5 Memorial Day Email Themes Guaranteed to Work for Your Brand

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David Luther

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Digital content strategist, content outreach specialist, content writer, SEO expert, and hot sauce aficionado.

Memorial Day is a great opportunity for retailers to connect with shoppers who plan to take advantage of Memorial Day promotions, spending $486 on average last year.

Getting noticed in the inbox is never easy, but that’s especially true on Memorial Day when you can expect your contacts to see more fireworks emojis 🎇🎆💥 than actual fireworks. But while it acts unofficially as the start of summer, Memorial Day’s official purpose is a day of remembrance for fallen service members.

This can be a little tricky for marketers, so we’ve put together some themes to guide your Memorial Day messaging, highlighting some creative emails as examples.

1. Go for the discount

Memorial Day sales have been around for decades, and shoppers are expecting to see discounts— and as always, one of the best ways to stand out in the inbox is with a subject line that has a big number next to a %.

This subject doesn’t try to be clever. It’s easy for their shoppers to see what they’re getting, and the message itself is fun and festive for the summer season, encouraging a long scroll with an easy message that works well on mobile.

Brand — J.Crew
Subject Line — Our Memorial Day Sale Event: 30% off your purchase

You can never go wrong with a hefty discount. Or ice cream.

2. Food and family fun

Sixty percent of Americans are planning on a Memorial Day barbecue, and for many of your shoppers that’s what Memorial Day is all about. Your emails can serve as a fun reminder of everything else that goes with getting together on the long weekend.

The email below makes good use of emojis to get the food message across, and the email body plays into the barbecue and patriotism theme with a clean, simple message.

Brand — Jane
Subject Line — 🌭 Our Memorial Day event continues 🍉

Fun fact: 818 hot dogs are consumed each second of Memorial Day

3. Use urgency or timing

Applying urgency to any subject line is a solid way to get your contacts’ attention, especially if you have an engaged shopper segment you expect to be reading your emails after the barbecues are done on Memorial Day.

At 76 characters, this subject line makes the focus the urgency of the sale, not the discount or free shipping, but they do a good job of making that front and center in their message body.

Brand — Pottery Barn
Subject Line — Ends Tonight! Your Memorial Day Savings – Up to 30% Off + FREE SHIPPING!

You can also try to get your contacts’ attention just after Memorial Day with an email offering an extension of your sale, sliding into their inboxes after the huge surge of messages is over. Dunkin used the same image and offer in the days leading up to Memorial Day as well, just changing the header copy and subject lines to have “ends soon”, “last chance”, and “extended one day only”.

Brand — Dunkin Donuts
Subject Line — Memorial Day Sale EXTENDED!

That said, the coupon was just for their online store, so featuring the donuts was a little misleading.

4. Make it about the summer

For some retailers, will want to make the discussion more about summer and the vacations that often come with it.

And that’s exactly what you see in the message below: a subject line that touches on the long weekend and an inclusive sale. Instead of discussing the discount itself, they make the fact that the entire selection is discounted their front-and-center offer and follow it up with a competitive discount as well.

Brand — Loft
Subject Line — Long weekend, made: it’s ALL on sale

There seems to be a very deliberate departure from the other themes in the majority of Memorial Day emails, and that may actually work in their favor when it comes to standing out.

5. Focus on the Memorial Day’s true meaning

Up until this point, our Memorial Day email themes have focused on levity and the fun side of the three-day weekend. If you’re promoting products, that’s probably the direction you want to go in.

If you choose to focus on honoring fallen veterans instead, you should keep the email copy and subject line simple.

Brand — Average Joes Entertainment
Subject Line — We remember this Memorial Day

If that message doesn’t fit with your brand or products but you still want to tie your email to the holiday, try focusing on a “support the troops” message.

This understated subject line stands out because it’s not promoting, and there’s a mystery factor involved that entices the reader. You can always just say thank you.

Brand — Postmates
Subject Line — What Memorial Day Means to Postmates

If you’re choosing not to run a Memorial Day-specific promotion, then focus on the message itself. Holidays like this one are opportunities to connect with your customers through a shared experience.

Some other things to keep in mind

Even though your Memorial Day emails are about food, fun, family and a long weekend, remember that the holiday is at its core a day to commemorate fallen military. Feel free to have fun with these themes, but avoid messages that make light of the reason for the holiday.

Remember, whether or not you’re going to run a discount on Memorial Day, look at this as an opportunity for your company to speak to your customers and communicate your value and values.

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