Ultimate Holiday Email Marketing Guide

Holidays are the most convertible time of the year for business. The sales in the holidays have only increased since the year 2002. 

Even the pandemic where the holiday sales were expected to be depleted went all opposite. 

The holiday sales increased after the pandemic, the rate of increase is doubled between the years 2019 and 2020. 

This only shows how customers are building more purchasing habits in the holidays. They are in fact, looking forward to buying the products online during the festivals and holidays. 

Holidays are the best time to get the maximum amount of sales you can get, even sometimes compared to your whole year. 

Lot of businesses in fact survive or make huge profits just by upping their game during holidays. 

And to make the most of it, you need a holiday email marketing campaign specially customized to bring you maximum results during holidays time only. 

So here is an extensive guide to help you to do so.

Why Are Emails The Best Holiday Marketing Tool? 

why use emails for holiday marketing

There are multiple marketing methods and channels that can help you to drive leads and sales in holidays. 

And most certainly these marketing channels have their own set of benefits but emails are specifically suited to land you holiday sales. 

It all boils down to consumer behavior in the times of holidays whether it is Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year. 

Emails have come across as the most reliable, credible, and intimate form of communication to the targeted users. 

With Pandemic lingering on the world, and after its effects from last year, the email is only further grown to be working better in holidays.   

Emails Complements The Mobile Internet Users 

As per a recent study, 79% of mobile users made purchases online in the last six months.  

Mobile e-commerce has always been the largest piece of the pie of total online purchases in the world. 

Now, in 2020, it is only skyrocketed with the intent of only growing further. 

Pandemic made people uncomfortable to go to purchase in-person so, and even with things getting better for time being, it impacted people’s mentality and shopping patterns & habits drastically. 

Email as compared to other forms of reaching out to the audience such as Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, etc is more concrete. 

It is more personalized, intimate, and hence, more credible to the people. It only asks for highly-responsive email templates and designs with clear CTA buttons, and Voila! 

Emails Are More Personalized 

Users with the intent of shopping when they receive offers and heavy discounts in their inbox are most likely to welcome it and at least give it a shot. 

And chances are if they are receiving e-commerce emails, they are signed up for it, so it reduces the possibility of ignoring or irrelevance of the email. 

Online shopping brands get to send their offers to more targeted consumers with personalized inclination. 

Even further with segmentation, you can select the custom offers depending upon the type of potential customers. 

Personalization makes the emails less sales-sy and spam-ish, so people are more interested in at least giving it a shot. 

Emails Presents Multiple Purchasing Options Instantly 

According to Forbes, last year made holiday shopping quite a habit. People have developed buying instincts based on offers, sales, and discounts. 

According to this, buyers are eager to explore their options and want plenty of offers coming their way to choose from. 

They are looking for sales and festivals to buy their next big purchase whether it is a new LED TV, iPhone, clothes, or anything. 

Emails really come through to deliver on this where now marketers can put a “Buy Now” button in the email itself.  

The prospective buyers will be directly taken to the cart where that product will be added to purchase. 

Statistics That Prove The Significance Of Holiday Email Marketing  

  • 92% of holiday shoppers make their purchase online. 
  • 41% of online buyers purchase from a new retailer.
  • $380 is the average spend per shopper on Black Friday.
  • $850 is the average spend per shopper 
  • 69% marketers as per the survey are the ones who started planning holiday campaigns by August only. 
  • 27.3% of orders made on the Black Friday are driven by email. 
  • There is a 7 to 10% increase projected in the non-store sales for the following year’s holiday season. 

How To Achieve Holiday Email Success ? 

Email marketing is often conceived as an oversaturated solution for reaching out to potential customers and sales conversion. 

It gets a bad reputation for that. But it isn’t true! The onus of the effort must be towards the content that your email consists of. 

That pretty decides the conversion results of your email and also, the strategies applied as per the condition and targetted customers. 

Here are some highlights of how you can achieve holiday email success through effective holiday email marketing strategies and pointers in mind. 

Leveraging Sense of Urgency 

Not to forget, their sense of urgency in the given time and getting something at a good price due to holiday offers. 

A great holiday email marketing strategy would be to utilize and leverage these conditions in order to make the most of profit. 

For example, incentivize their sense of urgency to get them to purchase instantaneously before they second the thought. 

This means you have to promote impulsive buying. The idea is to excite them, so they don’t twice about purchasing the product. 

