By Alen Čapelja
During the summer, most people are preoccupied with all that the season has to offer—traveling, enjoying more time outdoors, vacationing or barbequing with friends and family, or simply doing things at a more leisurely pace. Summer tends to be a slower season for most e-commerce businesses, but savvy marketers recognize the holidays, weather, and activities of the season as sales opportunities.
Using email and SMS as vehicles for your product and sales offerings, you can develop campaigns that boost revenue and—more importantly—drive engagement so that you can nurture those customers into retained customers. You’ll want to take the two-pronged approach of email and SMS marketing:
- Email marketing can offer longer-form content, such as newsletters, business updates, educational content, and more. It’s a great way to use content and design in tandem to capture the attention and hearts of your customers.
- SMS is a highly personal channel used to support email by updating the customer about delivery or shipment times, asking about their shopping experience, or offering an exclusive discount or product drop.
So how should you be planning for the summer season? Let’s dive in below.
Summer-Themed Creative Deliverables
Before sending out emails or SMS messages, you need to align all of your creative deliverables to the season. Your deliverables include any content and imagery that will be seen by your customers, such as emails, SMS messages, and website content (e.g., product pages, pop-ups).
During the summer, the days are longer, the trees are green, and the flowers have bloomed, so use the variety of bright colors to align that feeling of warmth and freshness with your design.
Iconography will be your best friend during the season. Create graphics or pull photographs that relate to vacation, nature, cookouts, friendship, and being outside.
Take a look at the example from Recess below. What’s great about this email? It creates the feeling of a warm summer night with friends or family. Here’s how:
- The colors: The blues and yellows immediately bring a relaxing, warm tone to the email.
- The iconography: Clouds, a grill, cold drinks, and an airplane flying over the city in the distance—looks like a great summer night to me!
- The content: It takes the idea of a backyard BBQ and expands it to rooftops, a small swath of fire escape, and a patch of wheatgrass so that no customers are excluded.
Keep in mind that those qualities aren’t just for email—use them to make updates to your website and other deliverables as well!
Vacation Email Campaigns
Vacation is nearly synonymous with summer, which means your campaigns should play into trips your customers are going to take. Give them opportunities to purchase must-have items for their vacations or send them content that touches on how to make a vacation better.
Before doing so, you want to take a look at your data for some prep work so that you’re sending the right products to the right people.
Vacation Prep Campaigns
Segmentation is your best friend when it comes to email and SMS marketing. Looking at data in your platform (hopefully it’s Klaviyo!), segment your subscribers based on previous product purchases that might align with a vacation. Based on purchase history, do you think a customer would want to know about a lakehouse retreat? A beach vacation? A staycation?
Once you segment them into these categories, bundle up relevant items, tweak the messaging, and send them out to cross-sell or upsell to make their vacations that much better.
Based on engagement during the vacation prep campaigns, segment customers who engaged with the campaigns and those who didn’t:
- For engaged customers, start sending out educational, nurturing campaigns. These customers are more likely to spend more time reading content than making purchases while they are on vacation.
- For unengaged customers, present new arrivals and drops based on their purchase or engagement history (if available). It’s possible the products you chose for the vacation prep campaigns missed the mark, so here’s where you can begin experimenting again.
Summertime Deal Campaigns
In addition to the deals you should be promoting all year around—time-sensitive deals, “happy hour” deals, VIP exclusive deals, and others—summer is a great time to promote military and patriotism discounts, especially around Independence Day. SMS campaigns can support email campaigns with early access to new products and deals.
For many people, summer is the time of year to get out, enjoy the weather, and have fun with friends and family, so be sure to have fun with your content, too. Play into FOMO (fear of missing out) with your content and promote summertime games, such as points-based programs, giveaways, and contests.
New customers and frequent purchasers are who most e-commerce businesses think about when entering a new season, so customers somewhere in the middle are often left out in the campaign planning process.
If the information is available, segment your customers based on last summer’s purchases. What products did they purchase? Which campaigns did they engage with most? All the better if they’ve purchased during the seasons between summers, but if not, use the previous summer as a starting point.
Promote Summer Content
As I mentioned earlier, summer is a very relaxed, leisurely season for many, so your campaigns can’t just focus on pushing products. Instead, create and promote blog posts, e-books, and emails that are relevant to the season so that they have something to read while they relax. It’s a great way to establish the customer-brand relationship.
Need help planning lifestyle content and summer events to match your brand? At SmartBug, we do exactly that! Contact us to connect with a strategist today.
Summer Holiday Campaigns
The summer has plenty of events and holidays that you can take advantage of to inform your content and sales.
And if you’re looking for a way to drive sales during major holidays and cultural events throughout the year, check out our 2023 Email and SMS Campaign Calendar Template!
June Events and Holidays
At the start of the summer season, customers are ready to be outdoors, which makes it a great time to sell clothes, shoes, vehicle parts, and sporting goods. It’s also the start of the unofficial wedding season, so it’s a good time to promote accessories, jewelry, and health and beauty products.
July Events and Holidays
July is summer in full swing, which means it’s time to launch major summer sales events that are geared toward the Fourth of July and the Month of Independence.
Although November might seem like it’s far off, July is a good month to begin planning for marketing campaigns for BFCM and the holiday season.
August Events and Holidays
August is a month full of lesser-known holidays, so as you continue to push summer-themed products and content, play around with some other holidays you might not have considered selling around before—they could result in some very eye-catching content and design.
Be sure to also play into the end of the summer (see the email below for an example) and encourage buyers to hold onto the last days of the season.
Need Help Promoting Your Sales This Summer?
That’s what we’re here for! Planning out an entire season of sales takes a ton of prep time and strategic execution, but that’s what our e-comm team is best at. We’ll strategize, write, and design to help push sales and develop brand-customer relationships.
And if you’re trying to plan not just for summer but the rest of the year, be sure to download our 2023 Email & SMS Holiday Content Calendar Template!
About the author
Alen Čapelja is SmartBug’s E-commerce Senior Designer, email developer, and technical and strategic support. He specializes in next-level problem solving and pushing the limits within the creative and client services departments. Alen employs a user-first approach that he’s refined after more than a decade of e-commerce work. Being part of executing more than a million emails in various ESPs has given Alen a broad understanding of e-commerce marketing and technology capabilities. Read more articles by Alen Čapelja.