Winning Subject Line Ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The most important time of the year for retailers and business owners is the official commencement of the holiday shopping season known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Last year witnessed the highest e-commerce sales day in United States history, posting an estimated 7.9 billion in revenue on Cyber Monday. Every year, the amount of money spent over Black Friday weekend continues to increase. Online sales increased by 23.6% between 2017 and 2018. During the period of Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, 2018, more than a fifth of all direct site traffic came from an email newsletter campaign. Newsletters remain one of the most powerful and effective tools for converting sales. That is dependent, of course, on how many people interact with your newsletter. Because of that, it’s essential to have winning subject line ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is the time of year to ramp up your email marketing campaign efforts!

Subject Lines and Why They Matter

The newsletter subject line is the foundation upon which every successful email marketing campaign is built upon. Of all the factors that go into making a great newsletter, none is more important than having subject lines that people react to. It doesn’t matter how incredibly presented your newsletter is if nobody reads it! It’s very important not to overlook the significant impact subject lines make on email marketing campaigns. The first step is always going to be getting people to open your emails.

Luckily, all of the things you need to know about making winning subject line ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday will help you in perfecting the craft of creating a compelling newsletter. In a way, the subject line is a microcosm of the newsletter. At its core, the best subject lines are those that can summarize the entirety of the newsletter in a single crisp and easily digestible sentence.

How to Present Your Subject Line Ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

There is a multitude of different ways to come up with subject line ideas. Many of the most effective subject lines are unique and creative in their presentation. However, all successful subject lines have a few essential elements that they share in common.

The first of these elements is keeping your subject lines short, simple, and direct to the point. There’s no need for a lot of fluff or fancy language. It should tell the customer all the most important and compelling information about your newsletter. Longer subject lines are more likely to be ignored, land in the spam folder, and tend to get cut off on mobile devices. Since a very substantial portion of online traffic is generated through mobile devices, a longer subject line can kill your campaign.

Additionally, the subject line should be relevant to what the subscriber will see in the newsletter. Avoid using broad or confusing language; what the subscriber reads in the subject line should be what they get in the newsletter. Always be specific, especially in regards to sales. People are more likely to react to specific deals like “buy one, get one 50% off” rather than broad promises of deals such as “big sale this weekend!” The design and content of the newsletter should transition seamlessly from the subject line.

Another good idea is to use a preview text. It’s a chance to reinforce the essence of your subject line in a slightly more detailed way. Sometimes a subject line gets a look, but it’s the preview text that seals the open.

Lastly, your subject line ideas should utilize compelling action words. Power words like TAKE, BUY, GET, and FIND are more likely to draw a response. Of course, you don’t want to sound too demanding. Remember, the point is to compel the subscriber to open your email. Subject line ideas that are too domineering could lead to a lower open rate. Finding the right balance between being informative and being persuasive will help you come up with the best subject line ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Marketing Language for Your Subject Line Ideas

Being creative is a great way to try and increase your open rate. Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend is the most competitive time of the year for newsletters. Everyone’s inboxes get filled with offers galore from a wide array of different stores and companies, each one vying for a potential customer’s attention. Because of this, using creativity to stick out from the crowd could be a very effective strategy. There are a few different marketing language techniques that you can experiment with to see which ones are most effective with your audience. Let’s go over some of the essentials.

1. Use Numbers and % – During Black Friday weekend, consumers are looking for the most eye-opening deals they can find. Of course, the bigger the discount offered, the more likely subscribers Almost all of the most successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday subject lines (based on open rate) utilize numbers and %. If your store or business is offering 20, 25, 50, or 75% off, you should include this in the subject line.

2. Use Questions – Whenever people are posed with a question, they are naturally inclined to respond. Phrasing your subject line as a question will get readers to start an internal dialogue that might make them more likely to open your newsletter. For example, asking “Are you ready for this weekend’s MASSIVE SAVINGS Black Friday Sale?” will leave readers answering in their minds. Perhaps they’ll convince themselves that they are ready, and thus need to open your newsletter to take advantage of the moment!

3. Personalization – Some newsletter campaigns use personalization, putting the subscriber’s name within the subject line. Whether or not this is necessary or effective usually depends on your audience, but it is a strategy that many big companies have utilized in their newsletters.

