Email best practices
Summer email marketing: Best newsletter ideas and subject lines for the summer
Summer newsletters and marketing campaigns have to compete with so many distractions to win engagement. So how can you drive people to open your emails? Here are some ideas to inspire you.
Who doesn't love the summer? It’s a great time to kick back and enjoy yourself. For some, summer vibes are all about sipping cocktails by the pool and dancing by the main stage at a music festival. For others, summertime means hanging with their kids at the park or just chilling with friends.
But the summer months aren't always so great for marketers. How can someone compete with the sunny weather and all the distractions that come with it? We’ll admit it isn’t easy. But with a solid plan in place, a handy email marketing summer checklist, and some creative marketing ideas, the summer can be the perfect time for marketers to pull ahead of their lazier competitors.
In this post, we’ll share all the best tips and ideas to deliver summer email marketing newsletters and campaigns that will outshine even the best Balinese infinity pool.
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Games and competitions
13 subject lines to get your summer on:
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Getting your summer email marketing strategy right
With so many other things going on, it's all too easy for marketers to get discouraged about declining email engagement and open rates during the summer. But just because your audience is less engaged doesn't mean you should take your foot off the pedal.
Summer is a great time to switch the focus of your marketing campaigns. Instead of constantly pushing out those endless sales promotions, it’s a time to connect with your subscribers on another level.
The summer months are a great time to share content with subscribers when they actually have time to consume it. Just because they are away from their desks doesn't mean they have abandoned their email inbox. In fact, a recent study suggested that 71% of American consumers check their smartphones between two and five times every hour while on vacation.
71% of American consumers check their smartphones between two and five times every hour while on vacation.
While your newsletter readers might be less likely to make a purchase while reclining by the pool, they will undoubtedly be more receptive to reading through engaging newsletter content and researching a potential purchase. This is especially true of those purchases that require more detailed research and discussion.
Think of your summer campaigns like the travel-themed articles in an in-flight magazine. They won't persuade passengers to book next year's vacation immediately, but they will start the thought process that leads to that purchase. A carefully planned content-led or thought leadership marketing campaign throughout the summer months could be just the thing you need to kick start your busy end-of-year sales campaigns.
When planning your summer campaign strategies, it’s also worth considering how your wider organization's resources can manage the impact of your output. For example, it might not be a good idea to put too much pressure on your warehouse or customer support team when they are potentially short-staffed due to annual leave.
Hot topics for your summer email marketing campaigns
Summer email marketing campaigns are an excellent opportunity to latch on to all the fantastic things that happen in the summer months. Sometimes it’s enough to just focus on the weather. For example, a mid-week campaign based on the weekend’s forecast might be just the thing to sell garden furniture, barbecue sets, and kids’ paddling pools.
Other times, you might be looking for more exciting events taking place around you. You probably don’t need to look too far for inspiration, but if you need a headstart, consider the following marketing moments:
Big summer days: It doesn't matter whether you are selling vacations, entertainment products, apparel, or beer and burgers – there's always a good excuse to celebrate one of the many national holidays and celebrations taking place during the summer, from the 4th of July or Memorial Day in the US to Bastille Day in France.
Music festivals: Whether it's Coachella, Glastonbury, Sziget, or South by South West that rocks your boat, the cultural impact of these global music festivals extends far beyond the (often muddy) fields they are hosted in. Remember, festivals aren't just about music. Festivals are about food and drink, fashion, outdoor living, travel, experiences, and even good causes.
Sporting events: The summer months represent one hell of a sports calendar. From the US Open to Wimbledon via the Tour de France and the Commonwealth Games, there's plenty to get your subscribers excited about. Marketers hoping to celebrate the FIFA World Cup will have to wait until November, but the 2022 Women’s Euros will be taking place during the warmer months.
Back-to-school: We don't want to spoil it for the kids, but back-to-school is a big deal in the summer months. Depending on your subscribers' vacation schedules, they may wish to start their back-to-school shopping early in the summer. In fact, for many people, the back-to-school sales season starts the day the schools break up for their summer vacations.
Summer sales: Not everyone is on vacation in July and August. Businesses selling products like fitted kitchens, bathrooms, windows, or construction services might be particularly keen to keep their contractors busy. So, for some small businesses, this might be a great time of the year to offer a hot deal limited to work carried out during the summer months. In some European countries, July also marks the start of the Summer Sales period, a big time of the year for ecommerce, fashion, and retail brands.
Events don’t have to be globally significant to create good campaign ideas. For example, a local business can gain considerable favor by supporting local events and causes. Having a localized email strategy and using segmentation can make your campaign more relevant to subscribers in different regions.
