Updated November 2018
Consumers are already searching for the perfect holiday sales from their favorite brands. 80% of Americans will, in fact, have started their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, especially those prone to buy online.
What does this mean for you? It means now is the time to start crafting holiday email marketing messages. In fact, email message open rates start to spike as early as October.
We’ve updated this post for 2018 and included a few bonus subject lines to keep your holiday email campaigns at the vanguard of the holiday trends.
To provide you some inspiration, here are 75 email marketing subject lines from B2C, B2B, and nonprofits that are perfect for your holiday email campaigns.
B2C email subject lines
- Rip Curl: 5 reasons you need a SearchGPS this Xmas
- Freshbooks: Deliver Some Cheer this Holiday Season
- Food & Wine: 27 Recipes for a Holiday Cocktail Bash
- Joss & Main: Jingle Belles: Gifts for her, best-selling bedding & more on sale today
- Dot & Bo: Ring In The New Year – Plus: 12 Days of Christmas Gifting Starts Now
- Kate Spade: Last day! 30% off everything with our Cyber Monday sale
- Emergency Essentials: Black Friday Sale! Check Back Tomorrow To View the Deals!
- Steve Madden: Cyber Tuesday – 50% Off Clearance!
- Sports Authority: Hurry, Only Hours Left for Cyber Monday Savings!
- BevMo!: $20 Coupon! Save Big on Cyber Monday.
- Seafolly: All she wants for Christmas is S E A F O L L Y
- Birchbox: Free Boxes. Ohh Yeah.
- Skechers: Get BLACK FRIDAY savings all weekend at Skechers.com!
- Steve Madden: If You Open One Email This Black Friday…
- Finish Line: Black Friday Doorbusters END TODAY. Snag ’em before it slams shut.
- San Diego Chargers: Share the Joy, Bring a Toy To The Chargers Game
- J. 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
- Finish Line: Black Friday Doorbusters start now. Put down the drumstick.
- Vacationist: Gobble Up These Deals!
- Orbitz: Good gravy! 20% off
- Food & Wine: 15 Thanksgiving Drinks to Start on While Cooking
- Nordstrom: Black Friday Is Here Early
- Oribe: 10 Holiday Tips for Your Salon
- Lyft: You guys are amazing, you know that?
- Instacart: This week’s forecast? Stress-free holiday grocery shopping!
- Southwest: Snow Fare Like A Low Fare!
- De Beers: There’s still time…
- One Kings Lane: Post-Christmas grab bag: pick a present for yourself
- Anthropologie: Thanksgiving hosting, toasting & roasting must-haves
- Rapha: Last express shipping days for Rapha Gifts
- Monoprice: 10% OFF Site-Wide + Shop Our Holiday Gift Guide!
- Shutterfly: Just 3 days: get 50% off + NEW Disney Frozen Stockings
- Capsule: Christmas Deadline: TODAY – Best stocking stuffer ever!
- Travel Channel: Travel’s Best Holiday Attractions 2014/
- Musician’s 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!
- KSL Deals: Save 10% with Promo Code: Christmas10
- Utah Valley Massage Therapy: Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Ideas
- Bass Pro Shops: Final Hours! Stretch your payments for 6 months
- KSL Deals: 14 Awesome Gift Ideas
- Guitar Center: 12 Deals of Christmas—Updated Daily
- Cabela’s: You’ve made your list…
- Backcountry.com: For the Person that Has Everything
- Musician’s Friend: St. Nick’s here with two ways to save
- Audible.com: A Free Holiday Gift Just for Our Members
- Ancestry.com: Save big for Cyber Monday – give the gift of family
- Target: Pssst! Get the scoop on Black Friday
- De Beers: Find the Perfect Gift
- Bass Pro Shops: Save up to 25% on Santa’s Toy Shop!