It can be by done by different strategies such as : 

  • Mentioning ‘limited stocks’. 
  • Limited time price of the product with stopwatch counter
  • Putting the counter for the remaining stocks 
  • Make them feel the offer is exclusive for them.
  • Personalize the purchase offer 
  • Give them extra products or additional gifts if they buy now. 

Point Out The ‘Buy Now’ To Your Customers 

The easier it will make for customers to buy the product in any or every way possible, the more sales conversions you tend to get. 

And when it is holiday time, your potential customers are already busy. 

Anything that conflicts their mind to make a smooth decision, chances are they are going to deflect from it.

So don’t give them a chance. You can do that by making the ‘Buy Now’ button more visible, approachable, and easy to click on. 

It is suggested to place your ‘Buy Now buttons in the strategic spots of the product page. 

Also, the whole navigation of the page must be pointed out to the ‘Buy Now’ button. 

Even your copy for the webpage can help to redirect customers to one singular thought of buying the product. 

You certainly have to be subtle and smart about it, and that even means not being literal in their insulation. 

Then, as mentioned earlier they also have a sense of urgency to the situation. So when you place your ‘Buy Now’ button around to be clicked instaneoulsy, it gives you more conversion. 

Support All Kinds Of Holiday Campaigns 

Emails are always one of the important parts of your greater marketing plan for the holidays, and that it must be. 

You have to understand that alone, email campaigns aren’t a magic pill to get conversion from your customers overnight. 

It takes time to build momentum, gain trust, and even just merely the first attention of the potential buyer. 

So, hit them from all sides in the holidays. Use your email newsletters to consistently be in touch with them and get their email at least. 

Chances are most of the signups from your emails in the holiday campaigns won’t convert to the purchase but they eventually will or become long-term customers. 

So do all kinds of marketing and support it with email holiday marketing campaigns. 

Find Your Customers Where They Are Most Active 

You have to understand the fact that at the times of holidays, potential buyers are hassled to find a good deal for themselves. 

They are busy, distracted and becomes difficult to get hold of them. Also, they do not remain on one platform. 

So it becomes very important to see what emails are mostly opened. So for that, you have to see through your analytics, highest open and click-through rates. 

You have to see where they hang out the most. And what topics they are interested in?  What kind of products they are looking for. 

And when you know all this, use the data of your analytics to ignite conversations to your customers at the place where they are highly active. 

Type Of Emails To Send During Holiday 

Types of emails you should send during holidays 

Welcome  Emails 

Welcome emails are traditionally known for getting higher open rates. So clearly, it is a vital part of the email marketing strategy during holidays. 

To begin with, these emails help you to jumpstart the personal connection with your potential customers. 

It helps you to start with the first interaction with a good impression. Welcome emails also have an impact on the customer lifetime value (CLV). 

This kind of email also helps you to get your customers back to your e-commerce store through other 

Abandoned Cart Emails 

No online store owner wants abandoned carts. 

It is the worst thing to see your potential customer reaches so close to purchasing the product and then abandon the idea. 

Only if there is a way to retrieve those lost potential customers or at least some of them.

Well, that’s why there are – abandoned cart emails! 

Abandoned cart emails target the customers who left the purchasing midway or haven’t completed the purchase for some reason. 

Usually, it happens due to a lack of conviction in the purchasing experience that you can provide to a potential buyer. 

Since these people already have the inclination to buy your products, you can imagine how many conversions this list can get you. 

So, here comes crafting compelling and automated abandoned cart emails that can convert those potential buyers. 

Why  Shopping Cart Abandonment Issue Happens?

Before you come to resolve the problem, you first need to know its reasons as to why it even occurs in the first place. 

Now, when it comes to holidays, there are three primary reasons why shopping carts get abandoned. 

  • High Shipping Costs 

One of the major turn-offs of purchasing online, especially on holidays is paying huge shipping costs or even paying at all for that. 

Customers might be buying more than one product and spending a lot. It becomes frustrating to see huge shipping costs or any additional cost for that matter. 

And when someone is buying just one product, sometimes, the shipping becomes even costlier than the product or even half of it makes no sense. 

  • Getting A Better Deal Elsewhere 

Another prominent reason for cart abandonment has to be getting a more tempting deal from elsewhere. 

Remember, in the holiday season, potential buyers are smart enough to explore the market and find the best deal for them. 

They don’t hesitate to go to every deal on the plate and actively compare them and go through the pros-and-cons list for the final decision.

  • Out-of-Stock Of The Products 

This is also among the primary reasons for shopping cart abandonment during holidays. 

