Holiday Email Marketing: Tips & Ideas for A Profitable 2021 Holiday Season

By LitExtension


The holiday season is around the corner, and shoppers are super excited to spend a fortune on wish lists they have drooled over the year. Hence, now is the ideal time to step up your holiday email marketing strategies to entice customers into the sales funnels.

In this write-up, we’ll give you a free buffet of holiday email marketing examples as well as some tips for optimizing your holiday emails.

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3 Key Tips To Craft Your Perfect Holiday Email Marketing

Whether you’ve already planned your holiday email marketing or you’re just getting started, you can find a wealth of helpful knowledge in our “Holiday Email Marketing: Best Practices and Case Study Analysis” webinar.

Below is the full version of the webinar, check it out!

Segment Audience List

Email segmentation is a technique to send highly targeted and personalized emails by dividing your email list into smaller groups, or what so-called “segments”. Segmenting contacts is vital as it helps to improve opens and click-through rates.

There are several email segmentation strategies you can apply such as demographics, email engagement level and purchase history.

Especially, during the holiday season, you can try dividing your clients into two main subsets: Year-round and more seasonal shoppers.

Your loyal everyday customers require different approaches to shoppers who are more active during festive times. As the former is more willing to buy your items at full price, you should offer loyalty reward programs instead of promotions. Meanwhile, the latter tends to prefer discounted items and samples as well.

Fortunately, there are plenty of customer insights tools that can help you to properly categorize your audience. Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are perhaps the two most well-known names in the market.

Adapt Subject Lines for Festive Frivolity

Holiday email marketing offers businesses the golden opportunity to maximize revenue. That’s the reason why so many brands, if not all, make use of this festive period to send out holiday email marketing.

This also means that your customers’ inboxes are jam-packed with promotional emails from different brands. Hence, if your brand’s email doesn’t stand out in the sea of holiday messaging, it’s likely to be floating meaninglessly in those overflowing inboxes.

And one of the most effective ways of standing out is by writing an impressive subject line. Data reveals that 35% of customers open emails based solely on the subject lines. That said, a subject line has the ability to make or break the overall result of an email marketing campaign.

When it comes to holiday seasons, the subject lines should be not only personalized but also festive. Here are some holiday email subject lines to get you thinking:

  • Use attention-grabbing words that show subtle urgency.

Eg: “Order now”, “Last minute”, “Tick tock”, etc.

  • Add some festive puns & themed keywords.

Eg: “Trick or treat yo self” (Halloween), “All about that baste” (Thanksgiving), “The snuggle is real” (Christmas), etc.

  • Include some seasonal emojis.

Eg: Pumpkin 🎃, turkey 🍗, snowman ☃️, etc.

  • Consider asking a question.

Eg: “Are you looking for some gift ideas?”, “You didn’t miss this, did you?”, “Christmas Day Outfit panic? We got you”, etc.

Optimize for Mobile Devices

As number never lies, let’s take a look at a few stats we have collected:

  • Over 50% of eCommerce traffic comes from mobile
  • About 80% of people who shop on tablets end up buying
  • 1 in 5 shoppers purchased after opening a retailer’s email on a mobile device

With this in mind, it’s imperative to craft a holiday email marketing that can adapt to wherever your recipients are browsing. Unfortunately, an email designed to be read on PC can look downright horrible on mobile devices.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on how to ensure your holiday email marketing is compatible to all screen sizes:

  • Choose responsive holiday email templates
  • Break up text
  • Avoid large image files
  • Use buttons for calls to action instead of long links

By this point, you have grasped the three key ingredients for a lucrative holiday email marketing. Let’s take your time and experience them all ahead of the 2021 festive period.

Now, it’s time to discover some magnificent examples in the industry and get inspired!

Get Noticed With These Creative Holiday Email Ideas

A Composure Style In Chaotic Black Friday & Cyber Monday season

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest shopping days in brick-and-mortar stores, but we bet you didn’t see long lines of deal seekers camping out in the year 2020. Things will be no different in 2021 and perhaps in the following years: Less in-store shopping and more online shopping.

This year, due to financial hardships, customers might be less eager to overspend on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Therefore, deals, discounts and freebies will play crucial parts in driving more revenue.

Anyway, there are still millions of customers waiting to rush to online stores as soon as the sales start. So, roll up your sleeves and get your holiday email marketing prepped ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Now, let’s together take a closer look at Black Friday and Cyber Monday newsletter from & Other Stories, a UK fashion brand.

Subject line: Black Friday starts early

Subject line: Cyber Monday | extra 30% off promotional items

No flashy content. No crossed-out previous price. Both of these marketing emails from & Other Stories are simple yet elegant, straightforward yet attractive. That doesn’t mean they lack identity. In reverse, these two depict a consistently minimalist vibe of the brand’s email marketing strategies.

The message is clear to grasp and all the essential info is displayed in short copy. The CTAs are placed right in the middle and can’t be missed. The best thing here is their consistent use of words and images connected to train rides.

Moreover, the Black Friday email was designed in only black and white, which is pretty much a standard when it comes to Black Friday campaigns. But just when Cyber Monday sales kickstarts, the colors are back in place.

