4 Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays

Article first published September 2015, updated January 2020

Have you started sending holiday emails yet? If not, now’s the
perfect time to start, as more and more retailers begin their
marketing push as early as September. Considering the high volume
of sales that take place between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday,
getting your holiday ready now is a smart move.

The average holiday shopper will spend about $1,047.83 during
the holidays. That’s up 4% from last year, according to the

National Retail Federation.
To ensure your holiday emails are
merry and bright, we have 4 email marketing tips for the

1. Forget delivery by sleigh—focus on mobile.

Last year, retailers
that mobile’s share of traffic reached an average of
40% on Thanksgiving 2018, while Cyber Monday saw 28% more traffic
coming from mobile devices. With an increasing number of shoppers
using tablets and smartphones to consume email, it’s more
important than ever to make sure your holiday
email is mobile-friendly.

Here are a few tips to optimize your emails for mobile:

Use a mobile-friendly email template.

How do your emails look on mobile devices? Make sure you use a
mobile-friendly , like the ones offered by Campaign Monitor, and go
the extra mile to ensure success by using our inbox
preview feature
to see how your emails appear in over 25
different email clients, so you know your email looks fantastic in
every inbox.

Be fussy about fonts.

Everything is smaller on mobile devices. Subscribers shouldn’t
need magnifying glasses to read your email, so make sure you select
a web-friendly font like Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, or
Georgia. You’ll also want to increase the size of your font for
easy viewing.

Keep it brief.

On a small screen, five or six sentences can look like a novel.
You don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers. Keep your email
messages short and consumable and link to longer or more detailed
content on your website or blog.

2. Deck your subject lines with holiday cheer.

Subject lines can make or break your email. About 33% of
subscribers decide whether or not to open your email based on the
subject line alone. With email volumes increasing exponentially
around the holidays, your subject line needs to convince
subscribers to open your email and take action.

Here are a few types of you can use during the holidays:

The explainer

Tell recipients exactly what’s in the email. Are you offering
a deal? What kind of deal is it? How long is it available? Provide
specifics, so recipients know what’s in it for them.

The question

Use a question in your subject line to intrigue subscribers. Try
something like, “Ready to knock out your holiday shopping?” or
“What will you do with your 50% off holiday coupon?”

The holiday connection

Use popular holiday traditions in your subject lines as a clever
way to entice readers to open your message. You can reference
holiday foods like cookies, latkes, or traditions like trimming the
tree, opening an advent calendar, or lighting a menorah, or
winter-related themes like snowmen and sleigh rides.

The urgent deadline

Is a sale or event about to end? Remind customers about this
pending deadline in an email, and be sure to put the urgent
information right up front in the subject line. Use urgent language
like, “Limited-time offer,” “Sale ends today,” “Only 4
hours left,” or “Doorbusters till noon only.”

The open-inducing holiday emoji or symbol

There’s an emoji for everything these days, and the holiday
season is a great time to spice up your subject lines with some
festive flair like a snowflake, a tree, or the
open-inducing snowman.

Subject lines with icons
had a higher unique open rate for 56%
of brands, according to an Experian report.

3. Offer deals even St. Nick can’t pass up.

Shoppers can’t pass up a good deal during the holidays. Make
it easy for customers to shop by offering a can’t-resist

The deals customers really want

The top three promotions that can tip the holiday scales in your
favor include cashback, product discounts, and free shipping.
Here’s an example from Campaign Monitor customer
which has a festive holiday look and a compelling
product discount.

Compelling holiday discount email example

Last-minute deals

Every shopper procrastinates. Help those last-minute shoppers
out with a deal. In the example below, Campaign Monitor customer

sent out a deal right before Christmas, but you can
use these deals before Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday

Last-minute deal email example

Add a discount to your welcome email.

During the holidays, why not switch up your usual welcome email
for one with a holiday theme and limited-time promotion?
Welcome emails
with offers have a 2.5 times higher transaction
rate than those without, according to a report by Experian.
That’s a holiday deal everyone benefits from. You can save time
by creating a holiday
welcome email now and automating it.
That way, when new
customers sign up during the holiday season, you can maximize your
reach and earning potential.

Add an incentive to abandoned cart reminders.

Last year,
brands lost an estimated $8.6 billion
due to abandoned carts
from mobile shoppers. To get customers to complete their orders,
send an email that reminds them about the items that are waiting
for them. You might consider offering an incentive too. Try
something like, “In the spirit of the holidays, we’ll give you
10% off the items in your cart when you complete your order.” You
can easily send transactional emails like this with Campaign
Monitor’s transactional
email feature.

