How to “Sleigh” Your Holiday Email Marketing

Whether you want to believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner and with this season comes the need for a strong holiday email marketing strategy.

As the days get shorter and your holiday to-do list grows longer, you might be feeling a heightened sense of anxiety. Though we can’t help much in this department, we can help you in another. If you’re in charge of implementing a holiday email marketing campaign for your company, you’re in luck because we have some tips to ease your stress and sleigh your efforts.

Timing and testing

In the past, best practices have told us that sending emails on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during mid-morning or early afternoon was the optimal time to reach your audience.  According to Adobe, outside of work, some of the most common places people check their email is while watching TV (70%), from bed (52%) and from the bathroom (42%).  It is widely known that more than half of emails are opened on mobile devices now, which means your emails are only an arm’s length away from the coveted holiday consumer’s eye. It’s safe to assume that your subscribers aren’t only checking their emails during the week – so what should you do? Test! AB testing can offer a lot of insight into peak engagement days of the week and times of day.

Subject lines and Preheaders

I like to think of subject lines and preheaders as ‘the windows to your email’s soul’.  During the holiday season, your audience’s inboxes are flooded with promotional emails daily, all vying for attention with promises of “Free Shipping” or “50% off”. Strong, attention-grabbing subject lines are what separates the Rudolph’s from the Blitzen’s.

Preheaders are also valuable inbox real estate that should be taken advantage of. The preheader is often considered to be the ‘second subject line,’ as it’s used to reinforce the primary message of the email.

Testing subject lines and preheaders should be a staple of every holiday campaign and don’t be afraid to get creative.

For example: Testing your subject lines will help you understand if your customers respond better to personalization strings or more creative ideas, like the use of emojis.


Your subscribers have been loyal to you all year long, right? Now it’s time to reward them, and we’re not talking about a barrage of sales-y emails—we’re talking about nurturing existing relationships as well as new ones.

Retail companies often send deals to new subscribers, and as a result, those Welcome emails have tremendous open and click-through rates.  Don’t let the success of your email campaigns end there! Build loyalty with your audience by giving them what they want using dynamic email content.

According to eMarketer, 81% of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase as a result of a targeted email. Not only does this build customer loyalty, but I would also argue that it builds brand loyalty by making your subscribers believe that your company truly knows and understands their needs and wants.


When it comes to holiday email marketing conversions – your CTAs better be as strong as Uncle Bob’s eggnog. Encourage and entice your subscribers to click by offering them a deal or providing a holiday gift guide with best-selling items. Place your strongest CTAs above the fold to ensure they’ll receive the first (and maybe only) glance.

Think of these ideas like they are part of Santa’s list; check it once and check it twice to find out if your email marketing strategy is naughty or nice!