Even with all of its joy and merriment, the holiday season can be a hectic time of the year for shoppers. For many people, heading to the web to complete their Christmas shopping is becoming increasingly popular, as online shopping allows them to avoid facing large crowds, queuing in line, and having only a limited selection of items from which to choose.
With the growing number of online shoppers, e-retailers are constantly looking for ways to attract consumers to their stores, especially at Christmas, when the potential for generating revenue increases significantly. One tactic that can be particularly effective is to avail of email marketing. However, because today’s shoppers are bombarded with Christmas emails left and right, it’s important to create original campaigns that’ll make your brand stand out from the crowd.
In this guide, we’ll go over the benefits of email marketing at Christmas, provide you with our top tips for optimizing your campaigns, and give you 11 ideas for emails to help bring your subscribers some extra holiday cheer!
Why launch a Christmas email campaign?
Planning a high-quality Christmas email campaign will no doubt be a task that requires a significant amount of time and attention. At the same time, as an ecommerce retailer, you’ll likely be quite busy with all kinds of other activities pertaining to your business throughout the season.
You therefore might be wondering if launching an email campaign as part of your Christmas marketing strategy is actually worth it. Well, to help convince you of its merits, here are just a few of the reasons why email marketing is beneficial for your ecommerce business at Christmas!
The holiday season is traditionally important for sales
It’s worth noting that the period surrounding Christmas often brings in the most revenue for many online retailers. Statista found that ecommerce retail sales reached approximately $213.6 billion in the US in 2021, and this figure is expected to grow to $239.3 billion in 2022.
Christmas emails boost your chances of reaching your audience
Email marketing, which can involve content like a welcome email, an email promoting a sale, or a regular newsletter on any number of topics pertinent to the target audience, is a particularly efficient strategy because it allows for personalization and direct targeting. Thoughtfully crafted Christmas emails increase the likelihood of your marketing messages reaching your subscribers.
Conversions are easier
With shoppers already feeling the holiday spirit and being in the mood to buy, it can often be much easier to convert your site visitors into customers with a stellar email marketing strategy. While conversions won’t happen automatically, effective Christmas emails may be just what your audience needs to convince them to add your products to their shopping carts.
When should you send Christmas emails?
Although the best times to send your Christmas emails will depend on your specific audience and your business, a complete email marketing strategy for the holidays can be divided into three different stages.
It seems like people are beginning their Christmas shopping earlier and earlier every year. One way to stand out from your competitors is to send your subscribers pre-Christmas emails and get a head start on your holiday marketing. Consider working on your pre-Christmas email campaigns in early autumn so that you can start sending your emails in November.
In the month or two leading up to Christmas, shoppers will most likely be in the beginning stages of planning their holiday shopping. Emails sent during this period typically include content like gift guides and wishlists, which can help remind your subscribers of your brand and your products, providing shopping inspiration for everybody on their gift list.
With your ecommerce business fresh on your subscribers mind thanks to your pre-Christmas emails, you’ll be able to more easily encourage purchases when the holiday season actually arrives. At this point, two or three weeks before Christmas, your audience should have a good idea of what you have for sale and will likely be looking forward to seeing what special offers and events your online store will have as the holidays draw closer.
Throughout this period, your emails can be a great way to help give readers an extra push to head to your website and click “Buy now.” For example, your emails might include a discount code for items that the reader has previously expressed interest in. You might also highlight seasonal product bundles that you’re offering.
While much of the shopping excitement will likely slow down by the time that December 26th rolls around, this doesn’t mean that your holiday marketing should come to a complete halt. Emails sent in late December or early January provide a wonderful opportunity to stay connected with your audience and set the tone for the new year.
The following are examples of actions can be especially advantageous for your post-Christmas email campaigns:
- Give discounts: A special promo is a great way to encourage subscribers to purchase a product for themselves that may have caught their attention during the holidays.
- Say thanks: Strengthen your relationships with your customers by thanking them for their business at Christmas with a simple message or possibly even a small gift.
- Supply useful content: Share information that offers your readers real value, even after the holidays have passed, such as links to useful articles on your blog, business updates, and industry news.
Tips on how to optimize your Christmas emails
Coming up with an effective email marketing strategy for the Christmas season can often be a little overwhelming, especially for new brands. Here are a few tips to ensure that your festive emails are on the right track.
