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Presidents Day Email Strategy

Sandwiched between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day, Presidents Day gives retailers a hook to hang their February campaigns on.

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Sandwiched between Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day on the Third Monday of February, retailers often approach Presidents Day a little less creatively. Yet as with any holiday, the key to a successful Presidents Day email campaign is to make it stand out in the recipient’s inbox.

The good news is that many of the motifs for Presidents Day can be repurposed for Memorial Day and July Fourth promotions.

Popular email design motifs include a red-white-blue theme, stars, realistic and stylized flag graphics, and portraits of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and occasionally other people. We’re also beginning to see more use of emojis like flags, stars, and dollar bills in subject lines along with inventive animations in the message.

Good to know is that there is no official way to correctly spell Presidents Day / Presidents’ Day / President’s Day. All three versions are colloquialisms for what is officially called “Washington’s Birthday”.

Presidents' Day Email Examples

Someone's got a case of the Mondays

We like this Presidents Day email because of the President/Presidente riff and the spectacular hero image of a freshly poured margarita. Even if you don’t get the day off, a drink like that could certainly cure a serious case of the Mondays.

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Who doesn't love Mount Rushmore?

We couldn’t resist the hero image in this email. Also, notice how our little Boston terrier buddy in the shades is looking right at the call to action (“Shop Now”). That directs the reader’s eye toward the offer (whether you realize it or not). Doing everything you can to focus attention on what you want your reader to do will pay off in more positive action.

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Mix-in more than one holiday

The run-up to Presidents Day competes with Valentine’s Day, which is a major retail holiday and a driver of a lot of emails. This email shows how to mix your messages effectively, with the lead position given to the timeliest offers (Valentine’s Day), and the Presidents Day campaign right below it.

The email design makes it clear two different things are being promoted by presenting the Valentine’s part in red and pink, and the Presidents Day part in the typical red, white, and blue color scheme.

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Get rid of your winter inventory

Clothing brand Torrid uses Presidents Day to sell off some winter stock. This email is the last of a four-part email campaign spread over just as many days. A lot of brands have their Presidents Day sale cover the whole weekend before the public holiday as well so customers have more time to shop.

Both the subject line and the email copy lead with a sense of urgency (“Almost over”, “Last Day!”, “Ends soon!”) and makes it easy for the recipient to shop by adding call to action buttons for different sizes and clothing types.

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Play with words

Email marketers love using puns for all sorts of holidays but they don’t seem that popular yet when it comes to Presidents Day. This email barely mentions the holiday. It merely suggests its subscribers “save some presidents” during its sale. It’s a good example of how you can participate in a national holiday sale without deviating a lot from your regular email campaigns.

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Presidents Day Email Marketing Best Practices

Segment and suppress

Presidents Day is a uniquely American holiday. If you have a significant customer base beyond the United States, your US-centric content probably won’t mean much to these recipients.

If you have reasonably accurate segmentation data, consider sending a default version of your campaign to your subscribers outside the U.S.

For your Canadian subscribers, you could customize the message for Family Day, which five provinces recognize (although not all on the same day), including Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Get a little edgy

Thank Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton for re-igniting interest in long-dead white men wearing wigs and creating countries. Capitalize on that interest, especially with cartoons or stylized artwork that would appeal to a younger audience. Presidents Day doesn’t have the historical or emotional attachment that goes along with named days like Martin Luther King Day. Take a few design risks to make your content stand out and drive greater interest in your offers.

One design tip: Red type on a blue background without a white outline is hard to read on both desktop and mobile. We saw a lot of that in Presidents Day emails. Please, don’t.

And a subject line tip: As with other holidays, retailers fall back on clichés for subject lines. The only problem is that every other email is using the same old tried-and-true “Presidents Day sale starts now!” Consider A/B testing a standard-issue subject line for something more eye-catching.

Experiment with tactics to make your email stand out

As we noted earlier, we are seeing more brands experimenting with emojis and animations including countdown timers. Presidents Day could be a good laboratory to try out these attention-getters.

Another clever idea is incorporating Presidents Day concepts into your offer codes. Some we found: 4Pres, MrPresident, PRES10, America and HBDAYPREZ.

Focus on enjoying the long weekend or day off

Presidents Day is a federal holiday observed on a Monday, which gives government workers, some state employees, and companies that follow the government holiday schedule a long weekend with time to shop.

Instead of a standard offer, consider lounging-friendly long-form content such as a product showcase, consumer reviews, and recommendations, a how-to-buy guide, or top FAQs.