Your Complete Holiday Email Marketing Guide

Your Complete Holiday Email Marketing Guide

The holidays are here, and you’re ready to cash in on some serious online sales. We’re with you on this. Your holiday email marketing efforts might go unnoticed without the right strategy. You’ll want to start ramping up your holiday email marketing before the snow starts falling!

Nothing gives you that warm and cozy feeling like a holiday newsletter (that might be a bit of a stretch).

And that’s the point. When you send out your holiday emails, they should make your subscribers feel something. It’s like when you walk into the grocery store and smell those cinnamon pine cones they always have right at the door. It provokes a feeling of family and togetherness.

Your holiday email marketing should do the same. Let’s see if we can fill your stocking full of sales this year!

Create a Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday gift guide

How many times have you asked someone what they want for Christmas and they give you a canned answer like, “oh, I don’t know”. Or “get me whatever, I don’t care?”. A great holiday email marketing idea is to provide gift ideas to people who might not know what to get someone in their life.

A holiday gift guide is a great way to do this. Showcase some of your most popular items or some new stuff you’ve released for the holidays. Send out a newsletter to your subscribers, highlighting relevant products you think they might want.

Here is where the segmentation of your list comes into play. If you’ve split your subscriber list up the right way, you should have large groups of certain people who are interested in certain things. This is where you can come in and send the exact ideas to the right people.

For example, you might have a certain list for parents. You might want to send this list some great gift ideas for their kids.

If you have another list of people who are shopping for pets, you’ll know what to do there. Create a collage of your greatest gift ideas and blast it out to everyone on your list. We recommend linking to the gift guide in every email you send. The earlier you start getting into their heads, the higher chance you have of securing some sales as a result of your efforts.

Let them know they’re not too late!

Free overnight shipping

This idea will hit home with a lot of people. So many shoppers procrastinate and wait until the last minute to do their holiday shopping. As a result, they have to scramble at the last minute to get everything done.

When consumers shop online, a concern is how quickly they will receive their order. So why not take the time to remind your subscriber list that they have time to get their shopping done before Christmas?

Consider sending out an email with the subject line “Free overnight shipping” or something related to that.

You can send this email out a week before Christmas or even a few days before the big day. When you combine this point with the previous one, you have a recipe for success. Now, the person on the other end can fill in some of the blanks on their holiday shopping list.

Maybe they weren’t sure about what to get their Great Aunt Isabell from Virginia. Now you send them an email explaining how they can get free overnight shipping, and here’s a list of great gift ideas. Boom, you’ve got yourself a handful of last-minute sales.

Don’t forget the smaller holidays

It’s easy to only think about the big shopping holidays this time of year. We always think about Christmas, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. We spend all our resources building campaigns around these three days, but what about the other holidays and events? They might not be as popular, but they are essential opportunities for you to squeeze a few bucks out of your list.

Daylight savings time promotion from Casper

Here’s an excellent example from Casper Mattresses. They used daylight savings time as their reason for sending you an email, and they threw in a 10% off code. This strategy is so brilliant being that they’re basically selling you more sleep.

They go on to show how you’ll be spending more time in the dark, so why not do it on a comfortable mattress. While I’m sure you don’t all sell sleeping related items, you could use some of these smaller holidays to your advantage.

What about Small Business Saturday? People love to support causes they can understand, and this is one of them. While you might not have a brick and mortar location, many online retailers are small businesses run by individuals or small groups of people. Take a minute to pull back the curtain and show your subscribers that you’re a real person and not just a store.

Write festive holiday subject lines

You have a great opportunity to write some succulent subject lines with the right strategy. You’ll want to make your subject lines more irresistible than the bread put on the table before the rest of your Christmas dinner comes.

A great way to do this is with words that draw attention. Words like:

  • Discount
  • Promotion
  • Exclusive

Since we’re talking about holiday email marketing, we also don’t want to forget the important holiday-related buzzwords. You’ll want to come up with holiday-related phrases like:

  • 15 days of giveaways
  • These deals are hotter than yule log

…or something else that’s not as cheesy, but you get the point.

It’s important to draw attention using your email subject line because this is what will get your email opened. You could have the best offer in the world, but it’s hidden by that dreaded email open button. Until you get past that stage, it doesn’t matter what you have inside.

