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Article first published November 2015, updated April 2019

The holidays are just six weeks away, but the rush is already upon both consumers and businesses alike.

8 Holiday Email Marketing Ideas to Supercharge Your Retail Campaigns

For retailers, this is the most important time of the year to achieve sales goals and close the year out strong. That’s why we’ve put together a retail email marketing package of tips and tricks, best practices, and product features uniquely tailored to help every retailer make this holiday season successful for their business.

Helpful holiday resources for building the best holiday email campaigns

  • The Ultimate Holiday Email Marketing + Landing Page Guide: We partnered with the landing page experts at Unbounce to create a guide with essential advice and actionable tips for running a high-converting campaign using email marketing and landing pages.
  • Ultimate Guide to Holiday Marketing: We’ve got essential holiday email marketing tips in our guide that will help make your email marketing campaigns a success.
  • Campaign Monitor Blog: We’ve created helpful posts to help you with everything from your subject lines to Black Friday campaigns, and deliverability tips from our email pros.
  • Holiday Best Practices Webcast: Our resident email marketing expert, Ros Hodgekiss, recently hosted a webinar full of strategies for successful holiday marketing, including the latest trends, tips, and inspiration. This on-demand video is available for viewing any time.

Holiday email marketing ideas to fuel traffic to your store

Read on to discover some of the top holiday email marketing ideas every retailer should consider to fuel traffic to your store this holiday season and beyond:

1. Promotions & sales

Target existing customers with special offers and promotions.

The holidays are also the perfect time to roll out new or limited edition products. If something does well during the holidays, you could consider adding it to your permanent lineup.

This holiday season, luxury retailer De Beers is offering free shipping to enable purchases to arrive in time for Christmas.

De Beers email example

Source Really Good Emails

2. Product announcements

Share your latest product offering with your audience and guide them back to your online store to purchase. Even if you haven’t released something “new” within the last few months, you could still highlight fresh products that you introduced over the past year. Use your holiday email marketing subject lines to build up excitement over new products and old favorites.

Mo Bro’s decided to unveil their quartet bear oil collection in late November during the prime holiday rush.

Mo Bro’s decided to unveil their quartet bear oil collection in late November during the prime holiday rush.

Source Milled

3. Send gender specific content

An easy way to personalize your next email marketing campaign is to divide your list by gender. Try segmenting your next email campaign by gender and send unique content to your male and female audiences. Research shows that marketers can achieve a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

You may also want to consider adding a non-binary or neutral category if you believe some of your subscribers may not identify as either category. This highlights the importance of conducting thorough research about your subscribers so you can mold your holiday marketing email calendar to meet their needs.

Rip Curl email example

Source Really Good Emails

4. Target by geo-location

If you have basic geographic data about your audience, you can offer location-specific content like events and seasonal offers to each segment. During the holidays, this is particularly important, as half of your global audience is in the heat of summer and the other is halfway through winter.

Both local brick-and-mortar shops and international companies can take advantage of location-specific segmentation. If you operate a storefront in Chicago, for instance, it could be helpful to break your subscribers up based on specific neighborhoods or if they live out of town.

5. Make product recommendations

As you look to take advantage of cross-sell and upsell opportunities during your holiday email marketing, try creating a list of your customers who purchased product A and send them an email recommending product B.

Transactional emails tend to have the highest open rates because they contain details about a purchase. Take advantage of this by sending a “we’re processing your order” email that includes suggested products a customer can add to their order before you finalize it for shipping.

Amazon always includes additional suggested products in their transactional emails.

Amazon always includes additional suggested products in their transactional emails.

6. Target your VIPs

Segment your customers by money spent and give your VIPs a little extra love, maybe in the way of special offers, early access to new products, or an exclusive holiday discount.

This is the time customers are scouring their inboxes looking for just the right coupon to use at the store with the best deal. Be upfront with your holiday marketing email subject lines by letting subscribers know that you appreciate their business and tell them what the offer is directly in the subject lines.

BaubleBar sent out this email with a 35% off coupon to their VIP customers during the holiday season.

BaubleBar sent out this email with a 35% off coupon to their VIP customers during the holiday season.

Source Pinterest

7. Re-engage customers

Don’t let valuable customers forget about you, especially when they’re in the spending mindset this holiday season. Create a list of customers who purchased more than 90, 60, or even 30 days ago and send them an offer to bring them back.

People are more likely to trust brands they’re familiar with, so, when retargeting current customers, you already have the upper hand, but don’t take their loyalty for granted. Use information you’ve collected about them throughout the year to provide personalized content.

Re-engagement emails like this one from Sephora are perfect for poking loyal customers. Plus, the email offers a great $15 holiday discount.

Re-engagement emails like this one from Sephora are perfect for poking loyal customers.

Source Pinterest

8. Send confirmations

Automate the emails you send after a customer engages with your online store. Top emails include order confirmations and shipping notifications.

Remember that transactional emails have the best open rates, so be thoughtful with your copy. Why not take this opportunity to work custom messages into your holiday email marketing calendar?

Use these automated transactional emails to thank customers for their purchase, let them know how many “points” they’ve accumulated, suggest additional products, or offer a special coupon for a future purchase. And don’t forget to wish them a happy holiday season.

Transactional emails like this one from Cream are great opportunities to include a nice thank you message along with an opportunity for engagement or taking advantage of other promotions.

Transactional emails like this one from Cream are great opportunities to include a nice thank you message along with an opportunity for engagement or taking advantage of other promotions.

Source Really Good Emails

How Campaign Monitor helps retailers grow

Tens of thousands of retail companies already use Campaign Monitor every day to grow their business. Here are the top reasons why Campaign Monitor is critical to their growth:

Pre-built email templates

It’s no longer necessary to hand-code each individual email template. We’ve delivered pre-built, mobile-ready email templates across top retail marketing use cases, such as product announcements and sales & promotions. To see how our customers have leveraged these templates in their own campaigns, check out our Top 100 Email Campaigns of 2015.

E-commerce integration

Once you’ve become comfortable sending traditional email marketing campaigns like product announcements and promotions, the next step is to integrate Campaign Monitor with your e-commerce solution (our customers love Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce). With the two systems syncing customer data seamlessly back and forth, you can automatically add new customers to your list and send campaigns based on your customer’s buying behavior.

Soon, we’ll be delivering pre-built list segments and workflows right inside Campaign Monitor to make sending hyper-targeted email marketing campaigns even simpler. Stay tuned right here for more about that upcoming feature.

Wrap up

Whether you sell your products online or in a physical store, we hope you’ll boost your company’s email marketing strategy by incorporating one of the powerful campaign ideas in this post.

Bring your holiday email marketing ideas to life with some of our customizable templates today.

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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