Remember the importance of good email subject lines
When it comes to your Christmas emails, one of the most important elements will be the subject line. This is what your subscribers will first see when your email arrives in their inbox and what they’ll use to decide if they want to open it up and continue reading. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to get your subscribers interested and make them want to see what your brand has to say!
- Add emojis: Emojis are a simple yet powerful way to boost the open rate of your emails. Consider using A/B testing to experiment with different versions of your subject line, comparing an emoji-free subject line with one that uses one or even a few emojis, to see which offers the best performance with your audience.
- Craft catchy holiday slogans: Here’s your opportunity to break out your best Christmas puns! Adding a memorable subject line that makes people smile is an excellent tactic to use for your campaigns all year long.
- Evoke holiday emotions: With all the negativity in the world, your subscribers are likely to appreciate “feel good” messages more than ever. By incorporating Christmas song lyrics or references to holiday films or stories that are relevant to your target market, you can uplift your subscribers’ moods, conjure feelings of nostalgia for them, and boost their festive spirit.
- Pique readers’ curiosity: Although you don’t want to confuse subscribers, a subject line that doesn’t give everything away can serve as a fun way to tease them and make them want to click on your message to learn more. You might, for example, ask a question and/or use the second-person voice, speaking to the reader directly.
Create a sense of urgency
While discounts are really good for boosting conversions at Christmas, one way to push purchases even further is to limit the time that your special offer is available. If buyers think they have plenty of time to shop from your store, there’s a good chance that they’ll hold off on making a purchase. They might decide to research the product on other sites or have every intention of returning later to purchase from you but simply forget.
By creating a sense of urgency in your Christmas emails, you’ll give your subscribers more of a reason to act more quickly. Whether you’re providing information about a fantastic sale or another limited-time promotion, such as free shipping for all orders, consider adding phrases like “Don’t wait!” or “Act now!” as well as clear start and end dates for the offer to spur your subscribers to take action as soon as possible.
Provide a clear CTA
It’s important to remember that the people receiving your emails will no doubt have an inbox full of correspondence from other brands too, especially at Christmas! They won’t want to spend lots of time trying to figure out the point of the content, so it’s advantageous to not beat around the bush in your messages.
Make it apparent to your readers exactly what step you’d like them to take next by adding a clear call to action (CTA). Aim to keep your CTAs brief but interesting, leaving no room for misinterpretation.
Include compelling copy
As stated above, your online store’s emails won’t be the only ones your subscribers are sifting through at Christmas. To help your messages stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to use compelling copy that’s informative and evokes readers’ emotions, making people want to continue reading and click to head to your website.
In addition, be sure to take advantage of personalization in your holiday email campaigns to make your messages even more compelling. This strategy entails not just addressing the subscriber by their first name but also including relevant offers, details, and language. You’ll find that email personalization can go a long way in boosting your campaign’s engagement!
Add interactive features
Another tactic to improve engagement for your Christmas email campaigns and increase conversions is to include interactive features that make your emails more exciting for people to read. What’s more, interactive emails can assist you in obtaining valuable insights concerning your customers’ preferences, allowing you to adjust your future campaigns as needed.
For inspiration, here are some examples of elements you can add to your emails to make them more interactive:
- Videos: A study by Wyzowl found that 73% of participants prefer learning about a product by watching a video compared to other methods such as reading about it in a text-based article, viewing an infographic, or downloading an ebook. Even if your holiday email doesn’t involve one of your products, including a short, high-quality video can help keep your subscribers interested for a longer amount of time.
- GIFs: The use of animated GIFs is an easy and fun way to make your messages more interactive, whether you want to highlight a product, promote an upcoming sale, or simply wish your customers happy holidays. There are various free tools available online, which you can use to design a GIF that suits your brand.
- Polls or surveys: Consider embedding a poll or survey within your email to learn more about your subscribers and improve your business’s offerings at Christmas and beyond. For instance, you might ask what services are most important to them when they’re completing their holiday shopping or when they plan to start purchasing gifts for their loved ones.
- Live shopping carts: Incite site visitors to complete their purchases by sending an abandoned cart email featuring a snapshot of the items they’ve left in their shopping cart. Remind them of when your sale ends or the last day they can order to ensure that their gifts are received in time for Christmas.
