Article first published June 2016, updated May 2019
The weather is heating up, and summer consumer spending is significantly increasing. What does this mean for you? It means it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to promote your brand through smart email marketing campaigns designed for everyone’s favorite season.
Before sharing some examples of summer email subject lines, refresh yourself on these subject line faux pas that all brands should work to avoid.
Faux pas #1: The blank subject line
The first brand in question sent an email with the subject line totally blank. Studies show 47% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone, while nearly 70% mark emails as spam depending on the subject line. This blank subject line gave me no indication of what was in the email, and I deleted it immediately, as I am sure many other recipients did. Mistakes happen to even the best email marketers, but make sure you always test your emails before sending to avoid glaring issues like this one.
Tip: Don’t miss an opportunity to use your subject line to capitalize on a hot spending season by leaving it blank.
Faux pas #2: The regarding-absolutely-nothing subject line
The second brand sent an email with the subject line that simply said “RE.” I have never sent an email to this particular brand, so the email they sent me was regarding nothing.
I typically really enjoy marketing emails from this company, but the subject line “RE” immediately set off the spam alarm in my brain. In fact, I was about to mark this email as spam until I realized this email was actually from a brand whose email promotions I use quite often to purchase products I love online.
Before making a mistake of this caliber, remember how many emails are marked as spam based solely on subject line. Using a potentially misleading subject line is a great way to look like spam, which can substantially impact your open rate.
Tip: As you prepare your summer marketing subject lines, make sure they offer information about your hot summer promotions. You’ll want to avoid misleading subject lines or subject lines that sound like clickbait.
Faux pas #3: The forgot-to-replace-the-default-text subject line
The final faux pas was an email in which the retail subject line read: “Enter your subject line here.”
As a person whose career revolves around knowing the ins and outs of email marketing, I immediately recognized what had happened. This business forgot to replace the default text in the subject line of the template they selected.
Tip: While it’s easy for any brand to make a simple marketing mistake here and there, it’s also imperative to remember that subject lines greatly influence open rates. Remember that subject lines are used to pique consumer interest, develop trust, offer value, and, ultimately, keep your customers interested in your brand, so you must pay attention to them.
How do I write a good subject line?
As we approach summer, you want to not only avoid these potential subject line faux pas, but increase open rates by taking your email subject lines to the next level. This is the season to boost your sales by customizing email subject lines to show off the content of your email. Keep the following tips in mind to get the most out of your email campaigns.
1. Make it personal
Your subject lines, like your emails, need to be tailored to the recipient if you want to increase the odds that your message will be opened and read. Emails that offer a personalized subject line are 26% more likely to be opened than those with a generic subject line. Personalization begins with segmenting your customers so your messages can be specific to their interests, needs, and buying patterns. By breaking down customers into smaller, more precise groups, you can tailor your marketing to customers that are most willing to make a purchase.
2. Keep it playful
Summer is the season for fun, so let your email subject line reflect the lighthearted mood of the season. Play with your word choices and don’t be afraid to be creative or even silly with your tags. You might want to schedule a brainstorming session to go over the season’s sales and specials, finding ways to plug in the summer theme to your announcements. Don’t be afraid to toss in an emoji or two, as these convey fun while increasing open rates.
3. Take advantage of the summer holidays
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the summer offers more retail opportunities with Father’s Day in June and the Fourth of July. In 2017 alone, Americans spent $7.1 billion on barbecues and cookouts. Father’s Day follows with $15.3 billion expected spent in 2018, which breaks down to about $188 per person. In addition to spending patterns, these holidays present fabulous opportunities for word play or other gimmicks for effective subject lines.
4. Promote special offers and events
Summer is the perfect time to schedule special offers and events. In addition to having more free time on their hands, many customers are also more eager to make purchases. When you send an email campaign to promote these once-a-year occasions, create a subject line that captures interest and compels your customer to open your message to learn more.