Summer newsletter ideas to keep your subscribers engaged
A newsletter sent in the summer months has a lot to compete with, so you’ll have to work hard to keep email engagement high during these months. Your subscribers will need to be presented with incredibly compelling offers or news that makes them stop whatever they are doing and start paying attention to your campaign.
Here are some summer newsletter examples that will help you grab your email recipients’ attention.
Not everyone will have their entire summer planned out. If your subscribers are sitting at home and jealously watching all their friends live their best possible lives on social media, a last-minute coupon or promo might just be the thing to persuade them to join the fun.
Trainline’s “Staycation” email newsletter might be the nudge some needed to go on an improvised summer break.
As the summer months progress, your marketing efforts should be directed towards shifting all those hot summer products. Q4 might be your busiest sales period of the year, but good luck selling any excess bikinis, barbecues, tents, or kid’s paddling pools after August.
BBQ weather might be coming to an end, but Recess is determined to make the most of the final weeks with an “End of summer” sale.
While your subscribers might not start working on significant projects during the summer months, it is a great time to share case studies and testimonials or come up with some instructional and "how-to" content ideas. Many buying decisions, especially around considered purchases, are made when the family is relaxed and has time to discuss plans. This doesn’t just work for B2C marketers. Many B2B buying decisions are made while relaxing by the pool.
Project guide’s “Home maintenance checklist” starts with summer chores but includes year-round projects to nurture subscribers.
The fear of missing out is big during the summer months. Whether it’s an unexpected flash sale or your special summer deals, there’s nothing like a little reminder of what your subscribers might be missing to drive action. Urge them to take action and click through to your campaign landing page with some urgency statements and countdowns.
Tattly’s “Summer's not over” campaign creates a sense of urgency and encourages subscribers to enjoy the last warm nights of the summer with a special deal.
Games and competitions
The summer is also a great time to get a little more creative with your referrals, rewards, and loyalty marketing campaigns. For B2C brands, giveaways and competitions like Starbucks’ Summer Game or McDonald’s Monopoly are a fantastic way to get a little playful and keep customers coming back during slower business periods. Bonus points if you find ways to incorporate customer reviews and social proof into these campaigns!
Starbuck’s Summer Game is a creative way to encourage customer loyalty during this slower time of the year.
Inspiring email subject lines for your summer newsletters
It‘s not all about having dreamy summer-themed email designs or stunning newsletter templates. Regardless of the season, what gets your email opened is a powerful subject line.
So, we’ll keep this email marketing tip short and to the point: Your summer email subject lines need to SCREAM benefits if your campaigns are going to win any engagement during these months. If your subject lines leave your subscribers in any doubt about what the email is about, you might as well have taken a vacation yourself.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Below are a few subject line ideas to get your juices flowing.
13 subject lines to get your summer on:
It’s Barbeque Season: Get Sizzling
How Many Bikinis Can You Fit In Your Hand Luggage?
Lounge Away: Your Vacation Starts at the Airport
Book Now to Guarantee Alfresco Dining
Game, Set & Match: Free Pimms During the Finals
Schools Out – Back to School Deals Are In
Summer Savings – 20% off all Kitchens Fitted in July/August
Summer Fashions – Go On Pay For That Extra Case
Independence Day Sale: Save Big on Florida Vacations
Avoid The Queues: Book Your Fast Track Park Tickets Before You Fly
Summer Thrillers: What Will You Be Reading By The Pool?
Forget Camping. This is Glamping: Luxury Pods Available Now
Hot Tub Hire: Celebrate Your Staycation With Bubbles
Pro tip: The key to a winning subject line is to test various. Should I add some emojis to your subject lines to make them feel a little more summery? Will my summer joke resonate with my audience? Don’t fret – just A/B test two or more email subject lines and find the perfect option for your summer newsletters
What to do when the summer’s over
There's only one thing guaranteed about the summer. It's too short.
As the last embers of the summer barbecue burn out, you’ll want to clear the decks and make sure your getting ready for your busy Q4 sales period. So, take the opportunity to liquidate any summer season stock with an end-of-season sale and move on.
A vital first step at the close of summer is to re-engage your lists. This should help address any concerns about poor engagement over the summer months and help you visualize your email lists' health in the run-up to upcoming events such as Halloween, Black Friday, and the Holiday season.
While Black Friday (November 25th) seems a long way off, you need to find the time to make sure your tech stack and campaign strategies are all in place to ensure you can hit the ground running from October onwards.
You might not have even had your own summer vacation yet, and we're already talking about the Holidays. Welcome to the wonderful world of email marketing...
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While some marketers might see a decline in their email marketing engagement during the summer months, that doesn’t mean you can just slow down.
Think of the summer as an opportunity to squeeze a little vitamin C goodness out of your lists before you knuckle down and focus on ramping up for the busy Q3/Q4 marketing season. After all, you don’t want them to forget all about you during the next two months, do you?
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