Holiday Email Subject Lines to Woo Your On the Go Subscribers

7 min read
Dec 7, 2018
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Holiday email subject lines envelope

Imagine, while you are walking back home from a hard day’s work, you meet two strangers at different times, asking for help individually. First guy rants “Hey you! Come here and help me!” while the other starts with “Hey mate, please help me?” Whom would you be more inclined to help?

Naturally the second guy, right? How you start your conversation contributes to how much the other person is inclined to engage with it.

Same is with email subject lines. In a flood of emails (especially during holiday season), your subscriber will open your emails solely based on how relevant your subject line is, to what they are currently looking for.

Add to the fact that roughly 41% of emails are being opened in mobile devices, it is important for your subject lines to catch the attention of your ‘on-the-go’ subscribers.

How email subject lines contribute to email campaign performance

While many subscribers do open an email owing to the brand loyalty they have for the brand, the open rates of any email rely heavily on the subject line and the preheader text.

In fact, 69% of email recipients have reported emails as SPAM solely based on the subject line and 47% have opened email based on subject line alone.

This means, right off the bat, subscribers make a judgment about how engaging the email copy will be for them. Being a fundamental part in the structure of a successful email campaign, a subject line needs to act as the cliffhanger in a story, which is carried forward by the email copy.

The better it is in raising curiosity, the better is the subject line’s contribution to open rates.

Now that we have learned the importance of a subject line, let’s move forward to observe how to optimize your holiday email subject lines to woo your “on-the-go” mobile subscribers.

Old enveloped postcards pen vintage

How to woo the “on-the-go” subscribers

Holiday is the time to be with family and close friends, so most of your subscribers are going to check out their emails on their mobile devices.

Owing to the small screen space and different technical specifications (as a camera, speakers, etc.) in mobile devices as compared to desktop, you need to make sure that your subject lines are optimized for mobile.

Count your words like you do your blessing

Desktop email clients display 70 chars of the subject line, but a mobile device will clip the subject line at 30 chars (Android) and 41 chars (iPhone). So, you need to be stingy and make sure the first 30 chars are interesting, precise and have a clear message.

One good way is to ask a question to peak subscribers’ attention. E.g. “Trouble converting SEO traffic? This is probably why.”

Can’t be stingy? Next tip is for you!

Preheader is subject lines 2.0

While fitting all your intended message in 30 chars may not be possible every time, you can always utilize the preheader to convey the rest.

While desktop users can only see the preheader text in Gmail webmail, it is visible in every mobile email client such as iOS mail, Samsung Mail and Gmail Mobile.

Create an urgency

Holidays is the biggest shopping time of the year; and to avoid missing out, your subject line needs to create urgency. Using keywords such as “Save” or “Free delivery” is observed to generate 81% higher click rates for ecommerce industries.

Use Emojis

Emojis have come a long way from being just a colon with brackets to represent a smiley to full-fledged lingo for “new-age” communications. Stand out from a sea of words by using emojis in your subject lines. Interestingly, by using emoji in their email lines, 56% of brands observed a higher open rate.

Quick tip: While most ESPs have a glossary of commonly used emojis, you can copy relevant emoji from here and paste it wherever needed. Additionally, you can see how the same emoji displays on different devices also.

Addressed envelope flowers vintage

5 Holiday subject lines being used by different brands for different holidays

It is safe to assume that you are now looking for ways to implement the aforementioned tips in your email campaigns. Now that we have covered how to craft your subject lines, here are some cherry-picked holiday email subject lines.



A Blue Ming Thanksgiving! – Alchemy Fine Home

Black Friday & Cyber Monday


7 Subject line best practices to boost open rates

While subject lines are easy to craft from the message in your email copy, following few of the best practices followed in the email marketing industry can help you craft them better.

Tip #1: Write with the Audience and Goal in mind. Although this is a no brainer, but one of the common mistakes email marketers make is not conveying the goal of the email in the subject line.

e.g.: “My biggest sale of the year is coming.” -- Online cosmetic retailer Frank Body conveys the goal of the email clearly with this subject line

Tip #2: Add personalization in the form of past purchase reference or at least ‘first name’ in your subject line. Holidays is the time to be close to your dear ones. Show some love to your subscribers as well by adding a touch of personalization.

e.g.: “Go Madbury Kevin” -- Adding the first name here in the subject line, Cadbury raised the curiosity level.

Tip #3: Avoid clichés like “Shop till you drop” or “All Treats no Tricks” or “Ho! Ho! Ho!”.

e.g.: “ONE day left to scare yourself silly! ”

Tip #4: Show value in your subject line. Hint what your subscriber will get inside by opening your email, so as to heighten interest. Ask a question in the subject line, the answer of which could be found inside the email.

e.g.: “Looking for Your Toy & Game Destination This Summer?” -- The answer is implied in the question of this subject line by Barnes & Noble itself

Tip #5: Always A/B test your subject lines. No two people like the same thing under the same circumstances.

Tip #6: Write your subject lines at the end. This way you have a clear idea of what your email communicates and help you condense it into a subject line.

Tip #7: Tell a joke. There is nothing like starting a conversation that begins with laughter.

e.g.: **cue the final countdown intro horns** - JackThreads tickled the funny bone with this subject line.

Card with christmas wishes

Staying on the subject of subject lines

At the end, it all boils down to getting good open rates and having some fun on the way. So be creative with your holiday email subject lines and always check them on mobile devices to make sure it is not broken at an awkward point.

We hope these email subject line tips and resources help you to feel more confident and understand the ways to woo your “on-the-go” subscribers.