Design the Summer EmailI am one of those typical British paradoxes.  I have been complaining for months that it is too cold.  Throughout the winter and most of the spring, I have shivered.  Vocally and often.  SO naturally when the sun comes out and provides us with a nice heat wave I love getting my face in it.  Providing it is prior to 10am in the morning, and I am wearing a really big hat.  And sun cream.  After that, it is too hot.  I have several fans on me as I melt.  Don’t we just love a stereotype.  I think the best thing about doing my job when it is this hot, is the uplifting summer holiday email design that we have to look forward to.

Soon it will be Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe.  The festivals that pop up around the UK during the summer hardly belong to an exhaustive list.  The British people love to be in the sun, as much as they love to complain about it.  It is the one season that almost every industry can find a reason to push out a promotion or two.

So who shall we lavish our beautiful email design upon?

In short – Everyone!

Think of the parents that are worried about what to do with little Bernard and Bernardette during the school holidays.  Consider the people who would like to go abroad.  Even if people are unable to take an abroad holiday – or simply don’t want to – there is multiple opportunities to market to them.  You just have to be prepared to throw them the right bait!  This is the season of positivity.  But it will start to get more difficult to market to.

Yael Kochman eloquently makes the point that “the summer months can be a real challenge for engaging” with customers.  In her article 8 Surefire Summer Marketing Tips to Help You Beat the Heat, Kochman tells us why.  During this time, and especially since the School Holidays have commenced, people may simply not be there “holding their breath for your latest email or promotion”.  They could be travelling, taking a holiday, or just not at work due to childcare.  Either way, the time to think about grabbing your customers attention is not during the school holidays.  Grab them before they go on annual leave.  Before the school bell rings.

The summer is always bright, especially when it is the wet end of spring and we are staring out of the window.  So how do we bring summer to the email boxes?

Get Creative

I know it might sound like grandma being taught to design eggs but…get creative.  If you are a travel agent, what is going to set you apart from your competitors.  You will already have a vast library of beautiful beaches, seas so blue it makes a peacock look like a blushing chicken.  But, that isn’t new. If someone is seriously in the market for a holiday, you won’t be the only one emailing them.  How are you going to design your summer email to stand out in that crowded inbox?  What about your email will make Mrs Smith visit your website?

For instance, Billabong‘s 2016 email campaign saw them sharing a video of the “9 worst wipeouts ever”.  The subject line read “Carnage at the Billabong Pro Tahiti”.  Just the word carnage would have me opening the email.

There was a simple genius to this approach.  It showed that Billabong knew its audience very well.  Personally, watching the video made me slightly sea-sick – but then I am not a Billabong customer.  And I most certainly am not a surfer.  Thinking creatively is what sets you apart from those who want to steal your customers.  SO don’t be afraid to be a little different.  Just like J.Crew were a couple of years ago.

Do you see what I mean?

Get Your Funny On

Serious doesn’t quite say Summer does it?  Summer is the land of day-dreams.  There is a pressing need for us to make Summer feel good.  Our Summer playlists are full of bounce and chanting.  Our facebook feeds are full of merriment – and there is always something to celebrate.  So why shouldn’t your emails embrace the carnival spirit.  Let’s open a can of humour.

That said, as Kevin George points out, “a joke without a marketing message is basically just a joke”.  So make sure that your humour is relevant and seamlessly delivered.  For some good examples of this, George’s article has some excellent examples of humour-infused emails.   For your summer emails however, use humour advisedly, but use it wherever possible.

Reminiscing makes you think again

Think back to your childhood.  Isn’t it easy to pick out the sunny summer days?  Even if it is just a field with a cricket bat, or on a beach with  a bucket and spade – the summer and nostalgia are excellent bedfellows.  This is a point that Susan Solovic picked up elegantly in her summery article.  Solovic presented the idea that you create a sale with throwback prices.  More importantly, as far as content is concerned, a little nostalgia goes a long way.

Consider how Summer is constructed.  Most of the UK’s festival happen in the late spring and summer months, as are the bank holidays.  Due to the weather, more holidays are booked during this season, and then of course there is the mosh-pit rush of all the children leaving school.  Doesn’t that just bring it all back?  Bring the good old days back.  Go back to a time when the current parents weren’t dreading the thought of entertaining their children.  Go back to that warm and golden time when they were kids themselves.

Six weeks of freedom, and making memories to last a lifetime!

Design With Those Summer Holiday Hues

To me, during the summer, a black and white email is a wasted opportunity.  Wait a couple of months, everything will be grey anyway.  The world, during the summer months, is technicolour.  Your email marketing design should be a wholesome reflection of the psychedelia of the season.  Test-drive that pallet and create something that stands out from your computer screen, a little bit like Zalando did in this example:

Zalando Summer Design

Image source:

When opening this email, you almost need to put your shades on just to read.  The bright colours, combined with the ice lollies, makes you immediately think of summer.  The images are bright and alluring, and despite the fact that Zalando are a clothes retailer – and nothing to do with refreshing summer confectionery – your mouth immediately waters.  Everything from the imagery to colours has an immediate effect upon the recipient.  One has to agree with Maria Giulia Ganassini’s assessment of this email design: “pop, fresh, capable of grabbing people’s attention and making their mouths water.”

The colours bring out the child in us, when we drew pictures of the sun with yellow lines beaming down.  As children we used to envisage the world in technicolour.  Our panoramic vistas were of a world in thick vibrant crayon.  Play to your recipients inner a child; send something to burn their retinas.


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A nice summer reward

During the summer, companies seem to find any reason to create an offer.  Various supermarkets are using the carnival spirit of the world cup to sell more products.  Anything from cases of lager to a range of meat for the BBQ are being reduced, or becoming part of a combination deal to celebrate that month of football.  Whether England rocks us like a Harry Kane, or their performance becomes entirely Dier – these supermarkets are utilising the nations united passion to create brilliant offers.

It doesn’t have to be the football.  If you are a travel agent, why not offer a discount on last minute bookings?  A music streaming service, how about creating a downloadable playlist that looks forward to Reading Festival?  A restaurant, how about an offer on your delicious range of cold deserts? Even the weather provides the marketer with an opportunity during the summer months.

Creating such an offer ultimately could earn you new customers.  At the very least it will bring more people to your website, or to your bricks-and-mortar.  The offer itself could help you build your contact list, and with Halloween and Christmas around the corner – that is no bad thing.


Wrapping up (in this heat? – You’re crazy!)

Throughout the summer, you will probably notice open rates dropping off.  A few less click-throughs shouldn’t deter you from your marketing.  People take time away from their desks more in the summer months, whether that be for child-care or the fact that they are working on their tan in some enviable foreign clime.  That probably makes it all the more important that your email is attractive and enticing.

Summer email campaign design tends to be the most daring and creative of the year.  So get that summer thing going.  Enjoy making some blinding, fun email campaigns.