As the Director of Marketing at MailCharts, my whole world is email. MailCharts is a leading email intelligence and consulting firm that allows you to track your competitors and understand their email program (all the way down to segmentation and personalization strategy); we’re also a Sailthru partner and help brands build best-in-class email templates. Through our work, we parse through and build thousands and thousands of email. We know what works.

One thing that always engages? Seasonal messages.

Summer is here, and it’s all about relaxation, travel, adventure, and breaking out of the day-to-day routine. Your customers want to get away and have fun, and your emails can help them do it—even if it’s just escapist fantasy.

In this post, I’ve outlined five relevant and timely types of messages you can add to your summer content calendar to pique interest, prompt opens, and drive action, along with my personal favorite examples to illustrate each one.

Check it out and if you’re a Sailthru customer needing help building out more email templates (including personalized ones!), don’t forget to get in touch with us.

1. Focus on the Summer Heat

Emails showing how your products or services thrive in the heat of summer attract attention, especially if they showcase items shoppers wouldn’t immediately associate with your brand.


Subject line: Cool down: New water bottles for summer



This email has a clever combination of products: a stylish container with something delicious to pour into it aiming to get sales from people who might otherwise go elsewhere for a cool drink on a hot day.

Pro tip: As a Sailthru customer, you can make your emails even more relevant and personalized by using Zephyr and a data feed to add real-time, localized, weather data to your emails.

If you’re Starbucks, for example, you could send this email to your New York subscribers promoting ice-cold drinks on the first day the temperature hits 90 degrees. Read more here.

Kate Spade 

Subject line: summertime in new york is…

katespadeThis aspirational email tells a story with featured products showing subscribers how to enjoy the warm weather in comfort and style. Bonus: There’s a recipe at the end of the email will give this message longer life in the inbox.

2. Inspire Impromptu Getaways

Emails that feature all-inclusive deals in family-friendly locations, reduced-rate room-fillers in popular destinations, and introductions to adventure sports capitalize on everyone’s desire to break out of the daily routine.


Subject line: Summer is Calling – Just Add Water


This email practically takes you by the hand and drags you out of the house. We love it because REI uses the preheader (“We Have Everything You Need to Get Out There”) to amp up the action-oriented subject line.


Subject line: Festival looks



“Festival” is a retail clothing category for the high-style, high-function, outfits worn at outdoor music events like Lollapalooza and Warped Tour.

Vans, coincidentally, sponsors Warped Tour, and the email above perfectly captures the kind of styles and people you’d see at tour events. Bonus: Instead of sending shoppers to a single landing page, the email has dual CTA buttons which makes finding the right clothing fast and easy.

3. Create a Style Guide

Your email is a virtual store window. Curate a collection. Give it context. Add people. Tell a story. These help prospective shoppers make decisions and consider products they might not find on their own.

We love the two style guides below because they go beyond the usual product assortments. One uses incredible product merchandising, and the other taps into the plight of the office-bound worker.


Subject line: Life lived casually – your summer style guide for every day!



This email reads like a visit from a personal shopper, showing you how to combine individual clothing elements into good looks for different occasions. It catches the summer vibe with both beach-bar and casual-Friday looks. (The Marigold Engage by Sailthru blog post “Why Your Customers Want More from You than Just Your Products” explains why customers seek out this service-oriented content.)

Trunk Club 

Subject line: Beat the heat, boss. Here’s our summer office style guide.

We dig everything about this email, from the product mix (stylish pieces for the office-bound man who has to go to the office while everyone else is on the beach) to the copywriting (sharp) to the CTA copy (“Keep Your Cool”). And, the streamlined design shows how a mobile-optimized email can tell a big story in a small space.

4. Showcase What’s New

Change of seasons means a wardrobe change! Showcasing new products is a great way to prompt purchases. These emails are similar to the style guides we saw earlier, but they focus on a single product category.

True & Co. 

Subject line: Perfect Summer Bras


We picked this email from True & Co. because it shows how to combine photos of people and products, and because the photos have a casual Instagram-like feel.


Subject line: New for summer: shoes in suede and supple leather



This email shows how to package year-round products with a summer theme. The only real warm-weather footwear is the sandals; the booties and lace-up boots are three—or four—season, depending where your customers live. But the design colors make the mail look like a golden summer afternoon.

5. Amp up Your Sales Events

Summer gives you plenty of special events you can tie to your email campaigns, whether it’s a specific holiday (Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, or Labor Day) or scheduled sales in your merchandising calendar. The emails below show how a little imagination and innovation can make your emails stand out in the inbox.


Subject line: Now & then: summer sale edition.


Note that Modcloth posts both the original price and the discounted price. Also, we love the CTA: “Make it yours” instead of “Buy now.”


Subject line: 55% OFF! Labor Day Sale! Amazing…


The animated GIF makes this Labor Day email is simple and fun. See it here.

Jus by Julie 

Subject line: 30% Off Flash Sale!



Your emails can reflect summer’s relaxed vibe without sacrificing brand equity or good email practice. Everything about this flash-sale email is designed to attract attention and drive action: from the lighting-bolt emoji in the subject line to the vibrant colors and clean design in the message body.


Subject line: Freeze! Extra 20% Off End Of Summer Sale Starts Now!



We love this animated GIF because it conveys “end of summer” better than words could. See it live.

Wrapping up

Far from being the dog days of email, summer lets you engage with your shoppers in new and innovative ways.

Capitalize on summer’s unique qualities and your customers’ expectation of fun, travel, hanging out with friends, family, and breaking out of the daily routine. Copy, design, animation, and real-time data feeds can make your emails speak personally to each customer.

Need more email inspiration? Come visit the MailCharts blog to find more great email examples and ideas.

By the way, MailCharts isn’t just a real-time database of emails you can use for your own research, planning, reporting, and optimization needs. We’re also an agency! We can help you create your next Sailthru template. Want to know more? Drop us a line. We’d love to talk with you.