February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day – a time when love heart emojis abound and we celebrate our romantic, familial, and platonic relationships. Yet, it comes at a cost, as businesses capitalise on this retail holiday. According to Statista, in the United States alone, Valentine’s Day spending for 2024 is projected to reach just under $26 billion. Naturally, it’s a busy time for marketers too. More than 3 000 valentine-related bulk emails were sent through Everlytic’s platform between January 2021 and December 2023. So, how can you ensure your emails are opened and read at this time of year? The key is to use enticing subject lines, and this blog post will show you how the valentine mailers that performed best did just that. 

valentine email subject lines blog

So, Why Do Subject Lines Matter? 

Let’s face it, inboxes can get crowded. Our latest Email Marketing Benchmarks Report showed more than five-billion bulk emails were sent through Everlytic’s platform in 2022. This demonstrates the essential need to ensure your emails stand out in your recipients’ inboxes. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using enticing subject lines, as they play an essential role in helping you achieve a high open rate.  

Open rates are calculated by dividing the number of contacts who opened your email by the total number of contacts who received your email. Our analysis of all the emails sent through Everlytic’s platform in the years 2020 and 2022 found the average open rate reached an all-time high of 29.28% in 2022 

 It’s apt to point out your email preview text, from name, and from address also play a role in enticing recipients to open your emails, but for this blog post, we’re focusing on subject lines.

Understanding the latest email marketing benchmarks helps you determine how your email engagement compares to the averages in your industry as well as across the South African market. Download our latest Email Marketing Benchmarks Report to learn more. 

This Is How We Analysed the Data 

Given the important role subject lines play in helping you achieve a high open rate, we set out to discover the most effective valentine email subject lines sent through Everlytic’s platform over the past two years, which you can use as inspiration for your own valentine mailers.  

Between January 2021 and December 2023, 3015 emails containing the word(s) “valentine” and “Valentine’s Day” were sent through Everlytic’s platform by 173 businesses. These emails included both internal and external communication. 

In a bid to determine which subject lines worked best, we analysed the emails that were sent to 100 recipients or more, with open rates the same as or higher than the average open rate of 29.28% as determined by our Email Marketing Benchmarks Report. Afterall, we wanted to bring you the crème of the crop.  

We excluded any non-valentine-related subject lines, as in some cases the mailers made mention of the holiday, but the subject line would not provide value for anyone looking for valentine’s inspiration.  

We also excluded any duplicates of the same or very similar subject lines to provide you with maximum value. Some of the subject lines included emojis and symbols which we have omitted too. 

The result is we compiled a list of the top 25 valentine email subject lines – plus an extra list of our favourites – which you can use as inspiration for your own marketing mailers.

Key Findings of Our Analysis 

Unsurprisingly, the words “Valentine’s Day”, “valentine”, “love”, “loved one”, and “hearts” were all dominant in the top-performing mailers. The email with the highest open rate of 99.82% was an internal communication from the medical and healthcare industry with the subject line, “Love is all around”. 

Many of the emails with the highest open rates had subject lines that simply wished their recipients “Happy Valentine’s Day”, which shows a to-the-point, non-salesy approach works well. The email with this subject line that performed best had an open rate of 81.2%. It’s also interesting that despite the high number of email subject lines with this phrase, these emails received high open rates. This could indicate recipients appreciate the well wishes for this holiday. 

Other subject lines were more poetic, like, “Roses are red, [Name of Company] is blue. It’s Valentine’s day, we love you!”; “Let your love and garden grow”; and “Fizz, flowers and kisses, [Insert Name of Email Recipient]!” 

The content of other successful email subject lines indicated exclusive or good deals, challenges or opportunities to participate, how to spoil or be spoilt, and chances to win. Think, “All you need is love, but a mystery discount doesn’t hurt either” and “Work up a Sweat this Valentine’s Day! Shop Tracksuits Now!”. 

Personalisation was a key feature, with some email subject lines using the email recipients’ name in the email subject line and others using the company name or products.  

There were many instances where clichés or quirky sayings about love were used to call on recipients to take action. For example, a subject line read, “Write us a love letter”, to ask subscribers to write reviews. 

A theme of nurturing email recipients, encouraging self-care – like, “Fall in love with YOU this February”, and trying to add value to their lives instead of pushing products – “Let us show you some love” – came through strongly too.  

Some emails shared freebies with their contacts, like recipes. We were most intrigued by the subject lines, “5 recipes for a cringe-free Valentine’s Day” and “Here’s a bazillion chocolate recipes because we love you”. 

