6 Secrets to Boost Your Email Marketing Campaigns for the Holidays

Published by Michelle Leung on

Holiday Email Marketing Ideas

There’s absolutely no reason to hold back your holiday email marketing efforts during the biggest spending season of the year. For most ecommerce brands, holiday email marketing campaigns are a significant source of Q4 sales and overall annual revenue. 

Between Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (the pinnacle of the holiday shopping season), online retailers send an average of 105 million emails in total. Competition for inbox real estate is stiff, but the holidays remain the best time to put your brand in front of customers. Remind them why they should dedicate their hard-earned dollars to your business (and not your competitors). 

That said, it’s vital to prepare for the holidays as early as you can so your emails don’t get lost in the shuffle. It’s best to decide on campaigns and offers before October or November, and develop project calendars and timelines to help you stay on track. 

After you establish a game plan, get ready to create some winning emails! Read on for six holiday email marketing ideas to increase open rates, click rates, sales and revenue for your business. 

6 Holiday Email Marketing Ideas To Use This Year 

Shoppers who purchase through an email spend 138% more than those who aren’t receiving emails. So, keep these following best practices in mind as you plan, create and send your holiday email marketing campaigns this year. 

1. Don’t Skimp on Holiday Email Subject Lines 

If you want your holiday email marketing efforts to be successful, your recipients need to open your emails in the first place. 

A compelling subject line helps your email stand out in a crowded inbox. Try experimenting with these types of holiday email subject lines to see which ones work best for your audience: 

  • Use puns: Spread a little holiday cheer while showcasing your sense of humor.
    • Example: “Snow Fare Like A Low Fare!” (Southwest Airlines)
  • Add value: Don’t just call out the discount or offer on its own. Instead, build value by mentioning why your product or service is a must-have for the holidays. 
    • Example: “Save big for Cyber Monday – give the gift of family” (Ancestry.com) 
  • Speak to pain points or struggles: Target procrastinators or stumped gift-givers by addressing their pain points and making it easy for them to pick a present fast. 
    • Example: “For The Person Who Has Everything” (Backcountry.com) 
    • Example: “What’s everyone getting this year?” (Away)
  • Use personalization: Easily customize emails using name tokens in subject lines to forge a personal connection with customers. You can even implement this tip in your email marketing efforts year-round. 
    • Example: “Michelle, sale’s over in just a few hours” (Madewell) 

2. Reduce Friction Points of Purchasing

Envision yourself as one of your customers shopping during the busy holiday season. You’ll be able to identify and find ways to reduce customer friction points, which can increase the likelihood of a purchase. 

Here are a few quick-win opportunities to integrate into your holiday email marketing efforts: 

  • Display your best-selling products so contacts can shop directly from the email.
  • Highlight perks, such as expedited shipping or free gift wrapping.  
  • Incorporate social proof, such as a testimonial from a happy customer. 

3. Create and Send a Gift Guide 

Gift guides are a great way to engage with your subscriber list. Display relevant or popular products and capture a potential customer’s interest before they even visit your website. 

You can even send custom or personalized gift guides based on buyer personas or other customer behaviors, such as demographics or past purchases. 

Make it easy to send personalized gift guides with AI-powered, data-driven insights.

Here’s an awesome example of a helpful holiday gift guide from Everlane: 

4. Optimize for Mobile Devices

46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, and each year this number continues to increase. If you aren’t optimizing your emails for mobile, you’re potentially missing out on a huge chunk of traffic and revenue, especially during the holiday season. 

Follow these best practices for a foolproof, mobile-friendly email:

  • Use clean, high-resolution images that load fast
  • Keep email content short and sweet to reduce the reader’s scrolling time and effort 
  • Conduct quality assurance and send test emails to different models of mobile devices to ensure everything is running smoothly

5. Capitalize on Lesser-Known Holidays

You don’t have to limit your holiday campaigns to Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas. Throughout the season (and even the calendar year), you can acknowledge or celebrate lesser-known holidays or national days that are relevant to your business. 

You can even establish a national day that aligns with your business values. Automobile manufacturer Subaru recently launched National Make a Dog’s Day on October 22, a commitment to helping “hardest-to-adopt shelter dogs find loving homes.”

Here are a few other popular but less conventional holidays that might work for your business: 

  • National Philanthropy Day – November 15 
  • Small Business Saturday – Saturday after Thanksgiving
  • Giving Tuesday – Tuesday after Cyber Monday 

We love this Giving Tuesday example by mattress brand Leesa: 

6. Segment Your Contacts and Send Personalized, Targeted Content to Subscribers 

It’s crucial to treat your contacts as human beings with different interests and pain points. Not everyone is shopping for the same products or services, nor are they in the same stage of the buyer’s journey. 

By splitting up your database and sending relevant content to different segments, you’ll be able to address their specific problems. Segmentation enables you to provide relevant information, offers or solutions to your audience when they need it most. 

Segmenting your email content is proven to increase open rates, engagement rates and revenue. Generally, marketers can expect to see up to a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. That’s impressive! 

We recommend segmenting your subscribers into these categories: 

  • Demographic
  • Geographic
  • Current open rate or engagement rate 
  • Purchase history 
  • Time spent on a webpage 
  • Website visit frequency or recency

Use Personalize to Send Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns With Confidence

Overwhelmed by the thought of obtaining all the above data and information? Have no fear – we’ve got you covered. 

Meet Personalize, a dynamic, AI-powered recommendation engine that helps you identify the right content to send to your audience at any given time. 

Your contacts’ interests are constantly changing, especially during the holidays when they’re not only shopping for themselves, but also others. If you want to outwit your competitors during this busy time, you need to be on top of your game. 

Personalize helps you promote the right products to your customers at the right time. It uncovers the top interests of each contact in your database based on insights like time on page, visit frequency and recency. You’ll obtain valuable metrics that help you craft the perfect messages and propel your holiday email marketing campaigns in the right direction. 

Ready to build compelling emails and make this holiday season your best one yet? Schedule a demo and start a free 30-day trial of Personalize today!


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