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2019 Holiday Email Marketing Tips


Even though it seems like pumpkin spice season has only begun, the holidays will be here before we know it. While it’s okay to shop last minute for gifts or wrap them the night before Christmas, planning your holiday digital marketing efforts, especially for email marketing, should start now.

Take a look at our top email marketing tips for the holiday season.

Look at Last Year’s Numbers First

If you performed any holiday-themed campaigns last year, reviewing the metrics, successes and losses from those should be the first step. See what calls-to-action had the most engagement, what subject lines lead to the highest open rates, and what conversions looked like. Take these trends into serious consideration for this year’s efforts, and learn from last year’s mistakes (and last year’s wins!) to ensure you have data-driven decisions.

Start Sending Them Early

Black Friday and Cyber Monday do not define the start of the holiday shopping season. Your holiday emails need to go out long before the actual shopping season begins. Ideally, you would kick things off in early November (around the first two weeks), so it’s essential to start your planning now. This early touchpoint will help your customers keep you top of mind before the busy season hits.

Be Strategic with Your Campaigns

Before you write copy or design your email campaigns, you’ll need to perform a strategy and uncover all the details needed. Define your goals, your target audience/list segments, and all the individual emails and triggers that will be within your campaigns. If you plan to run more than one campaign this holiday season, it’s important to understand that all your details may not be “one size fits all” for all holidays. For example, your approach to a Sneak Peek Black Friday campaign might defer from your Last-Minute Christmas Gifts one, as your subscribers’ needs may be vastly different.

Once all the details are clearly laid out, only then can you start piecing together the look and feel of each email.

Subject Lines Should Bring All the Feels

Open rates are highly impacted by your emails’ subject lines, so make sure all your subject lines tap into that holiday feeling and resonate with your audience. Play around with these and get creative; use emojis (it’s proven to work), explicitly mention the holiday or holidays you’re catering to, and don’t forget to add in an email preheader that coordinates with your subject line.

A/B Testing is Always in Season

No matter if it’s Christmas time or just a regular Tuesday, A/B testing elements within your emails will always boost its performance. While there’s a long list of elements you can test, here are three important ones:

  • Subject line: As stated above, this will have a significant impact on your campaigns’ success. Test out personalization, length, mentioning the offer or holiday, specific CTAs, etc.
  • Promo type: Do people react more positively when they see the dollars they’ll save or percentage? Does “Free Shipping” matter in your email? Do they want a free gift with their purchase? These are all things to test out.
  • Timing: Timing can be the difference between success and flop. When do you send the second email in your campaign? Do people open emails more in the evenings or in the morning? Testing your timing could have a huge impact.

Grow Your List Through Your Website

Your website will serve as one of your most important lead generators, so make sure new users have the opportunity to be a part of your holiday campaigns. Create sign-up promotions for new subscribers, such as an additional percentage off their first order. Put these into a pop-up so it’s one of the first things they see when they enter your website. Lastly, make these pop-ups holiday-themed, so it keeps gift giving top of mind and gets them into the holiday spirit!

With only a few weeks before the holiday season is front and center, now is the time to plan your most successful season yet through your email campaigns!

If you have any questions about holiday marketing or email marketing, contact GreenMellen today!

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Brooke Desmond

Communications Manager
With a passion for all things digital marketing, Brooke aims to give a unique perspective on the latest trends and ideas in this ever-changing space.

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