4. Urgency – Creating a sense of urgency is a proven way to help increase your open rate. If the reader feels as if there is a time limit, they are likely to react sooner. It’s a strategy that’s been used to increase conversions for a very long time. For example, using language like “Get 50% off NOW before it’s too late!” or “Massive Deals only for this Black Friday weekend! Limited time offers!” will motivate readers to react more quickly than if they weren’t incentivized to.

5. Scarcity – Creating a sense that there is a limited amount of products or services available is also another tried and true marketing strategy. Many newsletters use the language of scarcity in their subject line ideas to make readers feel they need to act quickly before there is a shortage.

6. Humor – People are more likely to open newsletters that have quirky and clever subject lines. If the first thing you do is make a person laugh, you’re on the right track. Again, it’s important to know your audience when implementing humor, as you don’t want things to backfire, but being funny can be very effective.

7. Emojis – Using emojis in your subject line can bring attention and flare without sacrificing much space.

It was mentioned a few times already, but it’s important to emphasize the importance of knowing your audience. Not all niches are the same! Know your crowd and they will reward you. Using creativity, implementing research, and experimenting with various techniques will help you find the best subject line ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Examples of Winning Subject Line Ideas

Now that we’ve learned about the elements and strategy techniques for subject lines, let’s take a look at some of the best examples. Below you can find 6 of the most effective subject lines (in terms of open rate) between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday in 2018.

1) Get our amazing deals now! - 25% OFF (44.01% open rate)

This wildly successful subject line has a little bit of everything. To put things in perspective, the average open rate during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend in 2018 was 12.2%. That means this subject line had an open rate of nearly 32% higher than the average! As you can see, it makes use of the action word get, creates a sense of urgency with now, and includes the number and % figures of the sale.

2) {bullhorn emoji} Target Hot Black Friday Deals & More (36.05% open rate)

Coming in at number two, we have this subject line which employs an emoji, the action word target, and specifically mentions Black Friday Deals.

3) Get In Tune with Black Friday Deals (35.77% open rate)

This subject line has a clear call-to-action phrase with get in tune and like the previous one mentions Black Friday Deals.

4) 50% OFF ENTIRE STORE. BLACK FRIDAY SALE. (33.51% open rate)

Short, sweet, directly to the point, this subject line has it all. The number and % figures are used as well as a mention of Black Friday Sale.

5) It’s Cyber Monday! Get a free Premium Travel Case (32.24% open rate)
This subject line cleverly incentivizes readers to take action by offering a free item. Even today, offering free things can be a powerful motivator. Including specific information about any sort of deals you’re offering customers is always a good idea.

6) GET READY FOR THE BIGGEST SALE [name of store] EVER HAD IN THE HISTORY (27.03% open rate)
This one originally was going to be excluded, but it’s uniqueness made it important to show. In a way, this subject line broke a few of the “rules.” The subject line is long and incomplete and there’s no specific mention of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. However, it does still utilize the action words get ready while dramatically setting a precedent of urgency. This is a great example of how being creative can break the mood and get you a high open-rate.

Important Takeaways

Some important things should be pointed out about these top 6 subject lines from 2018’s Black Friday and CyberMonday weekend. There were many common words, including Black Friday, sale, %, and off. It should be noted that, although #5 was an exception, Black Friday remains a more commonly searched phrase than Cyber Monday. You should consider these words when coming up with subject line ideas. One thing you might have noticed is that personalization was not used in any of the top 6 subject lines listed. That does not mean that this isn’t an effective strategy, but rather that it wasn’t a necessary technique for companies that made the subject lines. Knowing your audience and experimenting with different methods will direct you towards a winning newsletter. You might also have noticed that companies sometimes elected to go with ALL CAPS. There are some who say all caps is a bad idea and that it’s more likely to land your newsletter in the spam box, but that notion didn’t seem to apply to some of the most successful subject lines.

REMEMBER! The spam folder is your enemy! Avoid things that will land your newsletter in spam. Excessive usage of emojis and exclamation points will increase the likelihood your emails land in the spam wasteland.

If you implement all these factors into a plan, you are sure to come up with the best subject line ideas for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Getting people to read your newsletter is guaranteed to boost your business’s revenue. The best way to get people to read your newsletter is to open it in the first place, leading it all back to a compelling subject line. Good luck!