A lot of times, the customer looking for a product that goes out of stock. And during the sales, it happens a lot. 

Now, there is nothing much you can do but lose potential customers that are ready to be sold is heartbreaking in the business. 

It is somewhat equivalent to the phrase- leaving money on the table! 

How To Resolve Shopping Cart Abandonment Issue? 

Now since you already know the reasons why cart abandonment happens, especially during the holidays, you can resolve it too. 

All you have to do is look at the reasons for the cart abandonment and see how you can facilitate the problem and turn it into an opportunity. 

Reducing Shipping Cost Without Losing Profit 

Now since you know high shipping cost is the reason for the cart abandonment, you need to think of possible solutions for it. 

One of the ways to reduce cart abandonment due to shipping costs is just offering free shipping to your products. 

Free shipping, is in fact quite an alluring tactic to convert sales. It has been used predominantly on holidays to attract new customers. 

However, free shipping isn’t always viable. It can hurt the finance of your business if you do not be strategic about it. 

E-commerce giants such as Amazon can offer free shipping due to their massive orders across the world on a minute basis. 

That’s not something small or medium-sized companies can simply compete with. However, there are strategies around it to use without cutting off your profits. 

  • Increase the Average Order Value (AOV) 

Now you can do this if you are a seller competing against others primarily on the basis of how unique the product is. 

So in that case, you try to focus more on increasing the AOV ( Average Order Value) of the purchases. 

That you do by offering free shipping but only under those conditions are met. It means, you only offer free shipping to the customer who can order above a certain amount. 

For eg. Free Shipping On Orders Above $100 

  • Raise The Price Of Product To Cover Shipping Cost 

This is specifically when you are competing against others completely on the basis of price. 

Also, you are not willing to take the shipping cost into account as a marketing expense. 

Tips For 2021 Holiday Email Marketing Campaign 

Tips for holiday email marketing campaign 

Know Your Holidays 

To really benefit from the holidays, you need to first know about the holidays. 

And also not to confuse with your holidays, it should the holidays of the people who are your potential customers and their demographical region. 

Considering your audience is living in the United States, you need to know that the holiday season starts from early November to early January. 

That’s the two-month promotional window for your products to put on the sales and new deals. 

You can use these holiday windows to fuel profits for the entire year. The first thing you need to do is create a list of the key holidays to your location. 

Now, integrate it into the email marketing calendar so you can look forward to creating content and designing emails according to upcoming holidays. 

If you already have been doing it for a while, make sure you utilize the analytics data to find out which holidays are most profitable to your business. 

You need to focus more on the holidays which are generating you the most revenue covering for not-so-good-days of selling. 

Not just holidays, you can also go for the various days going on or even the unusual events such as 

  • National Dog Day
  • First day of Fall
  • An Eclipse
  • Winter solstice 

Make Sure You Start Your Planning As Early As Possible 

Planning is an essential stage to cover if you want to succeed in any kind of work. The same goes for the email marketing campaigns during holidays as well. 

When you plan poorly, it reduces the chance for the purchase from your potential customers. 

It needs to be started as early as possible so you can tease your customers and show them the promise to look forward to. 

It is about increasing the anticipation from the customers regarding the offer, the hype, to show them it is going to be something they expect. 

There is a balance needed to be stricken between the anticipation and promise, otherwise, unfamiliarity causes people to deflect and move one. 

So how do your plan – 

  • Develop the different stages and elements of your email marketing campaigns especially customized to holidays.
  • Create multiple pieces of content that helps you to convert the customers in different scenarios. 
  • Review the content you’ve have created or get created.
  • Create and revise the strategies that earlier gave your success, decode and re-apply to make the most of it.
  • Make sure you track your holidays email marketing campaign and focus on the macro-conversion factors to further re-apply them in future. 

Learn From The Successful Trends Of Last Year

This is one of the smartest ways to assure some degree of success for your holiday email marketing campaign. 

There are always some staple strategies from the last year or in fact commonly found in every year that works like charm. 

Then, some of the experimental or new strategies trending last year to maximize the conversion can also be part of your new campaign. 

To say the least, at least it will help you understand how input and output work in the email marketing dynamics. 

Address The Online-Gift Worrying Potential Customers 

E-commerce has become the bedrock of modern shopping. Especially, after the boom in 2020, it simply established the fact that people are comfortable buying products online. 

However, there is still a significant percentage of people from different age groups and locations, for different reasons hesitate to buy gifts online. 

They do not really trust the idea of purchasing gifts or anything online, especially if it is costly. 

