Holiday Email Marketing: All Things Holiday Campaigns For Your Brand

The Email Marketers
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November 29, 2021

Holiday Email Marketing: All Things Holiday Campaigns For Your Brand

The holidays, the holiday season, and holiday marketing go hand in hand, and whether you love them or hate them, they're here. And if you have a business to market, your internal dialogue may be sounding something like this right about now:

"Wait, they're here already? Didn't I just almost kill myself to get through Black Friday madness? When was I supposed to find time to develop a holiday email marketing strategy?"

To which I can only respond, "I know, RIGHT?!" The end of the fourth quarter is challenging from every perspective, and that includes marketing. It can feel overwhelming on both the personal level and on the business level, especially if you didn't have the time this year to create a robust holiday email marketing campaign for this holiday season.

But take a breath. The point of the holiday season is joy, right? Joy for you AND for your business, whether it be a small business, a big one, or an ecommerce one. Holiday email marketing campaigns will save the day--and the good news (the "gift" if you will) is that we are here to give you some quick & dirty holiday email marketing campaign ideas.

Even if you don't have a meticulously planned email campaign, you can still increase your conversion rate with these simple marketing ideas. Intrigued? Keep reading to get your email marketing campaign in action and your holiday emails on point!

Why Email Marketing Campaigns are perfect for the Holiday Season

So the holidays showed up...AGAIN. And you're feeling less than ready. We get it! The year sped by and you were busy handling all the millions of details that come with running your business and growing your brand. You may be tempted to hide your head in the sand, but resist! You already have one of the most powerful content email marketing tools at your disposal, all cued up to help you take advantage of the holiday season and holiday marketing.

No, it's not social media--you have your email list and subscribers. You ALREADY have the ideal group of people, your current audience, whom you can offer Promotions, Holiday sales, exclusive sales, and more. Simply put, your current audience already loves your brand enough to have an email subscription, and they will be out there looking for the perfect holiday gifts, deals, and tips. The only thing you really have to do is reach out with holiday emails.

More good news: when it comes to holiday sales promotion, email stands out as the most effective channel by far--even more so than social media (trust us, the research is there). Additionally, between 2019 and 2020, the rate of increase of holiday sales more than doubled the average growth of other years--the holiday shopping season is growing!

Holiday email campaigns are key players here: after all, where were we all doing our holiday shopping last year? Online. A lot of that holiday shopping was done on mobile phones. And what else do holiday shoppers do on their mobile phones? Check their email and watch out for that special holiday offers. Chew on this: since 2019, the number of emails opened on mobile devices has outpaced that of emails opened on desktop computers. And email campaigns offer the amazing benefit of personalization and quick-buy options!

Convinced you need a solid holiday email marketing strategy? Good. You can get on this, even if it's last-minute :) Maximize your marketing during the holiday rush with email and help customers find that perfect gift, ie one of YOUR products! Here are some holiday email marketing ideas and tips for your business. Just in time for Christmas!

Killer Email Marketing Tips For This Holiday Season

We present to you a buffet of quick, easy, and effective ways to reach your email subscribers, get them shopping your brand for the holidays, and boost your sales. Keep in mind the following tips as you create your email marketing campaigns for the holidays, and feel free to take any examples from the suggestions below to shape your campaign. 'Tis the season of giving, after all.

Subject lines still rule!

Optimize the subject line of every single holiday email to increase open rates and drive holiday sales. Include eye-catching, powerful words: for example, "free," "free shipping," "discount," "hot deal," or "hot deal" while keeping in mind that some of them can trigger spam flagging (free, especially). That means, A/B test those ones rigorously. Remember to use keywords such as  "holidays," "holiday season," "holiday deals," "Black Friday Cyber Monday," or "Christmas" to flag to your email subscribers that this is a holiday email.

One of our favorite subject lines: The [Brand Name] Holiday Gift Guide

Personalizing your subject lines is also a great strategy--customers respond more readily to a holiday message that feels personal. And don't forget the emoji (if it's on-brand with your brand)!!!! As many as 45 percent more people open emails with emojis!

FYI: this year's most popular emoji is a snowman. How's that for a handy marketing tip?

Don't forget about headers and calls to action

And while we're on the topic of handy tips and keywords, treat your header and call to action with just as much care as your subject line. Getting a prospect to open your email doesn't mean much if your header doesn't entice them to keep reading and your CTA doesn't make clicking irresistable.

Make sure every email has a header that lets the offer really shine, then utilize your subheader to play up the emotion you want your offer to elicit. Your CTA should reiterate the offer, especially if it's a sale. For example, "Buy Now: 20% OFF" feels more exciting than "Buy Now," doesn't it?

Learn Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the biggest day for online shopping, with Black Friday coming in second. When it comes to Black Friday Cyber Monday, you've got two options. Option 1: dread the insanity and competition, power through in survival mode, and then be glad you don't have to think about it come the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Option 2: You can see BFCM as a learning opportunity for what's going to work for your holiday email campaign--and the year to come. We'll give you one guess on which option you should be taking.

You can use marketing email templates to create quick holiday emails just as easily as you use them to create a BFCM campaign. Bonus points (and revenue) if you remember that one of the big advantages email has over social media marketing is personalization. Use segmentation to make sure that every prospect gets the perfect message.

One example of creative use of segmentation in a holiday email is to send an email offering extension of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday sales into the next week--but only to your subscribers who didn't purchase. Extended holiday discounts are a growing trend, and if you can work it into your margins, go for it.

