9 Last-Minute Fourth of July Marketing Ideas


It may only be the beginning of June, but in less than four weeks, we’ll celebrate the Fourth of July.

People all across the country will soon fire up their grills for cookouts with family and friends. Many will pump up their kids’ swimmies for pool parties. Some will scout out which spots to save on parade routes. Others will figure out where to catch a local fireworks display. More will fill up their fuel tanks to take off for a long weekend. Others will jet-set away for a week, suitcases stuffed to the brim.   

What do all of these pending plans have in common? Imminent spending.

People will soon be stocking up on things like food and picnic supplies, patriotic merchandise, toys, gas, summer clothing, and so much more.

Last year, the National Retail Federation found more than 216 million Americans planned to celebrate the holiday, nearly 153 million planned to have a cookout or picnic, 106 million planned to watch fireworks, and 31 million planned to head out of town. New data for 2019 should be available toward the end of June, but last year’s numbers alone show it’s smart to have a Fourth of July marketing plan in place.

Don’t have one? Don’t worry. Here are nine ideas to help you take your last-minute Fourth of July marketing efforts from “fingers crossed” to “we’ve got this!”

1 | Create a content calendar

You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to create a content calendar! There are fewer than four weeks until the Fourth.” But the old adage, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail” holds true. (That Benjamin Franklin was right on the money!)

It may be tempting to sketch out a few emails, schedule them, and hope for the best. But dedicating some time next week to strategically plan for the Fourth will be time well-spent.

Your content calendar for the Fourth doesn’t have to be some big extensive effort. Think of it as a roadmap to help you get from where you are today to where you want to be on the holiday. It will help you take into account things like who you should send your messages to, what specific messages you should send, when you should send them, and more.

Let’s take a look at a few things that should be part of your roadmap—your content calendar—to help you simplify your planning efforts and make the most of the last few weeks leading up to the holiday.

2 | Segment your list

Before you start scheduling emails to send to your customers, think about what messages you’re going to send and to which customers you’re going to send them.

It may seem simpler to send one message to all your customers, but that can actually backfire on you and land your message in spam filters. Rather than jeopardize your sender reputation, the better approach is to segment your list.

Segmenting your list can help you deliver more targeted messages to the right audience. Research shows there’s a 55 percent increase in revenue per recipient for companies that send emails to targeted segments, so it’s well worth the effort to think about how to break down your list.

Here are a few examples of segments you can create:

  • People who purchased from you around the Fourth of July last year
  • People who recently purchased from you (within the last three months)
  • People who previously purchased from you (within the last year)
  • People who spent more than X dollars (on a purchase, within the last six months, etc.)
  • People who visited your website or viewed a product but didn’t make a purchase (within the last three months)
  • People who opened an email but didn’t make a purchase (within the last month)
  • People who haven’t purchased in the past six months but who opened one of your emails within the last 30 days

You can slice and dice your list in so many ways. However you decide to do it, use your data and your automations to strategically target repeat purchasers or potential prospects with relevant messages ahead of the Fourth.

3 | Determine your discounts or promotions

Once you’ve segmented your list (or as you’re segmenting it, you can do these steps in parallel), think about what you actually want to offer to your customers this year.

Will you offer a discount on their purchase (a certain percentage off the total), a bundled offer (a BOGO), a bonus (free gift with purchase), a perceived perk (free shipping), or something else?

If you’re not sure what will resonate best with your audience, dig into your data to understand the purchasing habits of your customers.

Look back at past promotions to see what’s resonated best with your audience. Do you tend to see more purchases when you offer a particular discount or does free shipping really excite them? Then, take it one step further. With those particular promotions, how does the behavior of the people who placed an order map with the audience segments you’ve just created?

Don’t worry if you don’t have that level of data yet. You can use the data you gather from the audience segments and marketing strategies you create this year to plan ahead for next year.

4 | Factor in timing

Now that you know what offers you want to send and who you want to send them to, your next step is to factor in timing to your July Fourth marketing plan. Will you run a one-day flash sale, a weekend special, or a promotion that starts a couple of weeks ahead of the holiday?

Here are some things to think about when it comes to timing:

Do you sell items people will need on July 4?

Most people plan for the Fourth in advance since they’ll need their supplies on the holiday itself (what’s a cookout without a grill?!). Depending on what you sell, a one-day flash sale on the actual holiday, for example, might not be your best bet.

Which day of the week does the holiday fall on this year?

The Fourth is on a Thursday this year, so many people will take off for a long weekend, which means they’ll likely have stocked up on things they’ll need at least a few days in advance. Others will leave town the weekend prior (June 29-30th), which means they may be making purchases even earlier in June. In either case, consider what you have to offer to your customers and factor in the timing of when they’ll likely purchase such items.

