Holiday Email Marketing: 9 Strategies to Increase Sales 

Holiday Email Marketing

The holiday season is approaching, and customers are gearing up to shop like there’s no tomorrow. It’s also a great time for businesses to start building holiday email marketing series to increase sales. 

As a business owner, what you can expect in the following weeks is more competition and less engagement from customers. Why? Because they are overwhelmed! Every day, customers are bombarded with tons of information, promotions, deals, and offers, inevitably leading them to decision fatigue. 

To get their attention, it takes more than sending festive-themed emails and holiday coupons; you’ll need a robust, attention-grabbing holiday email marketing strategy, and we’re here to help you build it. 

Why is Holiday Email Marketing Important?

Email marketing is popular because of its high ROI, but it’s not the only reason. Businesses that made an effort to build viable email lists already created a relationship with their customers. Your recipients are knowingly looking for products like yours, and they’re receptive to offers, especially when it’s time for holiday shopping. When done right, holiday email marketing could be the key to your success, and here’s why.

  • Increase in customer engagement: Data trends show that 36% of people spend time researching gifts before purchasing them. To increase engagement, it’s critical to get your holiday email marketing series in front of your audience. To keep the engagement consistent, segment your audience properly and grow your email list the right way. 
  • Increase in sales: A survey by PWC Holiday Outlook 2023 says Gen Z and women shoppers are likely to spend more during the holiday season. These audiences are looking for gift ideas and deals during this time. (Here’s a great idea for another email list segment!) Holiday season is an opportunity to incentivize them to purchase. Send them exclusive offers and helpful information to get them to convert. For example, gift guides are a good starting point for holiday email marketing. 
  • Increase in customer loyalty: Personalization plays a key role in maintaining customer loyalty, especially during the holiday season. Customers shop from brands they have a personal connection with. Begin your email marketing early by sending them personalized offers and content. For example, include their first names in the subject line and send offers based on their purchase history.
  • Opportunity to gather data: Holidays are the best time to send multiple emails without coming across as over-saturated. Holiday emails help gather consumer insights for future campaigns. With this data, you can create dedicated landing pages for popular products and link CTAs to them. 

As you prepare for your holiday email marketing plan, we’ve consolidated a few steps to help you maximize your email performance and create the best email sequence. 

Steps for a Successful Holiday Email Marketing Strategy

A holiday email marketing strategy starts with a purpose but just like other campaigns, its success depends on proper email list segmentation. To increase the chances for success of your holiday promotions, segment audiences based on:

  1. Where they’re in the marketing funnel;
  2. Their interests;
  3. Purchase history;
  4. Demographics;
  5. Their activity on your website (likes, shopping frequency, and recent purchases).

Then, you can move to the concept, content and setup as follows:

1. Planning Out Your Funnel

Like any other campaign, holiday email marketing must start with a goal – what do you intend to achieve? Is it more traffic? More sales? Or building relationships along the way? Deciding on this will help you set up an email marketing funnel targeting the right audience. Plus, it’ll help you create suitable content for different stages of the customer journey.

2. Craft Compelling Content

Compelling content starts with the personalization of your emails. That does not mean sending emails with the recipient’s name or a glorious image of a snowy mountain scene. It’s about knowing your audience and sending them targeted messages. For example, sending exclusive offers to new subscribers or providing early access to VIP members.

3. Giveaway Gifts

Gift card emails are frequently overlooked in holiday campaigns. Customers enjoy receiving gifts, and the holidays can make it extra special. By offering a reward in the form of gift card or rewards program, you can encourage recipients to learn about your brand and lead them to a purchase.

4. Measure and Analyze Results

Once you start sending email campaigns, you’ll also want to track their results. Whether you’re planning to send a weekly holiday newsletter or a series of special offers over time, it’s critical to measure open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. Access to this data can help you A/B test, refine your campaigns and learn from them.

5. Ensure Higher Deliverability 

If you send high volumes of emails every day, maintaining a high email deliverability rate can be a challenge. High email deliverability rate is an indicator that your emails are reaching the recipient’s inbox and not the spam folders. To ensure higher deliverability you can use email deliverability services, but you can also implement the latest industry standards, soon to be mandatory for all bulk email senders.

