Holiday Email Marketing in Today's Modern Age

There's still plenty of time to go before you have to start putting up holiday decorations.

However, if you're an email marketer, then the holiday season starts a lot earlier, and if you play your cards right, you can start unpacking your presents as early as November.

On average, those weeks that span from Black Friday to Christmas heralds an increase in revenue across the board for most retailers.

We’re talking about a magical period of plenty, during which some industries make up to 30% of their annual revenue.

E-commerce sales alone should go up between 14-18% this year, and overall holiday sales are projected to reach a whopping $1.1 trillion.

That's a pretty big pie, and with a solid email marketing strategy, you can get a piece of it.

7 Best Practices for Holiday Email Marketing in Today's Modern Age

Nowadays, you can’t just dress up one of your employees in Santa Claus costume, send him out into the street, and expect him to bring in sales.

Well, you definitely can, but we’re willing to bet email marketing has a much higher ROI across the board.

Statistics show that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can get a return of up to $38. Let Santa try and beat that!

To get anywhere close to those numbers, though, you need to bring your A-game for the holiday season, which is where the following tips come in.

1. Go All-In on Mobile-First Design

The way most of us interact with the web has changed drastically within the past few years.

Nowadays, you may be at your most productive in front of a laptop or a PC, but chances are you spend a lot more time on your smartphone.

The numbers are pretty clear once you look at them:

  • Most consumers spend up to 5 hours a day on their smartphones alone.
  • 76% of consumers located in the USA use their mobile devices to check and respond to emails during their downtime.

If you’re in email marketing, those numbers should speak to you at a deep level. The takeaway is, if you can deliver an engaging experience on mobile via your emails, you’re more likely to get conversions.

To do that, you have to approach email design from a mobile-first perspective. That means creating emails that are easy to navigate on smaller screens, which should also look great when you open them on a laptop.

One great example of how to do this comes courtesy of Tovala, a service that delivers oven-ready meals:

Source: Really Good Emails

Great mobile email design boils down to a lack of clutter and increased readability.

Mobile-friendly emails should be easy to navigate with clumsy fingers on a small screen, and readers shouldn’t have to zoom in to find the information they want.

In that example, you have a clutter-free email divided into clear sections with calls-to-action (CTAs) that pop up at a glance, which makes it perfect for smaller devices.

2. Don’t Beat Around the Bush with Your Holiday Offers

November and December are goldmines, and no one can argue that.

The problem is, you’re not just trying to get customer’s attention, you’re also competing against every other business that wants a slice of that pie.

If you check your inbox anytime during December, we’re willing to bet it’s full of emails trying to get you to spend money.

What that means is you need to cut through the noise if you want your holiday email marketing campaigns to succeed. Here are three ways you can do that:

  • Find inspiration in past successful holiday campaigns to improve your designs.
  • Lead with your best holiday offers and don’t make customers scroll to the bottom of your emails to find what they’re looking for.
  • Work on your titles to improve your click-through rates!

All that’s easier said than done, of course, so let’s take a look at a great example. Configure.IT sent this Christmas campaign a few years back, and they lead right with a great hook:

Source: Really Good Emails

As far as discounts go, 50% is a number everyone loves. So, it’s an amazing hook for holiday email marketing campaign.

Chances are if you’re selling a product online, you also offer special discounts or offers during the holidays. If your offers are better and they catch readers’ attention first, then you stand a decent chance of getting high conversion rates during the holidays.

When it comes to subject lines, simple is also better. That email we showed you a second ago used the simple headline “We’ve got for you an early gift,” which is bound to get attention from any list of subscribers.

As you might expect, titles that include words such as holiday, gift, early, sale, and discount tend to be very popular.

Unlike the rest of the year, Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to be more direct with your campaign titles, so take advantage of it!

3. Pay Special Attention to the Last Days of December

61% of shoppers will still be looking for gifts during the final week before Christmas.

That’s hardly a surprise. What you might not know is the day after Christmas is also a key date for retailers.

What that means is you shouldn’t worry if your early holiday email marketing numbers aren’t looking as good as you’d like. You can still make up for a slump or continue increasing your conversions during the final days of December.

The week before Christmas is all about last-minute presents and impulse purchases. That’s why you’re going to get flooded with emails like this one during those days:

Source: Really Good Emails

This email from New Look piqued our interest because of three reasons:

  1. The pixel art is adorable.
  2. They make sure to remind you that you’re running out of time to buy those last presents, but without getting too pushy about it.
  3. Adding specific cut-off times lends a lot of urgency to the email.

There’s a reason why urgency is such a big part of marketing. When you put buyers in a situation where they have limited time to choose, it can prompt them to make decisions they otherwise might leave until later.

Some marketers take it a step too far and beat you over the head with limited-time Christmas offers. However, all you have to do is make sure that readers know how much time they have and let them decide for themselves.

4. Let Customers Know When Your Sales Will Go Live

One great way to drum up holiday sales is to build up anticipation.

If you’re a fan of Black Friday, for example, chances are you spend a lot of time before it hits thinking about what you’re going to buy. Some stores go as far as to tell you exactly what their prices are going to be, which enables you to plan ahead.

Drip campaigns enable you to take a similar approach. If you plan on offering sitewide discounts during a few specific days, it’s a smart move to let your subscribers know ahead of time.

That technique is good enough for Apple, and they know a thing or two about driving sales.

Source: Really Good Emails

For bonus points, you can even use email marketing integrations to let customers save the dates right from their email clients. With a single click, they can add a reminder to their calendars for when your sale goes live.

You’re going to send them your own email reminder when that happens, of course, but just the act of scheduling something can help build anticipation.

5. Help Your Customers Pick the Perfect Presents

The holidays are a lot of fun but picking presents for all the people you love can be downright nerve-wracking.

There are so many options for what to get, and so many offers, it’s easy to become paralyzed. The good news is if you know who your audience is, then you probably have a pretty good idea of what they want.

Knowing that is what separates successful businesses from the rest.

Holiday email marketing campaigns are a perfect chance to show your customers how well you know them by designing gift guides.

Take Nest, for example. If you’re not sure what products to buy, they give you a quick breakdown of some of their top offers:

Source: Really Good Emails

If you look closely, you’ll notice they also include details about what makes each of those items a great gift.

That part is essential because otherwise, you’re just telling customers, “Hey, you might like this!” If you don’t offer a concrete reason, then the offer can land flat.

Gift guides enable you to drive sales to your best products, so go take some great pictures and take advantage of the holiday season!

Wrap Up

The holidays are a time of year where customers not only expect to get tons of sales and lead-generation emails, they even welcome them in some cases. If you don’t want your email holiday marketing efforts to fall flat, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Go all-in on mobile-first design.
  • Don’t beat around the bush with your holiday offers.
  • Pay special attention to the last days of December.
  • Let customers know when your sales will go live.
  • Help your customers pick the perfect Christmas presents.

Delivra can help you craft and delivery the perfect holiday emails, and you’re still in time to sign up before the holiday season arrives!

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