3 last-minute holiday email marketing ideas

McKenzie Gregory

Need a quick boost in holiday sales? Read on. 

At this point, your holiday email strategy hasn't just been planned – it's been executed. Hopefully, things are going well for you and your team, and your numbers are matching up with (or exceeding) your end-of-year sales goals.

But maybe you still need a little help getting there.

While it's hard to change a ton about your holiday marketing plan in mid-December, you can still throw in a few last-minute email promotions to help turn the tide. If you're looking for a sales boost now that we're in the home stretch, here are some easy-to-implement email ideas you can copy. 


1. Promote gift cards. 

At this very moment, we're in the midst of Hanukkah, and there are only 12 and 13 days until Christmas Day and the beginning of Kwanzaa, respectively. 

Know what that means? Desperate gift-givers have gotten to the bottom of their shopping lists, and they're running out of time. You know how it goes: There are always the folks that are downright impossible to shop for, like your mother-in-law or picky nephew. 

Enter the magic of the gift card. 

According to the National Retail Federation, 59% of holiday shoppers will buy gift cards this year. However, if you don't work for one of the big-box retail brands, chances are good that the majority of your customers don't even realize you offer them. Right now is the perfect time to plug gift cards as a last-minute gift idea, especially if you can provide them digitally and help people avoid the whole shipping issue. 

Promoting gift cards is a great way for Rent the Runway to encourage last-minute holiday sales. 


... even better if your brand isn't one people traditionally think of for gift cards, like Seamless!


2. Run a social contest. 

This is the busiest send time of the year, so like it or not, your subscribers have probably begun to tune out your campaigns. That is, unless you do something that actually interests them – aka, nearly anything that isn't a sales message. 

One great way to capture your audience's attention in a crowded holiday inbox is to run some sort of contest on social. For instance, we've seen brands from UPS to Rite Aid use email to promote giveaways on Facebook live over the past few days. Everyone loves free stuff, so it's a fantastic way to produce interest, put your brand top-of-mind, and get eyes back on your products and services. 


You don't have to be a traditional retailer to make the most of live social video. 


3. Remind them about shipping. 

If all else fails, take the practical route: Remind your subscribers when they'll need to purchase by in order to get their gifts on time. It's the push many people need to complete the shopping they've been putting off, so schedule a series of reminder emails and be sure to get to the point quickly both in your subject line and the body of your campaign.


Foot Cardigan wins the holiday email game with a series of GIFs and a timely Taylor Swift reference. 


Have any other ideas for capturing attention in the inbox in the days leading up to the holidays? Share away in the comments! 

About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin
Previous Article
2017 in marketing statistics
2017 in marketing statistics

See all of the stats and data from our 2017 Marketing Industry Report.

Next Article
Email showdown: WE charity vs. charity: water
Email showdown: WE charity vs. charity: water

Vote for your favorite nonprofit email campaign, and we'll donate $250 to the winning organization.

Want to engage your audience and grow your brand? Try Emma’s robust, easy-to-use product today.

Get a Demo