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Improve Holiday Email Subject Lines to Boost Open Rates

Updated: Jun 4

Are your holiday emails not achieving the open rates you hoped for?


Here’s a suggestion, adjust your subject lines: thirty-five percent of recipients use them to decide whether to open an email or not.


We get it. Changing your strategy during the middle of the holiday season isn’t ideal. But subject lines with emojis and excessive capitalization don’t work instead, try a clear line of text telling your customers what they need to know.


Here are some more ways to use subject lines to improve your holiday email open rates:


1. Say it all in the subject line

Your shoppers have been frenetically spending since the week before Black Friday, and at the stage, a lot of their shopping is done, and the inboxes are packed. Combat email exhaustion by telling them what they need to know.


  • Shutterfly: Just 3 days: get 50% off + NEW Disney Frozen Stockings

  • KSL Deals: Save 10% with Promo Code: Christmas10

 2. Consider the self-gifters

About 42% of holiday shoppers are shopping for themselves. Including gifts with a purchase in your holiday subject lines is a good way to get their attention while they’re shopping for others.

  • One Kings Lane: Post-Christmas grab bag: pick a present for yourself

  • BloomThat: It’s all for YOU.

 3. “Sleigh” the inbox with puns

Marketers try all sorts of tactics to get their subject lines noticed during the holiday season. It’s always best to let your offers speak for themselves, but if you want something extra, try making them chuckle rather than cramming emojis and all caps into your subject lines. If you’ve got a pun, go for it.

  • World Market: Ho-Ho-WHOA! 50% off Wine Gift Baskets + Holiday Food and Décor. LAST DAY for two HUGE coupons.

  • Southwest: Snow Fare Like A Low Fare!

 4. Offer something that isn’t a coupon or discount

People are paying attention to their inboxes this time of year, so even if you’re not pushing a sale or coupon, you can join in on the holiday spirit with holiday-themed subject lines.

Instacart: This week’s forecast? Stress-free holiday grocery shopping!

UberEATS: Brr- warm up with some free hot chocolate.

5. Give them useful info

Planning travel, finding gifts for that difficult relative and trying to keep up that holiday cheer. You shoppers have a lot going on. Consider giving some tips and guidance- they’ll remember it when they need more.

  • Oribe: 10 Holiday Tips for Your Salon

  • Food & Wine: 27 Recipes for a Holiday Cocktail Bash

 6. Just say hello to your subscribers

Take a break from selling and send your subscribers a message with a holiday greeting subject line that shows you appreciate them.

  • Lyft: You guys are amazing, you know that?

  • Audible.com: A Free Holiday Gift Just for Our Members

Christmas subject lines don’t follow any pattern. Remember, it’s not always about deals and promotions. Consider trying to solve shoppers’ problems with gift ideas, extended tips, shopping guides, and even a simple thank you. Whichever path you take, just remember to keep your subject lines upbeat and easy to digest.


25 Holiday Email Subject Lines for Further Inspiration


Here’s what retailers across all industries are doing to entice customers during the five seconds it takes to determine whether to open an email or not:

  • Michael’s: the Black Friday Savings Continue! Up to 70% Off AND Big Coupons!

  • philosophie: last day! Receive 6 clean, peel & treat deluxe minis with purchase!

  • Rip Curl: 5 reasons you need a SearchGPS this Xmas

  • Freshbooks: Deliver Some Cheer this Holiday Season

  • De Beers: There’s still time…

  • Rapha: Last express shipping days for Rapha Gifts

  • Capsule: Christmas Deadline: TODAY – Best stocking stuffer ever!

  • Musician’ Friend: Perfect last-minute gift – a gift certificate

  • Papa Murphy’s: Don’t Get Your Tinsel in a Tangle… Let Us Help with Dinner!

  • Groupon: Groupon’s Most Wanted This Holiday Season

  • JetBlue: Up to 50% bonus – ‘tis better to give AND receive!

  • Utah Valley Massage Therapy: Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Ideas

  • Bass Pro Shops: Final Hours! Stretch your payment for 6 months

  • KSL Deals: 14 Awesome Gift Ideas

  • Guitar Center: 12 Deals of Christmas – Updated Daily

  • Cabela’s: You’ve made your list…

  • com: For the Person that Has Everything

  • Musician’s Friend: Nick’s here with two ways to save

  • De Beers: Find the Perfect Gift

  • Bass Pro Shops: Save up to 25% on Santa’s Toy Shop!

  • Dot & Bo: Ring In The New Year – Plus: 12 Days of Christmas Gifting Starts Now

  • Seafolly: All she wants for Christmas is S E A F O L L Y

  • Birchbox: Free Boxes. Ohh Yeah.

  • Crew: It’s OK to have seconds (or thirds) of this sale

  • Provisions by Food52: Gifting Made Easy: Free Shipping + Discounted Gift Cards + Our Best Picks

Credit to: Bronto.com

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We are passionate about customer experience, and helping our clients to derive rich and rewarding interactions with their customers. We help clients engage their audience with exceptional efficiency through real-time, optimized experiences. Reach customers with the best message at the right time,  at every stage of their journey with your brand.

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