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Holiday Email Marketing How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

Holiday Email Marketing: How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

The end of the year is the busiest time for most businesses. For those in retail, you’ve got people ready to buy, and you’re trying to stand out among the many others vying for their business. For those in the service industry, people are trying to slip last-minute things in before year’s end, and new budgets are underway.

Whichever camp you and your business are in – things are about to get hectic (in a good way). The end of the year offers consumers the inspiration to spend, and you can take advantage of the holiday season incentive with some fantastic email marketing. With the highest ROI of all digital channels, some are reporting returns as high as $44 for every dollar spent on email marketing.

We’re not the only ones aware of this statistic, though, so competition for commanding inbox attention is fierce during this season. You see Christmas themes in the stores already, and it’s not even Halloween yet. It’s time to get cracking and work up your holiday email strategy.

Start your strategy with a holiday email calendar

Starting with today, note all of the holidays between now and New Years and put a star on those most lucrative for your business. Start brainstorming with your team ideas and promotions that you can use.

The season is much larger now than just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Your customers are expecting to get tremendous deals for the better part of the season, but mix up your promotions to keep your audience engaged along the way.

The holidays are an excellent time to give your frequent customers the VIP treatment with special promotions or early access to sales. This provides you an opportunity for their undivided attention to spend the first part of their holiday gift budget with you, or a chance to treat themselves before they begin buying for others. They will be especially receptive to offers like gifts with purchase or BOGO deals.

By doing this well in advance, you can avoid any last-minute crunch times. Better yet, having your emails written and schedule ahead of time might lighten the load while your marketing team is trying to position themselves for some holiday time off. An excellent advantage of email marketing is that it can be done ahead of time and scheduled to send.

Review the results of the previous year’s campaigns

Review the results of the previous year’s campaigns

Your audience is your best source of feedback, so look back at some of your prior year’s holiday engagement and conversion data. Take note of what worked and what didn’t get the results you hoped. Use that as an opportunity to replicate your wins and correct course on those misses.

Benchmark your competitors

While you’re reviewing your prior years’ results, also take a look at your competitors and compare their previous campaigns and results. Especially during the holidays, it’s critical to have a comprehensive understanding of what you’re up against.

Online tools like Milled and MailCharts are excellent ways to keep up with your competition. You can get a complete view of the cadence and promotional strategy of your competitors all year long. After reviewing their efforts, you can crank up your strategy and gain a more significant share of the holiday wallets.

Start pre-holiday testing

Start pre-holiday testing

We’re talking NOW. Start your A/B testing right away so you have some insight before the holiday that you can integrate into your strategy. Some tests you want to consider are:

Subject line

Play around with different details such as personalized or not, long or short, offer or no offer. Also, test behavior trigger emails like those from cart or browse abandons. Retailers will see a spike in traffic during the holidays, and these triggers will give you another opportunity to turn those shoppers into buyers.

Differing promotion types

Which types of promotions get better responses? Are we talking dollars off or percentage? Do your customers like BOGO or a gift with purchase? How about free shipping?

Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

There is shopping to be done! You want your emails to captivate your audience and generate clicks, and you can do so by keeping your message creative, yet still to the point and simple. You want viewers to process the information and make that decision to engage quickly without too much thought or analysis.

Utilize imagery and creative GIFs to grab their attention, then zero them right into the promotion, and the call to action. Play to a sense of urgency, speculate on the risk of selling out, provide shipping deadlines to arrive on time, and promotion timer GIFs, all to inspire your customers to act immediately or they will miss out.

Leverage increased traffic and grow your mailing list

Leverage increased traffic and grow your mailing list

As more people engage with your website, you want to take this opportunity to add to your list of contacts. Add a new popup on your website as they are browsing to collect email addresses. If you like to personalize those emails, capture a name, too. Be wary of asking for too much information, though, for abandonment chances increase as customers have to enter more information. To entice new signups with your popups, offer an incentive during the holiday season, such as free shipping, gift with purchase, or online discount code.

Other strategies to consider augmenting for the holidays

These strategies are essential year-round. Some, however, may provide an opportunity to gain more attention from your audience.


Is there any additional data you have that can provide more relevant targeting over the holidays?

Subject lines

Think of these as being similar to when a news site writes a headline. Your reader should know the entire story from the headline, but it’s compelling enough to open the email to learn more details.

Perfect timing

Send emails at the time that best suits your subscriber. You may want to make these part of your pre-holiday testing if you haven’t determined this yet.

Try some new holiday impressions

Try a different template for your holiday emails that will capture the attention of your audience. MailBakery has several free and low-cost templates in our Template Store. We can also bake you a customized email template cupcake that incorporates your branding and holiday sprinkles into the mix. There is no time like the present, so order your holiday email cupcake from our expert bakers today!