Here at VerticalResponse we’re always being asked things like, “What is the best day to send an email?” or “What are the real email marketing secrets?” and “What are some great subject lines?” I decided to focus this post on that last one, and offer some proven-to-work subject lines that you can test out for your email marketing campaigns.
First of all, I’m assuming at this point your recipients will recognize you from your “From Label.” If they’re familiar with who the email is coming from, you’ll have better luck getting your email opened with a catchy subject line.
As a retailer, your email marketing is probably mostly aimed at selling. If you sell your own products or products from other manufacturers, you may be trying to announce new products, new seasons or discounts and sales. You’ll want your recipients to act fast, so you’ll want to have a sense of urgency in your subject line — perhaps by including an expiration or limited time call to action.
You’ll see in my examples that some of the subject lines are a bit vague like “An Exclusive Offer for You,” however, sometimes that might get more opens than if you talk about a specific product. That’s something that you need to test for yourself in your own campaigns so let’s get on with the examples:
Offer, Offer, Offer
- Enjoy this Special Offer at Our New Location
- 25-40% off – Email-Only Offer – Today Only
- You’re Invited! New Product Launch Party at [Your company]
- Ends Today! 20% Off Friends & Family
- Top 10 under $10
- Yours in 2 days (free shipping!) + 40% off
- Free product with purchase of [product name]
- [New Product] has arrived. Order now before we run out.
- Earn double points for [insert product or action].
- Last chance to get 50% off!
- Want 20% off your next order?
- Enjoy [season] with rates from $65
- Exciting new changes at [your company]
- An Exclusive Offer for You
- TODAY. Post [holiday] Flash Sale! 2 for $20
- Last minute deals, special offers, and new [product name]
- Don’t Let These Get Away
- Online only: 25% off friends and family
- Introducing our latest…[product/feature here]
- [Product name] Promotion week. Save 25%
- Extended for a day! Get Free shipping through Friday
- Don’t miss this! Extra 50% off sale ends tonight!
- Limited Supply: Limit 2 [product name] per customer
- The [your company] holiday catalog is here!
- Email subscriber exclusive: [Product name] sale is here
- Ends Today: Take 20% off your entire order
- Last chance! Be sure to grab the best price!
- Your choice of amazing items $50 + under
- Great gifts for [Dad, Mom, etc]
- Best Sellers Every [girl, boy, man, woman, dog, etc.] Needs
- Everything you need when the temperatures [rise, fall]
- [Hot, Cold?] Stay indoors and save.
Catchy & Creative
- Sometimes all you need is a little vase lift (retailer selling vases)
- Seriously flattering jeans (retailer selling jeans, obviously – swap out jeans with your own product )
- How [your company] got its name (retailer selling lingerie, telling a story inside the email)
- Temperatures Fall, Style Rises (retailer selling coats)
- Celebrity Favorites (retailer selling accessories that Hollywood is wearing)
- Uh oh. Did you forget someone on your list? (coffee retailer suggesting subscription boxes)
- 10 Gift Ideas for your little ones (retailer listing top 10 suggestions for kids)
- Manhattan View for a Song in the Shower (retailer selling shower curtain with Manhattan skyline on it)
- Take your pick: Our 9 Favorite [your product] (retailer suggesting items by popularity)
- Coolest modern desk on the job…for $149 (retailer including price in the subject line)
- Score Great Savings on Game-Time Gear: HDTVs, Furniture & More (retailer selling TVs with a sports slant)
- Party Like it’s 1999 Aged Cabernet Special (wine retailer)
- Get in Our Pants (retailer selling new product line)
- It’s okay, you can wait till the last minute. (sale reminder)
- Make room in that closet (clothing retailer announcing a new product)
- Bring this email to our store and win! (retailer trying to get store traffic)
- send some. get some. (florist rewarding customers with a $10 coupon for pre-ordering flowers for an upcoming holiday)
- New Feature: Reviews by You! (retailer introducing customer reviews to products online)
I hope this gets your subject line creative juices flowing. If you’ve got some effective subject lines that have worked for your business, comment and let us know.
Build, send and track emails that look great on any device
Editor’s note: his blog post was originally published in October 2009 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and relevance.
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