Holiday Email Marketing Guide: Ideas & Strategies


Being on top of the consumers’ minds, especially during the holiday season, is imperative. You can do so by offering discounts, bringing in newer products, or offering irresistible service deals. 

One of the best ways of scaling your holiday marketing is by leveraging email marketing. After all, email marketing is responsible for 20% of online holiday site visits, according to TechCrunch.

As a brand, while we may be aware of the end goals, we might scratch our heads for achieving them. Let’s start by creating and sticking to a holiday email campaign that can help us bring our brand to the forefront.

What is a Holiday Email Campaign?

Holiday campaigns or occasion marketing campaigns create a frenzy in the market. This period sees heightened advertising activities and the need for engagement with the consumers. 

Since people look out for occasion-related purchases, they tend to be more receptive. As new-age marketers, we must create awareness and top-of-mind recall for the brand.

But with multiple ways to reach the customers like cold-calling, personal messages, and offline market space campaigns, should you be investing in a “virtual” campaign? YES!

An email campaign is beyond sending and receiving mails in the inbox. It is a cost-effective and conversion-rich way to reach existing and potential customers. For every dollar that eCommerce, consumer goods, or retail brand spends on email marketing, they receive an ROI as high as $45. 

While it may not yield immediate results, it is a sure way to register brand value. It requires only two characteristics: consistency and simplicity. 

Holiday Email Marketing Tips

Want to see better results from your holiday email marketing campaigns? Then follow these tips.

1. Use Actionable Subject Lines

A clear email subject line that entices recipients to open the email and engage with the brand is like a battle won. For example – “10 gifts under $20” or “10 Perfect gifts for him this Valentine’s Day!

Shown below is how a brand leaves an impression on the readers’ minds:

Leaving an impression

2. Make Your Emails From a Real Person

It is important to include your name or business details in the “From,” “To,” and “Reply to” fields. The website domain name and email address must also be accurate. 

Ditch the “no-reply@” email address.  It suggests the sender wants a one-way conversation with their subscribers and customers. Leave a customer-care email address to ensure you hear back from them in the form of questions and concerns. Do it the way EaseMyTrip does:

EasyMyTrip from address

3. Add Some Personal Appeal

Each customer is unique. Hence, each communication must also be unique. A customer might be:

  • A prospect (people who have discovered your website but haven’t made a purchase), 
  • A first-time buyer (the goal is to convert them to regular customers), 
  • A repeat customer (they have gone over the hump and have made multiple purchases)
  • A lapsed customer (who has not made any purchase for more than three months).

Lending a personal touch does not always mean addressing them by their name. To make digital marketing successful, it is vital to address the needs and wants of the customer directly. The end goal is to increase the number of ‘returning customers’ as their power is infinite. With every regular customer comes a prospect or an opportunity that you should not lose. 

4. Stick to a Campaign Schedule

A campaign is an end-to-end marketing tool that involves regular reminders and updates. Each communication made should be different than the previous. 

For example, your welcome email can contain limited-time discounts and promotions. Subsequently, you can send reminders to the customers by getting them to complete the orders left in the cart. 

And finally, send emails with the details of their transactions and collect feedback. See how the brand hims uses transactional email to update the customer about their shipment. 

hims transactional email

5. Send the Right Amount Of Emails

If you send too many promotional emails during the holidays, they might get lost in inboxes, never to be opened again, or simply marked as ‘spam’.  

The expertise is to help your customers create a stress-free holiday. You can do this by sending tips and how-to articles to relieve some craziness. Make sure you connect the articles to your brand. The secret lies in subtlety.

6. Keep it Simple

Make sure your emails look fantastic in all inboxes, be it desktops, tablets, or mobiles. The art is choosing the correct content length. Anything beyond five to six lines will look like a novel on a mobile phone or any such small screen. 

Pro tip: Increase the fonts of your text as everything appears smaller on mobile phones. The trick is to stick to fewer words and maximize the impact, just as MOMENT followed the brief with the limited text yet impactfully depicted the deals:

moment minimalism

7. Generate Urgency

Understand that all brands are competing with you to reach prospective clients. An innovative way to gather attention is to generate urgency by using the ‘hourglass’ emoticon or simply using the language that compels actions out of the recipients. 

