Sending Promotional Emails for the Holidays? Consider These Tips

Oleksandr Rohovnin
Oleksandr Rohovnin

Content Writer

About the author

The end-of-year holidays are upon us. What’s best about this time of the year for businesses is that it brings in big money. In 2021, holiday online retail sales in the United States amounted to $186 billion, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone accounting for over $10 billion.

People are eager to spend their money in this magical season, which email marketers like you can avail of.

Indeed, there’s nothing as fulfilling as pampering your beloved ones with the gifts they crave – just as there’s nothing as profitable as selling through email to thousands of agitated customers seeking a unique product to commit to. And they do seek it! Emails are responsible for around 20% of holiday site visits and just as many sales.

However, holiday email sales are a different beast. On the one hand, millions of prospects are hunting for advantageous offers. On the other hand, they are particularly demanding and unwilling to waste time reading dubious emails. As recipients find their inboxes bloated with promos, discounts, and perks – and the ever-shortening attention span is getting even shorter – you have no more than a few seconds to impress before they move on.

The good news is that we know how to win customers’ hearts amidst the holiday rage. Read on to increase your sales in the 2022-2023 holiday season.

Get Ready to Scale

You may have to double, if not triple, the number of emails during the holiday season. Get ready for it. Plan and automate the workflows and processes to ensure every email reaches the right people at the right time. This will let you focus on vital activities you cannot automate, such as creating a unique flavor for your messages (we’ll get to it shortly).

In the upcoming holiday season – and throughout the year, for that matter – you need:

  • Segmentation: Segmented emails enjoy a 760% increase in revenue, as it is vital to know the persona you address. Demographics, psychographics, and purchase history are the keys to successful segmentation.
  • Personalization: 80% of consumers are more likely to buy when offered personalized experiences. People love being taken care of, as opposed to generic batch-and-blast emails.
  • Automation: Automation allows you to hit all your target recipients at the right time and without extra costs. Not to mention the set-it-and-forget-it nature some email automation tools offer. When deciding between automated and bulk emails, don’t forget that automated ones drive 320% more revenue.

Segmentation, automation, and personalization are indispensable for a competitive email marketing strategy but do not guarantee success. To stand out from the crowd during the holiday season, you must create celestial emails, starting with the subject line.

We’ll help you with it.

Get a Head Start with an Attractive Subject Line

No matter the power of the content within your email, the user will only get to it if enticed to click. Not only does a well-thought-out subject line trigger 26% more opens, but it submerges users in the wonderful universe created specifically for them.

“Nothing comes before the subject line. If the user doesn’t open, anything else that comes after doesn’t matter.” – Diana Conner, Senior Manager, Email & Digital Channel Marketing, Sirius XM 


To hit the bullseye with your subject line,

  • Keep it under 40 characters or six words so mobile users don’t feel overwhelmed
  • Put value over sales while keeping the CTA clear, so customers feel your care rather than an irritating hard sell.

(Source: Constant Contact)

  • Make it personal: The ‘You vs. the World’ comparison is one way to go.

(Source: AppSumo)

  • Be creative: Creativity may override the math of email creation. Look at the subject line below – it’s genius!

(Source: drip)

  • Emojis? Don’t be afraid of them. Here’s why.

Like the content itself, the subject line must be eye-catching, personal, and problem-solving to make recipients feel they will lose value should they not open the email.

Continue with Compelling Content

With 306 billion emails sent and received daily, the path to customers’ hearts is always thorny. You must go the extra mile with your content to make them interested.

These practices can help:

  • Praise your customers: Everyone loves getting credit, but some offers are just impossible to resist.

(Source: drip)

  • Categorize relevant offers: During the holiday commotion, not all customers know what they want, but many have a vague idea (updating my wardrobe would be nice, but what do I really want?).

You can address this category of clients by categorizing your products based on their browsing history and history of purchases, with priority given to the former. During the holiday season, people buy more for their families and friends than for themselves, making the history of purchases less reliable.

Want to learn more about creating these post-purchase flows? Melanie Balke has all the answers for you in this article.

(Source: drip)

  • Be practical: Holidays are inspiring, but this doesn’t mean everyone has deep pockets to splurge on gifts. For those practical, a price-based categorization is of tremendous value. Address this question: ‘What can I buy for the $50 I have to spend?’

(Source: drip)

  • Be unique: It’s hard to reinvent the wheel when it comes to conventional holidays, but complicated doesn’t mean impossible. Look below — Tattly found a way to rebrand Halloween to their own holiday.

(Source: drip)

  • Intrigue: Go beyond enticing your customer with omnipresent sales, discounts, and promotions. Bean Box found a unique magnet, and the fact that it’s slightly confusing doesn’t take away from it.

(Source: drip)

  • Impress with AMP emails: The future of email marketing has arrived. Interactive emails transfer action to the inbox, where recipients can check the dynamically updated information or make a purchase without passing to the website. AMP-powered schedules, counters, and discounts will add flavor to your offer and keep the customers updated.

(Source: Stripo)

While trying to stand out, don’t forget about good old tricks: scarcity, urgency, and social proof. These are omnipresent and thus may not give you an edge, but you can’t sell without them either. People love to have what others don’t, fear missing out on exclusive offers, and love to reaffirm that they act in line with the general belief.

“Incorporate social proof in automated emails. This includes featuring best-sellers, top-rated products, product testimonials, and company-centric testimonials (like great customer service) in your emails.”  – Gregory Zakowicz Sr. Ecommerce Expert, Omnisend


Finally, keep the email layout intuitive so your customers know where to find what they need.

Holiday Sales Are a Different Beast, so Approach Them Differently

  • Bet on easy-to-consume, appealing content: Overwhelmed customers don’t have the energy to dissect complex messages, making short and sweet visual content a priority. Likewise, lightweight images should connect viewers to the message immediately.
  • Recommend products based on browsing history: People are eager to buy for their families and friends during the holiday season, so their current browsing history will be a better indicator than the history of purchases.
  • Clean the email list beforehand: Email list hygiene is essential throughout the year, but even more so when you are getting ready for a grandeur campaign. Remove inactive subscribers to keep deliverability, complaint rates, and engagement at bay.
  • Make sure your mailbox provider will cope with an increased volume: Depending on how many emails you plan to send, you may need to ramp up the volume in advance to avoid an unwanted spike at the start of the holiday season. Besides, you can use a new subdomain for the holiday season.

Rinse and Repeat

The 2022-2023 holiday season may be the first for you as an email marketer, or maybe you have a couple of decades under your belt. Regardless of your time in the business, we all know just how much email changes year by year. Don’t be scared, and be creative instead. Luckily, email KPIs remain the same throughout the year, so you can always check what brings success and what drags you down.

Don’t forget that MailCon Las Vegas 2023 will take place from April 17th to 19th at the Caesars Forum. Join us to get the hottest insights and content in email and omnichannel marketing. 

About the authors

  • Oleksandr Rohovnin
    Oleksandr Rohovnin

    Content Writer

    Oleksandr Rohovnin is a writer and expert in deep research around subjects in email and omnichannel marketing. He breaks down complex topics into easily digestible bite-sized segments to educate and inform any inquisitive mind through profound and delightful messaging.


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