The season to be jolly is right around the corner!

That’s right! Holiday cups are back at Starbucks, Christmas music is already playing in every store you walk into. Decorations are right around the corner.

It always feels too early to start celebrating the holidays, but it’s never too early to plan your holiday email marketing.

After all, email marketing accounts for 20 percent of holiday sales, according to Mailcharts.

Holiday Email Templates

Who doesn’t enjoy spreading some holiday cheer?

Benchmark Email helps you get your email marketing in the holiday spirit with dozens of festive holiday email templates.

Here are some things to keep in mind when using a holiday email template:

  • Stay true to your branding. Don’t make your logo a color your subscribers have never seen it before, just to match the holiday motif. Same goes for buttons and other colors that are consistent across your email campaigns. Dress it up for the holidays, but don’t become something unrecognizable to your subscribers.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the house on the block with lights covering every square inch of the exterior and lawn with lights. You can’t look at that house without sunglasses.
  • Don’t limit it to the template. Extend the holiday cheer to your subject line as well. That way it won’t be a surprise when your subscribers open your holiday email.
  • Don’t just promote your sales. Promote your products too. A common mistake many businesses make is to only inform their subscribers of their promotions. That assumes they know everything you offer. Be sure to highlight your products too. The promo and the product together are the knockout combo you want.

Templates To Automate

Aside from the great holiday email templates available to you, we’ve also created strategy templates to let you automate your holiday email marketing.

You can send a promotion and follow-up with your subscribers based on if they opened the email, clicked a link or visited a specific page on your website.

Don’t wait for 2018 to take your email marketing to the next level. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution and close out 2017 strong.

We also put together some tips and ideas for your Christmas and Chanukah marketing campaigns to be automated.

Holiday Email Marketing Tips

Now that you know how to pick the right template and what to do with it, let’s look at some strategies and suggestions for your holiday email marketing campaigns.

Make A Plan

Everything will go smoother for your holiday email marketing if you start with a good plan.

Holiday emails campaigns sent in the first half of November tend to get the best open rates, according to GoDaddy.

The first step in creating a holiday email marketing plan is to know which holidays you should be creating campaigns for. These are the big ones:

  • Thanksgiving, November 22
  • Black Friday, November 23
  • Small Business Saturday, November 24
  • Cyber Monday, November 26
  • Giving Tuesday, November 27
  • Hanukkah, December 2-10
  • Christmas, December 25

Figure out which of those holidays make sense for your business. Don’t contort to uncomfortable, Stretch Armstrong-esque lengths to make all of these holidays work for your brand. You may also not have the time or resources to do campaigns for all of them. Be reasonable and focus on the ones that will work best for your goals.

What emails should you be sending for any (or all) of these holidays?

A sequence of three emails is your best bet for successful holiday email marketing:

  1. First, you should send an email to announce your holiday promotion. You can send this up to two weeks prior to your sale.
  2. Next, you’ll want to send a reminder for your holiday promotion. If you sent the first one two weeks out, the follow-up email should go out a week later (one week before your sale).
  3. Lastly, you should send an email the day off the promotion. This one should really create some urgency and get your subscribers to act now.

Segment Your List(s)

Relevance is key with any emails you send, but especially so with your holiday email marketing.

Most inboxes are even more crowded during the holiday season making it all the more important to stand out.

Email list segmentation or targeted emailing are your best bets for sending targeted, relevant content to your subscribers.

You can use purchase history, click history, demographic or location data to sort your list in order to send the best possible content to each subscriber.

Holiday Email Marketing Content Ideas

Giving gifts to our loved ones can be difficult.

We want to give them something that will feel personal and picked out just for them. But where to start?

Many businesses create gift guides to help their subscribers choose the right gift for everyone on their list.

One way to create a gift guide is to sort it by price. Here’s a holiday email campaign from Bed, Bath & Beyond that sorts their campaign into sections by cost. It makes it easy to find the right item for everything from office holiday parties to something for your loved ones.

Bed Bath & Beyond gift guide holiday email marketing

Another way to organize your gift guide is by who the gift is for. It can be gifts for him or her, your kids, parents, etc.

If you sell products for kids big and small, you can even create a gift guide sorted by age groups, from newborns to those of us with an inner child that still burns strong.

This holiday email from Target shows how you can make it easy to find gifts for all your nieces, nephews, sons and daughters.

Outside of gift guides, there are plenty of other holiday sales you can use email marketing to promote.

Some companies offer a special gift to the first group of customers through the door in the morning. For some businesses, this results in customers camping out to receive the free giveaway! What better social media buzz than a line of anxious customers braving the elements to come to your store.

This Black Friday from Chan Luu executes this strategy well:

Chan Luu black friday email marketing promo

Other than giving customers a percentage off their total, you can also offer free shipping for your online shoppers. That’s what J Crew did with a recent Cyber Monday campaign:

J Crew also creates a sense of urgency by telling their subscribers that free shipping deal is for that day only.

One additional way to boost your holiday email marketing efforts is to include a charitable component with your promotions.

If all of the proceeds from certain items or total sales are donated to charity, it increases the likelihood that a subscriber will make a purchase.

PayPal itself wanted to inspire everyone to donate to charities during the holiday season. They announced that PayPal would add 1% to any donation made to a charity during the month of December.

In 2017, more than $8.5 billion was donated through PayPal, in part due to this holiday promotion.

Share Your Tips

Have you run a successful holiday email marketing campaign in the past? Or maybe a favorite one you’ve received?

Share your tips in the comments. We love to hear them!