- Monoprice: Holiday Gift Guide – Headphones & Earphones Starting Under $10
- Homestead Resort: Home for the Holidays at Homestead Resort
- Moovly: Create your own Season’s Greetings video in 10 steps
- Guitar Center: Alert: Cyber Monday Has Been Extended
- Doug Smith Subaru: Share the Love with your Community
- Rapha: Cold weather riding essentials
- Waves Audio: Waves’ Black Friday Sale Starts Now – Get a Free New Plugin
- ProAudioStar: ProAudioStar Will Beat ANY Black Friday Price PLUS Give You 15% Off Your Next Purchase
- Mystery Tackle Box: Merry Christmas From Karl VonDibble (And Mystery Tackle Box)
- Bonus: & Other Stories: Heading home for the Holidays?
- Bonus: Trouva: Girl Power Gifts ✊
- Bonus: Madewell: New arrivals + gift guide = ?
- Bonus: Girls’ Night In: Issue #94: Thanksgiving pies, couch life, and cozy sweaters. ?
- Bonus: Dr. Axe: Click Quick. Last chance for a FREE $26 gift
B2B email subject lines
- Team Tony Robbins: Your last chance to save in time for the holidays.
- Dale Carnegie Training: Be Bold This Holiday Season with Powerful Conversations
- Pureleverage.com: Your $1.00 Cyber Monday sale!!
- Voices.com: Cyber Monday Deal from Voices.com Coming Soon
- 3 Key Elements: Stressed Out by the Holidays? Body Language Tools to the Rescue!
- Pinterest Partner Team: This week: Create holiday boards and plan Pinteresty events
Nonprofit email subject lines
- SF-Marin Food Bank: Today is #GivingTuesday
- California Academy of Sciences: Unique Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your List!
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: #GivingTuesday is today!
- Friends of the Sea Otter: Adorable Sea Otter Gifts Available on Giving Tuesday
- Monterey Bay Aquarium: Today is #GivingTuesday: Donate now and become part of a new tradition.
- The Marine Mammal Center: A Special Gift to Thank You for All You Do
- Just Give: Gifts that do good…and feel good
- Susan G. Komen: Holiday gift deadline is tomorrow
While these holiday subject lines certainly spark inspiration, you’ll want to put your own creativity and message into your subject lines. Here are some tips to help you create holiday subject lines that will shine.
Use words that increase conversions and top holiday words
It may be tempting to get extra creative when it comes to creating fun subject lines for email marketing messages, but it’s also important to remember that there are specific data-backed words that increase conversions. Here are some of the top words to use in subject lines that can boost your conversions:
• Thank you
• Be the first
You’ll notice that each of these words evoke either a feeling of connection, persuasion, urgency, or interest—all of which are necessary to help you make holiday sales.
You should also consider using emoji in your subject lines. The playfulness of an emoji is a good complement to festive holiday subject lines and can help your email stand out in inboxes.
Pique interest with holiday words
Not only will you want to use proven data-driven words that convert, but you will also want to use some of the top holiday words to remind subscribers you’re offering special deals that are only available during the holidays. As you read through all the fun holiday subject lines above, you’ll notice a few words consistently stand out including the following:
• Black Friday
• Last Chance/Minute
When you can, work both these top converting words and top holiday email marketing words into your subject lines, and you’ll enjoy the benefits that come from writing excellent holiday marketing email copy.
Promote your offer in the subject line
Another common theme shared by good holiday email copy is stating the offer in the subject line like Chandon does in this pre-Thanksgiving email campaign offering free ground shipping enabling their subscribers to stock up on bubbly for their celebrations. The subject line simply states, Ground Shipping Included and the headline reinforces the offer.
Not only is it important to offer deals and promotions in your subject lines, but it’s also important to solve customers’ holiday shopping problems. For example, some people might not know what to put in their spouse’s stocking, what to serve for Christmas dinner, or how to find the perfect gift or their mother-in-law. Offering solutions to these types of problems as well as a promotion can bring satisfying and unexpected conversions.
This example from Birchbox promises to alleviate holiday stress and links to their holiday shop with gifts broken down by price point.
As you prepare for the holidays, remember that there are only 29 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There isn’t much time to get your holiday email marketing campaigns ready, and not much time to send your messages out to your subscribers. Hopefully, these 75 ideas and tips will help inspire you to write subject lines that convert into increased revenue and a very happy holiday season.