5 Fantastic Fall Email Campaign Ideas

Melanie Balke
August 9, 2023

Fall is just around the corner!

As the heat of summer fades away, we’re about to enter retail’s so-called “busy time.” Think about it. You have all those new fall styles, a fresh sports season (shoutout to the football fans!), and the looming upcoming holiday season. Don’t forget subscribers’ birthdays, either!

You may be feeling overwhelmed right now. How can you possibly cram all of this into your email marketing calendar? Even a week of email campaigns can seem daunting in this new season.

First of all: Stop! Breathe!

You’ve got this!

And I’m here to help you plan your fall email strategy with some examples of fantastic fall email marketing campaigns. So, warm yourself up and get ready for some of The Email Marketers’ fall favorites.

What Makes an Email Campaign a Fall Email Marketing Campaign?

Pinecones. “The Basics: What Makes a Fall Email?”

First of all, let’s chat about what makes something fall-like.

Everyone knows the seasonal vibes. You can look at email templates all day and find countless season-specific themes. Subscribe to a few email marketing lists; you’re sure to see more than one online store toss an autumnal email your way.

But what makes those emails so special? What differentiates them from all the others and gives them that “pumpkin spice season” charm?

Fall Arrivals Require the Right Colors

A plastic rake in a pile of fallen leaves. “Colors: Brown, orange, red, and yellow are sure signs of fall!”

The easiest way to tap into that regional market of autumnal joy is a crisp, bright color pallet.

Think back to your childhood. Every year, your school would probably get decked out in seasonal colors to signal the beginning of colder weather. Fall emails are no different. A simple color swap can get people in the holiday spirit.

Brown, orange, red, and yellow are the predominant signals of fall’s arrival. If those hues are too intense for your branding, you can always scale them back; the pastel versions are just as effective!

As a fun aside: Two chemicals play a major role in our conception of autumn. Anthocyanin, a water-soluble chemical found in leaves, gives organic items a vibrant red hue. It’s commonly found in cherries, cranberries, and fallen foliage. Another subset of chemicals, known as carotenoids, produces yellow pigmentation.

Don’t Dismiss Those Cut-Out Shapes!

They may seem silly, but those shadow-like vector images have a purpose.

Fall shapes are another way to signal the arrival of a new season. Brands around the world inject hints of autumn into emails with little more than some shapes. Some of the most common autumnal icons include…

  • Autumn leaves of various hues.
  • Cornucopias, particularly near Thanksgiving.
  • Pine trees in autumn’s later months.
  • Pinecones.
  • Pumpkins and other gourds and squashes.

You may be able to think of other ways to visualize the season. These are, after all, a small handful of examples.

Notably, you don’t have to use fall colors. You can easily add these shapes to your email templates without changing your branding. The presence of these iconic images is enough to give your fall newsletter that autumnal touch.

When in Doubt, Seek a Holiday Out

Rakes leaning against a corrugated steel shed. “Holidays: Special Autumnal Events to Know.”

Finally, you can always taper off those summer sale emails by referencing significant events.

The holiday season begins early!

Now, before I continue this section, I must issue a warning… Any company with operations outside the United States should create segmented campaigns to take full advantage of the holidays. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become synonymous worldwide, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. Think of it like the Fourth of July. While your American consumers will appreciate the national holiday sales, the rest of the world will find it baffling.

That being said, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday demand lots of attention. Together, they create one of the world’s busiest weekends for retail. Nonetheless, they’re only one of the three major events of the fall season! You must also think about the following occasions:

  • Back-to-school dates (perfect for student discounts that last the entire month!)
  • Diwali, (alternatively spelled “Deepawali”) the Hindu “Festival of Light”
  • Halloween and related celebrations, such as All Hallow’s Eve and Dia de los Muertos
  • Mawlid or Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the Muslim celebration of the birth of the Prophet Mohammad
  • Rosh Hashanah, also known as “Jewish New Year”
  • Sports season events (such as football, soccer, and hockey)
  • Thanksgiving (more on that in a minute)
  • Veteran’s Day — known as Armistice Day internationally — on November 11

You also have a bevy of regional harvest celebrations. Locally-based small businesses can get a huge boost by seeking out and collaborating with important events within their community.

However, you must always know the context of the celebration. While these are all significant celebrations, they all have different meanings. You don’t want to send out a “massive blow-out sale” on Eid Milad-un-Nabi or Rosh Hoshanah; instead, you’ll want to plan a respectful, culturally-appropriate greeting.

The Global State of Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

A cornucopia with assorted vegetables. “The Big Two: Don't forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans!”

I’ve already pointed out that Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are kind of a big deal. They create one of America’s biggest retail events of the holiday season, and this vital period is starting to spread to the rest of the world!

