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1. Why is email marketing important during the holiday season?

Holiday email marketing guide for seasonal success [2024]

Updated Jan 15 2024

During the holiday season, email marketing is an effective tool for businesses aiming to capitalize on seasonal cheer and consumer sentiment. As 2024's festive season approaches, we bring you an insightful guide on how to stay ahead of the curve and ensure your email campaigns resonate with your target audience and deliver great results! So, dive in and uncover the recipe for crafting perfect holiday mailers with compelling content, perfecting your timing, and optimizing your audience outreach.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • During the holiday season, email marketing helps businesses provide personalized offers, creating deeper connections with customers. It aids in attracting new customers and rewarding loyal ones.

  • Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are crucial shopping days. Tailoring your emails for both early shoppers and last-minute buyers can enhance conversion rates.

  • Businesses can send various holiday emails, such as promotional emails (sales, bundle deals, flash sales), appreciation emails, loyalty program specials, and interactive emails with advent calendars and quizzes.

  • To boost sales, segmenting the audience based on location and previous purchase behavior can lead to more relevant and personalized offers. Eye-catching subject lines increase open rates. Tracking metrics like open rates and conversion rates offer insights for campaign adjustments.

Why is email marketing important during the holiday season?

The holiday season is a time of joy, warmth, and, yes, a lot of holiday shopping! For businesses, it's one of the busiest periods, offering a golden opportunity to engage with customers and boost sales.

During the holidays, people are seeking not just gifts but meaningful experiences. Email marketing lets businesses provide personalized recommendations and special offers, such as free shipping, forging deeper connections with their customers. Amidst the festive hustle and bustle, consumers are inundated with choices. With regular email campaigns, brands can ensure that they remain at the forefront of their customers' minds when they make purchasing decisions.


Key considerations for holiday email campaigns

The festive season is synonymous with a whirlwind of activities and shopping. But in this bustling time, when you launch your email campaigns, there are a few considerations that warrant your attention.

1. Peak shopping days

Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have evolved into global phenomena. Shoppers eagerly await these dates, expecting blockbuster deals and offers. Sending emails too early or too late might mean missing out on a massive audience ready to click 'buy'. It's essential to hit the inbox right when the anticipation is at its peak.

2. Last-minute shoppers vs. early birds

We all know the two types: those who've wrapped up their shopping by November and the ones scrambling for presents days before the holiday. Crafting targeted campaigns for both groups can drastically improve conversion rates. Early birds may appreciate a 'Holiday Preview Sale', while last-minute shoppers might be tempted by 'Express Shipping' or 'Last Minute Deals'.

3. Key dates for the 2024 holiday season

It's not just about the big ones like Christmas or Hanukkah. The entire season is dotted with important shopping days. While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are paramount, don't forget about:

  • Thanksgiving Day: A time for gratitude and early holiday deals.

  • Small Business Saturday: Celebrating and promoting local businesses.

  • Giving Tuesday: An opportunity to highlight sustainable gifts or partnerships.

  • The last shipping day before Christmas: Crucial for ecommerce businesses to highlight to ensure timely deliveries.

4. Planning ahead: Creating a holiday email calendar

Preparation is key. Start early to ensure your email campaigns are timed to perfection. By September, begin mapping out your holiday email strategy. This gives ample time to tweak based on feedback or evolving trends. While it's the season to be jolly, no one likes a cluttered inbox, so make sure your emails are staggered, giving each campaign room to breathe and resonate. If there's a significant sale or offer, consider sending a 'Last Chance' email. It's a gentle nudge for those who might've missed out the first time.


Types of emails you can send for holiday campaigns

The holiday shopping season presents a multitude of opportunities for businesses to connect with their audience. With the right type of holiday email campaign, you can evoke festive feelings, drive sales, and build stronger relationships. Take a look at the breakdown of the various types of holiday marketing emails you can utilize during the festive time of the year:

1. Promotional emails

  • Sales & discounts: Announce holiday-specific offers, like "25% off everything for Black Friday!"

  • Bundle deals: Present holiday-themed bundles or packages to encourage more purchases.

  • Flash sales: Time-sensitive offers can create urgency and drive quick sales.

2. Appreciation emails

  • Thank you notes: A warm message thanking customers for their support throughout the year.

  • Year-in-review: Highlight achievements, share stories, or showcase testimonials from the past year.

3. Cart abandonment reminders

  • Incentivize customers: Gently nudge customers who've left items in their cart, maybe even offering a small discount to encourage completion.

  • Re-engage with visual cues: A powerful way to lure customers back is by including images of the products they left behind in the cart. Visual reminders, with a callout, can reignite the initial interest.

4. Loyalty program specials

  • Offer holiday perks: Exclusive offers or early access sales for loyalty program members.

  • Credit reward points: Bonus points or rewards for shopping during the festive season.

5. Interactive content

  • Advent calendars: Offer a new deal or piece of content each day leading up to Christmas.

  • Holiday quizzes: Engage users with fun festive quizzes, like "Which Christmas character are you?"


Here are four holiday email marketing ideas to boost your holiday sales

1. Craft compelling content

Understanding what drives consumers during the holidays can significantly boost your email marketing campaigns. Most holiday purchases are influenced by a mix of social, personal, and economic factors. By understanding these triggers - whether it's the joy of gifting, the desire for togetherness, or the thrill of a deal - you can create the best holiday emails that align with your audience's motivations.

Leverage emotions and buying behaviors

The festive season is a cauldron of emotions: joy, nostalgia, anticipation, and sometimes, even stress. Each of these emotions influences buying behaviors in different ways. For instance, joy and anticipation can lead to impulsive buying, while stress can make people seek out comfort purchases. Crafting emails that tap into these emotional states, whether by offering a holiday gift guide or enhancing positive feelings, can lead to higher engagement and conversions. 

