Practical Advice for Your Holiday Email Marketing Plan

The holidays might as well already be here folks! By mid-October, I (along with other busy marketers) are fully immersed in planning and designing holiday email campaigns. I catch the holiday bug way too early! And for businesses, the stakes are high during the holidays. Customers are shopping, bargain hunting, and looking at you for that special something. Email open rates start to go up early November through early January so you should be prepared to meet your customers’ needs and deliver holiday emails to wow.

If you need a little help or guidance on tackling the holiday email marketing game, here are my golden holiday email marketing tips I apply to every one of my clients regardless of their industry, audience, or specific goals.

Holiday Email Marketing Tips

Email with Purpose: You will no doubt have more to say during the holidays. To balance your announcements, create a email schedule and decide when and where to reach your audience. Create a holiday calendar so you can launch campaigns that coincide with great sale times. Here’s a snapshot of 2017 holiday dates:

  • Oct. 31: Halloween
  • Nov. 11: Veterans Day
  • Nov. 23: Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 24: Black Friday
  • Nov. 25: Small Business Saturday
  • Nov. 27: Cyber Monday
  • Nov. 28: Giving Tuesday
  • Dec. 11: Green Monday
  • Dec. 12: Start of Hanukkah
  • Dec. 15: Free Shipping Day
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day
  • Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve
  • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day

Your email subscribers have given you personal access to their Inbox; respect it by not flooding them with too many emails. “One of the top reasons people unsubscribe from email is that the email marketer underestimates or overestimates the frequency which subscribers wish to hear from them,” says Ros Hodgekiss, design community manager at Campaign Monitor. “According to a recent survey, 53 percent of consumers reported getting too many emails from retailers.” With that, consider sticking to an average or slightly above average consistency.

Does each announcement need an email or can you use social media? As a rule, reserve the big announcements for email and post everything (big and small) on social media.

Provide Shipping and Order by Dates: Make it easy for customers to know they’re guaranteed a gift in time. When do orders need to be received and shipped by to arrive before big holidays? Let your customers know with clear communication on every email. Start early with Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales. During the peak of the season offer free shipping – it might convince them to order online rather than going to the store. Later in the season, send an email about overnight shipping. Last-minute shoppers will like the option to send an electronic gift card.

Offer Gift Wrapping: It may not always apply, but when offered it could make the sale. The holidays are a busy time; shopping is a task all its own, so lighten the load and offer to ship packages with gift wrapping and/or personal messages.

Send Cheer: Everyone, including your customers, is being bombarded with sales. Give them a breathe of fresh air and send a thoughtful card- via email or post mail. Try a heartful thank you at Thanksgiving, or New Year’s.

Offer Extra VIP Discounts: Everyone is looking for a good sale. Black Friday competitions have spiraled into month long battles so deep discounts are expected. Benefit from the high activity by collecting email addresses in exchange for a promo code. With care, you’ll be able to nurture this VIP group into loyal customers.

Create Urgency: Urgency is a great way to boost sales and encourage shoppers to act now. Some great ways to implement buying urgency is with:

  • countdowns
  • early bird pricing
  • sale previews
  • one-day sales

As you prep and start your holiday marketing email campaigns, remember to enjoy the festive season and be present for your customers. A cheerful and trustworthy team can make all the difference. Have questions? Just drop a comment and I’ll be glad to reply.

And, check out my email design board on Pinterest for email inspiration:

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