Use A Dedicated Holiday Landing Page

For your holiday email marketing strategy to work effectively, you need to send your click-through email subscribers to an easy-to-use landing page. This is where they will make their purchase. The landing page should match the holiday email and be consistent with your brand. Customers want to feel assured that they are making the right holiday purchase and didn't get redirected to another site online. And don't forget: your landing page is a great opportunity for creating a positive shopping experience and upselling!

If you just read that and thought, "I don't even have a holiday email campaign lined up. What makes you think I have time to make a holiday landing page?" we've still got you covered. Just make your regular website a little more festive. For example, a simple holiday-themed banner across your website will even do the trick. Even decking the digital halls a tiny bit goes a long way with your audience.

Holiday Early Bird Offers and Holiday Limited Time Offers

Yes, it's true that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but Christmas is still a full month away! Taking another useful lesson from BFCM, create holiday email campaigns that offer early-bird sales to your email audience. You can ramp up this holiday campaign as the day approaches.

And we'll keep saying it because it's THAT important--a compelling subject line that references the holidays (for example uses the words "holiday sale") a clear call to action, incentives such as free shipping or guaranteed delivery, and an online holiday landing page consistent with your brand will get customers to open and respond to your early bird holiday emails.

And don't forget about the cousin of the early bird sale, the limited-time offer. Push the sense of urgency by giving your target audience a sale too good to pass up, and one they have to take advantage of quickly. Urgency is a way to charge up your marketing push! And if you mention that only subscribers are getting access to special sales and offers for your brand, so much the better. People respond to a message of exclusivity just as well as one of urgency.

Create A Holiday Gift Guide

You know that feeling when you just don't know what to get your loved ones for the holidays? Everybody knows it, and it's even got a name: "holiday anxiety." It's real and it presents a perfect marketing opportunity to help your relationship with your customer this holiday season. Make your customers' lives easier by offering a helpful gift guide.

You can create and send multiple gift guides, shaped for your various audience segments. Use a marketing email template to curate gifts in groupings along with special discounts and reminders of the holiday sale for your customers. For that customer in a last-minute panic about what to get who, your guide will actually feel like the perfect gift itself! Send one out and watch your holiday sales rise!

Here's the beautiful thing about a holiday gift guide email: it doesn't need to take hundreds of hours to curate and design. Try sending out a "Founder's Favorites" or "CEO's Top Picks" list. An email straight from the founder or CEO to the customer is a great way to build relationships, but it also simplifies your email marketing life. The design of a letter, after all, is a plain-text email. This type of holiday email is also great if you aren't able to offer a sale this year because it gives the sense of personalization and that your brand really cares about its customers.

Push the Holiday Gift Card

Another great option to address holiday anxiety is to promote the ever-popular gift card as part of your holiday email campaigns, particularly as ecommerce use grows across age demographics. Don't know what gift to give Dad? Give him a gift card and let him go shopping and choose himself.

Last-Minute Holiday Deals!

Last-minutes holiday sales are a must in your email campaign this year. Most customers (79%!!!!) do their holiday shopping in the two weeks leading up to Christmas, even when it's online. Now you have another reason not to get down on yourself if you don't have a series of holiday campaigns for your brand lined up starting the day after Giving Tuesday: customers often take a pause between BFCM and the rest of their holiday shopping.

Your holiday email campaign needs to include an offer with last-minute deals. Use strong subject lines to boost open rates (your subject line should include phrases like "holiday sale" and "last-minute,"), a bold call to action, incentives such as free shipping, and a link to your landing page. Your customers will appreciate it!

One more thing to keep in mind with last-minute shoppers: they are more concerned with time than a sale. Consider shifting any shipping offers from "free shipping" to "fast shipping" during the last couple of weeks before Christmas. And while we're on the subject of shipping: make sure every email you send during the holidays has a crystal clear message about shipping times. It's a free way to save your customers' disappointment and keep your relationship positive.

Small Business Saturday And Giving Tuesday

We mentioned Black Friday and Cyber Monday earlier, but Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday have their own set of takeaways you can apply to the rest of the holiday season. These days appeal to the customer who feels over-saturated with Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and the general commercialization of Christmas. They present a more altruistic approach to the holiday season than a typical sale. Take these customers seriously: between 2018 and 2019, Small Business Saturday participants increased by 3 million. Small Business Saturday particularly appeals to Gen Z, whose purchase power is growing by the day.

You can create incentives that incorporate generosity any time of year, but especially during the holidays. For example, a campaign that focuses on pledging to donate a certain percentage of net profits during the holidays requires very little set-up and gives your audience the warm fuzzies even while they're shopping.

The Holiday Marketing Wrap Up. Pun Intended :)

From Black Friday to Giving Tuesday to Christmas, the holidays are chock-full of opportunities for you to connect with your customers and get ramp up holiday sales in the process. Even if you didn't get an early start this year, holiday email marketing can be surprisingly easy to implement.

We're always in favor of giving relevant email content to subscribers and customers, and what could be more relevant than sales and deals for the holidays? More and more customers are shopping online for the holidays, and you can make it that your holiday email reaches them at just the right time when you put a bit of effort into your email campaigns and make your holiday emails pop!

Holiday email marketing will definitely give back to you with increased sales and happy subscribers. Ideas such as holiday sales, holiday season discounts, limited-time offers, free shipping, gift guides and certificates, and even a simple holiday message coupled with appropriate subject lines can drastically improve engagement, leading subscribers to choose YOUR business for their shopping decisions. Let your campaigns gain momentum with the lead-up to Christmas--whether you got to it early or late, make sure the holidays work to increase your business and brand's sales this year!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays from The Email Marketers :) Always here to help your email content and content marketing shine. Long live the email campaign!