Campaign Refinery is ahead of the game in the matter of deliverability. We know about the importance of domain authentication, clean lists and easy opt-out options. This means our email experts help verify our clients’ domains’ and implement all the best practices to achieve the highest deliverability on the market. As a result, our clients have reported increased email deliverability rates of up to 6x since they joined us! 

Discover our services and apply to join our happy client pool!

First comes deliverability, then come the best practices, and leads and conversions are sure to follow. 

Holiday Email Marketing Best Practices

Designing holiday email marketing blasts, you’ll need to keep your work aligned with the best practices in email marketing, adding the festive colors and cheer as spice — seasoned just right. As you move forward on your holiday marketing path, you should never lose the following standards from sight:

1. Timing Optimization

Developing a timeline ensures the messages reach their target audiences at the time when they’re most likely to engage with your content. In general, emails at 11 AM on weekdays and 9 PM on Sundays perform better. A study found that email opens increased by 106% after holidays. Emails were more likely to be opened at the beginning and the end of a holiday, especially when another holiday season was approaching. Test sending emails at different times to check what works best with your audience. 

2. Email List Hygiene

When email lists aren’t cleaned regularly, they can accumulate inactive subscribers. This could lead to increased spam complaints, bounces, and ultimately impact your sender reputation.

Cleaning your email lists regularly will discard old email addresses and unsubscribes from your list. At Campaign Refinery, we’re obsessed with keeping our clients’ email lists immaculate. That’s why our clients get an automatic list-cleaning feature that runs through the email list and eliminates inactive, spam, role, and unwanted email addresses. The result — open rates you’ve never seen before!

3. Exclusive Promotions

Promotions are an effective way to convert first-time visitors into paying customers. For instance, you can send time-sensitive offers as well as special offers to create a sense of urgency. This is particularly suitable for holidays like Christmas, where shoppers are willing to spend as much 870 USD per person! 

4. Countdown Emails 

Countdown emails are a series of emails that count down days (even hours sometimes) to a certain event, a holiday in this case. Their goal is to increase engagement and conversions. These emails are time-sensitive, visually engaging, and retain the attention of the recipients. Hence, subscribers are more likely to purchase or claim an offer when the time is limited. 

5. Interactive Content

With thousands of emails flooding customers’ inboxes, a good way to be different and attract attention with visuals is by using interactive content in your emails. Interactive content refers to videos, GIFs, and polls. It adds a unique approach and increases participation in your email campaign. Also, it will feed you new data on your audience.

6. Social Proof

Social proof extends beyond customer reviews and ratings. It’s a step toward building trust with user-generated content, a count of satisfied customers, testimonials and quotes, influencer endorsements, and customer success stories. It demonstrates that people have had positive experiences with your business, urging potential buyers to try.

7. Abandoned Cart Emails 

Abandoned cart emails let customers know you didn’t forget about them. This type of email campaign has an open rate of 45% because it acts as a reminder and regains customers’ attention. 

8. Optimization for Mobile

Over 50% of the internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Imagine the possibility of losing out on a sale if your emails end up looking crummy on a mobile phone. That’s why paying attention to the layout, design, and content is necessary.

9. Exceptional Customer Support

While everything on this list is important, customer support takes the cake. Exceptional customer support can set you apart from competitors, increase faith in your business, boost sales and build long-term relationships with your clients.

Now that you’re ready to craft your amazing holiday email marketing campaign using the best practices on the market, you should know that your work doesn’t end with the holiday season. Post-holiday outreach is another step you need to consider. 

Beyond the Holidays: Why Post-holiday-Engagement Is Important

Most think that holiday email marketing involves sending emails only during the holidays. But the truth is, most people make decisions based on promotions and special offers. So, even after the holidays, sending emails can increase your revenue. Post-holiday emails also help to:

  • Foster customer loyalty and advocacy: It’s a way of telling customers that you haven’t forgotten about them after you made a sale. Following up with a thank you message, a special offer, or a coupon code can help you build long-term relationships.
  • Extend the shopping season: Some customers may be looking for products after the holidays, too. This could be a great opportunity to upsell or cross-sell related products. Particularly, if you’re into the consumables business, you can continue to sell your products year-round.
  • Reduce churn rate: The churn rate refers to the number of customers who unsubscribe or stop doing business with you over a specific period. Post-holiday emails help to persuade these customers to stay.
  • Encourage referrals: Satisfied customers are more likely to refer your products, and including relevant post-purchase information in emails will help spread the word.
  • Lesser competition: Most brands overlook the importance of post-purchase emails. Email marketing post-holidays will help you achieve more opens and click-throughs from subscribers.

