Well, it’s that time again.

Retailers and service-providers everywhere are trying to find unique ways to reach out to their email subscribers during the Christmas season. In this busy, sometimes frenzied time, people are looking for the easiest, cheapest and most convenient ways to buy gifts and holiday items.

The good news is that as a business owner trying to reach these consumers, there are tried and tested strategies for increasing the likelihood that your emails get opened, read and acted upon.

Don’t let your holiday email marketing stress you out! Implement these 11 tested tips and then sit back and enjoy a stress-free and profitable Christmas season.

1. Help Your Subject Line Stand Out

With holiday emails and offers flooding inboxes, it’s critical that your subject line stands out. One of the best ways to do this is to offer an incentive right in your subject line. Some ideas could be:

  • “Click through for 40% savings code”
  • “Take an additional 25% off”
  • “$10 savings – our gift to you”
  • “Free shipping if you order today”



2. Send Emails to Those Who Have Abandoned Their Carts

With many holiday shoppers zipping between multiple sites, comparing prices and product selections, a brief reminder of what you’re offering can be helpful.

One way to ‘close the sale’ is to send special offers to those who have abandoned their shopping cart. It can also be helpful to offer bonus incentives for completing the purchase: free shipping, an additional discount, or a free gift. Or, if you’re running low on stock, a friendly reminder that ‘the item in your cart is almost sold out’ can be just the enticement they need.

3. Make Your Shipping Information Prominent

One of the concerns that may stop holiday shoppers from buying online is that their item(s) won’t arrive in time for Christmas. To alleviate these fears, make sure your holiday shipping information is displayed prominently on your emails.

West Elm (above) has done a great job of clearly displaying their shipping info. You’ll notice they mention shipping 4 times in their email, yet they found 4 unique ways to offer this information:

In their header, they use a holiday shipping countdown (“2 days to order for Christmas”), then in the main content area (“Looking for a last-minute gift? Get it by Christmas!”), then in a separate content area (“Holiday Shipping”), and finally right above the footer (“Free Shipping”).



4. Promote Gift Cards

According to Nielsen’s 2013 Holiday Spending Forecast, the most popular Christmas gift this year will be gift cards.

Make it easy for your subscribers to purchase gift cards by featuring them prominently on your holiday emails. For greater flexibility, try giving shoppers the option to have the cards shipped via mail or email, or to print them right at home.

5. Send a Reminder of Final Day for Christmas Delivery

For all those last-minute shoppers who may think it’s too late to order in time for Christmas, sending a brief email on the final Christmas shipping day may be helpful. Some retailers choose to send it in the last few days, while others (like Overstock) even send one in the last few hours of shipping.





6. Offer a Gift With Purchase

Image courtesy of On Sport

Who doesn’t love a gift? And receiving a free gift for yourself when you’re buying something for someone else is even better!

We’ve seen retailers offering customers product samples, savings off a subsequent purchase, or even a gift card for themselves when they buy a gift (e.g. “Buy a $40 gift card, get a $10 card for yourself”).

7. Promote a Gift Guide

Make it as simple as possible for your subscribers to find the perfect gifts. Try arranging your products into various categories for easy gift ideas. Some ways you can segment your products include:

  • By price (e.g. Gifts under $25, Gifts under $50, etc.)
  • By gender (e.g. Gifts for her, Gifts for him)
  • By relationship (e.g. Gifts for mom, Gifts for dad)
  • By age (e.g. Hot gifts for kids, Gifts teens will love)

Hand picking items to incorporate into the gift guide can be a lot of work, but it will pay off as frenzied shoppers look for ways to easily find Christmas gift ideas.

8. Offer a Deal of the Day

Sending a special deal or promotion each day gives you a way to be at the forefront of your customers’ minds, as well as a way to ‘get them in the door’. You may even want to use your deal of the day as a loss leader (meaning you sell it below cost) in order to get them to view – and potentially buy – other items on your site.







9. Use a Holiday-Themed Design

Start Early (if you can). Most people love to ‘get aboard the holiday train’ as early as the day after Halloween.

Help your subscribers get into the holiday spirit by spicing up your design using a whole new holiday-themed template or by tweaking your existing template with holiday images, colors and wording.




10. Send a Holiday Card

Show your customers you care by sending out a Christmas card via email. No hidden motives, no special offers, no call to action. Simply a good old fashionedholiday card to wish them a merry Christmas and to thank them for their business.



11. Follow up After the Holidays With Deals

Don’t forget about holding promotions after Christmas as well: With Boxing Day being one of the busiest days of the year for retailers, failing to offer significant savings in the week following Christmas can mean forfeiting huge profits.

Try sending out a special Boxing Day promotion, and then follow it up by promoting additional savings right into the first week of January.

If you’re discouraged by the results of your holiday email promotions to date, it’s not too late to make some changes. Choosing even a few of the strategies above can mean increased open rates, click-throughs, and sales.

Have you implemented a holiday email strategy yet? Are you happy with the results so far?