It’s the final push of the year, and you need to come up with some incredible subject lines to use in your end-of-year email campaigns.

Your team is depending on you to produce some remarkable results, and you’ve been tasked with boosting open rates. While you may know the 8 formulas for getting your emails opened, and you’ve heard all about using the EMV Index, and you may even know about using power words in email subject lines, but maybe you could use a few creative suggestions to get your mental wheels turning (since holiday brain is hard to combat.)

To help set your mind in motion, we’ve assembled 16 email subject lines that can help you tap into proven, successful tactics for your year-end email campaigns.

Leverage a sense of urgency

Humans have an innate fear of missing out (FOMO) that often compels them to act. Have you ever seen an ad that says you only have a few hours left to take advantage of a crazy discount and immediately ran for your wallet? If so, you understand that urgency can be a powerful motivator when it comes to acting quickly.

Within an email context, creating a sense of urgency has been proven to work. One study tested using urgency in an email subject line by stressing the limited number of seats for an event–and saw a 15% increase in their open rate.

So how can you write email subject lines that leverage urgency for your end-of-year campaigns? Here are a few ideas:

  • Only a few hours left to get 30% off!
  • Midnight deadline for your tax-deductible donation
  • ONE MORE DAY to shop our holiday sale
  • Last chance to support (X cause) in 2015
  • Save 40% before the ball drops!

Takeaway: Give your readers a reason to act right now by creating a strong sense of urgency in your email subject line.

 

Bonus: You can also extend your offer to get a bit more mileage out of it and let people who didn’t open, or those that opened, but didn’t click get another shot at your offer. See how Legacy Box does it in this email example:

Legacy box New Year campaign

Create an information gap

Curiosity can also help boost your email open rate. How? Researchers found that creating an information gap was highly effective at motivating humans to act because it cognitively induces a feeling of deprivation. If you’ve ever clicked on a BuzzFeed article, it’s probably thanks in part to this same tactic. You just had to know what that unexpected person’s reaction was, right? We all do it.

You can create an information gap in your email subject lines by making readers curious, like in these examples:

  • See how we (increased X) by (YY%) with this simple switch
  • Invitation for you: Join our Secret Sale
  • Wait…you missed this?

Takeaway: Curiosity created by an information gap encourages readers to open your email and find that missing piece that’s itching at their brains.

Offer an email exclusive preview

You can build excitement and anticipation with an email subject line that teases something coming to your business in the new year. Giving your email subscribers first access to new content means they’re getting access to exclusive material–and reminds them that they are part of a limited group of people who get special, members-only benefits.

Psychologists have proven that when humans recognize scarcity, they place a higher value on the limited resource. So when you write an email subject line that reminds them they’re part of a special group of people who get early access to things like new items coming in the new year, they’ll see more value in opening your email.

Some examples that tout exclusive previews for the new year:

  • Coming Soon: A Preview of Our 2016 Collection
  • Get the First Look! Subscriber-Only Sneak Peek
  • New Boots in 2016–Here’s What’s Coming in 2 Days!

Birchbox offers subscriber exclusives in this engaging campaign:

birch box email exclusive offer

 

Takeaway: Make your subscribers feel like VIPs by writing email subject lines that remind them why they’re on your list in the first place.

Year in review: Your best work

Subject lines that tout your best promotions, content, products, etc. from the past year inform subscribers that you’ve cherry-picked the best of the best for them. And, by removing the legwork for the reader and showcasing your best work, you tap into a very basic psychological principle: Avoid pain, seek pleasure.

Here are a few ideas for subject lines that look back on the year in review (and promote your best content):

  • Top 10 ______ of 2015
  • Thank you for an amazing year! 2015 Year in Review
  • The most popular blog post we wrote in 2015: Read now

Check out the example we sent Campaign Monitor customers with our Year in Review:

Takeaway: Let your year-end email subject line make life easier for readers by showing them your best material from the whole year.

Planning for the new year

The dawn of a new year is probably one of the few times when people become more open to change or to trying new things. It’s a hard stop to the previous year and a fresh slate for new beginnings. People get gym memberships. They make resolutions. They plan for a better, more successful year.

Check out this infographic-style email from Sephora that combines an email-exclusive offer with new trends to try:

You can tap into that positive frame of mind by writing an email subject line that showcases your own insight for a successful new year–whether that’s through your best tips, an insightful case study, or a strategy you’ve created.

Think along the lines of:

  • 5 Tips for Growing Your eCommerce Business in 2016
  • How we (did X) in (Y days/weeks/months)…and you can too!
  • Want to (do X) in 2016? Start here…

Takeaway: Help readers plan for the year ahead by writing an email subject line that tells them exactly how they can be more impactful in 2016.

Wrap up

You have endless options when it comes to writing your subject lines for year-end campaigns, but the tips outlined here can help you before the ball drops!

  • Elva Rivera

    Thanks Andrea, for sharing the post about email subject lines for end-of-year campaigns. I have read and I think these subject lines really works in end of the year. I have found 16 tips to write killer email subject line (http://bit.ly/killer-email-sub… which can be helpful for people to make their subject line more attractive.

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