Best Practices to Increase Open Rates with Email Preview Lines



If you currently use email marketing for your business, you’re probably asking: How do I get more people to open my emails? You may even find yourself researching tips for how to increase your email open rates. If this is the case, you will most likely discover a long list of search results, all discussing one factor: the email subject line. While the email subject line is crucial, most people tend to overlook an equally important element: the email preview line, or the “preheader”. A well written email preview line will lead to more users opening your email, more hotel reservations, and, ultimately, increased revenue for your hotel.

Email Preview Lines

A preview line is a brief summary text that follows the email subject line when viewed in an individual’s email inbox. Like subject lines, preview lines can determine whether or not an individual opens or deletes an email. Subject lines and preview lines are the first elements recipients see when they receive an email. However, unlike subject lines, preview lines also appear as part of the email content once the email is clicked and opened. There are two effective ways to use an email preview line: a summary of the email or a continuation of the subject line.

Summarize the email. If the subject line acts as the title of your email, then the preview line should be a short summary of the email’s body content or main message. For instance, if you are having a flash sale on hotel rooms to fill need dates, your subject line may say something like, “Save Big This Fourth of July,” while the preview line may provide even more details, such as the types of rooms that are discounted as well as the price or savings for guests (i.e. “Standard Guestrooms only $99 through tomorrow only!”). The preview line provides you, the sender, with the unique opportunity to include a few more details that deliver pertinent information to your audience and to potentially get them to click “open.”

Complement the subject line. The text in the preview line can also act as a continuation of the subject line. The continuation of the subject line into the preview line makes the email more cohesive when being viewed quickly in someone’s inbox. For example, “We heard you are looking to get away …” (subject line) “we have a summer vacation package that’s perfect for you” (preview line). This type of preview line captures the reader’s’ attention and then pulls them in, prompting them to open the email and learn more about the offer.

Tips for Creating Effective Email Preview Lines

If you do not create an email preview line, the first line of the email body will automatically be generated as your preview line, so it is a best practice to create an email preview line for each of your emails. To create an effective email preview line, implement these four important tips and enjoy more email opens:

  • Short and sweet. Remember, less is more. Display lengths vary between email platforms, so be sure to front load your preview text with the most important information you want to convey to your recipients. This maximizes the number of people that will open your email, learn more about your latest specials, and drive more bookings for your hotel.
  • Keep it compelling. This is not the time to save the main details for the body of the email. You want to stand out in recipients’ inboxes. Sharing compelling information in a persuasive tone and using evocative language may be the difference between an opened email and a deleted email.
  • Not displaying correctly? Ditch the, “Is this email not displaying correctly? View it here in your browser.” Do not waste valuable space with a disclaimer. Save that for later! Place it in the body of your email towards the end and use the real estate of the preview line for a hook that will compel individuals to open your email and read on.
  • Avoid repetition. Do not repeat the sender name and subject line within the preview line. Think of these three things as separate entities that should complement one another to catch your recipients’ attention so they open your email. Repeating one of them will come off as redundant information to the reader and decrease the likelihood that users will open your email.
  • Preview the preview. Do not forget to preview your crafted preview line. Make sure it reads well and complements your subject line as well as the main message you want to portray to your recipients.

Effective Email Preview Example

Here is a real life example we used from one of our own emails:

Subject Line: Discover Our Fresh New Look!

Preview Line: Earlier this year our hotel began a full-service renovation project in an effort to enhance our guests stay in the local.

Open Rate: 24%

Notice how the preview line complements the subject line. The subject line initially grabs the reader’s attention, while the preview line complements the main focus of the email, the hotel’s fresh new look. Right away the reader gets the main idea of the email, “a full-service renovation project.” The reader also learns the “why” part: “to enhance our guests stay.” By taking a few extra moments to tie the subject line and preview line together as one cohesive idea, the reader learns three things about the hotel before they even click open. And open they did! This email received an open rate of 24%, 4% above the industry average.

Final Thoughts

Chances are your email recipients decide whether or not to read your email by looking at three factors: the sender name, the subject line, and the preview text. Do not miss the opportunity to strengthen your email’s first impression. Take the time to craft a compelling, interesting, and informative preview line. Use the preview line to tell readers what your email is about and why the information is relevant to them. Take your time to be thoughtful in your content creation and avoid the trash bin altogether!

If you would like to learn more about email marketing, please check out our past blog posts,
Improving Your Hotel’s Email Marketing Campaign and Email Marketing Lists.

Contact BMI to learn how we can enhance your email marketing.

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