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November 7, 2017
Email Marketing  |  8 min read

Holiday Email Marketing Tips and Trends

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Kevin George

With the holiday seasons being the prime time for email marketers to draw in huge ROI, it is considered to be the busiest quarter of the year. In fact, the total online sales recorded from November 1 to December 31 alone was about $91.7 billion in 2016.

So, if you are looking for some tips and ideas to implement in your holiday email marketing campaigns, you are surely in luck. EmailMonks brings to you excerpts of their interview with top 10 industry experts, who have given their 2 cents on holiday email marketing tips and trends and strategies you need to try based on the trends.

Our prestigious panel of experts 

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Christopher Donald, president of operations and managing partner at InboxArmy, believes in preparing early for the Holiday season

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What should be a marketer’s strategy when planning for holidays?

Start your holiday email marketing strategy and planning early. Most marketers begin planning almost a month earlier i.e. preparation for Halloween begins right from early September.

Pro-tip: It is never too late for you to start with your preparations.  

Any tips on how to plan for it?

Create planning, creative/production, and deployment calendars to better execute your campaigns. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to do.

Pro-Tip: The calendars are for you to set your goals and tasks to complete before certain deadlines. In the beginning, it can be a crude one, subject to change or tweaking based on the data you collect from previous holiday campaign.

What trends do you predict or expect to see this holiday season?

More and more emails are becoming interactive, and this trend shall continue during the holiday season also. Moreover, using real-time content in automation, triggered by actions and location, can help drive conversions.

Dennis Dayman, chief privacy officer at ReturnPath, is all about simple email designs and relevancy

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What should be a marketer’s strategy when planning for holidays?

Dennis says simplicity should be the key goal in design. You will only have five to eight seconds to let them know what your email is about. Moreover, the holiday season consists of festivals of different faiths such as Kwanza and Hannukah, so respect your subscribers’ belief.

Pro-Tip: Subject lines and pre-headers are the two things that subscribers use to decide whether to open your emails or not.

Worse than not sending Hannukah greetings? Sending Christmas greetings to your Jewish subscribers. Make sure you segment your lists properly.

Any tips on how to plan for it?

Almost 56 percent of emails are opened on mobile and it can be a deal breaker if your email is not rendered properly. Layout, design, and fonts will become particularly important in how fast you can garner the attention of the reader and present your point to them.

Pro-Tip: It’s the holiday season—experiment with some holiday-oriented email colors. Mobile native email clients (not Gmail) support use of custom typography in emails.

What trends do you predict or expect to see this holiday season?

The holidays provide a great excuse for brands to come up with giveaways, contests, exclusive content, etc to increase customer engagement. Expect some innovation in your inbox. Brands shall capture your attention by make the holiday offer available across all marketing channels—social, email, blog, etc.

Tink Taylor, founder and president at Dotmailer, emphasizes on analysis of previous year’s email performance and optimizing it in a resourceful way

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What should be a marketer’s strategy when planning for holidays?

Study the performance of the previous year holiday emails and identify how to improve or optimize it for this year.

Pro-Tip: Learn from your best performing emails and study the ones that didn’t perform well.

Any tips on how to plan for it?

Focus your efforts on key customer groups. This can really help by reducing the overall efforts and time and can be a better use of resources.

Pro-Tip: Identify who’s likely to bring in the most revenue or you’ll want to unearth those who might need just a small nudge to convert and craft your email’s copy accordingly.

Kara Truvonic, vice president and general manager, client services at Epsilon, loves to see innovative emails adorning subscribers’ inbox

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What should be a marketer’s strategy when planning for holidays?

Finding new and engaging ways to create interest in the inbox is what brands should be looking to do this holiday season.

Pro-Tip: Brighten up your emails with an animated GIF or go a step further with a subtle Cinemagraph. As stated earlier, Holidays is also about beautiful decorations, so ‘deck up the email’ too.

Any tips on how to plan for it?

Coupling the message with visual elements will gain the attention of the subscriber at a time when the inbox is pretty crowded. Maintain a dialog with your subscribers and bring a sense of realness to what your brand has to convey in accordance with their responses (both positive and negative).

But make sure, it isn’t just about driving your editorial agenda alone but about delivering content that subscribers want to read.

What trends do you predict or expect to see this holiday season?

Incorporating machine learning will deliver true one-on-one communication without production cost (monetary and efforts) being a roadblock.

Sharon Strahl, senior digital marketing leader at Shaw & Scott, conveys that personalization with relevant data is the way forward for marketers

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What should be a marketer’s strategy when planning for holidays?

Don’t be impulsive and send out additional emails/promotions to be visible. Relevance and personalization will ensure that your emails will be consumed and have a higher chance to convert.

Pro-Tip: Use customer data (web browsing) to understand your customers’ preferences and priorities. Make sure you send them relevant content.

What trends do you predict or expect to see this holiday season?

There will be continued use of technology to increase personalization. By tracking the customer activity, brands shall use the data to drive more relevant content to subscribers on all digital channels.

10 Steps to boost sales this holiday season - Download now

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Kevin George is the head of marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest growing Email design and coding companies specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free Master Email Templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes email marketing. He is a brand magician who loves to engage & share insights with fellow marketers. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn 


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