Order Before [Date] and Receive It Before [Holiday Name]

Plenty of customers are running a little behind the Christmas schedule and still shopping in the day or even hours before Christmas, making it the ideal time to send holiday email marketing about last-minute gift ideas. This email was created with this special clientele in mind: Late shoppers.

Should you be in the same situation, what will you worry about? Perhaps, many of you will wonder whether your parcels get shipped on time. Once you’ve identified the pain point, you should make attempts to fix it for your customers. But how?

By offering a two-hour delivery or running an “order before [date] and receive it before [holiday name] type of campaign!

Subject line: ⌚ Order before 2pm EST for FREE overnight shipping.

This holiday email marketing from PUMA quickly demonstrates the main offer, which is the free overnight shipping that will get you your order in time for Christmas Eve.

As you can see, all elements of this email are used simply yet effectively — subject line with emoji and capitalized power words, banners, a few links to secondary offers, and social media icons.

Buy Yourself The Gift You Didn’t Get

When Christmas is over, there might be an odd — the gift you longed for wasn’t under the tree. And after spending much of your holiday budget on gifts for family and friends, post-Christmas is for treating yourself.

In fact, a new wave of sales begins after Christmas when consumers shift back to shopping for themselves and lots of brands make good use of this trend to drive revenue.

Subject line: No Mahabis under the tree? Treat yourself instead…

Have you ever noticed that almost all holiday email marketing campaigns do not focus on the recipients but rather their family members, friends and colleagues? This time, Mahabis made a different yet smart approach. The brand excused its December 25 sale-off with a nod to the activity of the moment: unboxing gifts.

This holiday email marketing is not overly complicated and it doesn’t have to be. Its color palette is minimal and its key message is transparent: A discount offer for selected items. Perhaps, you want some “me time” with comfortable pajamas? Or maybe you’re looking for some accessories for the upcoming New Year Eve? Mahabis has all to offer!

Besides post-Christmas, there are several post-holiday periods when you can send out email marketing to nab a few more sales. This email from Sephora to their customers in early January is an example.

Year In Review

As the new year fast approaches, many of us tend to look back on the prior year to determine what went well, what we resolve to do better next year, and how to make a succulent year. This is also happening in the world of holiday email marketing as these past few years have witnessed the rise of “year in review” emails.

Spotify’s year-in-music email

Subject line: Everything you need to know about your year in music

First off, one thing that could not be denied is that Spotify email has a nicely-designed presence with an eye-catching color palette.

This email simply gives you the minutes you listened to Spotify throughout the year. But by clicking into your Year Wrapped, you’ll be taken into a customized quiz where you guess your top albums, songs, and artists. By doing so, Spotify wanted to engage its users, make them reminisce on the things they’ve listened to and have fun analyzing it.

Better yet, Spotify also creates custom playlists based on your top music throughout the year and the old-school playlist you may have missed.

Strava’s year-in-sport email

Similarly, Strava — the biggest social network for athletes also did a great job. Let’s take a glance at Strava’s 2017 year-in-review email and figure out what it entailed.

The unique point of this year-end email from Strava is it comes with a one-minute video highlighting your distance traveled, workout partners, top sport and even the routes you took. Strava took the data that its users provided by interacting with the app throughout the year and made something creative and memorable to keep them motivated in the upcoming year.

Shipt’s food-in-review email

Now, you might be wondering whether your brand can send out a “year in review” type of email just like SaaS platforms like Spotify or Strava. The answer is an absolute yes, if you wish to.

While it’s true that these recap emails are not good fits for all businesses, they still work if your brand offers products or services that mean a lot to customers.

Here is how Shipt — a food business has done with their holiday email marketing:

There are several factors that combine to make this Shipt’s email shine bright.

First, it puts emphasis on readers’ milestones with the brand. Second, the email is designed in infographic style, drawing attention to the numbers. It’s pretty sure that this email holiday marketing from Shipt is going to the spotlight in any overcrowded inboxes.

Look Ahead To The New Year

Everyone, especially this year, is looking for a reason to send off 2021 with a bang and look forward to better things in 2022. Go ahead and give your clients a reason to do that, with your New Year email greeting and offer!

Just like the start of a new year, people want something special from the get-go. You can make a positive impression by giving sincere thanks to your audience for sticking with you through the year 2021, wishing them a Happy New Year, or letting them know about your New Year sale. Whatever content you wish to deliver, remember to attach it with some compelling visuals and festive spirit.

Below is a holiday email marketing for New Year Eve that we find super unique and interesting. Let’s dive in!

Subject Line: New year, same you (and proud)

New Year’s resolutions might not be a new concept, if not a little bit cliché. But WeTransfer has successfully proved what is so-called “old but gold” with their creative mind.

With some short-and-sweet and funny visuals, the email showcases “resolutions worth keeping”. What can be learned from this holiday email marketing is how to create engaging email content that keeps your readers scrolling until the very end.

Bottom Line

As there is no secret formula that works for all, you can always take inspiration from our suggested holiday email ideas above and then craft your one-of-a-kind emails.

Moreover, remember to take advantage of the data you have to customize your holiday email marketing, to give your audience exactly what they need in the upcoming holiday season. But don’t forget to spend some time for yourself, flocking to online stores and shopping til you drop!

By the way, if you’re looking for more eCommerce tips and ideas, let’s join our Facebook community!

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