When do your customers typically purchase your products?

Use your data to see if your items typically sell better on weekends or weekdays, and schedule your messages accordingly. Don’t have that level of data yet? Do a quick survey and ask friends and family when they’d be likely to buy such an item.

How long does it take customers to receive their purchase?

Send your messages as early as possible so your customers have enough time to make their purchases and so you have enough time to fulfill their orders. If you sell things they may need for travel, think about the timing of the holiday, the travel plans they may have, how long it typically takes to receive a purchase, and work backwards to better understand when you should start sending your messages.

Here’s an easy way to think about it. Father’s Day is on Sunday, June 16th, so it might be wise to plant some seeds about any Fourth of July specials you’ll be running starting the week of Monday, June 17th. In many cases, that’ll give your audience enough time to learn about your offer, make a purchase, and receive it in time for when they’ll need it.

How will you create a sense of urgency?

You can create a sense of urgency by clearing conveying to your customers the date by which they’ll need to make their purchases in order to receive their orders ahead of the holiday.

5 | Tailor your messages

Now that you know who you want to send your messages to, what offers you want to send to them, and when you’ll need to start scheduling your messages, the next thing to do is figure out how you’ll actually craft your messages to capture their attention.  

Here are some sample Fourth of July subject lines you can try and test:

  • Savor the summer sale! X% off now through <<Date>>
  • July Fourth Sale! Save up to X%
  • Red, White, & NEW favorites!
  • X% off Patriotic <<Item Type>>

Need more inspiration? Here are 10 techniques to help you write better subject lines.

With the five tips above, you can create a strong content calendar that’ll help you have a successful Fourth of July. Want to take things a step further? Here are a few bonus marketing ideas.

6 | Use your emails to gather subscriber preferences

Now that you’ve done the work to get your Fourth of July campaign off the ground, there’s something else you can do to make your emails work better for you: use them to gather subscriber preferences.

Emails are not only a great way to communicate your messages to your customers, but they’re also an incredibly useful tool to get your customers to communicate with you about what they want and when they want it.

What types of products are they most interested in? Use your emails to offer a few examples and ask your customers which products they prefer. Then, use that information to send relevant messages about those products in the future. How often do your customers want to hear from you? Offer a cadence (weekly, monthly, sales only, etc.), and ask them what they’d like best. Then, send relevant messages to them on the cadence they prefer.

Include these types of emails in your content calendar to get more information about your customers that’ll ultimately help you tailor your messages even more and create relevant, personalized experiences for your audience.

7 | Ask for reviews

Do you have customer reviews for the items you sell? Include them in some of your tailored messages. Show repeat customers and potential purchasers what others have to say about the products they’re considering or the ones you’re featuring as part of your holiday promotion.

You can include customer reviews into your automated flows, too. When someone makes a purchase, send a follow-up email asking them to leave a review. Not sure how to start? Here are four ways to drive customer reviews.

8 | Get social

Do your customers follow you on social media? Are they active in liking and engaging with your content? A great way to drive more of that activity is to feature user-generated content. Ask your customers, via email or your social channels, to post something about the products they’ve purchased and to tag your brand in their posts using your social handle or hashtag for a chance to be featured.

For example, say you sell swimming supplies. Ask your customers to take pictures using their floats, goggles, and swim gear on their vacations, at their pool parties, or at the beach, using your brand’s social handle (@sallysswimgear) and using your brand’s hashtag (#swimonthefourth). You can then curate this content and feature it in your emails and on your own social handles (i.e., in your Instagram stories, in photo albums on Facebook, etc.)

User-generated content is a great way to stretch your marketing resources and to create compelling content for the people who’ll purchase your products by the people who’ve already purchased them.

9 | Don’t lose sight of what the holiday’s really about
Finally, remember what the fourth of July is all about—celebrating our country’s independence. Wish your customers a Happy Independence Day, encourage them to spend time with family and friends doing the things they love, and keep the overly sales-y messages on the holiday to a minimum. Holidays are a great time for sales and promotions, but brands can leave a bad taste in many customers’ mouths by failing to recognize the true meaning of a holiday.

Creating a content calendar can help you capitalize on any of the holiday shopping weekends that tend to drive sales for your business. Take these marketing ideas to have a successful Fourth of July, and use them to think about how you can create content calendars for the holidays to come.

Research shows it pays to engage your customers well ahead of the holiday shopping season. Learn how to avoid the last-minute holiday rush, engage customers year-round, and boost sales for a successful 2019 Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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