How Smart Marketers Leverage Patriotism in Their July 4th Emails
By Julie Graham / June 30, 2016

On February 22, 1980, the Soviet War was pushing on two years, making the political atmosphere of the Cold War more intense than ever. On that same Friday, an American hockey team made up of college players defeated the Soviet Union team of professional athletes in the Olympic Games. The response was an outpouring of patriotic pride among Americans after the young underdog team triumphed over the Soviet Union. Fans who overflowed the 8,500 seat stadium flooded the streets after the game, joining thousands more, chanting, “U-S-A”, “U-S-A”, waving American flags and even singing the National Anthem. This was an important moment not only for a humble hockey team, but for the American people being brought together during a difficult time in the United States. A time that would boost public morale and pride in the USA.

Patriotism runs deep in America.

As July 4th approaches, email marketers know they need to use respect when appealing to subscribers during the holiday. Some emails serve clients by providing quick value on preferred products. Others deliver information that enrich the recipients experience with a purchased item. The goal for holiday emails, however, can be a little more complex. As the 4th of July approaches, consider alternatives to discounting the common red, white and blue promos of American-made items. For this years holiday email, companies may want to focus more of the emotional life of its subscribers, rather than the purchase life, by giving patriotism its due.

The Emotional Appeal

Brand-building expert and author Denise Lee Yohn explains the importance of appealing to consumer emotions in her book What Great Brands DoIn a recent article for Forbes, she explains that brands aren’t really in the “business of selling products – they’re in the business of forging close emotional ties with their customers.” When they do it successfully, brands benefit from increased customer loyalty, retention and satisfaction…the foundational work of growing and consistent revenue. With the drums beating loud and fireworks soaring high, companies may want to build upon the feelings already stirring up in Americans and leave those pesky offer emails to later in the year.

American Values Reinforced and Playfully Re-imagined 

4th of July emails that entertain, with no immediate or monetary return expected, achieve a higher win with consumers. While some will definitely still shop, many are in the mood to have fun or relax and reflect. Sending an email that celebrates patriotism provides the subtext that the company and the subscriber share important values – together. Giving a client something for free – something that lifts his or her spirits or deepens the July 4th experience – helps build goodwill. It also strengthens the bond between the client and the company. Friends and relatives send cards on holidays to show loved ones they are in their thoughts, and more importantly, their tribe. Brands can move more bit into that friend/family space when they reach out with a no-strings-attached greeting. Returns for the company, while not immediate, will most likely be longer lasting.

Examples of the ‘Offer-Free’ Holiday Outreach

Many companies today are experimenting with relationship-building email content.

In 2015, Lowe’s put together a video loop using a Vine of tools acting like exploding fireworks (genius!). Their Happy 4th of July message came with no links to product pages. Just a friendly greeting, similar to something a friend would send.

Similarly, Zappos lined up red, white and blue high tops with a “Happy 4th of July” message underneath.

fourth of july email marketing

Zappos’ offer-free Fourth of July Greeting 

It’s primary purpose? To elicit a little joy in the viewer. Secondary purpose? To remind the recipient of the brand, their products and special offers.

Advanced Technology Connects Entertainment to Enrichment in Email

Marketers can leverage the awe-inspiring opportunity of July 4th to connect with customers. Where email once included static text, images, products and reviews – creative coders have managed to bring exciting, real-time and dynamic features to the channel.

With DynamicMail, marketers can send emails containing live Instagram or Twitter feeds to join the conversation with any July 4th hashtags (#July4th  #4thofJuly  #independenceday), animated GIFS and video with funny, but patriotic, themes. A dynamic countdown timer to an area’s fireworks display also impresses email recipients. Boring content causes half of unsubscribes, but exciting and entertaining emails can train customers to click on subject lines from within the inbox. Funny, touching or unique content fosters an emotional response that keeps your brand top-of-mind and appreciated with subscribers.

Give the Gift of Relevant Content

Pure entertainment isn’t the only way into a subscribers heart. Some companies create printable July 4th art that serves as decoration, name cards for dinner seating or even nice napkin holders. A publisher could send along the best Independence Day quotes by influential Americans for use at a toast. Here’s one of our favorites:

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers . . . but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” – Erma Bombeck.

Men’s luxury lifestyle publisher UrbanDaddy’s gift to its subscribers came in the form of an interactive guide to navigating New York City’s fireworks displays. Its map pinpoints locations of the firework barges so that viewers can pick a prime spot from a nearby shoreline, park or high rise.

UrbanDaddy Firework Map

Marketers taking a cue from UrbanDaddy can design July 4th emails to improve recipients’ fun-filled holiday weekend experiences. Where does the email fit into their plans? The holiday takes place on a Monday this year, giving consumers a three-day weekend to relax and even catch up on shopping errands. Where does the email fit into their plans? 80% will attend a barbecue, picnic or cookout; 63% go to see fireworks. 36M will travel by car, and another 3M by plane. 75% are going to see family. In other words, everyone is busy.

Grab your subscribers’ attention and stay top of mind for the 4th of July: they will be partying and having fun, but they also long for experiences to deepen the day’s meaning.

How can your company enrich the meaning and experiences of the summers biggest holiday?

Check out what fun things other brands are doing this time of year:

  • Petco: “Give Your Cat a Great July 4th(skeptical? It got 457 likes and 64 shares on Facebook)
  • Amtrak: “Top 4th of July Getaways” (the stats above show that people want to travel)
  • Smirnoff: “Easy-to-Mix Drinks for July 4th
  • Newcastle Brown Ale: “What if Britain Had Won the Revolutionary War?” (entertaining/intriguing!)

None of the above necessarily hit upon patriotism, but they do give something concrete to subscribers in honor of the day. Staying relevant but meaningful is key to keeping your subscribers engaged this holiday season.

Need a little inspiration or holiday strategy help when designing your July 4th email? Contact BlueHornet’s Strategy Team today!

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