75 summer subject lines for retailers
Are you ready to kick your summer campaigns into full swing? To help get you inspired for the season, here are 75 summer and end-of-summer email subject lines that are currently heating up inboxes. Let other companies take the lead with their own brand of attention-grabbers or choose from a selection of generic lines that can be customized to fit with nearly any business:
Stars, Stripes, and Sales
Who’s Your Daddy (Father’s Day sale line)
Summer Gets Better
Get a Head Start on Summer
Summer is Getting Closer: Grab a Deal Now
Our Holiday Deals? Summer Pretty Good
Yelp: Rise and Shine, It’s Beach Time
Swimwear 365: Seas the Day
LOFT: Meet Your Summer Loves
ShopBop: The Go-To Summer Shoe
REI: Make Summer Epic
Kate Spade: Hello Sailor
Supergoop: Summer Workout Goals
Free People: re: The Heat Wave
LOFT: Summer’s “It” color is…
Rip Curl: Earn Your Stars & Stripes
Chandon: Don’t Miss Our Summer Party!
Topshop: The five shoes of summer
Virgin America: Float away this summer with fares from $69 one way
Kate Spade: Your summer style muse (and her chicest secret weapon)
CB2: jumpstart summer with these 3 hot offers
THACKER NYC: The B I G B A N G Sale Starts Now! 🇺🇸
Topshop: Kendall + Kylie swimwear has landed
Birchbox: What’s Your Biggest Summer Beauty Bummer?
Food52: We pledge allegiance to the picnic.
Rent the Runway: A sale that’s better than fireworks
Rip Curl: Made For Independence Day
Unison: Red White +Blue Cool
Whole Foods Market: Beer Cocktails and Grilled Pizza? Hello, Summer!
Crate and Barrel: Let the fireworks begin
Minibar Delivery: Red, White & Brews 🇺🇸 🍻
Name Bubbles: Before you head off to that BBQ…
DAVIDsTEA: Your summer iced tea is on us.
Topshop: The big summer sale edit
rag & bone: Summer Whites
Weekend Sherpa: Beaches & Beverages
Gap Kids: this is BIG (for sandcastles & pool parties)
RON ROBINSON: Swim Into Summer
Pharmaca: Shop EWG-approved sun care, on sale now!
DSW: Sandals $29.95 & under = a happy closet
Tory Burch: The Miller Sandal: Pick a new shade for summer
Etienne Aigner: Everything You Need For A Stylish Summer Getaway
Sloat Garden Center: Birds, bees, and warm weather color!
Real Simple: How to Plan the Perfect Summer Getaway
Bloomingdale’s: Quick! Save 50% on Women’s Swimsuits & Cover Ups
Charming Charlie: NEW crossbodies & summer dresses. Yes & yes!
Chandon: Perfect Summer Party Day 1: Sparkling Red Snow Cone
AliExpress: Heads up: Get your hands on the hottest gadgets
Rip Curl: WAVE THE FLAG
The Music Zoo: 30 Red, White and Blue Guitars & Basses for Summer
lucy: Summer’s on sale. up to 40% off
Del Mar Racing: Summer is Heating Up
Pottery Barn: July 4th Savings + Free Shipping
J.C. Penney: Under $10 summer styles for the family—polos, tees & more
J.Crew Factory: Get extra 30% off these summer MVPs
Blaster Tag: Blaster Tag Summer Hours & Mobile Parties
CustomInk: You could win a summer prize pack or an iPad!
Toms: Take your toes on an adventure | Beach-ready styles
Gap Kids: rarely on sale! stock up on summer must-haves
lucy: Cool. Carefree. Capris.
DSW: Big brands. New sandals. $29.95 & under prices.
Bloomingdale’s: Sun’s Out! 10 Beach-Bound Essentials for Him & Her
DAVIDsTEA: It’s time for something exotic…
Banana Republic: Summer dresses to wear everywhere
The Stationery Studio: Up to $25 Off Patriotic Parties
NORDSTROM: Sun’s out: Pop-In@Nordstrom de Soleil
Pottery Barn Kids: Summer-ready savings! 20% OFF all tabletop + more saving
Etsy: 4th of July decor
Food52: The holy trinity of summer salad tricks.
Neiman Marcus: Try out a lighter palette for summer
The Land of Nod: Games for All Summer Long
Guitar Center: Fun in the Sun Savings End Today
Whole Foods Market: 8 Summertime Sips That Sparkle
Old Navy: 60% OFF your summer essential
katespade.com: our take on beach essentials (plus, a present for you!)
As you prepare for the summer email campaign season, remember to avoid potential subject line faux pas and craft your subject lines to convey summer excitement, pique consumer interest, and develop a relationship of continued trust.
You can also use our powerful Shopify integration to send smart email campaigns throughout the summer months or any time of year.