Interestingly, while it’s considered best practice to use title case for subject lines, not all the successful valentine’s email subject lines followed this rule. 

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The Top 25 Valentine Email Subject Lines 

There were too many subject lines within the dataset of emails sent to 100 or more recipients with an open rate of 29.28% and higher, so we pulled the top 25 for you – excluding duplicates and non-valentine-related subject lines. 

We hope you draw inspiration from these subject lines for your own campaigns.

  1. Love is all around 
  2. Win this Valentine’s day with [Insert Name of Company] 
  3. Happy Valentine’s Day 
  4. Roses are red, [Name of Company] is blue. It’s Valentine’s day, we love you! 
  5. Valentines Origami Challenge 
  6. [Insert Name of Artist] Valentine’s Day Show – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW 
  7. And the Valentines’ winner is 
  8. Share your [Insert Name of Company] ‘Love’ Story & WIN! 
  9. Spoil your special loved one this Valentine’s Day xoxo 
  10. Attention all teams: Enter our Valentine’s Day showcase today! 
  11. [Insert Name of Company] Valentine Pricing & Info 2022 – Member Florists 
  12. Share the love with these perfect Valentine’s Day gifts xoxo 
  13. Happy Valentine’s Day Team [Insert Name of Company]!  
  14. Why you’ll love [Insert Name of Company] this February! 
  15. Celebrate Valentine’s at [Insert Name of Restaurant]! 
  16. You’re invited to our Valentine’s Day Dinner – Tuesday, 14 February 
  17. [Insert Name of Email Recipient], This Valentine’s Day – [Insert Name of Event] 
  18. Enter our Valentine’s Day best dressed competition and WIN! 
  19. [Insert Name of Event] | Month in Review | Valentine’s Week
  20. Nurturing love wherever you can 
  21. Celebrate Valentine’s with [Insert Name of Company] – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW 
  22. Love is one bite away, [Insert Name of Email Recipient]   
  23. Valentine’s Day 
  24. More Family Concierge – Valentines Month Special 
  25. [Insert Name of Column] | A love letter to [Insert Topic of Thought Leadership Piece]

More Subject Lines to Give You Inspiration

Within the dataset of the top-performing mailers with open rates 29.28% and above, there were some clever, creative, and cute valentine email subject lines that didn’t make the top 50 list, but we felt you could take inspiration from them. Take a look… 

  • Hearts on sleeves! What we’re loving on [Insert Name of Product]! 
  • So much more than a box of chocolates… 
  • Love is in the Air … at [Insert Name of Place] 
  • We get to do what we love because of you! 
  • Wine and dine your partner at [Insert Name of Company], this Valentines day 
  • Are you feeling the heat, [Insert Name of Email Recipient]  
  • Since it is the month of Valentine’s, let’s talk about making a move 
  • Spoil Your Sweetheart with the perfect gift! 
  • Love our Freebies this February 
  • Fizz, flowers and kisses, [Insert Name of Email Recipient]!  
  • Painting the Helderberg red in the name of love 
  • 5 recipes for a cringe-free Valentine’s Day 
  • The best thing to hold onto in life is each other 
  • Get a Valentines gift card when you share the love  
  • Write us a love letter on [Insert Name of Company] 
  • One for You, One for Your Valentine at [Insert Name of Company] 
  • The World is Made for Lovers 
  • Fall in love with YOU this February  
  • Here’s a bazillion chocolate recipes because we love you  
  • Work up a Sweat this Valentine’s Day! Shop Tracksuits Now! 
  • Don’t Forget Another Valentine’s Day  
  • Get ‘Em While They’re Hot 
  • Attention teammates! Tell us what you love about working at [Insert Name of Company] & get featured on [Insert Platform]!

Enticing Subject Lines Cut Through Noisy Inboxes

By now, we’re sure you’re feeling all loved up and ready to write a cute, creative, and caring subject line of your own. Or perhaps you’re going with a sexy, sassy, and sultry approach? The choice is yours, and we bet you’ve drawn some inspiration from the valentine email subject lines sent through Everlytic’s platform during the past two years. The sheer number of emails in our dataset shows you would miss out by not sending a valentine-inspired email, and even if you don’t have a deal to promote, a simple “Happy Valentine’s Day” can go a long way in boosting customer morale. You could also use love language to ask for reviews and show your customers you care. Whatever you choose to do this February, do it with love. xoxo