Holiday Email Marketing Guide 2014

The festive season is in full swing – with locals and tourists out enjoying the festivities; sing-along Christmas tunes playing on every corner; and red, gold and green adorning every shopping centre, not to mention the number of email’s that are hitting your inbox!

If you want to get Christmas email marketing messages out to your customers or target market this holiday you need to have a strategic holiday email marketing plan in place to catch their attention, stand out from the crowd, and hopefully boost sales while you’re at it. Holidays can account for 20 – 40% of a retailer’s annual sales, and Christmas time is bound to make up a big chunk of this. So we’ve put together a few tips to take your holiday email newsletters to the next level:

Have a plan that ensures sales
According to economic analysts, Deloitte, 50% of sales will be influenced by digital interaction and a whopping 84% of shoppers use digital tools before and during their trip to a store. Needless to say, having an email marketing plan in place is well worth the effort. You need to start early to be ahead of the game - according to a recent study, half of the American consumers polled (49%) said that for the upcoming holiday season they will shop online earlier than they did last year, so come up with some ideas to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Look at purchasing patterns, what seems to be influencing buying decisions and also remember that subscribers will be buying gifts for their loved ones, rather than things they may want for themselves.

Holiday email marketing strategies should be on your agenda well before the festive season kicks off… and should carry on right up until Christmas Eve as lots of people leave their shopping till the last minute! Ensure that the purchasing process is quick and easy, as they’re likely to be rushing around trying to get everything done. Gift ideas or hampers are also a great idea, saving them the hassle of scrolling through millions of options.

Be strategic with segmentation
Don’t overwhelm your subscribers and remember that increasing the number of emails you send can impact delivery. With people going on holiday there’s an increased likelihood of unsubscribes and spam complaints during this time, so always target your message and make sure each one is as relevant as possible. For example you can remove segments of your database from specific campaigns if you think it won’t be as relevant to them. Check out our list segmentation strategies to improve engagement.

Be mobile friendly – an absolute must!
Most people are at home or on holiday, so in other words they are not at their desks. Make sure every message is optimised for all devices. This includes subject lines – keep them short and create a sense of urgency – such as Last chance for delivery or Selling out fast. According to, nearly 102 million consumers in the U.S. will make purchases via their mobile devices this holiday season, a 37.3% increase over last year.

Add value
Send DIY festive tips, recipes and other holiday-related suggestions as well as promotional material. Emphasise points that differentiate you from competitors and/ or may be useful to your audience – such as return periods, online shopping, customer service after hours and free shipping. Research suggests that over two-thirds of consumers expect free shipping – so be sure to mention this if it’s available.

Focus on a seasonal festive design
Opt for something that will be relevant and appealing to your audience – for example if they’re in the southern hemisphere snow and mulled wine probably won’t work as well as fairy lights and champagne! Videos and images are also great additions, but make sure a plain text version is available too.

Over and above these tips for festive season email marketing, always remember to:
  • Test your HTML campaign to ensure you get the best possible open and engagement rates. Read our tips for best practice.
  • Take the time to do A/B split testing. This is the most effective way to determine which of your tactics are working best, and optimise future send outs.
  • Create relevant landing pages for the season to drive conversions and boost sales as much as possible.
  • Clean up your opt-in subscriber lists to maintain a great reputation, good delivery of your campaigns and to avoid email blacklisting.
  • Optimise sign up forms by placing them strategically on your website with a festive design and/ or add fields (without making it too long) to get relevant information about your subscribers.
  • Remember to integrate social media in to your email marketing. Read our top four tips to do this effectively.

And last, but arguably most important of all, continue to assess performance – monitor delivery and click-through-rates; and apply the lessons learnt along the way to improve your strategy and results.

If you follow these tips during this festive season, you’ll be sure to notice good results and increase your return on investment. Happy holidays!