3 Creative ideas to kickstart your 2019 holiday email marketing

The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you haven’t started planning your 2019 holiday email marketing planning, then it’s time to get onboard.

Each year it seems as if more and more companies are starting their marketing efforts earlier and earlier. While this doesn’t always sit well with consumers, that doesn’t mean you should hold off on your planning process and keep it to the last minute.

Why you should start your holiday email marketing planning early

Sure, while many consumers claim that they hate seeing mention of the holiday season before Thanksgiving, a good majority of them start their holiday shopping before and around Labor Day. A 2018 study by Credit Karma stated that consumer starts their holiday-related browsing earlier and earlier, some as early as June and July. 

Yes, many people start browsing early, but does that mean they start shopping that early? According to this study, holiday shopping kicks off in September, although, many admit to beginning as early as August. 

Holiday shopping started as soon as August in 2018, with a peak in September

Source: Credit Karma

Again, we aren’t telling you that you must start your holiday deals that early, that would be silly as you’d be missing out on some great marketing targets, such as:

  • Labor Day

  • Back to school

  • Columbus Day

  • Veterans Day

  • Halloween

  • Thanksgiving

However, you should take some time and start planning your holiday email marketing well in advance of November and December.

Tips for creating a holiday email marketing campaign worth opening

Holiday email marketing may seem like a worthwhile effort only for those in retail, but that shouldn’t be more wrong. Brands from any industry can take full advantage of all the holidays have to offer, so that’s why we are going to cover a few tips for creating a holiday email marketing campaign that will get you results. 

Design with mobile opens in mind

It has probably been drilled into your mind a thousand times; however, it is especially important when you start designing your holiday email marketing campaigns. Think about it, the holidays are full of the hustle and bustle, meaning people don’t have time to take a seat at their computer and browse through their email inbox. 

Instead, they take to their laptops, tablets, and smartphones to take a gander at who’s landed in their inbox and what it is they have to offer. To ensure that your messages are rendering correctly, you’ll want to design your holiday email marketing campaign with mobile-friendliness in mind. For quick reference, we’d like to point out the differences between a responsive email and a mobile-friendly email:

  • Responsive email: A responsive design is one that will change its appearance based on the size of the device. 

  • Mobile-friendly email: A mobile-friendly design will function the exact same way no matter which device it is viewed on. 

Since more people will be on the go and more likely to check their email via their smartphone, your brand is better off in designing a mobile-friendly email than it is a responsive mail. 

Brand consistency matters

While designers like to play around with varying fonts, colors, and imagery, it is essential to remember that brand consistency matters. 

During the holidays, you don’t want to lose your brand consistency because people are, again, on the go. If they don’t immediately recognize their favorite brands, then the chances of their messages landing in the trash folder are much higher. 

Brand consistency matters—don’t get lost in the shuffle

Source: Emma

Make good use of your subject line and preheader text

Your subject line and preheader text are absolutely vital in creating a successful holiday email marketing campaign. This is prime real estate that is often ignored by many brands. Here’s the reality of it: the subject line and preheader text are the first pieces of information your reader will see. If it’s not compelling, your message isn’t going to be opened. 

Your subject line and preheader text are the first pieces of information your readers see

Source: Campaign Monitor

Include relevant images to help tell a story

Images play a crucial role in your email message’s storytelling. Take this example from Google and their Father’s Day promotion of the Pixel 3.

Very few words were needed for this campaign thanks to the powerful imagery that Google included. A simple photo of a father and his daughter taking in the sights convey such a warm and inviting message that it encourages readers to do the same in their lives. This creates the urgency to act, which they can do thanks to Google’s “Shop Now” call to action.

The right images can tell a significant story in email marketingA picture containing person, man, looking, indoor

Description automatically generated

Source: Really Good Emails

Consider adding interactive content

Interactive content is great because it gets the reader involved in the message—and by involved we don’t mean simply reading it. In this example from Harry’s, they want the reader to guide them to recommend the best product for the individual. So, they created an interactive quiz email to do just that!

Harry’s creates a fun interactive email marketing campaign to get readers involved in the selection process

Source: Really Good Email

It not only gets the reader invested in the message, but it also helps create a sense of intrigue. If the results of this quiz say I’d like this specific scent, then I’m more likely to buy it to try it out.

Include user-generated content

User-generated content is oftentimes overlooked because it doesn’t always have that “profession” polished look to it. However, this content makes for amazing email marketing content because it gives your reader’s a sense of what “real people” have to say about your products. 

Just Strong makes use of user-generated content in many of their online promotions, including their email marketing

Source: Just Strong/Instagram

Not only does this get your following excited to engage with your brand on social media, but it shows them that you consider them more than a purchase. 

3 ideas to help kickstart your 2019 holiday email marketing

There are hundreds of different holiday email marketing templates out there to help spark your creativity. However, many of those are dedicated to the retail industry. That’s why we’ve decided to give you our picks that can be used by marketers for any industry during their 2019 holiday email marketing planning.

1. Encourage giving

The holiday season stirs up all sorts of warm and fuzzy feeling in consumers. In fact, this season is known for some of the highest giving rates when it comes to fundraising for non-profits and charitable organizations. So, instead of focusing on just making a sale, why not highlight an issue that means something to either your brand or your audience members?

Instead of sending out a typical retail holiday email, why not send out a holiday email that focuses on giving back?

1973 LTD holiday email marketing focuses on giving, not receiving

Source: Really Good Emails

1973 LTD does a wonderful job of this by highlighting the fact that not everyone enjoys the holidays due to mental illness. Since they focus their attention on helping others, they want to do the same for their holiday marketing efforts and raise money for a charity.

Takeaway: Instead of focusing on making a sale, why not spread the holiday cheer by raising funds for a non-profit or charity that is near and dear to your brand or your audience members?

2. Offer useful content for the holidays

Instead of asking for something, why not switch things up this holiday season by giving back to your audience? No, not through charitable efforts, not this time. Instead, why not supply them with useful tips and tricks to help brighten up their holiday season?

This content can come in several different forms, all customizable to different industries and niches.

Tovala focuses their holiday email marketing on providing their readers with valuable content, not focusing in on sales

Source: Really Good Emails

In this example from Tovala, their primary objective is to share holiday recipes with their readers. Of course, they are still promoting the sales of their products; however, that isn’t until the very end of the email message—effectively taking it out of the spotlight. 

Takeaway: Give back to your readers by providing a holiday email marketing message full of tips and tricks that they can use to brighten up their holiday season. 

3. Offer seasons greetings

Take a little extra time in the 2019 holiday season to give thanks to your audience for all they do for your brand year-round. Sure, it may not be the fanciest of holiday email marketing efforts, but your readers will appreciate the acknowledgment more than you realize. 

Curate Labs not only wishes their readers a happy holidays, but a happy New Year & Winter Solstice too

Source: Really Good Emails

This example by Curate Labs is outstanding because they go ahead and recognize that their reader’s inboxes are full to the max with discount codes and sales. They go on to say that they only want to wish their readers a happy holiday so that they may take time to indulge in the season’s best, no matter which holiday they celebrate.

Takeaway: Send a simple greeting to your audience to show them what they mean to you.

Wrap up

You don’t have to start sending out your 2019 holiday email marketing materials at the end of summer. However, you shouldn’t be neglecting the planning process either. To help kickstart your planning process, why not consider one of these email marketing campaigns for brand:

  • Holiday greeting

  • Tips & Tricks

  • Encourage giving through collecting donations

Need help designing your next holiday email marketing campaign? Take a few minutes to browse our email templates and find the perfect one that not only suits your needs, but that is sure to delight your readers.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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