Summer subject lines that sell faster than ice cold water in the desert

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summer sales abstract art hero image

Aaaah, summer sales. The red carpet event of the summer for consumers around the world.

With all brand managers preparing for the summer sales period, the competition is fierce.

This raises the bar for digital marketers to craft better, cooler, unique summer subject lines, and go where no one else has been before.

A lot of hard work goes into consumers’ “Tap to open”, right?


First, we should get one thing out of the way. One of the primary considerations that plays an important role in open rates could be summed up in…

So, what is the best time and day of the week to send your newsletter?

You’ve probably read that article. Or one of those that followed up. When the first article came out suggesting that the best time of the week is THIS day and the best time is X, digital marketers were finally happy that their prayers had been answered. They held the key to the future.

Only it was the same key as everybody else’s.
…trying to open the same door as everyone else.

So, no, there is no best time to send your newsletter, just what works with your audience and what doesn’t. How will you know?

You should know quite a few things about your audience, for starters. So, about your primary target group, do they work a 9-5 job? Are they artists? What is their favorite music radio? Do they ride the underground or hop on an Uber? These kinds of questions when you are starting out your business help you understand what your average customer’s life is like.

This way you can offer your subscribers better services, better products, and write emails that speak right to their hearts.For example, if you know that your average subscriber works a 9-5 job, avoid sending them at what is considered lunch time in the target culture.

How to increase your open rates in 2018

1. Let’s start with some interesting trivia: In order for your subscribers to open your newsletter, they must first receive it. Email deliverability is often overlooked by the not-so-experienced marketers. Eventually, poor deliverability and low open rates do take their toll on sender reputation, and then on your email marketing performance.

We put together a comprehensive list of deliverability tips; some of these are as easy as settings on your Email Marketing and Automations platform, while others are best practices you must implement to keep your performance in tip-top shape. As you build your list over time, keep in mind to check your email deliverability score at all times.

2. Always send to segmented lists to craft more targeted messages.

3. Add Personalization tags and emojis to jump out the inbox page clutter.

4. Check out how our intelligence tool can help you predict the success of your subject line, and give you a score compared to the industry average at that point in time!

5. Always A/B test different summer subject lines to see which style or element resonates best with your audience.

We know how important summer sales are to digital marketers and their customers, so we combed our database, and here’s a selection of the top A/B tested summer subject lines and the respective winners.

Here are the winning A/B tested summer subject lines

Our clients send millions of campaigns every year (maybe, even billions). In our database we have every A/B test that took place on subject lines.

So, what we did was that we singled out the highest-performing summer subject lines (based on open rates).

Then, we hand-picked the most characteristic A/B tests for each type, so we are giving you both subject line versions, the winning one, and a short explanation as to why the result was such.

In non-English speaking countries, would you use the English language?

summer sale just began

The subject line was A/B tested in English and the local language. (We know it was identical because we ran it through Google Translate. )

What is interesting is that, in increasingly globalized societies, digital marketers must make a choice between the local language and English. Out of virtually all A/B tests in more than 4 languages, the local language won over the English one.

winning subkect line Up to 50% off of all supermarket products

Guess the winner in this A/B test! Yep, the one that started with the discount was more powerful and was sent out to the rest of the list!


Which performs better, the length or the message of the subject line?winning summer sale subject lines

The difference that words can make is amazing, isn’t it? In this example, “Your must-haves” is pale in comparison to “It’s now or next year”. This fear appeal speaks right to the heart of every consumer.

summer email subject lines

Here’s the interesting bit about this series of emails; while emails starting with “Summer Sales” were not as effective over the first few weeks, it appears that consumers were more impressed as summer sales went on. “Summer sales week 7” works its magic faster than “Up to 50% off” as an introduction.

Should you mention the brand name?

a/b tested summer sale subject lines

A subject line that doubles as a call to action by creating a sense of urgency had more of an impact compared to a subject line highlighting the brand and the discount.

Which would you open?

the complicated appearance or the longer title took its toll on opens

We take it that the winning subject line communicated more clearly the benefit for the customer, as opposed to the second subject line that appears cluttered. Despite the inspired intro (“Pick your own discount”), the complicated appearance or the longer title took its toll on opens.


What is the locus of your message?

top summer sale subject lines

These two summer subject lines are identical in terms of content. What changes is the order of appearance of each sentence. Apparently, bringing the “-50%” further up did make a difference.

Do you think that word repetition works?

original summer subject lines

In this set of summer subject lines we see that the repetition of the word “Hot” instead of drawing attention and adding emphasis, it takes away from the intended meaning. Therefore, the winning subject line is the one that communicates the message more clearly.

More brand name examples

brands are more powerful summer subject lines

which summer subject line would win

summer sale newsletter subject lines winner

In this set of examples (from a long list of similar cases) are indicative of the power a brand name has. Including a brand name in your subject line will make a great difference in your open rates and here’s the evidence. Need we say more?


Are shorter summer subject lines better?

first subject line is that it is impersonal and does not encourage consumers

The winning subject line addresses the qualified lead instantly; the pain point of the first subject line is that it is impersonal and does not encourage consumers to identify with an image. In other words, the consumer is not part of the picture here.

What a difference a word makes

the difference a word makes to higher open rates for summer subject lines

Here’s another example of two almost identical summer subject lines and the difference of “Tomorrow” versus “Soon”; “Tomorrow” takes the win for the team of specificity!


Should you be specific or mysterious?

offer discounts on your summer sale subject lines

A clearly-stated benefit it always a winner! In this case, the benefit is highlighted and explicit, which dubs the winning subject line.

Are percentages better than descriptions?

summer sale subject line with percentages

Last, it is clear in this example that customers were more likely to show more appreciation for the more specific announcement of discounts!

Looking for more inspiration on summer subject lines?

And, we ran them through this craaaazy AI tool our data scientists built for your subject line success! With Refine, you get an ever-learning tool that only gets better every second that new campaigns are sent out.


Refine will predict your subject line open rate and will give you actionable suggestions to improve it.


Supercharge your email marketing campaigns this summer with these subject line ideas, and don’t forget to A/B test them before! Keep track of what worked best for your business and consider these implications for your next campaigns! If you are reading this article at the end of the summer don’t worry we got you covered with 300+ email subject lines for sales, any kind of sales!

Send your first campaign with Moosend by registering for free!

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