Labor Day Email Techniques To Inspire Your Campaigns

Labor Day emails

Summer’s drawing to a close (rude of it really), Labor Day is around the corner. This year,  it’s on Monday, September 6. And as with any long weekend, it’s a good opportunity for brands to showcase their products and services and find a way to people’s hearts and wallets.

If you are unsure how to design your Labor Day campaign, we have something to inspire you. We analyzed about 150 Labor Day emails and made a list of what seems to be working in most cases and what you can borrow to make your messages a little bit more original than the rest.

Why Labor Day is a good marketing opportunity

While Labor Day is not a grand holiday, people wait for it and are ready to spend some of their savings. In 2018, US consumers spent over $2 billion on Labor Day, about 20% up from 2017. It’s also associated with big Back-to-School and Back-to-College seasonal sales that Americans spend the most on collectively. In 2020, after the strict COVID-19 limitations were lifted, Labor Day was the moment when retail traffic moved back to its March 1 level.

Let’s see what brands usually do with their emails when they want to take advantage of this celebration.

What’s in other companies’ campaigns

Holiday sales

These are standard discount promo code deals that look like this:

Source: Really Good Emails

This is the most common type of Labor Day email campaign. After all, people are used to this kind of promotion and a design like this drives the point home nicely and succinctly.

Patriotic theme

Another common motif in Labor Day emails is decorating it in white, blue, and red and adding other US symbols:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

There’s a point to it too. Labor Day is a holiday that is celebrated only in the US. It pays tribute to the achievements of Americans throughout the country’s history. So why not highlight this fact and decorate a campaign accordingly?

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

A national holiday is always a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can’t fully benefit from such an occasion if you’re selling to different counties. But it’s a chance to tap into the patriotic spirit of the nation and explore this advantage.

Summer vibes

If patriotism is not your brand’s thing, try another common Labor Day email theme — the nostalgia for the Summer that’s about to say goodbye. It’s those last sunshine-filled days created for picnics and outings before the Fall. This vibe is popular with companies that sell clothes or products associated with camping and trips. They often design their emails in bright warm colors:

Source: Really Good Emails

Back to school

In some states, kids are already back to school by this time, in others they aren’t. Still, Labor Day is a part of big seasonal sales that occur before the start of school. Time to promote products to boys and girls even if your brand doesn’t specialize in them:

High Sierra market

High Sierra markets backpacks for people of all ages, but Labor Day is the time to sell to students. Source: MailCharts

(Not) wearing white

There’s an old rule that “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” that goes back to the late 19th century. Many people still abide by it out of habit, though its origins are now unclear. Several versions are attributed to this rule, but one thing is clear: this old-age adage is going out of style. You can wear whatever color you want at any time of the year and some brands are glad to remind you about it:

Source: Emma

Source: Emma

What you can do to make your labor day emails stand out

So, we now know what’s traditional for Labor Day promotions. Let’s take a look at other kinds of examples that you can use for inspiration if usual designs don’t cut the mustard.

Make a variation of a common theme

If you’re low on creative resources or want to play it safe this time, you can take a common theme from the list above and spin it a bit. For example, BH Cosmetics is a vegan and sustainable cosmetics brand that designs its marketing assets in a bold brutalist style. Rather than featuring traditional stars and stripes, they decided to craft their Labor Day campaign using sort of traditional colors but not quite:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

And here’s an email by the abc Carpet & Home company that sells rugs and furniture. They created a very elegant email that plays on the “not wearing white after Labor Day” thing. While people are used to seeing clothing brands do it, when it’s a home decor company, it looks unexpected and refreshing:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Conduct giveaways and give freebies

Giveaways are an easy way to promote a business by exposing products to a wider audience. People love getting something for nothing. It’s also a chance to make them try out some of the products and get good reviews.

In their Labor Day campaign, Brew Dr. Kombucha gives their customers a coupon for a free bottle and tells about the giveaway they had together with the MyJane company:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Milk Makeup tries to lighten up your mood at the end of the long weekend by giving some samples with every $35+ order:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Create a sense of urgency

If an email has a sense of urgency, subscribers are more likely to make a decision faster. Labor Day sale is something that lasts only a limited amount of time. If it’s a few days or hours left before your deal ends, show it.

A countdown timer is a simple and very illustrative way to demonstrate this urgency:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

You can design emails with countdown timers in Unisender email builder, here’s a free demo version, no registration needed, start right away.

