Spring email with flowers blooming from an envelope

Spring Email Subject Lines: A Garden of Ideas

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As the weather warms up and the seasons change from winter to spring, you want your marketing emails to hit inboxes like a breath of fresh air. And that means you need to start germinating some spring email subject line ideas. 

Why does this matter? Because people live, feel, act, and shop differently depending on the season. 

In fact, spring is the most profitable time of year for some companies, such as home improvement stores, gardening centers, tax experts, and everything surrounding rites of passage like weddings and graduations. Spring also features particular holidays – Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools’ Day, and Mother’s Day.

Any of these things could inspire a spring email subject line idea. But you won’t find a huge list of them here. Instead of dozens of random spring-themed subject lines, we’re going to help you come up with ideas to write your own.

Your subject line strategy starts with understanding what’s going on in the minds and hearts of your subscribers. So, how does spring make people think, feel, and act?

The psychology behind spring subject lines

Consider what happens in springtime and the emotions and motivations that emerge during this time of year.

The weather starts to warm up. Snow disappears. Plants, flowers, and grass start growing. Blossoms bloom in the trees. Bugs, birds, and bees zoom around. Baseball season begins. What does all this mean?

Hope springs eternal, that’s what. New beginnings, new opportunities, the language of life, birth, renewal, and potential. Spring is an annual experience that isn’t manufactured by marketers or governments. Life really does emerge from the shadows in the spring. It’s natural. 

Learn to tap into those positive feelings and you’re on track to write spring email subject lines that melt hearts and get opened faster than an Easter egg full of jelly beans.

And speaking of hope springs eternal, let’s talk about using clichés in spring subject lines.

Springtime clichés: do they work?

Do you recall in The Devil Wears Prada where one of the hapless underlings suggests “florals” for the spring fashion collection, and Meryl Streep’s ruthless fashion mogul pretty much stares her into oblivion? Such a tired cliché — how could she dare bring this up in a meeting?

But that’s true of lots of clichés, and you have to use them carefully, if at all, especially in your spring email subject lines. 

Consider the well-worn phrases that relate to the spring season:

  • April showers bring May flowers
  • Spring is in the air
  • Spring fever
  • Spring break
  • Spring a leak
  • Spring forward
  • Spring in your step
  • Spring cleaning
  • March Madness
  • The Ides of March
  • In bloom

If you run a house cleaning company, putting “spring cleaning” in your email subject line, while very relevant, may not help you stand out.

What you want to do is try to come up with what’s known as a “turn of phrase,” which is a creative way of repackaging well-known clichés. You see this a lot, and when it’s done well, it works because everyone knows the old cliché, but they appreciate your clever, creative twist on it. 

For example, different businesses could play with the Spring is in the air cliché:

  • Furniture company: Spring is in the chair
  • Salon franchise: Spring is in the hair
  • HVAC company: Spring is in the air conditioning repair

Okay, we know those puns are super cheesy, so don’t beat us up. But it helps you understand what’s meant by “turn of phrase.” You have to come up with something that fits your industry, your company, and any products or offers you’ll be promoting in your email marketing.

Not quite inspired? Browse a list of words and phrases related to spring

Use familiar spring phrases in a new context

Another approach that works well is to use phrases that don’t relate to your industry or products. 

So, spring fever generally is meant to express the idea of wanting to get started immediately. Get out there and mow the lawn, fix the door, plant the garden, and ask someone to the dance. 

You can use that idea in just about any context:

  • Are your kids getting spring fever? Sports equipment specials
  • The perfect toys for cats with spring fever

Same with daylight saving time. That too is part of spring, the clocks “spring forward,” robbing everyone of an hour of sleep that they won’t get back until November. 

If you can take these ideas and find a way to work them into your subject lines, you can come up with some gems that make people laugh and also get attention. That’s what email subject lines are meant to do — get enough attention to motivate the open.

Spring cleaning is another one you can repurpose. We keep bringing this one up because 76% of Americans say they do spring cleaning. That’s just about everyone. Which means everyone will get your reference to it.