4. Avoid too many promotional emails.

If you send too many
promotional emails
during the holidays, they might get lost in
inboxes, never to be touched. Here are a few non-salesy emails that
can engage and inspire subscribers during the holidays.

”Celebrate the season” email

When a holiday rolls around, send an email to celebrate the
holiday with your subscribers. Rather than sending a coupon, try
something like Campaign Monitor customer
did. Send a note that celebrates the holiday
and ask readers to follow your business on social media.

Celebrate the Season email example

Holiday tips and how-tos

Help your customers create a stress-free holiday by sending tips
and how-to articles that can relieve some of the craziness. Make
sure the articles are connected to your brand. For example, a
cosmetic company could offer tips to create the perfect look for
the office holiday party. A photographer could write an article
that offers tips to capture crisp photos on Christmas morning.

Holiday guides

Help customers narrow down their gift ideas by creating a few
holiday gift guides. Break guides up by category, like “10 gifts
under $10” or “5 fabulous gifts for him.” Create these guides
and post them to your blog, website, and even Pinterest. Send an
email that highlights a few of the gifts and a link to check out
the full guide on your blog or website. Include pictures,
descriptions, prices, and, of course, any relevant ordering

Our favorite holiday email examples

Even with our helpful tips, finding the inspiration to get your
holiday emails ready can be a little overwhelming. That’s why
we’ve gone ahead and collected a few holiday email examples that
we love and have shared them with you below.

PlayStation: Happy Holidays from the PlayStation team

This holiday email example from PlayStation stood out to us for
several reasons. The primary reason is, besides a cheerful holiday
greeting, they offered their subscribers a special gift to
celebrate their membership.

An email example with a holiday greeting and included holiday gift offer

Really Good Emails

While email subscribers always appreciate the holiday greetings,
that extra special “gift” tells them that you genuinely
appreciate them. This is also a great way to urge those who are yet
to become paying customers. How? It shows them that you appreciate
them enough to celebrate with them, and offering “freebies” is
always a great way to encourage conversions.

Michaels: It’s your last weekend to shop! 🎄
Dash in for up to 70% off!

Arts and crafts brand Michaels does a wonderful job of keeping
their subscribers in the loop during the holiday season, and this
email example is no different.

With only a few days left to shop before the Christmas holiday,
they remind their subscribers that there are only a few days left
to shop. To help their audience find exactly what they may be
looking for, they also include multiple examples of doorbuster
deals in the body of their message.

Holiday email examples of exclusive, last-minute deals

This is great for those who don’t want to head over to the
website. These shoppers can quickly browse through items and even
make instant purchases, since each department is covered within the
live message.

Rifle Paper Co: Black Friday: 30% Off Everything!

We enjoyed this Black Friday email example for a few reasons.
Not only does it speak to a wide audience, but it also makes some
clever use of language throughout.
For instance, in the header image, instead of addressing one
reader, they use an inclusive language to bring everyone

“All we want for Christmas is…”

Rifle Paper Co also gets creative with their CTA. Instead of
using a traditional CTA, they used wordplay. Instead of Santa’s
“ho, ho, ho!” they opted for, “Go, Go, Go!”

Black Friday holiday email example

Really Good Emails

Tovala: Stress Less. Celebrate More. 4+ Free Festive Recipes.

Who doesn’t want to stress less and celebrate more during the
holiday season? This holiday email example from Tovala does a
wonderful job of encouraging a purchase and provides helpful
holiday tips and tricks for their readers to help them survive the
chaotic season.

Holiday email example with helpful seasonal recipes

Really Good Emails

Their first CTA invites subscribers to view menus that are
available to purchase, but they didn’t stop there. They also
added free recipes that their subscribers can try on their own.

Wrap up

When done carefully, you can make the most of the holiday season
emails, starting now. Simply keep in mind the tips and tricks
outlined above:

  • Focus on mobile opens
  • Find a balance between sharing information, promotions, and
    holiday greetings
  • When you do include deals, make sure they’re catering to your
    audience’s needs
  • Get creative with your email subject lines

Ready to take your holiday campaigns to the next level?
Then schedule your demo
with Campaign Monitor

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4 Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays
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4 Email Marketing Tips for the Holidays