We all understand just how effective email is as part of our marketing systems. Amid all the statistics, all over the Internet, you can’t argue with the suggested high ROI for this mighty method of spreading the word.

And even more so during holiday email marketing.

Holiday email marketing

Managing your holiday email marketing means reminding your customers that you’re ready and waiting to help them secure all the things they need, as well as the deals and bargains they can’t afford to turn down.

Without email marketing, your seasonal selling would undoubtedly be a lot harder. But making sure we get our methods right is just as important a part of our process as hitting the send button.

In the following article, we’re looking at some best practices to maximize that much sought after ROI.

There’s no point shouting in an empty room

Here’s one of the most important, yet overlooked issues that the most prolific email marketers rank right up at the top of their lists.

Check your data.

Email marketing, whenever you carry it out, is dependent on the quality of your email lists. Sending to expired or incorrect addresses will create the hard bounces that lower your sender score.

It’s not only the unreachable/non-existent addresses that reduce your sales figures, but a low sender score will add to the chances that your email may not land in those healthy inboxes either.

Determine your holiday email list cleaning tactics before you even start thinking about what you’re going to say. List cleaning using a reliable checker and verifying your data is an absolute must for a clean email list.

2020 will have produced more expired email addresses than ever

Our special 2020 tip is that more email addresses than ever are likely to have disappeared. With the economy struggling and so many businesses closing their doors for good, it may well have already had a direct impact on your lists.

Verify your 2020 lists. Give yourself the best chances of delivery and improving all of your metrics. Just because we’re all in the holiday spirit doesn’t mean any of the rules have changed.

Check the relevant days in your data

Another critical factor to engagement rates is your schedule. Using split testing, you should have already determined which are your best days to deliver throughout the year, and what times work best for your recipients.

We need to take a more in-depth look into how differently those days operate over the heart of the season.

By organizing your creative to include the build-up, peak times, and last-minute shopping, it still isn’t too late to split test samples to find out the patterns that make a difference.

If your customers need a little push, introduce them to your gift guides, make popular recommendations, and fire out the special offers and deals that promote your strongest sellers.

A ‘for a limited time only’ offer creates a genuine sense of urgency, and with it, the marketing magic of FOMO (fear of missing out—yes, it’s a real thing).

When all the dust starts to settle, don’t let go. Delivering some simple well wishes and thanks for another year of partnership, will keep you in good stead with those stragglers still spending when all the crazy has died down.

Maybe a ‘…and now it’s time to treat yourself’ message will add a little extra where there wasn’t last year?

One of our favourite January campaigns was ‘Santa stuffed your list up? We’re here to deliver the delights you really wanted!’
Tailor your messages to your customers at their peak times, and we’re sure you’ll reap the rewards.

Segment your lists using your 2020 data

This year will be vastly different from any other when it comes to seasonal selling. It’s been the most unusual year, one that nobody could possibly have seen coming.

It’s already had a wild impact on our spending habits; our seasonal spending is only going to utilize online options more than ever.

That said, you should have plenty of data at hand to make some highly educated plans.

AOV is one of your key metrics. If you take a look over your customer’s average order value, you can detect those who have had to make drastic cuts in their spending and those who haven’t.

For those with their typical spend intact, you can create a unique way to thank them for sticking with you and being exceptional customers.

For those whose spending has fallen out of the mix, then why not try and woo them back with low prices, two-for-one deals, or special offers? If they haven’t got the same resources, as usual, some superb savings will look too good to pass by.

It’s always a good time to review your campaign creatives. See if you can detect patterns in the best performing messages over previous seasonal campaigns, and also, which messages had the right tone and colour to drive sales through the year just gone.

Data is your best friend. Use it. Hit and hope never helped anybody.

Be upbeat to beat up the competition!

Here’s another one of our most important holiday email marketing ideas. We all know it’s been a dreadful year for so many businesses—what we don’t need during a time of celebration, are any more reminders of those bad times.

Positivity induces a spending spirit

What we do need—and so do your sales figures—is an upbeat message celebrating all the good things we can look forward to.

Emotional selling is a huge part of making brand connections and marketing; to create your best options, it’s time to lift those spirits. Psychology has taught us that the feel-good factor helps us to spend more, spreading more joy amongst those we’re buying for.

Cover all your bases—that includes your automated replies

It’s something that’s so easily overlooked, but you must check your automated replies to season-proof them. Delivery and postage systems are going to be under massive strain this year, so make sure any last-minute promotions are adequately catered for.

And as far as your automated systems go, be sure to check your returns policies can live up to what they promise.

Personalization promotes spending

You know you need to be upbeat, cheery, and to pick your colours and presentation with all the happiness you can deliver. Another typical marketing suggestion is not to crowd your message with too much information.

Packing a few big punches is always more fruitful than trying to cram too many messages in at the same time.

Another tactic that definitely ups those opens and clicks is personalization. For whatever reason, we love to believe messages have been created especially for us. So use it. Polish up your data, and if you can create a more personal push than ever—do it!

All of your standard best practices will work overtime for you during the busiest holiday seasons.

Sell the sizzle and not the sausage

Our big creative advice is to flaunt the bonuses to your lifestyle that a product offers and not the product itself.

People might have a hard time imagining all the associated benefits of what you’re selling, but if you make it impossible to miss, then that emotional pull will be as strong as ever.

Don’t be afraid to try something different. Split testing is a superb system for driving figures up. There isn’t as good a time to find out which are your star performers as when everyone is already buying.

Drive your opens with the best subject lines you’ve got

For such a small part of the process, subject lines are almost as important as the creative. Emails that don’t get opened stand no chance of delivering the magnificent masterpiece that’s taken so much love and effort to put together.

Take a look at what everyone else is doing and do it better. Standing out from the hundred other messages landing in your recipient’s inbox is vital. Never overlook your subject line’s importance.

Be prepared for every eventuality

One of the issues of such an unpredictable season is how on earth do you plan for it? Well, you cover all the bases, that’s how. We suggest having back up plans for every eventuality.

If things go well, then you need campaign strategies to follow up on them to upsell and offer associated purchases.

If things don’t go quite to plan, you need a contingency ready to run and turn things around.

Encourage sharing over every social platform

Finally, seeing as every year that goes by we get more addicted to our tiniest of screens, you need to make the most of how much people love to post to social media.

Encourage your customers to share the great deals they’re getting. Can you convince your customers to do your marketing for you with some kind of referral scheme?

Smatter your holiday emails with ways your recipients can help themselves while they help their friends and family. It is the season of sharing and giving after all.


However, you attack your holiday email marketing, be sure to plan, plan, plan.

Plan your creatives, plan your subject lines, plan for emergencies, and plan for what comes next.

Our key takeaways to ensure maximum success are to make sure you stand out, use your data, keep everything upbeat, and always, ALWAYS, send to a verified and clean email list.

All you need to know about Email Scrubbing