Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma8 min readTips & ResourcesNovember 29, 2016

Merry Christmas email marketing!

Merry Christmas email marketing!

Christmas, without a doubt, is one of the best times of year for countless retailers around the world.

You may be skeptical about Valentine’s Day, 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.

40% of holiday shopping occurs online. Post-holiday surveys point to the trend that 70% of people learn about holiday promotions through email.

Do you have email marketing strategy for Christmas? Because shoppers are planning to spend 10% more this holiday season…

Don’t worry. I’ll help you.

Where to start?

First of all, let’s get back to your Christmas marketing in 2015. See what worked and what didn’t.

  • Which product lines performed better/worse than others?
  • What were your top sellers? Across what 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 a year? Do you have a 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 during Christmas period

There are 4 stages of the email marketing during Christmas period.

1. Pre-Holiday

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

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

In my opinion, there are three kinds of presents 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.

#3. Decoration for our home.

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

How can you do that?

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

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

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

More ideas for your newsletters:

  • Suggest creating a wish list

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

  • Offer a value-add gift wrapping service

Take a look at funny J. Crew email:

  • Offer a 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. Christmas Countdown

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

How to be useful?

Remember how you feel about Christmas just before Christmas. I struggle with three gifts 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 Christmas is tomorrow.

I am sure I’m not the only one facing these matters. Here are a few examples of emails that would be very welcome at the time.

Modcloth suggests Christmas presents for different types of guys:

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

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

Here is an example of email by Zady:

  • 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 to benefit from that.
  • Send a small gift. It might be an e-book about insights of your industry. You may give priority access to your new product, new feature, article, video or recipe of Christmas drink (I ♥ the idea).

4. 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 with after-Christmas depression?

Email themes for After Christmas period:

  • Offer outfit/ jewelry/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 to redeem the gift cards they received. “Your gift cards + our clearance = goodness” email

10 tips for holiday email marketing

1. Integrate your newsletters with social media.

Don’t forget to include links to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest (these are perfect places to show your products). And vice versa. Share the newsletter via your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

2. Design responsive emails.

Remember, people are in a hurry during the holidays. Design an email with a short text, big photos, and clear call–to–action.

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

People love coupons, sales, price reductions, especially when they shop for the presents. You may use emoji to squeeze a lot of information in a single character and stand out in the inbox:

Here’s how Product Hunt uses emojis to help readers visualize the topic in the subject line:

4. Be creative with the words you use.

Use more than just Buy now message. How about Start 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.

J. Crew says Grab Your Mouse and Shop Now:

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

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

For example, Shop Terrain gives ideas how to decorate a house with lights instead of just selling the lights:

6. Segment your customers.

If you have international customers, keep in mind that not every country is celebrating Christmas. Also, not everyone has Christmas on the same day – take Russia for example, they have Christmas on January 7th this year.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to resend an email for less active subscribers. They might wake up for Christmas.

7. Test the different sending times.

Consider sending email on less-heavy days such as weekends. The click-through rate is the biggest on weekends.

8. Target appropriately.

You should never forget that your business is not the only one undertaking Christmas email marketing campaign. Your rivals are doing it as well, meaning that inboxes are more crowded than ever.

Therefore, effective targeting could give a real advantage over less well-thought campaigns. Mention each customer by their name and reference their purchase history, give them a “Christmas bonus” for being such good customers or a “We miss you” letter if it’s been a while since their last purchase.

9. Use limited time offers.

The main point of any marketing is to actually close the sale. Limited-time offers are easy to roll out but can be super effective. Use autoresponders to automatically inform customers about the limited time they have to cash in on a Christmas discount. Make it clear that this offer will expire soon and watch the purchases roll in.

10. Don’t forget A/B tests.

Remember, you can use A/B split tests with MailerLite to check which header, emoticon or content is allowing your campaign to perform better. Give at least 4-5 hours for the results to decide the winning A/B version. Make the most of this powerful feature!


Visit our Holiday Newsletters Pinterest board to get more inspiration.