at 4pm! If you are having ….
Ice.com 35% Off Bold Jewelry – 35% Off Bold Jewelry – 3 Days Only Can’t see images in this email? Clic….
Groupon Getaways Green Mountains, VT | Dominican Republic | Niagara Falls…. – Groupon Getaways See All Getaway Deals » 4.5-Star Inn Nestled in Vermon….
StarbucksStore.com Out with the old, in with the new – New drinkware in time for spring Can’t see the images? Click here . Sta….
ALDI ALDI has your savings catch of the day, every day. – ALDI truth #86: We always combine incredibly high quality with incredib….
TheLadders How to tap into the hidden job market – TheLadders Basic – Career Advice Advice to speed your job hunt: How to ….
Minted Our 15% off Spring Baby and Kids event has begun. – Spring Baby and Kids event: 15% off your Baby and Kids order. Shop Birt….
Kelli Seely, USO what a day – You’ll love this video capturing a special moment at USO’s Warrior and ….
Iceland Naturally March Icelander—#TasteofIceland in Boston & Edmonton, Re…. – If you would like to stop receiving these emails, unsubscribe from this….
Secretary Tom Pe…. Add your name: It’s time to raise the wage – The White House, Washington Hello, everyone — Several weeks ago, I met….
salesforce.com Salesforce Developer Newsletter: Apex, Mobile, JavaScrip…. – February 2014 Salesforce Developer Newsletter Connect: Twitter Facebook….
GoPro Video of the Week: VANITY AIR – Video of the Week: VANITY AIR If you can’t see the images in this email….
Bottom Dollar Food Lunchtime just got tastier! – While Supplies Last sale on lunch meat and ice cream! Display Images Bo….
Allen Edmonds Classic Comfort. New Colors. – Wilbertville: A comfortable, and now more colorful, place to work and l….
Quiznos Toaster Try our new Toasty Pastas – Quiznos.com Order Online Menu Locations Watch Videos Facebook Twitter Y….
Anna Lou of London Mother’s Day Must Have: 50% off all silk scarves – Anna Lou of London Bespoke Necklaces Bracelets Earrings Rings Other Acc….
First Lady Miche…. Here’s what I did yesterday: – The White House, Washington Hi, everyone — We never know what curvebal….
BLR Customer Info BLR Survey – Benefits: Perks – BLR BLR March Survey Topic — Benefits: Perks The survey takes only a fe….
Frederick’s of H…. Last chance! $19 Teddies & Bodysuits ends tonight + Free…. – Only hours left. Get the sexiest silhouettes for just $19. Problems vie….
LightBox – TIME.com Must-See Photo Essays and Pictures of the Week for March…. – TIME LightBox From the photo editors of TIME Forward to a Friend Icon F….
The Foursquare C…. Why PKs Will Love Foursquare Connection 2014 – The Foursquare Church Web Version Unsubscribe Teens at Connection Kids ….
Disney Disney Week – Click here if you cannot see the images Movies TV Music Games Events Sh….
HuffPost Media CNN Battle.. ‘Today’ vs. ‘GMA’.. Crazy Costas Theory.. B…. – CNN Battle.. ‘Today’ vs. ‘GMA’.. Crazy Costas Theory.. Best Fail Ever……
Old Navy Store S…. FREE TEE With Purchase + The New Pixie Pant Just $25, No…. – Get our favorite white slub-knit tee FREE, while supplies last + The Pi….
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One Response to 70+ examples of how email preheaders drive opens

  1. Thanks for this post. There’s so much focus on subject lines by marketers.

    Because often times subject lines are generic, it forces the reader to look at preheaders to make sure the email is worth reading. It’s worth making the first line read as a personal email.

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