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124. [BIZ BITE] What is Preview Text for Email + Should I Be Using It?

124. [BIZ BITE] What is Preview Text for Email + Should I Be Using It?

With only 60 characters available for the subject line of your emails, the preview text is your opportunity to provide that little something extra to get your subscribers excited to open your emails.

Let me ask you a question… when you’re creating emails for your eCommerce business are you adding preview text? Do you know what preview text is?

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If you’re a Klaviyo user, the preview text field is next to the subject line field when you’re creating your email. It’s not required like a subject line, so it’s possible you’ve missed it…

But preview text is very valuable real estate and I want to make sure you’re taking advantage of it. 

First, we’ll talk about where this shows up and then I’ll give you some ideas of what to put there. 

So when you get a chance, go to your email inbox and look at the content that shows up underneath the subject line of the emails you receive… this content is the preview text.

When looking at your own inbox you’ll probably see a few different types of content there. 

  1. You might see what looks like the first few words or characters from the content of the email
  2. It might just say, can’t read this email view in browser
  3. or three, it will look really intentional, generally an extension of the subject line. 

When the sender of an email doesn’t include preview text it will default to one of the first two options I mentioned, either the view in browser message or the first few words from the content email. Which one you get will depend on your email marketing platform.
But what we really want to do is #3, and that is to be intentional and treat it as an extension of the subject line. 

Here’s the thing… depending on the device your recipient is using, you only get about 60 characters or sometimes even less in your subject line… but that’s not always enough to get someone excited to open your email or to make sure they understand what they’ll find inside…

That’s where preview text comes in. 

Again, how many characters are available in preview text depends on the email client your subscriber is using, but you get anywhere from 40 to 140 characters here, that’s a lot of info! 
So what should you put in this preview text? 
Here are a few ideas… 

  1. Use it to add urgency
    1. When I’m running a promotion or anything limited time, I will use the preview text to reiterate the deadline
  2. Tell them more about what’s inside the email
    1. For example, this week was a bit of a shit show for me and I missed sending out my Tuesday newsletter so I sent it out Thursday (this morning if you’re listening in real-time) instead. My subject line referenced the fact that my email was late and I used the preview text to tell the reader what I was talking about inside the email. 
  3. This is also a great place to use emojis to catch someone’s attention. You can of course use them in the subject line too, but honestly… so many people are doing that now, they don’t catch my attention quite the same way as they used to. Instead, I think of emojis as a way to invoke an emotion vs. just putting in a bunch of explosion emojis. 
  4. If you use questions in your subject lines to pique their curiosity, the preview text is a great place to add a little more detail about the actual content inside. 

Ultimately though, I just want you to use it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, there’s no such thing. Don’t overthink or analyze this. Don’t let this be the thing that you get hung up on or that prevents you from sending an email. Just talk to your people like the humans they are and keep the conversation going! 

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Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 


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About Our Audience

  • eCommerce business owners selling a physical product on their own website (Shopify + Klaviyo users)
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