October 25, 2017

Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns: The Dos and Don’ts

Written by
Kevin George

While you need to plan well for your email campaigns all year round, you need to take extra care and ramp up your email strategy during the holidays as it is the best time to make the most out of your business. To bring the feel of the holiday season in the emails you send and to garner the attention of maximum prospects, you need to plan well in advance.

To plan your holiday emails effectively, take some time to do a little research and answer a few questions so that you know you’re heading in the right direction. Here are a few things that you should be considering:

  • Your brand’s marketing goals for the holiday season
  • Offers and discounts that you plan to offer to your customers
  • The benefits offered by your brand over your competitors
  • A planned timeline to send the emails
  • Subject lines that would make your emails stand out

According to a survey report by National Retail Federation, the total online sales for holiday season 2016 was $655.8 billion, which is expected to increase by 3.6 to 4 percent this year. Running effective campaigns is a great way to attract new and existing customers to your brand’s holiday offerings.

So, you can’t afford to go wrong, anywhere!

Here are some dos and don’ts that you need to consider for effective holiday email campaigns:

Do Plan Early

Get started on your holiday email strategy well in advance. Stay organized by creating different calendars to keep a track of creation/production and deployment activities. Also, create your segmentation strategy and finalize your themes.

If you are going to change mailing frequency during the holidays, let your subscribers know about it in advance and provide them options to manage their preferences to get more or fewer emails from you. To plan in the right direction, look at your past campaigns and evaluate what performed well and how that can be optimized for 2017’s holiday season.

Do Send Engaging Emails

Create engaging emails that would attract more prospects and induce greater customer engagement in the busy holiday season. Make use of interactive visual elements to highlight the key areas of your content and include engaging CTAs to draw conversions. Add fun elements through a GIF or use gamification to generate activity and excitement in your email campaigns.

You can also run contests and offer giveaways to engage more users. Attention span during the holidays is lower — make the emails short and succinct.

Do Incorporate Social Media

People are busy enjoying their holidays and may not check their emails as much as they normally do. In order to capture the attention of more users, make your holiday offers available across all your channels like socials and blog. Also, make your emails easy to share with friends and family. Add evident social sharing buttons in the emails you send. This is a great way to attract new subscribers.

Do Send Customer-centric Emails

Maintain a sense of realness in all your holiday emails. Remember that you are having a dialog with a real person and hence, you need to acknowledge them. Make it easy for your customers to buy from you by sending them relevant offers and services. Avoid sending brand-centric emails that just try to sell. Delight your subscribers by giving them something extra, so your brand will be valued. Tap into their emotions by sending them thank you emails that sell nothing but instead thank the customer for doing business with you.

Do Perform Extensive Rendering and Testing

If you are using interactive elements or animation in your emails, be sure to design a safe fallback for those devices and email clients where CSS and interactivity may not be supported. Do extensive testing for rendering and other issues to ensure the experience is optimal. This part, although essential, can usually be overlooked in the planning and execution process.

Don’t Over email

Just because it is the holidays, don’t keep on sending emails. Maintain a fixed frequency and your email schedule accordingly. Over-emailing can land you in the subscribers’ spam folder.

Too many emails.

Don’t Batch and Blast

Don’t batch and blast your entire email list during the holidays. If you haven’t been mailing these customers over the year, this is certainly not the time to start. Sending batch and blast emails could lead to deliverability issues and cause your email campaigns to be blocked across ISPs.

ALSO READ: Using Marketing Automation to Segment Your Buyers

Don’t Neglect the Subject Lines

A subject line is one of the most critical parts of your holiday campaigns. Make sure you pay more attention towards making them effective. Use creative elements like hashtags and emojis in your subject lines to grab the subscribers’ attention. But make sure you do robust planning and outcome analysis before hijacking any trending hashtags.

Don’t Neglect the Smaller Holidays

Although Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas are the major holidays you need to focus on, don’t neglect the less celebrated holidays. You can make the most out of days such as Free Shipping Day, Small Business Saturday, Giving Tuesday, etc. to keep your subscribers engaged. However, don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do on these days.

Wrap Up 

With great competition to stand out from in the inbox during the holidays, your emails need to cut through the noise. This holiday season, try experimenting with new ideas and find out what works best for your business keeping the above dos and don’ts in mind. What are your plans for this year’s holiday email campaigns? Let us know in the comments!

Holiday bow

Searching for a good marketing automation software to send out those holiday emails? Our easy to use Product Selection Tool can narrow down your search to find the perfect software solution for your business needs. Would you rather talk to a real person? Contact us today to speak to one of our unbiased Tech Advisors. 


Kevin George is the head of marketing at EmailMonks — one of the fastest growing email design and coding companies, specializing in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free master email templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes email marketing. He is a brand magician who loves to engage and share insights with fellow marketers. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter & LinkedIn