The Vital Thing You Might Be Missing in Mobile Email Marketing

The Vital Thing You Might Be Missing in Mobile Email Marketing

In a recent article by Litmus, they found that “51% of emails are now opened on a mobile device.”

Other studies out there may give a different percentage, but whether the actual number is in the 30% range or the 50% range, it’s still a very high number.  This high number makes it even more critical to get subscribers interested enough to open your email from their mobile device, where screen size is limited.


Think about your own habits. How easy is it to dismiss an email on your mobile device when you’re waiting in line or riding the train?  A simple swipe of a thumb and poof, the email is gone. Only if the email is really valuable will you store it and take action on it later - when you are in front of a larger screen.

To Open or Not; To Keep or Delete

I’ve been involved in email marketing since 1998, and I was taught early on how important a great subject line is. It still is – along with the identity of the sender.  However, now I believe the pre-header text should be considered just as important.



On a mobile device, almost everyone glances at their email in portrait mode. Notice how the subject line is often cut off. You only have around 40 characters to entice readers with your subject line.

The Preview Lines

On an iOS device, you get two lines of preview by default and should take serious advantage of this. Those two lines are essentially giving you an extra 80 characters to play with. This doesn’t mean you need to use all 80 characters, but this is where you can really sell what you have.  These two lines are where the pre-header text comes into play.


Now, this next part is very important: If you do NOT set any pre-header text to display, the mobile device will generally pick up the very first text block in the HTML – and that’s usually bad. You’ll get either a message that says something like:

“You are receiving this email because you subscribed to receive offers”


“Trouble viewing? Click her to view as a web page”


While both of those messages may have relevance, neither of them are very enticing – especially when the reader cannot see the whole subject line.

Notice the difference between Eddie Bauer, Twin Cities Daily Deals, and all the rest.  With Eddie Bauer and Twin Cities Daily Deals, the subject line is cutoff, but they make good use of the pre-header text to let the subscriber know what the email is about.  Here are a couple more doing it right:

Search Marketing Expo puts a $200 savings right in front of the reader.  Digital Marketing Depot uses the pre-header text to inform us what the new Market Intelligence Report is all about.   Both of these are a lot more enticing than “Trouble Viewing?”



“Think of pre header text as your last chance to reinforce your subscriber’s interest in you and your subject line,” said Maggie Perrill, Interactive Account Manager at NordicClick.


In many cases, email platforms will only allow you to input pre-header text in the actual design of the email. This means that if you don’t put a block of text before the header, the viewer (on a mobile device) will see that first line of HTML, which most likely won’t be anything enticing.

However, not all platforms require you to incorporate pre-header text as part of the design. “Exact Target, for example, has done a great job with this since they created an ‘email properties field’ next to the ‘subject line’ (in their admin interface) where you can easily input the pre-header text,” said Geoff Finstuen, Web Developer at NordicClick.

So whether you’re able to simply load in pre-header text as part of an admin screen or you incorporate it as part of your design, do it.  And while you’re at it, make sure you add “pre-header text” into your vocabulary while mapping out future email marketing plans.

Of course, if you have any questions or need any help with your strategy and execution of email marketing, we at NordicClick would love to talk to you

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