Personalize your subject line

Emails with personalization components are 26% more likely to get opened. If you write an email address to everyone, it’ll reach no one. It’s incredibly important to include the subscriber’s name somewhere in the subject line or in the first sentence of the email.

Another personalization idea could be to have your subscribers properly segmented. Maybe you know that a certain list celebrates Hanukkah, and you want to go that direction. It would be a shame for you to send a ton of Christmas related content to people who don’t celebrate the holiday.

Urgency is still important

Urgency timer

Although you want to assure your audience that they have enough time to shop before the holidays you still want them to take action. Makes sense, right? Having urgency is a necessary part of almost all digital marketing. If people think they can sit on an offer for too long, they’ll never buy from you.

You’ll want to encourage your audience to take action right away; otherwise, they’ll miss out on the offer. A great way to do this is with an “Early Shoppers Bonus” or “Early Bird Special.”

Offer a special discounted price for people who are willing to take action before the holiday rush sets in. If you’re creating campaigns around Christmas, maybe you start pushing this offer right after Halloween? Some people are all about getting their shopping done early. They’ll see it as a huge opportunity to save some money and get it done before everyone else.

With all of these offers, you’ll want to attach a specific date and even a countdown timer. We also recommend making these time periods short, so your audience doesn’t think they have enough time. This strategy will push them to pull out their wallet right then and there.

Use a digital advent calendar

Use a digital advent calendar

The time management company Noko does this with Freelancember. This idea is brilliant, and it’s crazy enough to work. There’s the element of surprise and mystery involving this strategy. It’s not as simple as just sending an email and seeing an offer. You get a new offer every day, and you never know what it will be.

A strategy like this is paramount to skyrocketing your open rates. Your subscribers will be excited to see what the offer of the day is. Plus, you get to create so many different offers that you’re bound to find some that appeal to your list.

Not to mention, you’re also combining the element of urgency because the offer only lasts for a day. You’ll want to make sure to promote this for a while leading up, so people know what to expect from you.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be basic offers on the other end. You can offer more than a simple 15% off or a free gift. Depending on your audience, you can include fun holiday contests, quizzes, and pieces of content, as well.

Exclusivity always matters

Next to personalization, exclusivity is an important factor when drawing up your email campaigns. You want the person on the other side of the email to feel so special when they open up your email.

They chose to subscribe to your newsletter and opened up a section of their inbox. Don’t waste this opportunity. If you do, you may as well pour them a tall glass of eggnog and then dump it down the drain. Because really, who even drinks that stuff?

Now is the time to remind your audience that you’re not sending them sales and offers all year. You’re here to provide exclusive perks that no one else gets.

In your email copy, you’ll want to include phrases like:

  • Email exclusive offer
  • Subscriber appreciation
  • Loyalty member

Make sure that the receiver of the email knows that only email subscribers are receiving this special offer. Provide them with an email exclusive promo code and watch the sales go up.

If you want to spice up the deals, even more, do this. Offer early access to new products and additional benefits that are only available through email. Remember that email marketing is often a long-term game with long-term benefits.

Even if they don’t buy from you right now, your subscriber retention is off the charts when you play the long game like this. You’re showing your audience that you care, and it’s bound to come back to you eventually.

Keep it short and sweet as pie

Finally, we’re big believers in simplifying rather than complicating. There are many emails floating through the inbox every day, and so few of them ever get opened. Do not overload your list with tons of text and irrelevant content.

If you’re sending out a newsletter promoting some holiday recipes, get to the point. Include a few graphics, a paragraph or two of text, and that’s it. Make the call to action button larger than life and direct them to your website for more content.

You don’t have to sell them on anything in your email! The email is their gateway to the rest of your offers, so treat it that way!

Ready to fire up your Holiday Email Marketing?

By now, you should have a handful of ideas to get rolling on your holiday email marketing. Remember that there are plenty of holidays out there to create campaigns around. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new.

It’s crucial that you test everything and see what works best. That is why we recommend that you don’t go overboard until you know that something works. Don’t spend two months on a campaign that you haven’t at least tested before blasting it out.

Good luck with your holiday email marketing and take some time to spend with friends and family this year! Happy Holidays!