Labor Day Email Techniques To Inspire Your Campaigns

Labor Day Email Techniques To Inspire Your Campaigns
26 July, 2023 • ... • 1478 views
Kate Shokurova
by Kate Shokurova

Summer’s drawing to a close (rude of it really), Labor Day is around the corner. This year,  it’s on Monday, September 4. 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 email campaigns and made a list of what seems to be working in most cases. Keep reading to borrow best practices from subject lines to email design.

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 2023, 70% of US consumers plan to celebrate the holiday, which is less than Thanksgiving but still more than half.

How many American consumers plan to celebrate certain holidays in 2023, the most popular are Thanksgiving (97%), Christmas (96%), and Mother’s Day (88%)
Source: Numerator 2023 holiday preview

Speaking of spending plans, 38% of US consumers consider spending $50–100 on Labor day, and 40% want to spend less than $50 on celebrating Labor Day.

Percentage of holiday shoppers in the US and how much money they plan to spend on each holiday, with Christmas being the most expensive: 70% of people plan to spend more than $100.
Source: Numerator 2023 holiday preview

Despite modest spending plans, a right email sent at the right time can stimulate people to buy more during Labor Day weekend sales. But what does “the right” mean? Let’s see what e-commerce brands usually do with their messages when they want to take advantage of this celebration.

What’s in other companies’ campaigns

Let’s take a look at the most common tactics e-commerce businesses use in their Labor Day emails.

Holiday sales

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

Labor Day sale email from Postable with a discount code on stamps and a picture of an envelope
Source: Really Good Emails

This is one of the most common Labor Day email marketing strategies. 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. Some brands even make a selection of items in American flag colors — for example, CandyWarehouse offers red, white, and blue candy:

A Labor Day email from CandyWarehouse with a selection of candy and other items in the colors of the American flag
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?

Labor Day email from Cohen’s that features a picture of people waving an American flag
Source: MailCharts

And if you don’t want to use the flag specifically, you can stick to its color theme in your email design — like Life Extension did:

A Labor Day email from Life Extension that features a drawing of a red, white, and blue grill, and drawings of stars in the same color scheme
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 summer newsletter format is popular with companies that sell clothes or products associated with camping and trips. Such sales emails are often designed in bright warm colors:

Labor Day email from Tattly that features pictures of flower-themed temporary tattoos on the warm orange background
Source: Really Good Emails

Here’s another great example. This email reminds us that summer is not over yet and suggests buying summer shoes to enjoy these last warm days at the beach.

Labor Day email from Yellowbox with the premise that summer is not over yet, promoting a discount on sandals
Source: MailCharts

Fall is coming!

Another tactic is the exact opposite of the previous one. Instead of clinging on to summer, you can jump straight to fall and start promoting autumn collections and items that could come in handy during a colder season. Here’s a great example — during the Labor Day sale, this camping gear brand suggests buying tents to sleep outside.

Labor Day email that promotes camping gear with a tagline “Sleep outside in any season”
Source: Milled

What if you want to combine the two in your Labor Day campaign? Here’s how you can do it. Romwe, an alternative fashion brand, promotes both fall and summer clothes in their Labor Day email. 

Labor Day email from Romwe that promotes fall clothes, swimsuits, and underwear with discounts. It also has a GIF that says “Match the fit to your feels”.
Source: Milled

Back to school

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

Labor Day email from High Sierra that promotes a backpack sale
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:

Labor Day email from Leon Max that promotes a sale of white clothes and features a GIF where several garments are demonstrated
Source: Emma

Here’s another email that plays on this rule. The tagline is “twice as nice” — the brand frames wearing white after Labor Day as a rebellion, doing something forbidden. And, as we all know, the forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

A Labor Day email with a selection of white clothes
Source: MailCharts

Here’s one more example of this tactic. La Blanca, a swimsuit brand, played both on the white theme and the summer theme, promoting a discount on white swimsuits and beachwear.