  • Spring cleaning for your bank account — free debt audits
  • Do some spring cleaning — in your sock drawer

Keep your eyes on the prize

That’s a cliché too — “keep your eyes on the prize.” But what’s the prize this time? Getting the email opened. 

When coming up with spring subject lines, remember that the goal isn’t to be clever. The goal is to get the email opened. If cleverness helps achieve that goal, then by all means be clever. 

What helps emails get opened the most, in any season? Here are a few of the main drivers:

  • Curiosity
  • Relevance
  • Cultural references
  • Personalization
  • Informality

Curiosity 

If your email subject lines make people curious enough, they’ll open them every time. They can’t resist. 

A subject line like ‘make the most of your lost hour of sleep’ is vague enough that people don’t really know what it’s about. But subscribers may be curious enough to click. Anything that makes losing that hour of sleep less of a burden is worth considering.

The easiest way to spark some curiosity in a subject line is to ask a question. Even when we know the answer to a question, our brains want to confirm we’re right. And the only way to find out is to open the email.

Just make sure it’s a question that begs to be answered. A bague subject line that reads, “Ready for spring?” Isn’t as curious and compelling as one like “Could THIS ruin your spring?”

Relevance

Relevance speaks to something that matters to people right now. You can use relevance with your spring email subject lines by tapping into things subscribers care about this time of year.

For instance, many people want to declutter in the spring. If you have a product or service that can speak to decluttering, then use it. And it can be totally unrelated. For example:

  • Take a break from decluttering — ice cream treats
  • Visit the spa this spring and declutter your mind

Cultural references 

Cultural references can refer to people, events, music, or movies that most people — especially in your email target audience — will understand. Just be careful not to reference something people might not know. We referenced The Devil Wears Prada earlier, but there’s a good chance not everyone reading this knows the reference. It works in a blog post, but it would be risky in an email subject line. 

But nearly everyone will be familiar with The Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” or “Who Will Stop the Rain” by CCR. 

You can also work in references to current events, especially if it will resonate with your target audience. Maybe there was a controversy at an awards ceremony, like the year they announced the wrong winner at the Oscars, or when Steve Harvey picked the wrong Miss America. 

These are great opportunities to get attention in email subject lines. 

Personalization

This can mean using a subscriber’s name, but it can also mean referencing something else you know about them. Suppose you have a home improvement company, and you have a list of customers who make a lot of purchases in the spring. 

Send that segment an email with a subject line that speaks to that:

  • Getting back to yardwork soon? We’ve got you covered
  • Tool sale starts on March 21st — just in time for your project

Informality

Informal subject lines seem like they were written to just one person. So, think about emails you write to coworkers or family members. You don’t put much thought into the subject line. They’re often just one word. 

When you can use this approach for a mass audience, it could greatly increase your opens. Some examples of spring email subject lines using informal language:

  • It’s spring
  • March 21st
  • April fools
  • Lose sleep yesterday?
  • Pollen

Again, the point is, super short. The impression these subject lines make on the recipient is that someone is just writing them a quick note. It’s well known that the best open rate from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was for the subject line “hey.”

That’s what you’re going for here. Something that seems like it was written just to them, informally, quickly. Just don’t abuse this — if you use informal subject lines for normal sales emails, your audience will quickly get annoyed.

Spring sale subject line ideas

Think again about the most common consumer habits in springtime. 

People do yardwork and house cleaning. They wash windows. They paint. They clean the gutters. They mow the lawn. They plant flowers and vegetables. They buy new clothes and throw out old ones.

Others get outside and exercise, to work off those winter holiday and Valentine’s Day pounds, and because the weather is warmer and they want to get in shape for summer. 

Spring break is a time for all sorts of things depending on your audience — vacations and parties, house cleaning and yard work, the first barbecue of the year, March Madness.

And you also have tax day, graduations, Easter, Mother’s Day, proms, Memorial Day, and wedding season.

That’s a lot. 

