Email Marketing For Holidays

5 mins read

Holiday Email Marketing to Propel Your Sales and Drive Maximum Profitability!

In 2019, the total retail spending was around $1.007 trillion, which made it the very first trillion-dollar holiday season. It is predicted to grow 3.4% to $1.042 trillion while ecommerce growth will reach $156.69 billion in the year 2020. 

Do you need more reasons to make the most of this lucrative season?

So, let’s discuss how you can employ email marketing to use this opportunity to the fullest. 

  • Plan well in advance

Your subscribers start shopping for the Holidays right from September. Make sure you do not lose out on this chance and prepare early. I have already started receiving “Christmas in October” emails. If you are yet to plan for your Holiday email marketing, do it right away. 

The holiday season commences from the Canadian Thanksgiving right through Halloween, the US Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year lasting around 2 months. Also, there are Black Friday and Cyber Monday on a weekly basis. 

Your subscribers have different spend categories and values depending on the specific holidays. This will further depend on the segmentation of your subscribers by demographics, industry segments and other variables.

It hence becomes imperative for you to plan specific tactical strategies based on the holiday calendar and customer and industry segmentation. Your Email campaign must incorporate the corresponding messages at the right frequency and timing.

  • Use catchy subject lines that draw the subscriber’s attention.

Your subscribers are most likely to be inundated with numerous marketing emails in their inbox. Therefore, you must try to make your email stand out and grab their eyeballs. Using engaging subject lines, preferably with an emoji that matches the holiday mood can do the trick. You can use a party emoji or gift emoji to get people to open the email. 

Here’s an example by Uncommon Goods:-  Fun fact: there are just 80 days until Christmas 📆🎄

They have used the calendar and Christmas tree emoji to make a mark in the flooded inbox. It also reinforces the first point of planning much earlier than the Holiday Season starts.

Innovative Email marketers like you could also take it up a notch and have a compelling COVERT-OVERT or CATCHY-CANDID combination of an engaging abstract subject line and a clear compelling quantifiable preview text. An example is :

SUBJECT : Sleigh your Christmas WishList  with last minute not to be missed gifts 

PREVIEW TEXT : Upto 70% discount

  • Include visuals in your emails

Based on the occasion for which you are sending out the email, consider using relevant visual elements. For example, Halloween emails can have spooky spiders, pumpkins, and other scary stuff in a dark background. On the other hand, Thanksgiving emails should be more about family gatherings and ooze out a warm feeling of gratitude. For Christmas and New Year emails, you could delicately and smartly amalgamate your brand with innovative yet relevant visual elements. 

An interesting dichotomous example is of launching winter wear with a Christmas theme in Australia giving your consumers Down Under a feel of a Cold Wintry Northern Hemisphere themed Christmas !

You must also very importantly consider the various the type of emails which need to be created in a very eye-catching manner depending on the specific occasion :

  • Promotional Emails: Limited period, last minute and early bird offers. Creating time bound urgency
  • Transactional Emails: Welcome email formats, product ordering forms, subscriptions, cart abandonment, rewards and returns
  • Relational Emails: Newsletters, catalogues, gifts, product teasers & comparatives, membership, freebies, service camps, quizzes, and games
  • Recommendation emails – Upsell and cross-sell
  • Strong Referral programmes and incentives
  • Re-engagement Emails for former customers


  • Share Holiday special hashtags to build social media visibility

Holiday season is a great time to build social media visibility and encourage people to promote your brand on social media channels. This will enable word-of-mouth publicity and help you get more conversions. 

Your customers, especially the ones referring are the best ambassadors and should receive special incentives for referrals and downstream purchases. You could include free membership, complimentary coupons, service camps, and similar gifts. Referring customers love freebies and often have mixed reactions if you offer them discounts for additional purchases. Leaderboards and incentives to upgrade to the next level basis more referrals will be the icing on the cake and propel your customers to refer, refer and further refer.

  • Promote last minute offers

While there are some people starting off with their Holiday shopping really early, there are procrastinators who wait till the last week to shop for the Holiday season. To cater to such customers, you must promote last minute deals and suggest gifts that they can buy during the season. 

Preview text giving your customers a glimpse of the lucrative discounts offered, bolster them to open the emails, and finalise their CTA.

For even more effectiveness and urgency for your customers, you could consider the following smart strategies :

  1. Giving them a clear window on the number of items left in stock with a ticking timer mentioning the remaining time for the last minute offer. 
  2. Rather than mentioning the discount, it may be worthwhile to give them the heavily discounted pricing in absolute USD/ CAD with the original price as well
  • Focus on your CTA

Your CTAs must be actionable and placed in such a way that it instantly catches the recipient’s attention. You can get creative and write something other than “Buy now” or “Shop now” as the CTA. 

  • Think of innovative ideas for your Holiday emails

You can experiment with new design elements in your Holiday email. Try using animations, cinemagraphs, embedded video, or AMP in email and see how your subscribers resonate with it. You can carry out A/B testing and determine whether it is working for your brand or not. 

Another useful idea for improving customer engagement and familiarization with your product catalog, you could include some gamified quizzes along with the relevant catalog pages. Customers who go through the catalog in detail and answer the questions correctly receive a lucrative freebie or discount. This will serve the dual objectives of catalog/ familiarization, brand engagement, and increase the propensity to buy.

Happy Holiday Email Marketing and may there be a Blizzard of Sales !

If you are looking for Holiday-specific tips and tricks, just head to this beautiful infographic created by the folks at Email Uplers. 

Holiday Email Marketing 2020-21: Calendar, Tips, and Insights from Email ExpertsType a message

Source: Holiday Email Marketing 2020-21: Calendar, Tips, and Insights from Email ExpertsType a message

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

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