A Labor Day email from La Blanca that promotes white swimsuits and beach apparel with a tagline “White after Labor Day”
Source: Milled

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, here’s how BH cosmetics played on Labor Day design templates. This vegan and sustainable cosmetics brand 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:

Labor Day email from BH Cosmetics that promotes a 75% discount and is designed in the color scheme resembling an American Flag but not quite
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:

Labor Day email from abc Carpet & Home that features white and light beige home decor items and has a tagline “white on white”
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:

Labor Day giveaway email from Brew Dr. Kombucha with a tagline “You deserve a break”
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:

Labor Day gift email from Milk Makeup with a tagline “Bummer that you have to go back to school/work/life tomorrow”
Source: MailCharts

Create a sense of urgency

If an email has a sense of urgency, customers 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:

Labor Day Sale email from Merrell that has a countdown timer on top of it
Source: MailCharts

By the way, you can design emails with countdown timers in Selzy! And if you want to learn more on countdown timer GIFs, check out our blog.

Timers are not the only way to create a sense of urgency. For example, this email from Brooklinen uses a GIF and a CTA for the same purpose. This “Going… Going… Going…” animation is almost anxiety-inducing!

Labor Day email from Brooklinen with an animated GIF that says “Labor Day Savings are going… Going… Going…” and a CTA button that says “Shop Before They’re Gone”
Source: MailCharts

Give early access

When it comes to products and services that you have to book in advance, it’s nice to let your customers 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: 

Labor Day email from Hipmunk with a tagline “How to save big this Labor Day”
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 customers about this benefit: 

Labor Day email from Carvana with a tagline “It’s your day off. Time to relax”
Source: MailCharts

Here’s another great example of the same tactic. This home appliances retailer built their Labor Day campaign around the premise of saving time on household chores for something more meaningful.

A Labor Day email that promotes a dishwasher sale with a tagline “Save your time and energy for things that matter”
Source: Milled

Add animations

When there’s such a wealth of email marketing techniques, it becomes hard to stand out. One way to set your e-commerce 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:

Labor Day email from Illustria that features a GIF animation with two shots: a couple wearing office attire sitting in the office and the same couple sitting at a bar wearing beach apparel, the text says “It’s Labor Day weekend // Enjoy! You earned this”
Source: Really Good Emails

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

Labor Day email that features GIFs with a slide show of models in different clothes
Source: AWeber

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

Labor Day email that says “30% off” but the zero in the number is a watermelon slice that is animated, it disappears section by section
Source: Brit + Co

Or enhance the message of your email — here, an animation that imitates a scratch-off promotes a scratch-off lottery and creates an intrigue by not fully revealing the discount percentage:

An email from US Glasses with an animation that imitates scratch-off and slowly reveals the email content but not all of it, only a CTA and some info about the scratch-off lottery
Source: MailCharts

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:

Labor Day email from Casper that promotes free paper sailboats with every order and plays on the Sale/Sail homophony
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:

Labor Day email from Ippolita that features a selection of the latest music records to listen to, short reviews, and jewelry pieces with the same vibe
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:

Labor Day email from VRAI that celebrates working women and promotes a free gift with jewelry orders over $450
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:

Labor Day email from Brighton Collectibles with a tagline “Labor of Love”
No discounts and sales, but you can feel the brand’s warmth. Source: MailCharts

Labor Day subject lines best practices

The first thing that customers use to judge emails is their subject lines. The main idea is that subject lines should make a great first impression of your email. They should be in line with email bodies: evoke feelings, draw attention, be useful and relevant. Subject lines are an important part of implementing personalized email marketing. To learn more about that, check out our blog — now, let’s explore Labor Day subject lines in their full diversity.

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 branded messages are:

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

When the daily deal is not enough, here are some strategies to try:

  • 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. Your email subject line makes or breaks the first impression. Some subject line ideas for Labor Day include:

  • General — informing about Labor Day deals without heavy detail
  • Urgent — these subject lines include urgency markers like setting a deadline
  • Specific — describing your offer in great detail
  • Intriguing — enticing customers to click on the subject line to learn more

This article was originally published in August 2021 and was updated in July 2023 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

26 July, 2023
Article by
Kate Shokurova
Out and about, exploring the world and its marvels. A writer and editor with 10+ years of experience, I also dabbled in all kinds of marketing and am happy to use this experience to make quality content, useful for the readers and effective for brands. I feel really passionate about helping people understand about marketing and design through easily digestible materials. Outside of working hours, I enjoy hiking, dancing, watching movies and reading books.
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