Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma8 min readTips & ResourcesNovember 13, 2014

Christmas email marketing

Christmas email marketing

You may be skeptical about Valentine’s Day, hate Halloween costumes or forget your wedding anniversary, but you can’t ignore Christmas.

No wonder it is the time when the most personal spending is taking place.

43% of marketing experts say that email is very important channel to generate additional sales during the Christmas period. Email affects at least 10% of the total holiday sales.

Do you have email marketing strategy for Christmas?

Don’t worry. I will help you to work it out.

Where to start?

First of all, let’s get back to your Christmas marketing in 2013. See what worked and what didn’t.

  • Which product lines performed better/worse than others?
  • What were your top sellers? Across which channels?
  • Has the competitive landscape for your business changed in the last 12 months? Are you aware of what online strategies/programmes your competitors are implementing?
  • What did change within the year? Do you have bigger audience? Did you expand your business in different cities, countries, or continents?

Collect and analyse all the information about your past experience, customers and competitors.

Stages of the email marketing in the Christmas period

There are 5 stages of the email marketing in the Christmas period.

Here is our Holiday Email Marketing Calendar that covers all the holiday period.

Christmas, Holiday email calendar

1. Pre Holiday

Some companies start to promote Christmas very early. You may get emails “Christmas in July”. I suggest reminding your customers about the Christmas from November.

Gift guides or Christmas catalogs are a major selling tool during the holiday season.

To my mind, there are two kinds of presents that we search for:

#1. Presents for our family & close friends that we know very well and want to surprise.

#2. Presents for people that we don’t care much about, but we MUST buy something. Anything. The cheaper the better.

Save your customers time in solving the issues and they will be grateful.

How can you do that?

Suggest Christmas ideas for different price ranges, especially the cheapest:

Christmas ideas for pricing - newsletters

Write an email where readers can choose gifts according to the particular interests:

christmas newsletters - ideas for gifts

CB2 turns the gift guide into a fun decision tree that all starts with rating the gift-recipient on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s hard to resist following every path to its recommended gift (see the newsletter here).

gift guide for email newsletter ideas

More ideas for your newsletters:

    • Suggest to create wish list.

J.Crew encourages to make a wishlist showing their own example (see the full newsletter). That’s a great way to interact with your customers.

gift guide - email newsletter ideas
    • Offer a value-add gift wrapping service
    • Offer free shipping for the holiday season or on special days
    • Write about leasing and the financial services that are available to use while buying your products

2. Shopping Weekend (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday)

The weekend is when people buy the most in response to the email. It is an official kick-off of the holiday shopping season.

And it’s all about the SALES!

Email themes for Shopping Weekend:

    • Offer pre-holiday clearance sale
    • Create “We Miss You” campaign for the inactive subscribers
    • “Choose your own Christmas gift this year!” email for active customers

Be creative in expressing the message. For example, Steven Alan made a direct and clear message with the clothing items from the shop.

black friday email newsletter ideas

DearMissModern changes Black Friday to Pink Friday Sale (because black just sounds so dark). This is simple yet genius, right?

pink friday sale - email newsletter ideas

Paradigm chooses no pitch on Thanksgiving. Instead they thank the customers.

Being personal and showing your company’s values is always a great idea to engage with your customers. You don’t have to sale in every single email. You really don’t.

thanks giving - email newsletter ideas

3. Christmas Countdown

From the beginning of December, it is all about the Christmas. You have an excuse to send emails daily. But be aware how your customers react about that. Don’t forget to segment the customers according to the results and provide useful content.

How to be useful?

Remember, how you feel about the Christmas just before the Christmas. I struggle with three main challenges every year.

#1. What gifts to buy for all my male relatives and friends?

#2. What gift to buy for the 2nd cousin you haven’t seen since the ’90s?

#3. Oh I’ve forgotten to buy a present for that friend! And the Christmas is tomorrow.

I am sure I am not the only one facing the issues. Here are few examples of emails that would be very very welcome at the time.

Modcloth suggests Christmas presents for different types of guys:

Christmas presents for different types of guys - newsletter ideas

J. Crew email includes gift ideas even for that 2nd cousin:

gift ideas guide - newsletter ideas

“Perfect Last Minute Gift”. Just before Christmas offer to buy eGift card that will be delivered via email within hours or minutes of being purchased.

Here is example of email by Zady:

gift card - newsletter ideas

More email themes for Christmas countdown:

    • Advent calendar
    • Add countdown to Christmas
    • Suggest gift ideas for him, her, kids, teens, grandparents
    • Suggest gift ideas for different price ranges
    • Inform about the last shipping date
    • Be clear about last order date
    • Inform customer about the working hours of your shop/restaurant, especially if you are working during the holidays

4. Christmas

This is the time when we send greetings or Thank you letters to your customers. It might be just a greeting card or Christmas photo of your team.


Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to make a connection with the customer.

Here are some ideas for the Christmas newsletter:

    • Share your success. Inform your customers about your company’s big accomplishments over the past year, especially if your partners can benefit from those new features, products, or services.
    • Give a sneak peek to the future. Introduce new products or features that you are planning for the coming year. Let your customers be the first to know the good news, especially if they are going benefit from that.
    • Send a small gift. It might be an e-book about insights on your industry. You may give priority access to your new product, new feature, article, video or recipe for Christmas drink (I ♥ the idea)
happy holidays - christmas recipe - newsletter ideas

5. After Christmas

I believe that there are three main issues after Christmas that your customers would love you to solve.

#1. New Year’s Eve: where to go & how to dress

#2. What to do with the presents that you hate

#3. How to deal after Christmas depression?

Email themes for After Christmas period:

    • Offer outfit/jewellery/perfume for the New Year’s Eve. “Start the year off with something new”
    • Inform about the sale. “Get what you really wanted” letter
    • Offer redeem the gift cards they received. “Your gift cards + our clearance = goodness” email
after christmas sale - newsletter ideas

More tips for holiday email marketing

1. Integrate your newsletters with social media.

Don’t forget to include links to Facebook or Pinterest (it is perfect place to show your products). And vice versa. Share the newsletter on your Facebook and Twitter.

2. Design responsive emails.

Remember, people are on the move during the holidays. Design the email for finger-pointing with short text, big photos and clear call – to – action.

3. Let subject lines show what is inside the letter.

People love coupons, sales, prices reduction, especially when they shop for the presents.

4. Be creative with words you use.

Use more than just “Buy it now” message. How about: Get Giving, Get Inspired, Make wishes come true, etc. Best subject-line keywords for Christmas: perfect gift, gift under, gift list, and gift guide.

Surprisingly, the least popular themes are: Santa, Christmas, celebration; perhaps they sound a bit cliché.

5. Don’t just promote your products instead motivate your customers to buy.

Send them gift ideas, home decoration tips, photos of fashionable holiday outfits and make them smile. Give and then ask!

6. Segment your customers into active and inactive.

Don’t be afraid to re-mail for the less active subscribers.

7. Test the different sending times.

For example, consider sending email on less-heavy days such as weekends.The click-through rate is the biggest on weekend.


Visit our Holiday Newsletters Pinterest board to get more inspiration.

Holiday newsletters pinterest board - mailerlite