Practical Ecommerce

Email Marketing: 5 Ways to Inject Holiday Spirit

Ecommerce email marketing can significantly boost sales during the holiday shopping season, which is why so many online sellers use it. One way to help messages stand out in the inbox is to inject them with customer-pleasing, holiday spirit.

Consider that Christmas, which is the summit of the holiday shopping season, is certainly one of the most popular holidays in the world. It is a time when folks are drawn to family, and encouraged to practice faith, generosity, and friendship.

One way to help messages stand out in the inbox is to inject them with customer-pleasing, holiday spirit.

If one needed evidence, think about the more than 1.6 billion Christmas cards sent each year or the fact that Americans alone spend billions on gifts, food, and decorations. Take a drive through just about any residential neighborhood in North American and look at the lights and the collections of inflatable lawn ornaments. Or visit just about any shopping mall or large store right after Thanksgiving and listen to the Christmas music playing.

People like the spirit of the celebration, and it is certainly legitimate to use genuine holiday expressions to connect with customers, particularly with email marketing.

“Holiday email marketing isn’t a secret. No. It’s probably the most popular time of year to send email campaigns. As such, there’s a lot of clutter in the inbox as the holiday season approaches,” wrote Benchmark Email’s Andy Shore in an email to Practical Ecommerce. Shore suggested that marketers need to take steps to give “holiday emails a ‘red nose’ to shine bright in the inbox. Some would even say it will make your email glow.”

1. Add Fun, Cheer to the Subject Line

In all of these suggestions for injecting holiday spirit into email marketing messages, do not be too contrived if you will. Rather aim for subtle, authentic expressions or reminders of the holidays.

Shore, as an example, suggested seasonal subject lines. “Holidays are all about, nostalgia, family, friends and the good times had together. Bring that into your subject lines.” As an example, try something as direct as “20% More Presents Under the Tree.”

According to a 2014 Experian Marketing Services study, holiday email marketing volume rose 13 percent from 2012 to 2013. With this in surge in mind, consider split testing cheerful, Christmas-oriented subject lines to determine which ones perform best.

2. Use Christmas and Holiday Graphics and Visuals

Market consultant, Brian Honigman, wrote on the SumAll blog that updated email visuals could help with holiday success.

“The visual elements of an email campaign are one of the few features that help your emails stand out amongst the constant influx of emails in everyone’s inbox,” Honigman wrote. “Begin building out an extensive selection of email templates specific to the holidays like Black Friday, Christmas and the others that your business is planning to acknowledge in your upcoming campaigns. Match the aesthetics of the holidays with the existing look and feel of your brand’s visuals.”

Marketers will also want to use similar graphics, photographs, and videos on landing pages associated with email campaigns so that when a customer clicks on a link in an email they have a similar visual experience when they arrive on site.

3. Don’t Just Sell

Not every email that you send during the holidays should be sales-focused. Reserve one or two messages for content that is helpful, useful, or entertaining to customers.

Many online retailers might simply want to send customers a digital greeting card as the holiday approaches, or, perhaps, send a link to an entertaining Christmas video thanking shoppers for their business.

In this same line, any sort of helpful article or service that will help customers is probably worthy of a holiday email.

4. Personalize Messages

Email personalization is a best practice any time of the year, and is even more important during a holiday that reminds us all of relationships.

For holiday spirit, personalize emails on two levels. First, use the subscriber’s name and start with a holiday-related greeting. Second, segment the list, so that recipients are receiving the most relevant message possible.

5. Experiment with the ‘From’ Address

You can create custom email addresses easily and cheaply. This was another suggestion from Benchmark Email’s Shore.

“You always want a recognizable from name, so that subscribers can identify your emails,” Shore began. But “it’s also one of the few weapons in your arsenal, in terms of the things a subscriber sees before opening an email. Giving the ‘From Name’ a fun holiday tweak may grab your subscribers’ attention.”

As with anything, you are going to want to test “From” names. Consider using A/B or multivariate tests to determine how your usual From name and reply email address perform relative to a custom name, such as

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. Shawn November 13, 2014 Reply

    Hey Armando,

    Great tips, we’re sharing these with our customers so they know how to get the most bang for their buck this upcoming holiday season.

    Have you had a chance to use Mailify? I’d love to set up some beta testing with you and hear your thoughts on it.


  2. Joel (Remarkety) November 14, 2014 Reply

    I enjoyed reading it and shared with Remaekety’s clients as well. I especially liked section #3. I believe that small businesses should take advantage and treat their customers in more personal way. They cannot compete the big ecommerce players like Amazon over prices, but can be more creative and give a better service.

  3. Brian Honigman November 14, 2014 Reply

    Hey Armando,

    Great article, thanks for including my insights from the Sumall piece. Have a good weekend!


  4. Jose Siandre November 18, 2014 Reply

    Armando, this is very creative! I especially liked the email address tip: and changing up the subject to something more holiday-like. We will definitely use these ideas! Thanks!

    ~Jose Siandre
    Founder & CEO SportsTek