Tap into holiday nostalgia

There's something about the holidays that makes us reminisce about the past. For many, it's a time to relive cherished memories and traditions. Use this to your advantage by infusing your emails with a touch of nostalgia. It could be through visuals of classic holiday scenes, stories that harken back to "simpler times," or products that evoke a sense of childhood wonder. Emails that can transport readers back in time, even momentarily, stand a higher chance of resonating and being acted upon.

2. Segment your audience for better results

One size doesn't fit all. This is especially true for a holiday email marketing campaign. By sending out tailored emails instead of generic holiday email templates, you're delivering content that is more relevant and interesting to them. This can lead to higher open rates as recipients are more likely to engage with emails they find personally relevant.

A segmented list allows for personalized offers. A customer who has previously shown interest in, say tech gadgets, is more likely to convert when presented with a holiday deal on the latest electronics. Tailored offers mean you're meeting the recipient halfway, making the conversion journey smoother.

Tips for segmenting your list
  • Geographic location: Tailor your campaigns based on where your subscribers are located. For instance, a winter wear promotion might not be suitable for subscribers in tropical regions. Or, if you have a brick-and-mortar store, you could send special promotions to those in the vicinity.

  • Previous purchase behavior: By understanding what your customers have bought in the past, you can make educated guesses about what they might be interested in next. For instance, if someone purchased baking tools last Christmas, they might be interested in gourmet baking ingredients this year.

Tips for optimizing segmentation
  • A/B testing: Even after segmenting your list, it's essential to test different approaches to see what resonates most with each group. This might mean tweaking the email's subject line, content, or offer for different segments and analyzing which version performs better.

  • Analyzing past campaign results: Historical data can provide a goldmine of insights. Review past campaigns to see which segments responded best to different types of content or offers. This will give you a clearer picture of what might work best in the upcoming holiday season.

3. Use eye-catching subject lines

First impressions matter! The subject line is the first thing your recipient sees when your email lands in their inbox. It sets the tone for what's inside and influences the decision to open or skip. A catchy subject line provokes curiosity or elicits an emotion, making it more likely that the email will be opened.

An effective subject line directly impacts your email's open rates. With the inundation of promotional emails, especially during the holiday season, standing out is crucial. A compelling subject line can mean the difference between your email being read or being lost amidst the sea of holiday promotions.

Proven subject line ideas for the holiday season:
  • "Unwrap Your Exclusive Holiday Deal"

  • "Frosty the Sale-man is Here!"

  • "Make Your Holidays Sparkle: 20% Off Inside!"

  • "Ho-Ho-Hold the phone! Special Offer Just for You"

  • "Countdown to Christmas: Daily Deals Await!"

Pro tip to personalize for better engagement

Incorporating the recipient's name or previous purchase behavior can make the subject line more personal and appealing. For instance:

  • "Sarah, A Special Gift Awaits You This Season!"

  • "Loved Our Winter Boots? Here's a Festive Offer Just for You!"

4. Track metrics for measuring success

Every email campaign provides a learning opportunity. By diligently tracking metrics, you can determine what works and what doesn't for your audience. The holiday season is time-sensitive, and consumer behaviors can shift rapidly. With real-time tracking, marketers can make on-the-fly adjustments to capitalize on emerging trends or rectify underperforming campaigns.

Key metrics to monitor
  • Open rates: This metric tells you how many recipients opened your email. It's a direct reflection of the effectiveness of your subject line and the overall anticipation or relevance of your email to the audience.

  • Click-through rates (CTR): Once your email is opened, the CTR indicates how many clicked on the links provided. A high CTR shows that your email content is compelling and that your call-to-action is effective.

  • Conversion rates: Arguably the most crucial metric, the conversion rate measures how many of the click-throughs resulted in the desired action, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for an event, or any other goal of the email campaign.

  • ROI (Return on investment): This is the bottom line for most marketers. ROI measures the profitability of your email campaigns. It takes into account the total revenue generated by the campaign against the costs incurred in running it.


Supercharge your holiday email marketing with Gelato's offerings!

The festive season is all about giving, receiving, and creating cherished memories. While emails serve as the bridge between businesses and customers, the real magic happens when what's promised in these emails translates into tangible, delightful experiences. Create these heartwarming experiences with Gelato's print on demand offerings—a game-changer for your holiday email campaigns.

Showcase exclusive, custom products

With Gelato, every email you send can feature custom products tailor-made for your customers. Be it personalized calendars capturing the essence of the year gone by, custom mugs with festive designs, mesmerizing wall art, or unique apparel like hoodies that stand out, there's no limit to what you can offer.

Produce locally, deliver fast!

One of the major concerns during the holiday rush is ensuring timely delivery. Gelato's vast network ensures that the products you showcase in your emails are produced closer to your customers. This means faster shipping times and happy customers receiving their holiday goodies without delays!

Memorable unboxing experiences

In the age of social media, unboxing has become an event in itself. Gelato's high-quality print on demand products ensure that your customers get what they see in your emails. Combined with premium packaging, every unboxing moment will become an Instagram-worthy experience.

Outshine the competition

While competitors might be showcasing run-of-the-mill products, Gelato allows you to elevate your holiday email marketing strategy with custom offerings. By promoting exclusive, high-quality, locally-produced gifts, you position your brand as one that truly understands and values its customers.

While the strategies shared in this guide can certainly enhance your holiday email marketing campaigns, integrating Gelato's print on demand offerings can be the cherry on top! So, sign up for Gelato or download the app now and deliver joy, one email, and one product at a time this festive season.


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