To create the most effective holiday emails, you must look at the numbers, your own and those of the market. To help you plan and optimize your holiday emails, we’ve compiled a list of the most interesting holiday marketing stats.

Email Holiday Marketing Statistics 2023

Every business looks forward to the end of the year. It’s a critical stage when email holiday marketing shapes the overall success of your marketing.

Below, we’ll see the key trends in holiday email marketing. 

  • 35% of customers open emails depending on the subject lines (Litextension),
  • 67% of consumers prefer to shop online (Numerator),
  • Loyalty will become a major factor in retaining customers (Salesforce),
  • 56% of all digital orders will be through mobile phones (Salesforce),
  • 51% of people will begin shopping before November (Numerator),
  • Email marketing will have an average open rate of 15.6% during Halloween promotions (Brevo),
  • Black Friday will see an increase in sales reaching $9.66 billion (Tech Radar),
  • The average Christmas expenditure in the United States will be $950 (Zippia).
  • 61% of shoppers are willing to try new retailers (Blippr).

End-of-the-year holidays are near, and these stats will give you an idea of where to focus your efforts, which holidays to include, and how to engage with your audience. To help you make informed choices on the best holidays and the best times to send sequences, we’ve put together a list of the most popular ones.

Holiday Email Marketing Calendar: The Best Time to Send Emails 

There’s no golden rule for the best time to send a holiday email. We’ve focused on end-of-the-year holidays, and here are general guidelines for better open and click rates:

HolidaysEmail SequenceDate recommendationsReasons for sending emails during these dates
Halloween (Oct 31)1


2-3 weeks before Halloween.

Promotions on the day of Halloween.

Thank you email  3-4 days of Halloween. 
Warms up the audience. 

Creates a sense of urgency.

Strengthens relationships with customers. 

Thanksgiving Day (Nov 28)1


Sale teaser emails 1-2 weeks before Thanksgiving.

Season greetings and sale announcement on Thanksgiving Day. 

Follow-up email on Black Friday with more offers.
Reminders help increase sales.

Shares gratitude with customers as well as spikes sales.

Retains their attention with free shipping or more discounts.
Christmas (Dec 25)1


Countdown emails at the start of December.

Greetings a week before Christmas 

Continue to send offers a week after Christmas.
Creates anticipation for shoppers.

Studies show higher open rates during this period. Prepares customers for New-year sales.
When to send holiday emails

To help you put the proposed sequences into practice, we’ve consolidated holiday email marketing examples and templates.

Holiday Email Marketing Examples

We hope the below examples will inspire you to send the best campaigns this holiday season. 

1. Gift Guides

Gift guides help audiences to discover gifts based on interests, price ranges, and categories. This is a great way to bundle related products and promote your bestsellers. The purpose of gift guides is to help audiences narrow down choices and make quicker decisions.

2. Countdown Emails 

Countdown emails increase curiosity and keep the readers engaged. Plus, it’s time-sensitive and promotes urgency. For example, you can send a Christmas countdown email 2 weeks before the holiday to create anticipation.

3. Holiday Greetings Email

Greeting emails are the most common type and prepare the customer for the upcoming holiday season. They foster a sense of community and strengthen customer relationships. 

We hope the examples serve as a helpful starting point for your campaigns. But we understand that sometimes a little guidance is needed to make the most of your holiday email marketing efforts. 

Here’s Why the Holiday Season is the Best Time to Work With Campaign Refinery!

As experienced marketers in the industry, we’ve learned that the baseline for a successful holiday email campaign is consistency, clean email lists, and engaging content. 

With years of practice, we know that holiday email marketing requires steady efforts along with the best tools. Hence, we’ve got an automatic email list cleaning feature to remove harmful emails and ensure higher deliverability. On top of that, the Evergreen Flash Sales feature helps you create time-sensitive offers to increase conversions. Our other features include engagement gamification, mandatory domain authentication, and a credit system. This is especially helpful during the holiday season when the competition is soaring. 

We understand the importance of collaborative efforts, and our email experts are available 24/7 to help you with any questions or technical issues, even during the holiday season!

Apply now and learn more about our exclusive services and immediately increase your conversions!

Happy Holiday Emailing!

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