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A 20 point checklist for a merry email marketing season

Christmas email marketing

We all know that during the Christmas season we will receive a multitude of email marketing campaigns, to persuade us to part with our hard earned money, or to attend a zillion Christmas events. So how will your business battle through the masses to make sure your offer is at the top of your customers’ Christmas lists?

Email marketing will play a major role in driving those customers to your business. Just about every business sends emails on or around the holiday season. Here’s a 20-point holiday checklist to use throughout the season to make the most of your email marketing.

1. Make signing up so simple even a reindeer could do it

During the holiday season, you’ll have more eyes on your website and social channels, so make sure visitors can easily sign up for your email list no matter where they are. Be sure to include relevant fields in your sign up form that you can use to power automation and personalisation beyond just first name.

Use an easy sign up form, add a subscribe button to your website, and add a sign up form to your Facebook page.

2. Hang a welcome stocking in the inbox with care

You probably already have an automated welcome email created that goes out as soon as a subscriber joins your list, but you may want to make your email a bit more festive just for the season. Consider changing the colour; add jingle bells or a wreath, and a holiday greeting. You can also stuff digital stockings with a discount towards a purchase.

3. Prepare for merry mobile customers

Last year, 48% of traffic came from mobile devices.  Make sure your website and emails look sharp on mobile devices. To do so, use responsive email templates that adjust to every device and provide users with a great experience.

4. Make a Yuletide email calendar

Take a look at the important dates during November and December and start making an email marketing plan. Think about what kinds of emails to send and when, and consider using marketing automation to send the right message to the right person at the right time. Using automation can make your email campaigns much more targeted and efficient during this busy time of year for you and your subscribers.

5. Check your contacts like you do holiday lights

Every year you break out the holiday lights and look for busted bulbs or lights that don’t work, right? Do the same with your email list. Any subscriber that hasn’t opened or clicked on a link in your email in a year should be removed. A smaller list of engaged subscribers will help you have better engagement and improve your deliverability.

6. Give shoppers the gift of inspiration

Before the craze of the holiday season really sets in, create a gift guide that you’ll send to shoppers. You can even schedule it to send ahead of time. The guide should highlight your most popular products and provide links to each, like this guide from Sephora:

Sephora campaign

7. Have your elves create holiday promotion emails in advance

Santa and his elves would never wait until Christmas Eve to create all the toys and you shouldn’t wait to create your holiday promotional emails either. You can create your emails now and schedule them to send on specific days or you can create a customer journey using marketing automation and send your emails out based on triggers you determine. It’s incredibly powerful and a huge time-saver, plus it ensures the right person, gets the right message at the right time.

8. Say thanks

Send subscribers an email that thanks them for being great customers. Include a small discount, or a perk like free shipping to get them primed for holiday shopping.

9. Deck the social media halls with news of your holiday sales

Give fans a preview of your Christmas Event on social media a few days early and encourage them to sign up for your email list to get the deals in their inbox.

10. Offer a Black Friday deal so great St. Nick couldn’t pass it up

Started by our friends in the US, Black Friday is another date for the marketing diary, this year is 25th November, closely followed by Cyber Monday on 28th November. Cyber Monday is often billed as the biggest email marketing holiday, but research shows Black Friday emails are opened 38% more than Cyber Monday emails, according to Movable Ink. The reason behind the high open rates is likely due to the expectation of big savings – so don’t disappoint. Give your subscribers a deal they can’t resist.

11. Spread holiday cheer with a Cyber Monday extension

Black Friday may be the reigning champion of holiday email, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect Cyber Monday. Create and send a deal on Cyber Monday, but consider giving subscribers one extra day to take advantage of the sale.

12. Don’t be a Grinch; don’t just ask for money on #GivingTuesday

Another tradition from the US is Giving Tuesday, on 29th November. Last year, donations hit $116.7 million on Giving Tuesday. Of course, many of the emails that non-profits send on or around this day will ask donors for money, but more than that can be done.

Email a link to a blog post that explains how donations are used, send an email that features someone your organisation helped, or share an infographic on social media that gives shoppers alternatives to typical gifts.

The Final Stretch

As December draws to an end, you’ll want to make a final sales push. Here’s what you should cross off your checklist:

13. Send cart abandonment emails to busy shoppers

Try to close more sales by reminding busy shoppers about the items they put in a digital shopping cart but didn’t purchase. Consider adding an incentive, like 10% off.

14. Encourage shoppers to put a gift for themselves under the tree

Last year more than half of all shoppers splurged on gifts for themselves, according to NRF, so encourage shoppers to do a little self-gifting.

15. Offer free shipping as a jolly incentive

Sixty-one percent of shoppers abandon their carts because the final costs, like shipping, are too expensive, according to research from Baymard. Consider offering free shipping to boost sales. If you can’t offer free shipping to everyone, segment your list and email the offer to only your VIP subscribers.

16. Rock around the Christmas tree with a social giveaway

Consider using a tool like Wishpond to create a giveaway on social media, like giving away small gifts twelve days before Christmas. To enter require fans to fill out a quick form that asks for their email address. It’s a great way to engage fans, and add names to your email list for this season or next.

17. On Dasher, on Dancer – on Procrastinators

Last year, 90% of shoppers still had gifts to buy as of December 15, according to NRF. Create a campaign that targets those last minute shoppers. Consider reusing that gift guide that you made early on with a message that’s specific to holiday procrastinators.

18. Host a Christmas event

Make it special by turning it into more of an event with music, eggnog, and festive pictures . Email an invitation, create an event on Facebook to promote it, and send a reminder email the day before to encourage everyone to come attend.

19. Don’t hit the holiday brakes, send a New Year’s email

Consider offering one final promotion for the New Year. You might encourage shoppers to buy the ultimate New Year dress, share party tips, or convince subscribers to make a ‘glad the holidays are over’ purchase for themselves with a 15% off coupon that you send.

20. Pour a cup of eggnog and review your email metrics

Once the season comes to an end, take a minute to review the campaigns you sent and analyse which ones were the most effective. You can use this information to improve your email marketing efforts next year.


We hope our 20-point checklist for a merry email marketing season has given you some useful tips. Contact us now to get your Christmas and New Year email campaigns underway!

We have a special FactorEmail Christmas and New Year Package to get you started:

All inclusive Christmas and New Year email package


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