I don’t know about you, but I love summer. From flip flops to shorts and barbecues, summer is my jam. But summer is also the time of year that a lot of consumers (myself included) check out. Maybe they’re on vacation in the Carribean or off the grid backpacking through the Sierras, or maybe they’re outside playing in a soccer league rather than at home keeping an eye on your hot summer deals. Whatever it is they’re doing, it can be harder to reach your customers over summer.

So, when they return from their vacation or soccer match and check their phones, how do you ensure that you’re the company that stands out? We have a few ideas and examples of how you can shine the brightest in the inbox. Just don’t give anyone heat stroke from these brilliant ideas.

Leverage Holidays

Now, this is where you say, “what holidays?” Outside of Father’s Day and the 4th of July, there aren’t many widely celebrated U.S. holidays over the summer, but there are a ton of fun ones. Here’s a sample list of a few unique holidays for each month of the summer season:

June: National Best Friends Day, Flag Day, National Selfie Day

July: National Hot Dog Month, World Chocolate Day, World Emoji Day, Ice Cream Day

August: International Cat Day, National Son’s and Daughter’s Day, National Tell a Joke Day

There are plenty more, but this gives you an idea of the different holidays you can leverage to help you stand out. For more fun holiday examples, download our 2019 Email Planning Calendar.

Keep reading for email examples around National Hot Dog Month, National Best Friends Day, and the 4th of July.

Heavenly hot dogs

Yelp uses National Hot Dog Month as a way to promote hot dog restaurants in the Denver area. This is a much more interesting way to position the month of July than centering it around our patriotic holiday.

Plus, the copy is excellent, “It makes sense that July is National Hot Dog month, because summer, but can you honestly think of a bad time to eat one? (Don’t answer that.)” The colloquial, cheeky copy feels like your friend is chatting with you, not a corporate communication.

And, seriously, every time I look at this email, my mouth waters…Try not to crave a hot dog for the rest of the day.

Friendship at its finest

Rent the Runway (RTR) uses National Best Friends Day to promote sharing RTR with your friends. When your friend signs up for RTR, you get $30 and they do, too!

Your customers are your biggest advocates, so grow your contact list by asking them to spread the word about your awesome offerings. This also gives your customers a break from the promotional sales offers by asking them to do something other than “shop now.”

Here are a few other ideas to help grow your email contact list.

4th of July sparks

For your 4th of July email, step outside of the “Happy 4th of July!” greeting. This email from ThirdLove was sent on July 4th with the subject line “Spark something.” What an intriguing subject line.

When opened, you find a gif of a sparkler and the promotion of summer styles. I love that the whole email references the national holiday without ever explicitly mentioning it. Another aspect of the email that struck me is the colors. The email isn’t red, white, and blue, but rather more muted tones. In a sea of red, white, and blue, this stands out.

Summer themes

While there may not be as many holiday sales pushes throughout the summer, there are certainly plenty of themes to include in your emails. From hot days to vacays, pools, and barbecues, summer has a lot to offer creative marketers. Here are a few examples from brands that seamlessly incorporate these themes into their email marketing.

Wedding bells and vacays

As I was going through my inbox, it surprised me how timely The Muse’s communications are. They may be a job search and career advice site, but they still use the seasons to their advantage.

Notice below how the email on the left utilizes the often summery event of weddings by focusing on an interview with a wedding planner. It’s still on brand, provides more insight into the career of a wedding planner, and when you go to a wedding next weekend, you’ll keep an eye out for this behind-the-scenes role.

The email on the right opened with the subject line, “You deserve a vacation.” Certainly can’t disagree with that! And while you start to wonder “Why would a career site be telling me to take a load off?,” you open the email to find that they’re prepared to answer that question with articles backing up why it’s so good for your career (and overall mental health) to take a vacation.

Surprise your recipients with statements that may seem to go against the grain. This will pique subscribers’ interest, and create a layer of complexity for your brand. For more ways to elevate your email, check out these 3 (and a half) tips.

Warmer weather (most of the time)

Come summer, hot days and warm nights are often a given. We don’t typically think of cooler weather, but summer starts later for some areas than others or, in some cases, isn’t that warm. May in Colorado was particularly chilly this year, so when Chubbies sent me an email that they have gear perfect for those cooler summers, I was all in.

Personalizing your emails by location is a great way to connect with consumers. Incorporate information about that location like a cold spell or heat wave to help you create engaging email content. Consider segmenting your contact list by factors like location, gender, or age to hold the attention of your recipients.

Back to school

While this theme should be reserved for later in the summer, it would be wise to start thinking about it sooner rather than later. Back to school is a huge push as parents and students shop for clothes, shoes, school supplies, sports equipment, etc., but consider how you can differentiate your back to school campaign.

LOFT may not offer children’s apparel or school supplies, but their wardrobe is perfect for working professionals, like teachers. LOFT offers teachers a 15% discount for the back to school season in an email that’s bright, cheerful, and gets right to the point. We give so much attention to kids and parents for the back to school season that it’s refreshing to see an email that gives a shout-out to this patient profession.

Feeling inspired?

You can see from these unique email campaigns that the sky’s the limit, so don’t let the lack of widely celebrated holidays keep you from creating fun, amazing campaigns. For more inspiration, creative campaign ideas, best practice tips, and unique holidays, download the 2019 Email Planning Calendar.

Julie is the content marketing manager at Twilio SendGrid, helping to write and edit the blog, as well as enhance SendGrid’s SEO efforts. When she isn’t at the office, you’ll find her buzzing around Denver’s coffee shops, breweries, and yoga studios.