As email marketers, you’ve got another reason to feel guilty for forgetting Father’s Day: In 2018, Father’s Day spending was estimated to reach $15.3 billion. It’s easy to let it slip by — you just wrapped up Mother’s Day and Memorial Day campaigns, and, with graduation and Fourth of July promotions to think about, your email marketing calendar is pretty full. So, in case the occasion did slip your mind, we put together this quick guide to Father’s Day email marketing by sharing some themes and strategies as well as some creative emails and subject lines to give you inspiration for a last-minute campaign.

Personalize your campaign to dial in the ideal gift

Dads are hard to buy for, but the good news is that your contacts subscribed to your messages because they’re interested in what you offer. And while they’re not necessarily buying for themselves this time, you can use their purchase and behavior data as a guide to what gifts for others they may find appealing. First, offer personalized product recommendations based on their current behavioral activity.  Relevant product recommendations can drive increases in email clicks, conversions and average order values — in many cases by 50% or more. Consider setting product price ranges that align with previous purchases. During any gift-giving season when shoppers have their attention pulled in many directions, you’ll want to segment users who click on products in your emails for retargeting — and if you have the capability to use browse recovery messages to bring back shoppers who stray from your site, all the better.

Lessons learned from recent Father’s Day emails

Most of the Father’s Day emails from the past year started less than a week before the holiday — considering that there’s usually only a couple of weeks between Memorial Day and Father’s Day, it makes since that you’d want to avoid inbox fatigue. We saw that many marketers approached Father’s Day with a multi-message and mobile-friendly campaign, usually with a selection of these messages:
  • Reminder for subscribers of the date.
  • Sales-oriented message or gift guide.
  • A “last chance” reminder message based on shipping dates.
  • Happy Father’s Day message on the day of, often suggesting a late-minute gift.

Father’s Day email themes and subject line types

Here are some creative Father’s Day emails, subject lines, and preheaders that showcase some of the themes mentioned above to give you a bit of inspiration.

Act as a reminder

Father’s Day isn’t as top-of-mind as other retail holidays, and serving as a reminder for your subscribers is a smart move — especially if you don’t offer a quick shipping option. Subject line: Last chance to get Father's day sorted ? It's this Sunday #justsayin Preheader: Order by 5pm Friday for Next Day Delivery. Firebox Father's Day this Sunday

This is a classically good subject line, making effective use of urgency, an emoji, and a hashtag. Pairing a reminder of the actual day with their shipping countdown in the preheader is a solid tactic. Jonathan Adler Subject line: Father’s Day for the Procrastinator Preheader: He’ll never know you almost forgot. Head into one of our stores to snag a gift.

This mobile-friendly message took another approach the day before the holiday, when timely shipping wasn’t an option, to drive in-store traffic.

Think of self-gifters

Seventy-eight percent of shoppers plan to buy for themselves during holidays, and there’s no reason your Father’s Day email can’t take advantage of the growing trend. Subject line: Check out this deal for Father's Day! Preheader: NOT ANOTHER TIE! Considering the issues of fit and prescription, eyeglasses are probably not the first thing people think of buying their fathers. Also, the buy-one-get-one offer makes a gift card unlikely — but if a customer is in the market for another pair already, they may just go for it (or buy both pairs for themselves).

Consider all of the dads

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers surveyed by the NRF planned to buy gifts for a spouse or son on Father’s Day — your subscribers can have several dads to buy for, so think about all of the dads in their lives. Chubbies Subject line: don't you wish your email Preheader: was hot like me? Don't you wish your email was a freak like me? Don't you? Being this “nontraditional” might not work for your brand, but the subject line and preheader certainly stand out. Considering Chubbies’ younger audience, focusing their message on spouses and younger dads themselves was a smart move — especially since it’s coincidentally promoting their summer line. 

Tug at their heart-strings

Not every message needs to be heavily sales-oriented, especially if you view your email marketing as a way to connect with your customers on a conversational level instead of just a transactional level. Fitbit Subject line: A little something to celebrate dads Preheader: Happy Father’s Day from Fitbit.

This message strikes a heartwarming chord with readers and reminds them that any father at any age might appreciate a Fitbit. And interestingly, they don’t call out any discounts or promotions — they just shared a bit of fun with their readers.

Go for the gift guide

The stereotype has always been that fathers are hard to shop for, so play to this theme by showing a variety of options in a gift guide. It gives your contacts a better chance of finding a “just right” gift and is especially effective if you can use behavioral data to present a selection of relevant recommendations. Mark & Spencer Subject line: Our Father’s Day gift guide – 20% off menswear Preheader: Having trouble viewing this email?

M&S does a solid job of displaying their product variety in a mobile-friendly image, instead of a large grid of products, and they get extra points for prominently displaying the discount at the top and as a CTA button.

Rely on dad jokes

We’ve seen a rise in dad jokes in recent Father’s Day emails, so if you want to show a lighter side of your brand voice, you can easily search for a few dad jokes to work with. Fossil Subject line: Wanna Hear A Dad Joke? Preheader: Open this email. Subject lines work best if they leave your reader wanting to know more, and the promise of a dad joke does the trick. What’s more, if the reader doesn’t know the answer, they have to click to find out.­

The belated gift message

If you subscribers managed to make it through the season without noticing any Father’s Day emails, you can always remind them that it’s not too late. Kit and Ace Subject line: Call your Dad. Preheader: Call your Dad. This might be the best email you get all day.

This email went out on the day of Father’s Day, after a series of promotional messages that started with a reminder message of the date and ended with this one. The CTA to buy a late gift is subtle but gets the message across.

Father’s Day is on the rise

Google Trends shows less search volume for Father’s Day compared to other major holidays, like Mother’s Day, but the trend is climbing year-over-year, with “Father’s Day Gifts” on the rise. And like every holiday, Father’s Day is a chance to leverage increased inbox attention to build loyalty, engage your audience, develop relationships, and inform subscribers — and, ultimately, drive sales.