However, these sales are not the same everywhere.

Not surprisingly, Americans spend the most on Black Friday (and, by extension, Cyber Monday), spending an average of $485 per person in 2021. Canadians are in second place, having an average per-person spending spree of $430. The Brits are third, spending $397 each on Black Friday. (Who’s last? India! In 2021, the average Indian consumer spent a mere $69 on Black Friday.)

Notably, few countries outside of the big three have massive “sneak peek” lead-ins and door-busting savings during this period. While it’s true that the entire world has joined the Black Friday/Cyber Monday craze, most countries prefer a laid-back approach. Germany and Japan, for example, distribute minor discounts of 5–10% during this retail window.

The Thanksgiving Issue

A pile of oranges. “Thanksgiving: When do different places celebrate Thanksgiving?”

I’ve probably stretched the “holiday season” out more than you’d expect!

But there’s a good reason for that. As I said before, most countries don’t celebrate the same holidays as America. Many countries also have no reference point for that “Happy Thanksgiving” email. Or, even worse, your consumers have already celebrated the holiday!

Fortunately for all of us, I’ve compiled a handy list of Thanksgiving celebrations from around the world. These do not include harvest festivals, but some entries are closer to a harvest celebration than a traditional Thanksgiving. Global brands, take note! You may even want to save this guide for future reference.

Only two countries have set dates for Thanksgiving celebrations:

  • Grenada celebrates on October 25.
  • Japan celebrates its American-inspired “Labor Thanksgiving Day” (or Kinrō Kansha no Hi) on November 23.

Everyone else celebrates the holiday based on its position on the calendar. Going by date, Thanksgiving falls on…

  • The 1st Friday of August in Rwanda (Umuganura Day).
  • The 1st Monday of October in Saint Lucia.
  • The 1st Thursday of November in Liberia.
  • The 1st Wednesday of November in The Netherlands, where it’s a casual holiday.
  • The 2nd Monday of October in Canada.
  • The 4th Thursday of November for Brazil, the Philippines (as of 2022), and the United States of America.
  • The Sunday of the Harvest Moon in the United Kingdom as the “Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving.”

Time for Those Fall Email Examples!

Overlapping ferns. “Examples: 5 Amazing Autumn Emails.”

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s dig into some examples. I’ve rounded up five of my favorite examples from The Email Marketers. Each of these campaigns is a great example of a fall newsletter or sale campaign.

You could even say they’re my “fall faves.”

The Emotionally-Charged Holiday Email

Let’s start with something from one of our fashion-related companies. Collection Lounge sells branded merchandise to fans of comics, Disney, sports, and more. We always create emails for them that hype up their merch and urge people to try new styles. So, naturally, the fall season is the perfect time to push consumers to refresh existing collections.

This email is presented in reverse order. The first image, which you’ll see in a moment, was the ending of this fall email campaign. The second image was its opening.

Check Out that Fall Design

The first thing you’ll notice is that this email would never work for any other season.

Four products from The Collection Lounge. The products are framed by orange and yellow squares with falling autumn leaves in the background.

Those bold, vivid fall colors are unmistakable. It’s the classic combo of orange, red, and yellow. It makes you think of Halloween costumes and pumpkin spice. We just let fall work for us.

And — while we’re talking about design — check out those modern previews! The design team used “floating images” to create dynamic visuals without detracting from the overall theme.

… And Don’t Forgot to Pull Some Heartstrings

A Thanksgiving email from Collection Lounge. The design uses fall colors and was paired with a selection of fall email subject lines.

While the bargain prices — a whopping 40% off buy-one-get-one deal, no less! — are certainly something, the real focus of this fall email is pure emotion.

Holidays are all about good eats, quality time, and escaping with entertainment.

That’s a huge punch of nostalgia. Readers will instantly conjure images of home — of eating turkey, digging into fresh pies, hopping in a pile of raked leaves, and sitting by warm fires. This is more than another stock email; it’s doing more than saying, “We want you buying stuff!” This is a real, human email, and that simple moment of warmth can work in our favor.

The Fall Buying Guide

What about personalized emails?

Whether you’re showcasing a new collection or trying to push for more sales, you can always design a thoughtful, personal fall email.

This next example was made for Eleven Oaks, a fashion brand that’s perfect for fall!

Once again, we see the pop of fall colors. It’s no secret; many brands utilize these warm hues to ward off the oncoming cold. It may as well be one of many fall newsletter templates, but it has a unique twist.

This email is about getting your closet “fall-ready.” We’re long past Labor Day. Even the call-to-action button reminds users of this fact: “Browse Fall Collection.” This is an email about getting a fresh start and gearing up for the season.

A fall email for Eleven Oaks. The CTA subject line reads, “Browse Fall Collection.”