Every company can find something useful that relates.

Subject lines for spring events

Subject lines are tough to write when there’s no email to go with them, so that’s why this article doesn’t have tons of examples. Because you need to take the ideas we’ve discussed, and apply them to your context, your offers, your calls to action, and your audience. But here are a few to get you thinking:

Spring break email subject lines

  • Spring break party in a pigsty?
  • Your lawn loves spring break even more than you
  • Who’s guarding your house during spring break?

Spring cleaning subject lines

Remember, this doesn’t have to be about literal cleaning, though it can be. The ideas here include decluttering, sharpening, beautifying, sanitizing, and improving. 

  • Spring cleaning for your hard drive
  • After you wash your windows, then what? 
  • Make your acne disappear before summer

Easter holiday subject lines

Easter can be about candy, bunnies, and kids laughing and romping through the grass. It can also be about resurrection — coming to life, rebirth, power, and other ideas based on the religious roots of Easter. Again, what will your audience respond to? This ain’t about you. 

  • Breathe life into your business starting this Easter
  • Why the Easter Bunny hates you (this is a curiosity subject line — would you click it? You know you would)
  • Easter eggs and bee stings. How to protect your kids during the fun

Mother’s Day email subject lines

Mama knows best. So go get her something special for all she’s done for you. This is the day we do everything so she has to do nothing. Because she does everything the other 364 days. Make her feel special, appreciated, and honored. 

  • Your mother would approve of this gift
  • Why Mother’s Day is on a Sunday 
  • Your Mother’s Day discount deadline is… on Mother’s Day

Graduation email subject lines

Emotions run high here. My baby is all grown up. You’ve achieved something great. Your future is bright. Graduation is one of the most positive moments in a young person’s life. It also leads to ‘empty nest’ feelings for parents. If you can get your company in that conversation using a good email subject line, by all means, do so.

  • Besides the cap and gown, wear the right shoes
  • How to sparkle for your graduation moment
  • Send them off to college, then come get your massage

Don’t forget pre-header text

Email subject lines are just part one of your attempt to get the email opened. Don’t neglect part two: the pre-header text. If you don’t write anything for this, subscribers will just see something like, “Having trouble reading this email? Click here to view as a web page.” You can do better. 

Come up with some additional text that complements the subject line in some way.

Subject: Your mother would approve of this gift

Pre-header: Celebrity-style hair makeovers

Subject: Take a break from decluttering — ice cream treats

Pre-header: Buy 2, get 1 free

If the subject is vague, add some specificity to the pre-header. When the subject is specific, make the pre-header something clever or funny, or add extra detail that makes the email beg to be opened. If one doesn’t use personalization, consider using it in the other. 

The idea is, the subject and the pre-headers should fit into each other like hands in gloves. They should not say the same thing but just in a different way. That’s a wasted opportunity.

Optimize your inbox display for springtime

Lastly, with all the work you’re putting into your spring email subject lines, you don’t want to embarrass your company with a poor inbox display. 

Different email clients and devices will display your emails differently. Sometimes, a phrase gets cut off at the worst possible place, making the subject line look like it has a swear word or something else even more inappropriate. 

You want to know how your emails will look on as many devices and platforms as possible — before you hit send.

That’s why Email on Acid’s Inbox Display feature is such a critical part of our Campaign Precheck service. Many parts of an email can go wonky in various device displays. That’s why you want to preview your email — all parts of it — on as many of them as possible.

The Inbox Display feature shows you exactly how your sender name, subject line, and pre-header will appear on dozens of devices and inboxes. 
See how Inbox Display works, with examples, and then discover how you can simplify the challenges of email marketing and start delivering email perfection — with every email.

Even Great Emails Need to Be Tested

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Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks.

Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.

Author: The Email on Acid Team

The Email on Acid content team is made up of digital marketers, content creators, and straight-up email geeks.

Connect with us on LinkedIn, follow us on Facebook, and tweet at @EmailonAcid on Twitter for more sweet stuff and great convos on email marketing.

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