gift card subject lines

Gift Card Subject Lines: 15 Examples to Boost Open Rates

Justin Calderon

Justin Calderon

10 min

You’ve got a new voucher offer for your customers and you’ve written a great email to show it off, but you’ve hit that familiar obstacle once again. That’s right, thinking of enticing gift card subject lines is the barrier stopping you from clicking the ‘Send’ button.

Short enough to fit in an email header, but long enough to intrigue a customer, great subject lines are the Goldilocks of email marketing: if they’re either too cold and impersonal or too hot and needy, then your customer isn’t going to open.

Yet getting a subject line “just right” is tough. 

If your company is suffering from low open rates, high competition from competitors, and a lack of customer engagement, you may feel that the pressure of coming up with the best email subject lines possible is a headache you could do without.

Yet, research from employment specialists Zippia shows that almost half of recipients (47%) will open the email based on the subject line alone.

Perfecting your email subject line formula, then, is well worth the effort: once you’ve gotten your customer to open your message, you’re halfway to winning the battle. 

From there you have the opportunity to engage with the reader and guide them toward a purchase, increasing revenue for your brand.

But first, why should you bother with gift cards and how can they help your brand?

Want to find out how gift cards can unlock a lucrative long-term revenue stream for your business? Sign up for Reloadly and learn more about how our gift card API and plugin integration can get you up and running in minutes.

4 reasons why you should create a gift card email marketing campaign

The world’s most successful businesses all have something in common: they connect with their customers on a personal level. 

Gift cards (physical and virtual) are an embodiment of this.

They’re also popular, fast-growing, and present brands with strong revenue opportunities.

Research from digital specialists Gitnux shows us the following stats to back this up: 

  • Popular because 52% of consumers prefer gift cards to receiving physical gifts
  • Fast growing because the global gift card industry value is set to more than double to $1.9 trillion by 2027. 
  • Present strong revenue opportunities 60% of gift card recipients spend more than the gift card value at the store. This extra revenue is known as “lift sales”.

Inexpensive to produce and customizable, coordinating a gift card email marketing campaign can also provide the following benefits.

1. They build loyalty

Customer loyalty is a hard thing to achieve, but gift cards are an effective way to build it. 

When customers receive a personalized voucher or coupon, they feel an immediate connection to the brand behind it, whether they mean to or not. The fact that they’re effectively getting something for free via the card means that they’ll associate your company with a happy memory, particularly if you provide great customer service along the way. 

This positive brand connection is a powerful driving force behind any repeat purchases or referrals they make, helping you create a flywheel of sustained customer loyalty. 

2. They boost engagement 

Gift card emails infused with backlinks and calls-to-action (CTAs) are a great way to interact with your customers. Many businesses include gift card-related contests and giveaways in their emails which encourages user participation. 

Often, these link to social media channels where customers can share with friends or tag them in posts, which amplify your brand’s visibility. 

Businesses that do this often find that higher engagement builds an organic buzz of excitement around these emails as the allure of winning gift card credit is so strong.

3. They’re a great way to conduct accurate market research

Gift card emails can also be a strategic tool when conducting market research. If you’d like to gather feedback or find out what your customers are looking for, then offering a gift card as an incentive can get them to improve survey response rates and share their insights with you. 

Many businesses find that participation rates are much higher when there’s a carrot at the end of the process, leading to valuable data for them to act upon for a future marketing strategy.

It also has the bonus of making the brand appear generous and customer-centric by offering these extras.

4. Let’s face it: customers love them 

Gift cards are popular among both givers and receivers of them. 

For the giver (your customer) they’re easy and instant gift ideas that show they’ve thought about the person they’re giving it to. It’s just as easy as giving cash, but with an added personal touch. 

In an interview with Forbes, gift expert Lara Hartog says “buying a gift card shows that you care more about the recipient and whether they can use your gift rather than showing off how original or thoughtful you are.”

gift card subject lines

Recipients, of course, love the fact they’re getting something for free, and associate your brand with this positive feeling.

A gift card email campaign is an inexpensive and convenient way to remind your customers of these wonderful benefits, in the concise form of a regular email. 

The trick is getting them to open them. This is where expertly crafted gift card subject lines come into play.

