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Holiday Email Marketing Tips and Best Practices

Kirsten Von Der Wroge

Product Marketing Manager

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s the busiest time of the year for retailers.The percentage of ecommerce holiday sales has nearly doubled since 2015. Each year, ecommerce sales continue to earn more business over in-store shopping. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to bring your business front and center of shopper’s attention – and dollars.

Email marketing helps you maximize your ROI by targeting users who are already engaged with your brand and targeting specific behaviors to bring them back to your website and shop your brand. 

We’ve compiled some email tips and tricks that will help you reach the right shoppers, send them the right messages, and ultimately get them to make a purchase with you.

Start Planning Early

If you haven’t started planning your holiday email marketing campaigns, organizing your email list, and choosing your messaging now, you don’t have a moment to lose. Before you know it, the pumpkins in stores will be replaced by elves. When that happens, you want to be ready to send your missives. Customers are already knocking out their Christmas lists. In 2022, more than half of US shoppers have kicked off their holiday shopping by October. Figure out the basics of your campaign: the overall theme, your promotions and deals, and the channels and tactics you’ll use.

Stand Out in Shoppers’ Inboxes

The holiday season brings out active shoppers, but it also brings out retailers competing for the attention of those shoppers. In order to stand out in their inbox, it’s important to grab their attention quickly, and before they even open your email. Create a strong hook that resonates with your shoppers to get them to spend their money with you rather than other online retailers. 

  • Share a discount: Forbes noted that shoppers are looking for lower prices and free delivery. 77% of shoppers would stray from their favorite brand to find better deals elsewhere. Learn more about the psychology of discounts here. 

  • Announce a new release: Let your most engaged customers know that you have a new product available.

  • Promote holiday products: Bring seasonally available items to the forefront to engage your shoppers with timely messages. Get holiday ad inspo from major brands. Click here.

  • Embrace the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Create urgency for you shoppers to purchase with a countdown timer – don’t miss out on the opportunity to save big or purchase before the product sells out.

  • Lean into your unique voice: Connect with pop culture, be funny, or use a joke or two. If your customers like a timely reference and humor, keep your emails fun and light where you can. 

Share Relevant Content With Engaged Customers

Once you’ve hooked the shopper with your engaging subject line, you only have a few seconds to keep them interested. Sharing relevant content with them will turn them from browsers into shoppers. 

  • Holiday-themed welcome series

  • Email gift guides

  • Promotions

  • Holiday newsletters to share company updates and site-wide sales

This year, more than ever, shoppers are putting their money into brands that they trust. Almost 60% of consumers shared that brand trust is a very important factor in their holiday purchasing decisions. Show customers that your business is making a positive impact in the world this holiday season. If your business is giving back to the community, this is a great time of year to share that with your customers and let them know how they can get involved through your brand.

Reach the Right People Through Audience Segmentation

You know better than anyone else who is most likely to shop with your business, so leverage that information to segment your outreach in a way that aligns your message with the most relevant audience. 

  • Share a discount with identified coupon hunters

  • Refresh unengaged shoppers with FOMO and incentives

  • Thank your active shoppers with an exclusive offer for supporting your brand

Create Personalized Experiences for Site Visitors

It all comes down to the fact that we’re people. Shoppers want to feel like the brand cares about them and their experience. By leveraging personalized product recommendations and content, brands are able to make that connection. In fact,  91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.

Set up automated emails that recognize shopper behavior and bring them back to your site.

  • Browse abandoners: share relevant content with product recommendations based items they have shown interest towards

  • Cart abandoners: share relevant content with dynamic product recommendations of products users have in their carts but have not yet purchased

Adding a holiday theme and seasonal content to already-running automations is a great way to make quick updates that will create relevant content that feels personalized to shoppers’ preferences.

Maximize Your Email Deliverability Rates and Format

Surging your email sending volume and blasting your entire subscriber list at once will lead to increased spam rates and bounces. Email deliverability is critical to having a successful email strategy. To ensure healthy deliverability rates: 

  • Create relevant content for different user segments, and share that email with them rather than multiple messages in a series of quick-follow emails

  • Dodge spam filters and land in the inbox by completing email authentication

  • Use a reliable ESP that can help with subscriber management and compliance requirements

Use your footer as the last opportunity in your email outreach to woo your customers by promoting a gift guide on your website, gift cards, or the last order and shipping dates to have your gifts delivered by the holidays.

Don’t Miss Out on the Post-Holiday Rush 

Ever receive a gift that wasn’t quite you? Or gotten a whole slew of gift cards you can’t wait to use? Send post-holiday emails to engage shoppers who were newly introduced to your brand or who have additional holiday cash-flow.

Make Email Marketing Your Biggest Advantage With AdRoll

You’re already leveraging email marketing, so you know that it’s a great channel for retargeting shoppers. With an average ROI of 36:1 it’s fiscally more efficient than any other channel, reaches  an incredible volume of people – over 90% of internet users in the US use email – and allows you to engage with your most active customers.

With AdRoll’s ESP, we’ve made it easier than ever to understand your shoppers, create holiday emails, and make smart, analytical decisions – all with unlimited emails and contacts.

→→ Get your free holiday-themed email templates here. ←←

Don't have an AdRoll account yet? Start here.

Make this holiday season the best yet! For more holiday strategies, tactics, and guides, check out our resources below.

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