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Ah, summertime. We disconnect and disengage on beaches, in the mountains, or in our backyards, leaving workaday concerns far behind. Sounds wonderful, right? If you’re an email marketer, perhaps not. We want recipients to be eager to connect – not checked out. When it comes to engaging and converting, are we doomed to suffer the summertime blues?

Not necessarily. Although vacationers may be doing their best to avoid all but the most mission-critical work-related email chatter, they may actually be receptive to your marketing messages this time of year. They will not be staring at their laptops, but they definitely didn’t leave their phones home – and they have plenty of time to use them. They are relaxed. They are ready. You can connect with them – perhaps even on the beach. Here are five tips to help do that:

1. Make every subject line count
We all know how important subject lines are to email marketing success. And this time of year, they matter more than ever. As is the case all year-round, your subject lines must be able to compete with what is always going to be stiff competition in every inbox. But, in addition, for the next few months, they have to be compelling enough to overpower countless summertime diversions. Need some ideas? Here are “60 sizzling summer subject lines” from Campaign Monitor that can serve as inspirational examples.

2. Make strategic color choices
Picture your recipient on the beach. The sky and water are vibrant, contrasting shades of blue. She’s surrounded by hundreds of brightly colored beach umbrellas. In one hand she holds a tropical drink – one sporting a tiny pink umbrella and a yellow lemon wedge. Her phone is in her other hand. She’s scanning her messages. She gets to yours. She opens it. Will it be able to compete successfully with her lush surroundings? Perhaps. And the colors you use could determine just how much engagement it drives.

If you’re thinking that you can simply default to pastels when the weather is warm, think again. When it comes to color, no one-size-fits-all solution applies. Color choices – at any time of year – should be determined by your brand personality and how you apply color theory to it. “Color can instantly set the mood, evoke emotion and spark a psychological reaction that gets people to take action,” writes Olivia Della Bueno at AWeber. ”When used effectively, color theory can be one of the most powerful tools an email marketer can work with.”

We looked at how email marketers can drive subscriber behavior with color in this post.

3. Lighten up
Summer is a good time to have a little more fun with your messages than you usually do. Of course, using humor can pay off at any time of year – but perhaps even more when the weather heats up. Days are long and bright. Summer vacationers aren’t weighed down with the gift-giving and entertaining pressures that accompany the winter holidays; they are ready to have a good time – even when reading their email. Making them laugh could have a big payoff. “If you can facilitate laughter or at least a wry smile in your audience, you’ll forge a kind of bond with them, making them more loyal to your brand,” writes Jayson DeMers at Forbes.

One caution: Humor is a powerful tool that must be used carefully. “The most important question you should ask yourself before using humor in your campaigns is: Is it relevant to your subscriber list, campaign idea and your brand image?” writes Kevin George at Ragan’s PR Daily. “Proceed only if the answer is yes.”

4. Leverage some minor summer holidays (along with the big ones)
Almost every email marketer kicks off the summer by celebrating Memorial Day, is all set for a big July Fourth, and is planning to end vacation season with a bang on Labor Day. Go for it! But everybody will be doing that along with you. Why not stand out by making some noise about I Forgot Day (July 2), Shark Awareness Day (July 14) and Just Because Day (August 27)? We looked at these – and other obscure summer holidays – here.

5. Go on vacation with your recipients (with contextual emails)
Email marketing has an amazing superpower that can engage vacationers: contextual messaging. Using this type of intelligent content, you can virtually accompany vacationers anywhere and provide information relevant to their locale and their interests. For instance: vacationers are very interested in weather – so let them know when clouds will be moving in. But that idea just scratches the surface of what contextual messaging can do. Let your imagination run wild, and then make contextual magic happen. Have questions?