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It doesn’t take a marketing professional to recognize how lucrative the holiday season can be for companies, or even how important holiday email marketing campaigns are to bringing in revenue this time of year.

Anyone with an email account—which is pretty much everyone—knows to expect an influx of holiday-themed emails chock full of enough offers and incentives to keep your shopping merry and bright.

Eye-opening stats on the effectiveness of holiday email marketing

The prevalence of holiday-related emails is no surprise to anyone. What might be surprising is just how much revenue companies earn this time of year:

It’s no surprise then that when Campaign Monitor analyzed over 400 of our own clients in 2016, we saw some major numbers:

  • Black Friday had the highest email send volume (116.5 million emails sent) as well as the highest number of opens and links clicked
  • Cyber Monday was next in line, with 106 million emails sent.
  • While Thanksgiving ranked third for the total number of emails sent (about 95 million), Thanksgiving actually saw the second highest number of emails opened and engaged.

And remember, you can expect—as a marketer and as a consumer—these numbers to be much higher for 2018.

7 holiday email marketing tips for 2018

Between the potential revenue and the sheer magnitude of emails being sent during the holiday, companies face stiff competition to earn space in their customers’ inboxes, and, not to mention, their attention. With all those holiday emails coming in, what can email marketers do to ensure their emails get in front of their customers’ eyes?

You can nap easy after this year’s Thanksgiving meal, because these seven holiday email tips are sure to increase the number of people who’ll engage with your emails, helping you tap into the massive revenue available to your company this time of year.

Read on to ensure you and your company get your piece of the holiday pie:

1. Craft a relevant & personal subject line

Did you know that 62% customers open an email due to the personalized subject line? Similarly, 68% of email recipients report email as spam based solely on the subject line.

Needless to say, your subject line is one of the key factors that will determine whether or not your emails get opened in the first place. After all the time you’ve spent crafting your email, don’t leave the subject line as a last minute detail. Instead, focus on crafting a relevant and personal subject line for each of your holiday email campaigns.

It’s no small task to clearly inform your subscriber what’s in the email and entice them into reading more, while also including personalization and keeping your subject line short. Luckily, there are plenty of tried and true ways to polish your subject line for maximum opens:

Be sure to include power words that are short and to the point. You’ll also want to include personalization: with all the data companies collect, customers expect a 1:1 experience when they engage with your brand and personalization is a great way to deliver and even exceed those expectations. Don’t be afraid of emojis, either. When used well, emojis are proven to increase your opens.

Still unsure where to start?

Here are 10 of our favorite holiday email subject lines to inspire you:

  • One Kings Lane: Post-Christmas grab bag: pick a present for yourself
  • Just Give: Gifts that do good…and feel good
  • Orbitz: Good gravy! 20% off
  • KSL Deals: Save 10% with Promo Code: Christmas10
  • Food & Wine: 15 Thanksgiving Drinks to Start on While Cooking
  • The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: #GivingTuesday is today!
  • JetBlue: Up to 50% bonus – ’tis better to give AND receive!
  • Lyft: You guys are amazing, you know that?
  • Instacart: This week’s forecast? Stress-free holiday grocery shopping!
  • Southwest: Snow Fare Like A Low Fare!

2. Optimize your emails for mobile

More and more people are checking their emails on mobile, that’s common knowledge among digital marketers. But did you realize that more people check their email via mobile devices than desktops?

Needless to say, if your emails aren’t optimized for email, you’re missing out on major revenue. In fact, an email that doesn’t render well in mobile is likely to get deleted in 3 seconds and 15% of your subscribers won’t even bother deleting. Instead, they’ll choose to unsubscribe from your list altogether.

Considering all these stats, your business can’t afford not to optimize your emails for mobile and email marketing best practices recommend optimizing for mobile year round.

This holiday gift guide email from Trouva is packed with best practices for mobile-optimized emails: the images are well-organized and easy to digest, the copy is short and draws the reader’s eyes to the CTA, and the headline is big and bold. All of these make this an easy to digest email, especially on a mobile device.

 

trouva holiday email

 

3. Offer instant buying options

With that many people reading your emails on a mobile device, it makes sense to offer instant buying options this holiday season to allow your subscribers to click over directly to a shopping cart.

According to research, 46% of all online orders on Thanksgiving Day 2017 happened on a mobile device. Additionally, Christmas Day experienced the biggest jump in mobile shopping, with 50% of all online orders happening on mobile devices. This means that not only are most people checking their emails on their mobile devices, they’re also visiting websites and checking out on their mobile devices, too.

