Have you started sending holiday emails yet? If not, now is the perfect time to start, as 42% of retailers begin their marketing push in September. Considering that email drove 23% of sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2014, getting your holiday email marketing ready now is a smart move.

The average holiday shopper will spend about $805 during the holidays, that’s up 5% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. To ensure your holiday emails are merry and bright, we have 4 email marketing tips for the holidays.

1. Forget delivery by sleigh, focus on mobile

Last year, retailers reported 50% more traffic coming from mobile during the holiday season. With an increasing number of shoppers using tablets and smartphones to consume email, it’s more important than ever to make sure your holiday email is mobile-friendly.

Here are a few tips to optimize your emails for mobile:

Use a mobile-friendly email template

How do your emails look on mobile devices? Make sure you use a mobile-friendly email template, like the ones offered by Campaign Monitor, and go the extra mile to ensure success by using our inbox preview feature to see how your emails appear in over 25 different email clients so you know your email looks fantastic in every inbox.

Be fussy about fonts

Everything is smaller on mobile devices. Subscribers shouldn’t need magnifying glasses to read your email, so make sure you select a web-friendly font like Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, or Georgia. You’ll also want to increase the size of your font for easy viewing.

Keep it brief

On a small screen, five or six sentences can look like a novel. You don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers. Keep your email messages short and consumable and link to longer or more detailed content on your website or blog.

2. Deck your subject lines with holiday cheer

Subject lines can make or break your email. About 33% of subscribers decide whether or not to open your email based on the subject line alone. With email volumes increasing exponentially around the holidays, your subject line needs to convince subscribers to open your email and take action.

Here are a few types of email subject lines you can use during the holidays:

The explainer

Tell recipients exactly what’s in the email. Are you offering a deal? What kind of deal is it? How long is it available? Provide specifics so recipients know what’s in it for them.

The question

Use a question in your subject line to intrigue subscribers. Try something like, “Ready to knock out your holiday shopping?” or “What will you do with your 50% off holiday coupon?”

The holiday connection

Use popular holiday traditions in your subject lines as a clever way to entice readers to open your message. You can reference holiday foods like cookies, latkes or traditions like trimming the tree, opening an advent calendar, or lighting a menorah, or winter-related themes like snowmen and sleigh rides.

The urgent deadline

Is a sale or event about to end? Remind customers about this pending deadline in an email, and be sure to put the urgent information right up front in the subject line. Use urgent language like, “Limited-time offer”, “Sale ends today”, “Only 4 hours left”, or “Doorbusters till Noon only.”

The open-inducing holiday emoji or symbol

There’s an emoji for everything these days, and the holiday season is a great time to spice up your subject lines with some festive flair like a snowflake, a tree, or the open-inducing snowman. Subject lines with icons had a higher unique open rate for 56% of brands, according to an Experian report.

3. Offer deals even St. Nick can’t pass up

Shoppers can’t pass up a good deal during the holidays. Make it easy for customers to shop by offering a can’t-resist promotion.

The deals customers really want

The top three promotions that can tip the holiday scales in your favor include cash back, product discounts, and free shipping. Here’s an example from Campaign Monitor customer, Sephora, which has a festive holiday look and a compelling product discount.

Last minute deals

Every shopper procrastinates. Help those last-minute shoppers out with a deal. In the example below, Campaign Monitor customer, Birchbox, sent out a deal right before Christmas, but you can use these deals before Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday too.

Add a discount to your welcome email

During the holidays, why not switch up your usual welcome email for one with a holiday theme and limited-time promotion? Welcome emails with offers have a 2.5x higher transaction rate than those without, according to a report by Experian. That’s a holiday deal everyone benefits from. You can save time by creating a holiday welcome email now and automating it. That way, when new customers sign up during the holiday season you can maximize your reach and earning potential.

Add an incentive to abandoned cart reminders

Last year, brands lost an estimated $8.6 billion due to abandoned carts from mobile shoppers. Ouch. To get customers to complete their orders, send an email that reminds them about the items that are waiting for them. You might consider offering an incentive too. Try something like “In the spirit of the holidays, we’ll give you 10% off the items in your cart when you complete your order.” You can easily send transactional emails like this with Campaign Monitor’s transactional email feature.

4. Avoid too many promotional emails

If you send too many promotional emails during the holidays, they might get lost in inboxes never to be touched. Just like fruitcakes on your counter. Here are a few non-salesy emails that can engage and inspire subscribers during the holidays.

‘Celebrate the season’ email

When a holiday rolls around, send an email to celebrate the holiday with your subscribers. Rather than sending a coupon, try something like Campaign Monitor customer, Harley-Davidson, did. Send a note that celebrates the holiday and ask readers to follow your business on social media.

Holiday tips & how-tos

Help your customers create a stress-free holiday by sending tips and how-to articles that can relieve some of the craziness. Make sure the articles are connected to your brand. For example, a cosmetic company could offer tips to create the perfect look for the office holiday party. A photographer could write an article that offers tips to capture crisp photos on Christmas morning.

Holiday guides

Help customers narrow down their gift ideas by creating a few holiday gift guides. Break guides up by category, like “10 gifts under $10” or “5 fabulous gifts for him.” Create these guides and post them to your blog, your website, and even Pinterest. Send an email that highlights a few of the gifts and a link to check out the full guide on your blog or website. Include pictures, descriptions, prices and of course, any relevant ordering deadlines.

Wrap up

By using the tips in this post and planning creative email campaigns, you can make the most of the holiday season starting now.

Read more: