As you’re thinking about ways to reach customers with your email marketing this holiday season, remember that your messages need to stand out above the crowd while also being engaging and inspiring.

So how can you increase your chances of standing out in the inbox during the busiest part of the year? It’s definitely not going to happen without an unforgettable holiday subject line.

To deliver messages with the greatest impact, we’ve created a list of tips to help you reach your target audience with spot-on holiday subject lines.

2015 Update: We’ll get you started by showcasing 30 of our all-time favorite examples to get your creative juices flowing. For more holiday marketing tips and free resources, visit our Everything Holiday site.

Tip 1: Encourage the act of giving

Instead of trying to only focus on driving sales in your email subject lines, think about the giving aspect of the holidays, rather than getting (or a little of both!). Here are some prime examples:

  • ( Save big for Cyber Monday – give the gift of family
  • (Everyland) This Year, Give Color
  • (SFMOMA) Perfect the Art of Giving
  • (SXSW) Give thanks! These announcements are as sweet as pie!
  • (7×7 Magazine) Gifts That Give Back, Peppermint Fudge Recipe, Guide to Monterey, & More
  • (JetBlue Airways) Up to 50% bonus – ’tis better to give AND receive!
  • (Salvation Army) Just in Time for Thanksgiving. Remind audiences that the holidays are about giving rather than getting
  • (Groupon) #GivingTuesday – Give Back & Shop Local Deals
  • (Just Give) Gifts that do good… and feel good
  • (Women Helping Women) Support WHW as You Shop Online this Black Friday

Tip 2: Help your customers

During the holidays, consumers are strapped for time, looking for gift ideas, and seeking out recommendations for what to give their friends and family. Email marketing plays a significant role in delivering inspiration. Offer help in the form of gift guides, gift suggestions and more.

Here are some examples of email subject lines that help customers get their shop on:

  • (Gap) Want stress-FREE gifting?
  • (Real Simple) Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer Ideas
  • (Alternative Apparel) Gifting made easy | Shop by price
  • (Uncommon Goods) Holiday Helpers Day 3: For Mom & Dad
  • (Folica) It’s Here! Shop our Gift Guide and Get 15% Off
  • (The Stationary Studio) Superfast Personalized Gifts – Guaranteed Ground Delivery by Christmas
  • (Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences) Shop a Holiday Bazaar Thursday at Nightlife
  • (Workshop SF) The Holiday Indie Mart is tomorrow at The Independent! Plus, we’ve got a ton of holiday classes to make unique gifts and decorations on the cheap
  • (Groupon) Groupon’s Most Wanted This Holiday Season
  • (Rue La La) Your Tree à Tres Chic: Get All The Trimmings For Your Holiday

Tip 3: Engage, educate and entertain with content 

The holidays aren’t just about shopping. Educate and engage your customers with helpful, fun, entertaining and compelling content for the holiday season. The more knowledgeable info you give to your readers, the more you’ll remain top of mind when they do decide to purchase or donate. Be sure to include tips, “best of” lists, how-tos, and more.

Here are some subject lines to guide you:

  • (VerticalResponse) Tips to Creating Stellar Online Gift Guides + Are Infographics Right for Your Biz?
  • (Red Tricycle SF) Where to Have a Snow Day in the Bay
  • (Airport Watchdog) The 10 Busiest Airports This Holiday Season
  • (Flavorwire) This Year’s Most Beautiful and Interesting Art Books
  • (Pinterest Partner Team) This week: Create holiday boards and plan Pinteresty events
  • (Travel Channel) Where to Get the Best Drink of Your Life
  • (7×7 Magazine) Where to Buy the Best Turkey, How Not to Get Sick, & More!
  • (Airbnb) Share the Air – News, travel ideas, tips from Airbnb
  • (Hipcamp) A Guide to Winter Camping and Hot Springs
  • (Retrofit) What NOT to Eat This Thanksgiving.

Final thoughts

Above all, remember that holiday marketing is about the human-to-human connection and celebrating the season with your customers in mind. Always keep your content upbeat, on topic, and drive interest through creative subject lines that readers won’t be able to resist.

For more holiday marketing tips and free resources, visit our Everything Holiday site.

Send your holiday emails for free with VerticalResponse.

Ritika Puri is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant and startup advisor. She writes for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

© 2014 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.