- Image carousels: Rather than sending a long email describing a bunch of your product offerings, think about including an image carousel to highlight your bestsellers and/or the items the subscriber is most likely to be interested in. In addition to high-quality images, be sure to add brief descriptions and prices so that the most essential details are easy for your readers to find.
- Countdown timers: To boost anticipation for an upcoming sale or other special offer on your online store, consider adding a timer that counts down the remaining time left until the event occurs. This can also be used to create a sense of urgency when announcing how much time is left until the end of a promotion.
Use a responsive design
As you’ll have come to understand by this point, your business will probably be facing some competition throughout the holiday season, so the design of your emails during this period will be all the more crucial. If your emails are difficult to read or have a confusing layout, your subscribers won’t hesitate to ignore them and head to your competitors’ sites when they’re ready to do their holiday shopping!
Keep in mind that many people will likely be reading your emails from their mobile devices. By implementing a responsive design, you’ll ensure that your content is easy for subscribers to view regardless if they’re looking at it from a laptop, mobile phone, or other device.
Christmas email ideas to increase conversions
Now that we’ve gone through how to optimize your Christmas emails, let’s take a look at some different ideas to consider using in your future holiday campaigns!
1. Highlight your products with a gift guide
For shoppers who may be lacking inspiration as to what to buy as Christmas gifts for the special people in their lives, a holiday gift guide can be a welcome sight indeed. With so many different buying options available to consumers today, deciding on the right gift is an overwhelming task for many people. A gift guide that shines the spotlight on a few specific items from your catalog may help your readers decide what they’d like to purchase before they go to your website to shop.
Consider creating gift guides that are tailored to your subscribers’ interests and needs rather than offering a one-size-fits-all guide. To appeal to consumers at various stages of their holiday shopping journeys, it’s a good idea to send a newsletter featuring your gift guide early on in the holiday season as well as just before Christmas arrives to catch those last-minute shoppers.
Sézane uses a variety of interactive elements in their email promoting their gift guide to appeal to shoppers.
2. Offer free shipping
For consumers everywhere, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money throughout the holidays. If you don’t already have free shipping enabled on your ecommerce site, Christmas is an excellent time to supply this service. This extra savings may be exactly what your customers need to push them to finalize a purchase from you!
Send an email at the beginning of the holiday shopping season to alert your subscribers that they’ll be able to enjoy free shipping when shopping on your online store, being sure to clarify if this promotion is for all orders or only those over a specific dollar amount. To give shoppers additional reassurance, you may want to also consider offering free returns for goods purchased around the holidays.
3. Support a special cause
Giving back to your community or a charity is a wonderful action to take all year long. With Christmastime being the season of giving, though, it’s the perfect opportunity for your business to support a special cause. Consider partnering with an organization that’s close to your heart and sharing the cause with your business’s email subscribers this holiday season.
In your email, introduce the organization and describe how you plan to support it, perhaps by sponsoring a special event for the cause, donating a percentage of your profits, or simply bringing awareness to it. You can also use your Christmas email as a way to encourage readers’ support, including, for instance, links to donate to the organization directly or links to specific products on your site for which a portion of the sales will be given to assist the cause.
4. Provide helpful content
As with any aspect of your content marketing strategy, your Christmas emails shouldn’t be used to simply talk about your ecommerce business and your products. Take advantage of this space to bring additional value to your customers and provide them with helpful content to make their lives easier. This in turn can help build trust in your brand and encourage people to buy from your store now or later on in the future.
In terms of what type of useful content to share, this will depend on your specific business and your target audience. Think about what challenges your customers are likely to face around the holidays and offer a thoughtful solution. For instance, you might provide tips on decorating a home for Christmas on a budget, include festive recipes to accommodate various dietary preferences, or explain the origins of special holiday traditions.
In the example below, wellness site Chopra recognizes the extra stress that the holidays can bring and provides subscribers with access to meditations to help guide them through the season.
5. Share a “year in review”
Because Christmas arrives at the end of the year, it’s the ideal opportunity to provide your readers with a recap of all the milestones, happenings, and news for your business that occurred throughout the year. What’s more, this type of email allows for plenty of room for flexibility!
A “year in review” email might include content like photos or videos of company events, product spotlights, or customer testimonials. You might also add important statistics, including the number of new customers your store had, new products you released, etc.