Give early access

When it comes to products and services that you have to book in advance, it’s nice to let your subscribers know about sales early. Far earlier than other companies do. Take Hipmunk — an online travel company. They send their Labor Day campaigns weeks before the actual event, which makes sense:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

It’s kind of weird to write about traveling after 2020, but shopping and traveling are still the major themes of Labor Day.

Make Labor Day your USP

Think about whether you can turn this long weekend to your advantage. For example, Carvana is a website for buying and selling used cars. Their USP is providing a better way to buy a car by doing everything online. No pressure, no haggling, no middlemen. They used their Labor Day email campaign as a way to remind subscribers about this benefit:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Add animations

When there’s such a wealth of email marketing techniques, it becomes hard to stand out. One way to set your campaign apart is to use GIFs. The use of animations is so versatile that it’s hard to pick one example for this point, so we decided to show several.

You can use an animated image to tell a story:

Source: Really Good Emails

Or showcase more of the products in one message than you’d be able to do with a static image:

Source: AWeber

Source: AWeber

Or make some fun and transform a usual discount deal into something a subscriber will remember:

Source: Brit + Co

Source: Brit + Co

Use your imagination

Speaking about originality, it always helps to flex your creative muscles and come up with something funny or unexpected even if your products are 100% associated with Labor Day.

For example, Casper sells sleep products, mattresses included. Can you imagine something more Labor Day-related? Yet, one year, they decided to ditch usual templates and sent this:

Don’t you want a sailboat? Source: Milled

Don’t you want a sailboat? Source: Milled

IPPOLITA is a jewelry store. They came up with an imaginative way to weave in a traveling/holiday theme into their Labor Day campaign. It relates to their customers and paints a picture of the world where their product fit right in:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Find out how Labor Day connects with your brand

You can approach the celebration from a different angle by building on your brand’s specifics and how they connect with Labor Day. It can be anything, even the basic characteristics of the target audience.

Another jewelry brand, VRAI, makes diamond jewelry for women so, along with giving a promo code, they celebrated women in workplaces:

Source: MailCharts

Source: MailCharts

Sell without being salesy

And, finally, you can take a break from outright promotion and tell about your business in a more subtle way. Here’s a beautiful example of a Labor Day campaign by Brighton Collectibles — a company that sells accessories:

No discounts and sales, but you can feel the brand’s warmth. Source: MailCharts

No discounts and sales, but you can feel the brand’s warmth. Source: MailCharts

Labor Day subject lines best practices

The first thing that subscribers use to judge emails is their subject lines. The main idea is that they should be in line with email bodies: evoke feelings, draw attention, be useful and relevant.

Here are some examples. Labor Day email subject lines are:

General:

  • Labor Day Sale
  • Labor Day Deals!

Urgent:

  • LAST CHANCE! Labor Day Sale Ends Tonight! ⌛
  • Labor Day Sale Ends Soon!
  • Reminder: Labor Day Sale Ending Soon!

Specific:

  • Up To 40% OFF Labor Day Sale
  • This Week! Save 20% in the Labor Day Sale!
  • $12 off for Labor Day
  • Celebrate Labor Day with up to 50% off EVERYTHING!
  • You’re invited! Get 6 Free Meals with Early Access to our Labor Day Sale

With emojis:

  • 🚨30% Labor Day Flash Sale-Go Go Go
  • Load up for Labor Day weekend with up to 75% off sitewide 🤑
  • Labor Day Sale begins! 🎉
  • Celebrate Hard Work With Labor Day Candy! ❤️🤍💙

Arousing curiosity:

  • A Labor Day Gift
  • Labor Day marks the day you have to…
  • Sneak Peek Labor Day Sale

To wrap up

Labor Day is part of the biggest US sale season. It’s a great advantage to boost sales and build a brand’s image.

The most common themes in Labor Day emails are:

  • Daily deals
  • Patriotism
  • Summer vibes
  • Back to school
  • (Not) wearing white.

When the daily deal is not enough, you can:

  • Try a variation of a common theme
  • Conduct giveaways
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Give early access
  • Make Labor Day your USP
  • Add animations
  • Explore non-salesy techniques.

When creating a subject line, make it a continuation of the main message of an email itself.

What Labor Day email campaigns do you like and remember?

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