15 gift card email subject lines that will increase open rates and conversions

Before we dive into the best gift card email subject lines that will make your customers click ‘open’, we should first look at the features that they all have in common. 

Getting the tone right is the best place to start. Data from specialists Marketing Dive shows that personalized subject lines increase open rates by 50%, and this is especially important for gift card subject lines.

Gift cards are a show of warmth and generosity, so the subject line should typically reflect that. Friendly, personalized language should be the focus here, conveying the thoughtful nature of gift-giving. Use ‘you and ‘your’ a lot and don’t be afraid to tap into emotions like gratitude and joy. 

Action language is also vital. Subject lines should get to the point quickly, which action verbs are great for. They also stimulate the reader and play on their emotions. 

Speaking of emotions, emojis are a great way of capturing the sentiment of your message, but don’t go overboard. Anything more than two or three is emoji overkill. 

Word count is also crucial. Here, the “Goldilocks” factor comes into play again. Research from Madhu Gulati, president of ShowMeLeads, analyzed 260 million emails from 540 campaigns to find the optimum subject-line length; five or fewer words achieved an open rate of 16%. Those with over 12 words had similar success (14%). This percentage increased to 21%, however, when the sender got it “just right” with a word count of six to 12 words. 

One other useful tip that you may not have thought of is to try to summarize the content of your message within the first five or six words. This is where subject lines typically cut off on mobile devices, the place where many of your customers will access them.

So, with all that in mind, here are 15 gift card subject lines you can use to push those email open rates through the roof.

1. Holiday email subject lines 

Ever rushed around looking for last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve? If so, you can bet your customers have as well. 

Gift cards are perfect for the hectic holiday shopping season because they’re quick and easy but they show that the sender has put a little thought into them. Even if they did leave it late. They’re also great at solving the classic “what shall I get them?” dilemma. 

Google Trends data reflects this by showing a clear global spike in gift card interest every Christmas.

The global interest spikes in gift cards every festive period               

gift card subject lines

                                           Source: Google Trends

Here are examples of subject lines that play on this sense of urgency, but also sympathizes with the recipient’s plight:

  • ? Time Almost Up? Get a Gift Card! ??
  • ? Out of Ideas? Get Them a Gift Card and Let Them Choose?

It’s also easy for you to show festive sentiment through your email subject lines, of course 🙂

  • ?? Show Your Loved One You Care With a Holiday Gift Card

Holiday email subject lines don’t have to be restricted to Christmas, either. You can easily customize a New Year and Halloween gift card campaign with a champagne or pumpkin theme, for example.

  • ? No Tricks, Just Treats:  Give a Halloween Gift Card to Raise Spirits
  • ? Start the Year With a Gift Card Between Friends

People often stress out looking for the perfect gift during the holiday season, despite all the ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays’ messages flying around. 

A gift card email subject line allows you to inject a little humor into the chaos, and a smiling customer is much more likely to convert than a frowning one. 

2. Birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasion subject lines

While Christmas might have your customers running around last minute, special occasions tend to present a different problem: people often forget them. 

Poking fun at this (gently) is a great way of capturing their attention and showing them that a gift card is the best way out of their predicament.

  • ? You Almost Forget? Grab a Gift Card to Save the (Birth)Day!

You might also want to offer gift cards that are customized to other special occasions, like anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.

  • ? Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue: Gift Cards Say “I Love You” Too!
  • ? Thank You, Mom. A Mother’s Day Gift Card to Make Her Smile

As mentioned earlier, all of these lines attempt to show the warm sentiment behind buying gift cards, something that can be a powerful factor in convincing your target audience to open the email and make the purchase. 

Special occasions are great opportunities to present gift cards as an ideal present and also show the caring side of your brand with empathetic messaging. 

3. Apology and atonement subject lines

No one’s perfect. If your company messes up its customer service, then you may want to offer a special gift to make up for it.

Discounts or freebies might do the trick for most people, but a gift card feels more like a peace offering, a way of saying “Hey, we know we dropped the ball, here’s a little something on us”.

It also makes sense for you business-wise. Yes, you’re sorry, but you’re also directing the customer toward your products which, even though you’re giving stuff away, may trigger future purchases once the episode is over. 