Another way is to put a countdown timer displaying the time left before users run out of the deals. See how Skydio generates urgency amongst its readers to shop:

Skydio urgency

8. Give Recipients an Option to Unsubscribe

As disheartening as it might sound, brands need to put an active ‘unsubscribe’ hyperlink within each email. Honor every ‘opting-out’ request and remove them from the list within ten days to maintain the brand image.

You can’t persuade them to pay a fee or give you extra information against their will. You must include your company’s valid physical postal address. It can be your address or a post office box, as shown in the examples below:

Opt-Out and Address

What Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns Can You Run?

Now that you know how to boost your email marketing efforts, here are some great types of email campaigns you can run this holiday season.

1. Purpose-Driven Campaigns

Such campaigns derive action from the clients. The emails sent under a purpose-driven need to hold a ‘call to action’ button like – ‘Register now’, ‘Buy Now’, ‘Invest Here’, etc. 

Simply put, such communications must specify how/what and where the customer must act to get in touch with the brand.

2. Time-Sensitive Campaigns

These campaigns are occasion-specific, offering products or services that pertain to that particular event. For example, a Valentine’s Day campaign, a New Year’s campaign, or a Christmas campaign. 

These communications sometimes overlap with promotional activities but give recipients a deadline to avail of offers. It is a great way to ensure participation and reach new customers, just like the email below nudges readers.

Time-sensistive campaign

3. Referral-Based Campaigns

Nothing makes buyers happier than additional discounts on purchases, and the best way to form chains is via referral codes. 

Promotional codes entice both the referring and the referral to purchase and avail offers, especially on holiday occasions like Thanksgiving. Such emails call out the customers to invite their friends to indulge with the brand, as shown below in an email by ibotta

ibotta referral campaign

Quick Holiday Email Marketing Tips

Follow these quick and easy tips to help your emails achieve their goals.

1. Speak the Language of the Customer

Using quotes or phrases that pertain to the particular occasion helps connect with the customers. Whether in English or the regional dialect, such words always add more uniqueness to the marketing. 

2. Use Multiple Channels

A campaign is an all-platform activity. So, you should run it via emails, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. 

3. Follow-up emails are a Must

Merely running the campaigns for the duration of the event is not enough. It is essential to send follow-up emails that can be sent in ‘thank you emails,’ ‘feedback emails asking for customer experience,’ and acknowledge their gesture. 

Powtoon here sends an abandoned cart reminder to remain on top of the user’s inbox:

Powtoon abandoned cart reminder

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Wrapping Up

Email is the most cost-effective and persuasive way to reach out to various market segments. You can reach a targeted set of people at the right time with the right messages to ensure active engagement. The average ROI through email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent. That means the brand makes 42 times from each dollar invested. 

The expertise lies in identifying ways to retain your image in the customers’ minds. Brands must lend a personal touch to their customers while being transparent about their mailing details. Transparency increases credibility so that the audience feels that they are engaging with a human and not a bot. 

One of the best ways is to use creative subject lines (that increase the open rates of the email) along with a clear call-to-action. This ensures that the readers are clear about the information communicated to the brand. 

As mentioned in the article, consistency and simplicity are the best ways to ensure maximum engagement from the audience.

Brands must believe that less is more. They should not be verbose while sending messages to their customers, keeping everything minimalistic. 

Compelling content that urges readers to respond urgently is the key here. Unfortunately, if the customers still wish to be out of your senders’ list, politely give them the option to opt out. 

In a nutshell, when done carefully, you can make the most of email marketing starting now, as no brand is early or late to this party. Just keep the following in mind:

  1. Focus on how your email looks across all platforms.
  2. Find a unique balance between promotions and extracting information without compromising holiday greetings.
  3. When including deals, make sure they cater to the demands and needs of the recipient.


Written by our guest writer Gunjan Kapur, a content writer at Instoried

She is a writer by day and reader by night and believes that words hold immense power to communicate even the most challenging ideas. Gunjan believes no idea is silly or smart; it is all about dreaming big!