Email Marketing for the Holidays

by Victor Green
3 mins read

As a retailer, you most likely have been hyping up the customer base in anticipation for the holiday season. Halloween often comes with a slight increase in sales, but the biggest gold mine is the holiday season proper, which often sets in around November. To make the most out of this season, here are a few helpful pointers;

Segmented offers

Individualized recommendations are awesome, but these will only work best during the rest of the year. In the holiday season, the consumer targeted shops not only for themselves but also for their family and loved ones. Historical data, even that which is relatively recent, might not be too helpful. Sometimes, it can be more effective to simply ask subscribers what they would like for the holidays. This kind of segmented offering can only be done effectively through progressive profiling emails.

Seasonal content

Email marketing content should not simply be set and forgotten about. In the holiday season especially, it is important to keep reviewing and renewing the content. Focus on making the triggered email more relevant and attractive to your holiday audience by adding seasonal imagery and gift services at the footers. Also, adjust the timing of the abandonment emails according to the situation. For instance, during black Friday and cyber Monday, the time for purchase is relatively limited, so abandonment emails should be sent relatively quicker.


Speaking of rendering, it is a general unwritten rule that all emails are tested before sending. If you are not, then there are many potential traps you might fall into. For instance, the problems with the iOS 9 platform has been one of the biggest sources of problems for those that do not test. If the email has fixed width, recipients might have problems when they try to zoom in. Test the emails on every platform before beginning.

Social media

The beauty of email is that it can very easily be paired with or use information from other marketing channels. The most useful perhaps in this case is social media, given the likely change in spending habits and preferences in the holiday season. Social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest can be used to show what the customer wants to buy. They can also be useful in building hype and getting customers excited about holiday offerings. Another clever social media technique is the use of in-store information. Information about the products in stock and what other customers are actually buying or actively considering can be useful in the holiday season.

Past campaigns

In sport just like in business, a strategy that works should not be changed. This line of thought is particularly effective during the holiday season. If there are campaigns and holiday season strategies that have worked in the past, then by all means repeat them, tweaking small part to have them remain relevant. Update the design and tweak the message a little to raise the interest of the recipient.

Inactive users

Getting a little holiday season boost by emailing subscribers that have not been too active can be very tempting. Resist the urge to email these chronically inactive subscribers that have not engaged with the company’s emails in a long time. A huge percentage of this group will most likely be gone, with a good portion having either abandoned or changed their email addresses. Emailing people from this group during the holiday season risks your company’s emails getting junked or blocked, further risking your ability to reach other loyal and more active customers. A smarter strategy would be identifying the seasonal shoppers in the mailing list, those that were active during a past holiday season but quickly became silent after that.


Every other year, the holiday season brings with it a spike in mobile activity. Consumers will likely be out and waiting in lines, and what keeps them plugged into the latest deals grapevine is their mobile devices. Despite the undoubted power of mobile, not as many retailers as one would expect have embraced mobile friendly marketing strategies. Research shows that just over half of B2C brands were using email friendly templates as at the halfway point of 2015. If the email marketing template is use is not mobile friendly, perhaps now is the time.

Last sleigh day

Email marketers during the holiday season must have a plan for last sleigh day. This is the last chance for a guaranteed Christmas delivery date for many retailers. After finishing up with the cyber week promotions, make sure to have a plan for order by deadlines and last sleigh day. 

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