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Email preview text tips to raise your open rates

Make your email preview text unignorable with these tips and templates.

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Email preview text is a component that often gets overlooked in “how to write your marketing email” articles.

That’s a big oversight. Preview text is every bit as important as your subject line, and the two frankly go hand-in-hand.

If you’re stumped on what to put in your preview text, good news. I’ve got all the examples and tips you need to craft eye-catching, engagement-boosting email preview text.

10 email preview text examples from real brands 

It’s all well and good to throw out thoughts on what makes a great email preview text, but let’s look at some actual examples from my inbox.

1. Customer education 

Not all marketing emails (and their preview texts) have to be strictly promotional. This example from Lyft is simply meant to help customers keep their accounts secure. 

An example of an email from Lyft with preview text

Notice, too, that this preview text highlights the most important part of their information. After all, no one wants to fall victim to a scam.

📖 Recommended reading: Should you use SMS or email 2FA?

2. Review requests

90% of consumers read at least one review before buying from a business, so review gathering is an essential part of running a business. 

A review request email from HelloFresh

HelloFresh manages to walk the line here between being polite and letting the reader know what it is that they want. 

3. Tracking information and updates

Order updates can help keep your customers in the loop after a purchase. I place (approximately) 85 orders with Halara each month, so keeping shipping updates clear and easy to organize helps.

An order update email from Halara

I particularly love that they include my order number directly in the preview text for easy reference.

4. Special releases

This one’s great for existing fans of your brand and newcomers alike.

Old Gods of Appalachia is the one and only podcast I listen to, so when they send me an email, I pay attention.

Patreon's email update to members

If it’s not clear here, they’ve included a reference to the content of the podcast (and one that might make you look twice).

5. Exclusive deals 

Of course, if you’re sending emails, you’re likely sending coupons or discounts. 

An email from Lotus and Luna

Lotus and Luna caught my eye here because they not only started with a question, they personalized their preview text somewhat. Why, yes, I do remember the pants I wanted, and thank you for asking.

6. Newsletters

Newsletters are another super common use case for those in email marketing, and it’s useful to add a small hook into the preview text.

The Daily Skimm's email newsletter

The Skimm does this by cultivating a really strong brand identity with consistent language. When I see the words “Skimm’d while…,” I open the email as a habit because I’ve been reading them for years.

7. Re-engagement campaigns

Losing touch with a lead doesn’t have to be the end.  To open the conversation back up, you’ll need to give recipients a solid reason to open.

You’ve likely heard that it’s 5x cheaper to reactivate a customer than to bring in a new one, so it pays to send re-engagement emails to inactive leads and customers.

A re-engagement email from Uber

In this case, Uber cuts to the chase and shows off the discount immediately to encourage me to click.

8. Introducing media

You may want to share your latest photos, videos, or other media with your subscribers. That media makes a change from regular text-only messages, which means it may help your audience open the email.

An email from Fixer that includes media

So, be like Fixer and announce the media you’re sharing right off the bat. 

9. Product highlights

On a similar note, if you’re launching a new product, let your subscriber list know what that product has to offer over the previous one.

An advertisement email from Google Pixel

Google Pixel opens their preview text with a couple top features of their new watch to hook readers immediately.

10. Verifications

Emails are also useful for confirming new account settings or sign-ups.

As you can see, Capital One wasted no time asking their primary question so I knew to make the message a priority.

A Capital One verification email

Email preview text character limits

The big question, of course, concerns your max character count with preview text.

It all depends on whether you want all of your text visible. If you do, keep your text between 35 and 40 characters.

If you’re okay with some of it being cut off, 90 is your new maximum.

Steal these email preview text templates

Still need some inspiration? I’ve got you. Take these templates and tweak them for your business.

1. Lead with a question

Want more sales with less work? This new course can help.

🍂 Are you ready for fall? Shop seasonal candles here.

Do you know how your data is being used? Read our latest report.

2. Start with a declaration

You won’t believe this sale (but check it out anyway).

👀 We’re trying something new. Preview this month’s launch a week early.

Long time no see! Take an extra 30% off with this special code.

3. Stick to the basics

Your order has shipped. Track your package here.

Will you review your latest purchase?

Backup your account information before our next update.

How to get ChatGPT to write your email preview text for you

ChatGPT is a wonderful tool that can save users a lot of time and effort, but it still requires a little direction from you.

When you head to the site to generate some email preview text options, you’ll need to write your prompts carefully.


  • Number of options you’d like
  • Number of characters of the text
  • Topic of the email 
  • Notes on “tone of voice”
  • Directions on verbiage

As in:

“Write me [number] email preview texts within [number of characters] that goes with an email about [topic] in a [type of tone] with a [question/exclamation/fact] at the beginning.”

So, if I’m announcing an annual sale for my business, I might say:

“Write me 20 email preview texts within 40 characters that goes with an email about an annual jewelry sale announcement in a friendly tone of voice with a question at the beginning.”

Then, once you have your options, pick out the things you like about them (as in particular words used, theming, etc.) and add those to your next prompt to refine your results.

My next prompt might be something like, “Rewrite them with emojis at the beginning.”

Email preview text best practices

Email preview text may seem like a pretty straightforward part of your email strategy, but there are still some important points to keep in mind.

  • Avoid spammy language. Words like “URGENT,” “WINNER,” and phrases like “FREE $$$” can seriously tank your open rates because they come off as suspicious.
  • Don’t waste the characters. You’ll want to get right to the point in your preview text because you have such little space to work with. So, this isn’t a great place for small talk or greetings.
  • Get creative with language and emojis. The best preview texts are eye-catching and engaging. Try out emojis that go with your email’s theme or fun language that fits your brand voice.
  • Pick a tone and be consistent. On that note, don’t send a super-solemn email one day and a cutesy email full of slang the next. Stick to one voice and personality.
  • Supplement your subject line. That is to say, don’t just repeat what you’ve said in your subject line, but aim to add to it.

Email preview text FAQs

Last but never least, take a look at some of the most common questions email marketers ask about email preview text.

What should email preview text say?

Email preview text should say something that tells your subscribers what to expect from your email and motivates them to open and read it.
Email preview text is important and underrated. It can add crucial details to your subject line and it represents an extra opportunity to get your subscribers curious about what’s in the message.
A good preview text is short, to the point, and either descriptive, exciting, or both.

📖 Read next: Is email marketing dead?

Lily Norton
Lily Norton

Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.

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