New Collections, Old Memories

Here’s another fun twist: Check out those photos.

The slight tilt and overlaid tape make these images resemble snippets of a photo album. Aside from being a nice touch for this fall newsletter, this choice reminds viewers of simpler times. Perhaps they think back on some of the most significant events of their lifetime, reminiscing about old photo albums. Or, maybe, they just think it looks nice!

Photos for the Eleven Oaks fall email. Each item has its own subject line, including “Thoughts of You” and “Cozy Comforts.”

Either way, those little details are great ways to capture attention.

The Spooky Halloween Email

Here’s another holiday-themed email.

This Hookah-Shisha campaign is a great demonstration of the delicate balance between visual intrigue and artful copy.

Again, this cannot be for any other season. This is a fall email campaign.

A Hookah-Shisha Halloween email. Two headers act like fall email subject lines. “Trick or Treat? Nothing But Treats.” Black bats and an orange pumpkin are in the background.

It also has a powerful opening: “Trick or Treat? Nothing but treats.” That basic header is enough to tell us we’re looking at a scary good fall sale. And the orange and black bats seal the deal.

Showcase Your Value

So, what makes this email so special?

Well, much like a good fall email subject line, this campaign puts its value front and center.

Right after that punchy intro, readers were treated to an informative deal breakdown. Not only do they get all of the pictured items… They get multiples! How’s that for a fall holiday deal?

A graphic in the Hookah-Shisha fall email campaigns. Various products are showcased and labeled.

Witty Copy and Fun Halloween Costumes

“BOO!” says the opener. “Sorry to scare you, but this deal is a BIG deal.”

It’s a fun, quirky nod to the seasonal angle of all fall emails. And, more importantly, it reinforces the limitations of the sale.

A Prime Neckwear campaign. The subject line reads, “A Halloween Treat for You.”

This is a campaign for the menswear brand Prime Neckwear, and it’s the subject of our next fall email example.

Like our other fall emails, this has all the hallmarks of a fall campaign. You have the vibrant fall colors, the cheeky copy, and the iconic spookiness of a spider’s web. Pair that with a solid subject line, and you may as well deliver a freshly raked pile of leaves to your customers!

(I’ve obviously blurred out the coupon code. You didn’t think I’d give that away, did you?)

Don’t Be Afraid to Make It Silly!

Product photos and captions from a Prime Neckwear email. Two ties are displayed and labeled. One resembles James Bond’s; the other looks like Dwight Schrute’s.

This Prime Neckwear example stands out from our other fall email campaigns because it’s fun and silly! It also goes against the grain of a formalwear brand by introducing a silly twist to its usual offerings.

Think of each photo as individual subject lines. These are eye-catching references to shows people know and love. Even if you’re not a pop culture fanatic, you probably know someone who is. Most people know at least one person who’s a fan of The Office, Doctor Who, or James Bond.

In this way, we make the email deeper than buying for yourself. We’re also encouraging readers to snag a gift for a friend!

And, if you’re not a fan of costumes, we even have a silly season-appropriate tie for the final preview.

The final image in the Prime Neckwear campaign, showcaing a Halloween-themed tie.

Sometimes, Simple Works

Finally, we have an example from Sutro Footwear. This luxury shoe brand has a formal, upright tone. It’s not the best fit for a fun, quirky autumn email. You probably couldn’t even shoehorn some autumn leaves without them looking out of place.

But all is not lost!

When paired with a fall email subject line, any campaign can become an autumnal treat.

A Sutro Footwear email campaign with photos of various shoes.

This subdued, earthy email is the perfect example. It conveys the seasonal atmosphere with little more than colors and words. Sometimes, that’s all you need!

Don’t Forget the Value

Of course, you still need a hook.

Those product photos are nice, but they’re not enough to secure a sale. For that, we turn to the email’s footer. The designers chose this space to house the brand’s core values: handmade goods, high-quality construction, and genuine materials.

The footer of a Sutro email. Three graphics correspond to three values: “Handcrafted products, Custom-made comfort features,” and “Premium Leather.”

These three values serve as their own subject lines. They’re valuable draws to lure consumers into that all-important conversion. And they’re a visually stunning way to wrap up a simple fall newsletter.

Still Searching for Inspiration?

That’s all we have time for in today’s blog post, but there’s more to learn! You can find many more tutorials, tips, and guides on my blog. You’ll even see some email marketing news.

Still feeling uncertain about your brand’s email marketing potential? I have a solution for that, too! Book a call, and I’ll have a free strategy session with you. We’ll discuss everything — from fall email subject lines and legal concerns to your marketing calendar and business goals! I’ll also show you how a team of experts — like the one you’ll find at The Email Marketers — will help your business thrive.