Subject lines are very effective at helping you to start turning a bad situation into a positive one, and if they can encapsulate your apology and the offering in a few words, then you’re onto a winner.

  • ? Our Apology, Your Reward: Claim Your Gift Card Inside
  • Your Gift Card Gift: Turning Mistakes into Moments ?
  • ? Forgive Us? Here’s a Gift Card to Make Amends

4. Rewards and re-engagement subject lines

Motivating customers to buy from you lies at the core of marketing, but sometimes they need a carrot to do so.

Rewards gift cards are a great way of igniting enthusiasm for your brand, and you can easily include them as a contest prize or as part of a broader giveaway. 

You may also want to stimulate interest in a new product or push ahead of rivals in a hectic shopping period, like Black Friday.

Customers get something for free with pre-loaded credit to spend at your outlets or affiliated brands: an Amazon gift card subject line, for example, will tell them that they have discounted access to millions of items.

Your business will benefit from the increased chance of them making further purchases to earn more points on their card. 

Similarly, you can also reward employees for exceptional work, using a gift card as a motivational technique.

For both of these uses, you can encapsulate the benefits of a rewards promo succinctly in subject lines that cut right to the chase.

Here are a few examples:

  • ? You’ve Won! Claim Your Gift Card Reward Now
  • ? Grab Your Gift Card! Your Path to Rewards Starts Here
  • ?Claim Your Gift Card Now! Shop Smart and Reap the Rewards

Don’t forget that rewards cards can be a great way to follow up with dormant customers who haven’t interacted with your brand for a while. There’s nothing like a freebie to get them buying again

  •  It’s Been Too Long! Enjoy a Free Gift Card on us ?

Concise yet versatile, email subject lines can be played around with to fit your marketing agenda. Be sure to get your marketers to dedicate as much time on them as it takes to writing the email itself, that way you’re sure to land upon some gems of your own.

Should you offer physical gift cards or e-gift cards?

Ask any of your customers what comes to mind with the term ‘gift card’ and they’ll probably imagine a slim strip of plastic that they can use in a store like a debit or credit card. 

Recent figures from market research firm Technavio show that virtual e-gift cards, however, have now overtaken their physical counterparts in market share

E-gift cards were worth $590.62 billion globally, a figure that’s set to reach around $850billion by 2027. 

Instant, harder to lose, and easy to send over long distances, e-gift cards do make a lot of sense. 

                                             The rise of e-gift cards

Source: Technavio

Yet, take a glance at the chart above and you’ll see physical gift cards still holding their own. Why is that?

Well, one reason is they’re a tangible item that people can hold in their hands. They ‘feel’ more like a gift than a set of pixels on a screen (which is what e-gift cards essentially are). You can also wrap a real gift card if you really want to get into the spirit. 

Whether your business sells physical or virtual cards depends on your target customer, but you should aim to offer both. Some people appreciate the convenience and instant delivery of e-gift cards, while others want something they can present in person. 

Offering both types shouldn’t be too much of a drain on your resources – in fact many gift card providers offer both for similar pricing – and you’ll benefit from a flexible product offering that’s popular with all types of customer.

Increase engagement and revenue with Reloadly’s powerful gift card API 

A powerful gift card subject line can be the key to unlocking higher engagement and revenue, but there also needs to be a potent gift card solution waiting behind the door to back it up. 

Reloadly’s Digital Gift Card API opens up a world of gift card and digital goods transfers to your business. With access to a catalog of over 300 household brand names, including Play PlayStation, iTunes, and Amazon, and supported in over 100 currencies, our gift cards are suitable for whichever industry you work in.

Getting started is simple: we offer a ready-made digital gift card API, so your developers can quickly integrate our platform into your business’s existing system.

Our world-first developer toolkit lets you manage your gift card program and distribute gift cards whenever and wherever you like. 

With a smart design and top email marketing, including killer email subject lines, you can start increasing sales and improving cash flow today.

[Are you ready to see how gift cards can increase engagement and revenue? Sign up for Reloadly or contact us to learn more about how our digital gift card API lets you transfer gift cards all over the world.]

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