Here are two concerns they usually come across  : 

  1.  Whether their gift will arrive on time to their given destination during holidays. 
  2. Whether it will be easy to return or exchange the product if not liked. 

So, you can simply ignore these facts and these significant percentages of the group but will be leaving money on the table. 

The best you can do is gain their trust, acknowledge their concern, and show them that you are a reliable entity to deliver their gifts on time. 

And to begin with, or even this might do the magic, you can just address these concerns directly to the customers. 

Mention that even if they order on the given date of them receiving the email, you can deliver it on time. 

Writing Irresistable Subject Lines 

This might not seem as big of a deal but it is something that can help dramatically increase your conversion, especially around holidays. 

During holidays, people are heavily occupied, busy, and a bit overwhelmed. They have decision-paralysis when they have to choose a lot from. 

What they do instinctively and through their emotions are pretty much what they act on. Sometimes it is more on the impulsive side as well which is great for sellers. 

So, these times, anything you send in their email inbox is often going to be either ignored or just straight open. 

If they get tired of getting offer emails with similar subject lines, they may just ignore a lot of them on the way. 

You wouldn’t want yours amongst those, would you? 

How To Write Effective Subject Lines? 

The very first barrier to opening an email is the subject lines. Emails are only opened if the subject lines are compelling and effective enough for the subscribers. 

Also, the effectiveness of any email is firstly based on the effectiveness of its subject lines, because that’s what is first to be read. 

To really improve your holiday sales, you need more and more people to read your emails during holidays. 

So your subject lines must be optimized to hit more open rates. 

  • Using Power Words 

One of the prominent strategies to make your subject lines effective is using ‘power words’. 

These power words are based on different factors that hook an audience towards a deal or just to open. 

Again depends upon the purpose, like if it is to make sales, the power words will be ‘hot deal’, ‘free-shipping’ ‘discount’ etc. 

  • Personalization 

Another known and working trick in the bag is – personalization.  You need to personalize your subject lines. 

For eg. just adding the name of the recipient in the subject lines increase the open rates by 26% 

You can also add emojis to the subject line to make it more human, emotion-based, or exciting. It is also reported to increase the open rates by 45%. 

Send A Holiday Gift Guide To Your Subscribers 

There is a documented phenomenon during holidays known as ‘Holiday gift anxiety’. 

It is something that many people face during the peak holiday seasons. It is a form of anxiety about not knowing what to gift your loved ones. 

Well, utilizing this as an opportunity while also resolving their anxiety to a degree, you can send them a holiday gift guide. 

When you resolve a problem for them through your emails, they are more likely to be connected with you. 

It can help your subscribers to deal with their decision-paralysis, opening up to hand-picked, simple, and yet effective gifts for everyone. 

You can create multiple topics under which these gifts will be curated and people can pick as per their requirements. 

Here are factors  on which you can curate your holiday gift guide : 

  • Holiday Gift Guide based on Price Point – for eg.  Holiday Gifts Under $50
  • Holiday Gift Guide based on Age group – for eg. Gifts for senior, kids, teens
  • Holiday Gift Guide based on Relationship – for.eg Gifts for teachers, employees, mothers, fathers, husbands.
  • Holiday Gift Guide based on Product Type – for eg. Gifts in Electronics, Clothes.

Leverage Last-Minute Deals 

There are a lot of shoppers and potential buyers that come late to the party. In fact, 79% of buyers did their gift shopping in the final two weeks before Christmas. 

Now, what does that mean for the brands? 

Well, clearly, there is a chunk of customers who do not even arrive at the scene when the offers are played out. 

So the brands should keep open their offers until the end or they should come up with last-minute customized offers to leverage the urgency of those customers. 

They need to get most of the conversion from those sets of people. Hence, it is also important for brands to continue promoting their offers to specifically target last-minute shoppers. 

Another interesting statistic is that 65% of these last-minute buyers prefer to do in-person shopping, not online. 

This is because they do not trust the online gift delivery for such a short span or simply, they worry about whether their gift will arrive at the destination on time. 

Send Emails After The Holidays 

Sending emails pre-holidays and during holidays is certainly the idea but sending post-holiday emails is also important. 

And it has two essential purposes: 

  1. It is to engage the subscribers who’ve just joined your list during the holiday deal. You can now nurture them to make them a repeat & long-term customer.
  2. It is also for signaling your long-term subscribers about getting back to the normalcy as the pre-holidays email routine. Inform them that they can look forward to receiving regular non-holiday emails.