5 Tips For Designing Holiday Emails That Convert

Holiday Email Best Practices

The holidays are just around the corner, and every marketer knows what that means. It’s officially email marketing season.

Consumer spending on Black Friday alone exceeds 10 million dollars, and nearly half of consumers say holiday deals and savings drive their purchase decisions. Virtually all marketers know the holidays drive some serious revenue, and the volume of email marketing sent out absolutely skyrockets. Before you begin to feel hopeless, keep in mind that consumers are engaged. Open rates and click-throughs actually increase in November and December.

That doesn’t mean success will be easy for your upcoming email marketing campaigns, however. Inbound marketers need to be extra savvy to stand out on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and during other seasonal sales.

Here are some ways to ensure your upcoming email marketing campaigns are an exceptional success:

1. Create Sharper Segments

The holiday shopping season provides marketers with a strong opportunity to capture new business. While it’s certainly wise to use the holiday season to reward and recognize your businesses’ most loyal customers, it’s also important to create special campaigns for other segments of your email list, too:

  • One-time buyers, especially people who haven’t purchased since the last holiday season
  • Procrastinators, who made last-minute purchases in late December last year
  • Highly engaged leads towards the bottom of your inbound marketing funnel

When it comes to creating segments and personalized messages, the options are only as limited as your imagination. While only 66% of marketers segment their email lists, targeted messages account for 760% of all email marketing revenue. Highly personalized communications are sure to be an effective way to stand out this holiday season.

2. Be Conscious Of Major Shopping Days

Shopping and consumer spend remain high throughout the months of November and December. However, there are some highly predictable patterns to when purchases will peak during the holidays. According to email marketer Brad Smith, the following dates are prime opportunities to capture customers:

Early Shoppers: Black Friday

  • Tuesday, November 25th
  • Thursday, November 27th (Thanksgiving)
  • Friday, November 28th

eCommerce Enthusiasts: Cyber Monday

  • Monday, December 1st (Cyber Monday)
  • Wednesday, December 3rd
  • Friday, December 5th

Last-Minute Shoppers: Green Monday

  • Monday December 8th (Green Monday)
  • Tuesday, December 9th
  • Thursday, December 11th
  • Monday, December 15th

Plan ahead, and target your messages to meet the distinct needs, fears, and concerns of these three categories of holiday shoppers.

3. Invest In Shrewd Subject Lines

Email subject lines are a crucial component of a successful inbound marketing campaign. However, they’re never more important than when your subscribers are receiving an extra-large volume of messages in their inbox.

In addition to respecting subject line best practices, consider integrating one of the following concepts into your subject lines and campaigns:

  • Exclusive holiday preview sales
  • Cyber Monday or Black Friday limited-time or limited-quantity deals
  • Free shipping or special gifts with purchase
  • Last-minute shopping reminders

4. Create Holiday Gift Guides

It may come as a complete surprise to the more dedicated shoppers among us, but not everyone enjoys holiday shopping. In fact, some 80% of Americans believe that making purchases in November and December is more stressful than any other time of year. While the sparse parking and long lines at major retailers certainly don’t help, make it easy for your customers by compiling gift guides.

Marketer Cara Olson reports that holiday gift guides are an exceptionally high-performing option to embrace this shopping season. The more demographic information you have on your email contacts, the better you’ll be able to target your gift guides. Most importantly, there’s no reason to stop with just one compilation of purchase ideas.

Here are some creative ways to group gift options:

  • Price ranges for budget-conscious shoppers
  • Age or gender-based guides for parents, adult children, and significant others
  • Personality, interests, or hobbies
  • Holiday or seasonal style, fashion, or color trends
  • Customer ratings, or broad appeal for generic recipients or gift exchanges
  • Dietary restrictions or food allergies for parties and events

5. Reward Your Loyal Customers

While it’s always the right time of year for customer appreciation campaigns, the holidays are an optimal time to say thank you. Research shows that the single most common reason that clients leave companies is perceived indifference. Feeling underappreciated is why 68% of clients churn, as opposed to just 14% who drift away due to product dissatisfaction.

To keep your customers engaged, create a sincere message of thanks this holiday season. Some ways to stand out to your most loyal buyers could include:

  • A VIP-only sale for customers, complete with a secret password
  • Offer exclusive purchase add-ons or a gift with purchase
  • Create a limited-time coupon or discount
  • Offer special holiday products to loyal customers before opening the product to the public
  • Sponsor a no-purchase required giveaway or drawing to drive traffic to your site

As the shopping season approaches, your customers will begin to get bombarded with email promotions. However, that’s no reason you can’t make the most of the season. With the right mix of creativity and email marketing best practices, you could see some truly magical results for your efforts this November and December.

Are you planning any creative holiday email marketing campaigns this season? Share your tips, questions, and goals in the comments!