6. Send a holiday greeting
If you’re looking for an easy way to spread Christmas cheer with your email marketing efforts this year, a simple newsletter wishing your subscribers “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” is perfect. Serving as a kind of online Christmas card, this email idea can be personalized and used to thank your customers for their business throughout the past year.
Feel free to let your creativity flow with your holiday email greeting…it can be as simple or extravagant and original as you wish! Add gamification elements, a fun GIF, or a heartwarming video message to let your subscribers know you appreciate them.
7. Announce a holiday sale
Whether it involves online or offline shopping, the holidays and sales seem to go hand in hand. Because consumers have so many differing options at their fingertips, it’s important for you to find a way to make your business stand out from the competition, especially at Christmas when there’s tons of potential for boosting your store’s revenue.
Offering your email subscribers a special promotion on your website at Christmas can be a powerful way to tempt on-the-fence shoppers into buying your products, either for their loved ones or themselves. When sending your email to announce the sale, be sure to clearly indicate the terms of the offer, such as its duration and what product(s) it includes.
Black Friday offers are a dime a dozen in ecommerce, but Sephora does a great job of promoting theirs in their newsletter by including an interesting subject line, clear details concerning the discount, and product images to entice the viewer.
8. Invite subscribers to create a wish list
Holiday shopping can definitely be stressful. There are few who would argue with that! Bring out your inner Santa Claus and encourage your subscribers to indulge this Christmas and reward themselves for their hard work by getting a little something for themselves, starting by creating their own wish list of their favorite items from your online store.
Take advantage of segmentation to include relevant product suggestions in your email. Also consider making it possible for users to create an actual wish list on your website, making it super easy for them to send the list to their loved ones for gift inspiration or add their favorites to their own shopping cart.
9. Promote gift cards for your store
People often begin their Christmas shopping with the best intentions, hoping to get the perfect gift for every person on their list. However, with all the busyness of the holiday season, there’s a good chance that many of them will find themselves scrambling at the last minute to complete their purchases. For shoppers who aren’t sure what to get their loved ones, a gift card can be a great solution.
To appeal to your subscribers who can’t decide what to buy at Christmas, create a digital gift card that people can use to purchase items from your online store. You can then promote your gift card in a Christmas email, highlighting its flexibility as a gift that works for any recipient. Don’t forget to provide clear instructions for how users can activate and redeem a gift card on your website in addition to any restrictions you might have in place, such as what goods the gift card can be used for or an expiration date.
10. Create an online holiday Advent calendar
Give your subscribers something to look forward to by creating a festive holiday Advent calendar for them to enjoy online. This idea is a great way to thank your customers for their loyalty, boost engagement, build your email list, and improve your conversion rate at the same time. Although Advent traditionally starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve, many brands opt to have their Advent calendar begin on December 1st. Another popular strategy is to create a version that only includes the 12 days that lead up to Christmas.
You can begin by designing a landing page dedicated to promoting your online Advent calendar and include a sign-up form for visitors to provide their contact information and subscribe to begin receiving your emails. Then, send subscribers a fun offer each day of the calendar, such as a small gift, a coupon, or discount. Your email open and click rates are going to skyrocket!
In the example below, Cult Beauty promotes their version of an online Advent calendar with their “Cult Christmas Countdown,” featuring new offers in the days leading up to Christmas.
11. Keep the festive spirit alive with after-Christmas offers
The days following December 25th often leave people experiencing the post-holiday blues. Why not lift their spirits (and boost your sales!) by creating a special after-Christmas offer? You could provide additional discounts on items already on sale, bundle certain goods together, or give shoppers one last opportunity to take advantage of an offer involving a product or service that you promoted during the holidays.
For your post-Christmas email campaign, you might target subscribers who previously made a purchase on your site and send them your special offer to thank them. Another approach is to send your offer to shoppers who may have previously shown interest in a particular item but never completed the purchase for one reason or another. A well-timed email can get them hurrying back to your store in no time!
Get started with your Christmas email campaign today!
It’s never too early to begin working on your email marketing strategy for Christmas. Use the tips and ideas provided in this guide to help you design powerful, original email campaigns tailored to your specific audience—campaigns that’ll skyrocket your conversions throughout the holiday season!
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