6 Email Marketing Tips for the Holiday Season

Halloween has passed, and the holiday season is now officially upon us. As discounted Halloween candy makes its way off the shelves, Thanksgiving themed decorations and treats are already proudly displayed. Every year the holiday season shopping frenzy seems to arrive earlier as shoppers make the move to knock out their holiday shopping in advance. As branders and business owners, you can cash in on this merchandise mindset by stepping up your holiday marketing efforts.

Being strategic with your marketing strategy is crucial during the holiday months. This time of year, consumers are poised and ready to shop, and goods and service providers will be aggressive in their attempts to reach their audience. This year, one of the best places to reach your consumers will be online, in their email inbox. The shift we’ve seen towards online shopping and email marketing during the holiday season is overwhelming, and the numbers speak for themselves.

Online Holiday Shopping Facts

  • U.S. holiday season desktop retail e-commerce sales: $56.43 billion (source)
  • Leading holiday shopping activity via smartphone: coupon search, 65%
  • 103 million Americans shopped online over Thanksgiving weekend of 2015 (source)
  • Fortune expects digital sales will hit $94.71 billion this Christmas period (source)
  • 93% of shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping during the holidays (source)
  • 46% of holiday shopping will happen online (source)
  • 8 in 10 consumers who sign up for brand emails will make a purchase based on what they receive in their inbox (source)

These figures all point towards the same message: that holiday shopping has become an increasingly digital experience for consumers, and that it’s imperative for brands and marketers to accommodate that trend. This season, one of the best ways you can make that happen is through an email marketing campaign. You can target customers, drive sales, and place yourself right where the traffic is. Here are 6 email marketing tips for the holiday season to get you started.

  1. Welcome Emails

The holiday season is the perfect time to grow your email subscriber list. You’ve probably seen email sign-up sheets by the registers of stores before, and if you have a store location, that’s exactly what you should be doing. Put a little note at the top of a sign-up sheet that says “join our email list for special holiday offers!” and your email list will triple over the course of a few weeks.

When you have a new subscriber, send them a welcome email that lets them know you remember them and appreciate their subscribing. You might even sweeten the email up a bit by adding a special coupon or offer. I recently signed up for REI’s email list while shopping in the store and this is what I was sent the following day:


As a consumer, I was not only thrilled to receive an orientation email so soon, but was also excited to receive a welcome coupon. It adds incentive to remain subscribed to the emails and prompts customers looking for their next purchase to use their coupon.

  1. Freebies

Few things motivate consumers to spend like a free gift with purchase. And, to be perfectly honest, even the tiniest little freebie can prompt a customer to make a purchase because it feels like a waste not to. Here’s an example of a freebie email offer I recently received:


Now, do I really need or even want an “I heart pizza” pin? Probably not. But I can definitely find $50 worth of stuff I want from one of my favorite brands, and I do heart pizza, so why not? At the very least, you’ll get traffic to your website. Or, since 93% of shoppers plan to take advantage of it, your freebie could be a free shipping offer.

  1. Holiday Announcement

Sending a holiday announcement email prompts your subscribers to take a look at what you have to offer, and it can inspire purchases the consumer didn’t even know they would make. For example, Paper Source just sent out their holiday shop announcement:



The presentation of their new products as well as the discounts on holiday cards and invitations makes seasonal shopping look exciting and fun. An enticing holiday announcement email will remind your subscribers that you’re there, ready, and open for business.

  1. Personalized Offers

Consumers respond well to personalization in their emails. You can send personalized suggestions based on a customer’s past purchases, birthday greetings, anniversary coupons, and more. Here’s an example Adidas sent me on my birthday:


A little birthday pick-me-up can make a business feel less like a brand and more like an old friend. That added personal touch goes a long way, and if nothing else, birthday coupons and deals will help you retain your email subscribers.

  1. Time Sensitive Offers

Flash sales and limited offer deals can drive foot traffic and site traffic very quickly. Perfect example-on Monday I received the following email from one of my favorite local boutiques:


I stopped by on my lunch break and made a purchase, all because this email made me think it was an urgent, really good idea. You can use the same concept to push holiday shopper traffic and impulse buys.

  1. Email Surveys

Want to kill two birds with one glorious stone? Incentivize a survey with a special offer upon completion. Here’s how Kate Spade does it:


Most consumers really enjoying giving feedback, especially when there’s a participation prize. Use this busy holiday time to gain key insights on your brand’s performance while rewarding your most loyal customers.

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