Including a “Buy Now” or “Reserve Mine Now” CTA not only encourages your subscribers to convert, but they also simplify the process and remove obstacles that might hinder their purchase, especially when your CTAs are designed to increase conversions.

This email from the Ancient Nutrition team does a great job allowing their subscribers to add a new, seasonal item directly to their cart. They also emphasize the limited nature of the product, encouraging subscribers to act quickly:

 

ancient nutrition holiday email

 

4. Encourage subscribers to share

One of the great tenets of email marketing is that it’s one of the best ways to reach your most engaged customers. These people are usually your most enthusiastic customers, too.

This fact isn’t just a great way to convince your C-suite to increase your email marketing budget: it’s also an important consideration when you design your holiday email marketing campaigns.

According to QuickSprout, email subscribers are 3x more likely to share content on social media than leads who came through another channel. By including the ability for your subscribers to share your emails, you’re encouraging them to become ambassadors for your brand.

You’ll reach a greater audience and win over hesitant prospects through their friend’s recommendation, meaning little to no extra work for you.

5. Emphasize scarcity

FOMO—or the fear of missing out—is a powerful motivator to convince your prospects who might be having a difficult time making the decision to buy.

Emphasizing the scarcity of your product—or, similarly, the scarcity of the promotion you’re offering—will encourage your subscribers to make the leap into being paying customers.

Emphasizing scarcity isn’t about tricking your subscribers. Rather, it’s about giving them a reason to stop procrastinating and act now.

Remember, one of the reasons email marketing is so powerful is that it helps you build a relationship with your subscribers and any good relationship has to have a foundation of trust. Don’t tell your customers they’re running out of time if they really aren’t. Emphasizing scarcity too often or too much can feel sales-y and no one likes that.

This email from Modernica makes sure their subscribers know they’re running out of time:

modernica holiday email

Source: Really Good Emails

 

6. Send segmented campaigns

It seems like every day the news features some story about a massive data hack at a major company. So why are consumers still volunteering their data and information despite the inherent risk? Because they expect to receive value in return. Consumers assume your company is gathering data, and they expect you to use it in order to send them only the information they’re interested in.

When companies are able to build specific, targeted campaigns, consumers reward them: marketers have witnessed an increase of 760% in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

When you’re designing your holiday email campaigns, focus on sending the information you know your subscribers are interested in right now as they begin their holiday shopping and celebrations, such as:

  • Holiday gift guides.
  • A review of how your customers interacted with your company and products the past calendar year
  • Promotions for your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday campaigns.
  • Offering a gift for referring a friend.
  • Last minute details for sales or events.
  • Special offers to reward VIP customers.
  • Ways your brand can reduce customer’s stress during the chaos of the holidays.
  • A simple thank you to loyal customers.

Readdie used their holiday email campaign to say thank you to their customers as well as to show them their year in review:

readdie holiday email

Source: Really Good Emails

7. Include offers and incentives

A tried and true method to increase sales is to include offers, discounts, and incentives in your emails and the holiday season is no different. Especially during a time when customers expect to spend money, offering them a great deal will endear your brand to customers and encourage them to spend more than usual. This is also a great tactic to increase retention.

72% of customers open an email due to the discount it offers, so make your email campaign enticing by offering subscribers something special for themselves. After all, there’s nothing wrong with subscribing to a one-for-you-and-one-for-me holiday shopping mentality.

Casper’s email features a holiday-themed promotion which is sure to catch their subscriber’s attention. A great subject line ties their whole campaign together with their product: “This Black Friday, choose snooze.”

casper holiday email

Source: Really Good Emails

BONUS: 4 new holiday email templates from Campaign Monitor

With some of the busiest months of the year around the corner, we want to make your emails stand out in the inbox so you can maximize your results. Make sure you exceed your goals by honing your holiday email strategy now.

You can get started with our four new holiday templates today, preparing your most successful holiday emails yet. View the templates and start building your own right here.

Wrap up

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t miss out on the potential to convert new customers and expand your audience. But don’t focus solely on the revenue and miss out on the opportunity to say thank you to your loyal subscribers.

After all, 80% of retail professionals say email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention. The chaotic holiday season offers an opportunity for your company to prove the many ways your content can add value to your subscribers’ lives, whether that’s through incentives and offers, special deals, or content that says thank you.

Follow these seven holiday email tips to elevate your next holiday-themed campaign and experience your merriest email marketing campaigns yet.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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