11.07.201613 min read

22 Examples to Inspire Your Holiday Email Marketing

The rest of the year, people aren’t necessarily excited to get your marketing emails. But that changes around the holidays.

In November and December, consumers actually rely on promotional emails for holiday shopping ideas. Of consumers shopping for deals, 70 percent learned about them via email, according to research by Magnetic.

Email marketing is a central component of any holiday marketing campaign. For step-by-step directions on creating a holiday offer and promoting it via email, download 10 Steps to Organizing Your Holiday Promotion for Maximum Results.

One of the best ways to get email marketing ideas: See how the pros do it. We collected 22 holiday email marketing examples from Milled, a site that aggregates email promotions, that will help you think up holiday offers, subject lines, and other season’s greetings.

Black Friday

Emails titled “Black Friday sale” are likely white noise to the 75 million people shopping online on Black Friday. See how these companies stood out with intriguing Black Friday subject lines and click-worthy offers.

1. Target

Why send Black Friday emails only on Black Friday? The night before the big day (also known as Thanksgiving, lest we forget), Target asked customers, “Why wait?” in this email announcing the launch of online doorbuster sales.

Target.png 

2. Chan Luu

Jewelry company Chan Luu needed only six words to describe a compelling Black Friday offer with an immediate sense of urgency: “First 50 get a FREE Necklace.” The body of the email added another reason to buy (“valued at $200 retail”) and one simple call-to-action (“shop now”).

ChanLu.png

3. The Home Depot

The Home Depot knew you knew why you got this email. With emojis in the subject line spelling out “3...2...1...GO!”, this email might have been one of few in the inbox that didn’t say “Black Friday.” 

HomeDepot.png

4. MAC Cosmetics

“You didn’t miss this, did you?” MAC Cosmetics asked in an email sent the evening of Black Friday. With practically every retailer in the country offering a deal over the past 24 hours, there’s a good chance email recipients wondered, “Wait, did I?” Inside, MAC advertised 25 percent off a holiday makeup kit.

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Cyber Monday

The Monday after Thanksgiving has become the No. 1 day for email volume—and email transactions, according to Experian Marketing Services. These companies put a unique twist on their emails promoting America’s favorite day to shop online.

5. Payless

When everyone else was waiting to start shopping during a boring Monday morning meeting, Payless rewarded its email subscribers by offering early access to the sale on Sunday night.

Payless.png

6. Ray-Ban

Getting promotional emails from a retailer on Cyber Monday isn’t a surprise. But Ray-Ban subscribers might not have expected to get a $50 gift voucher with their purchase. Plus, research suggests consumers perceive free stuff to be more valuable than equivalent discounts. 

RayBan.png

7. Love and Pride

A single promotional email is easy to miss on Cyber Monday. But Love and Pride subscribers definitely got the memo that the jewelry retailer was offering deals. The company promoted a different Cyber Monday offer every hour of the day.

If frequent emails would be a turn-off to your customers, consider notifying them about your promotional plans early and asking them to opt into your holiday-specific communications. 

LoveAndPride.png

December promotions

In December, these companies kept the holiday shopping spirit alive with promotions, gift ideas, and deadlines for making sure the gifts arrive in time to fit under the tree.

8. Dormify

“Are you sick of sales yet?” Dormify asked in the subject line of this email sent the week after Black Friday and Cyber Monday mania. In this self-aware email, the dorm-decor retailer offered one more deal in the millennial speak of its audience: “THIS SALE THOUGH…” 

Dormify.png

9. Jo-Ann

In mid-December, when Jo-Ann customers were busy crafting gifts for others, the company might have caught their attention by giving to the givers. This email titled “A Little Holiday Gift From Jo-Ann” offered a free wall calendar.

JoAnn.png

10. SitterCity

Giving gifts isn’t the only goal on consumers’ minds during the holidays. In this email, the babysitting website Sittercity reminds subscribers how they can RSVP “yes” to all the holiday parties: Hire a sitter now, and get your first month free. 

Sittercity.png

12. Camper

Don’t forget to tell customers their deadline for procrastinating. In this email titled “Get It Under the Tree In Time,” the shoe company Camper outlines the last day for delivery by Dec. 23.

Camper.png

13. Shinola

Gift cards have been the most-requested item on wish lists for nine years in the row, according to the National Retail Federation. In this email, Shinola reminds subscribers of that whole thought-that-counts idea: “There is a watch company in Detroit that believes you can do better than a gift card,” the email said. 

Shinola.png

Last-minute shopping

It’s (almost) never too late: Plenty of consumers are still shopping in the days and even hours before Christmas, making it the time to send emails about last-minute gift ideas, business hours, and the best and sometimes only last-minute gift around: the gift card.

14. The Sill

If you’re still shopping the week before Christmas, you’re probably open to subject lines like, “Best gift ever?” In this email sent Dec. 17, plant retailer The Sill suggested that potted plants make for thoughtful gifts.

TheSill.png

15. Guess

If your business has a physical location, make sure customers know about your holiday hours. In this email, Guess told the brave souls willing to visit a mall on Dec. 23 that they were open for last-minute shopping. 

Guess.png

16. SpaFinder Wellness 360

After a certain point, last-minute gifts = gift cards. In this email, SpaFinder encouraged late gift-givers not to feel guilty about their lack of thoughtfulness: “May they never know you forgot,” read an email sent Dec. 23.

Spafinder.png

Post-Christmas

A new wave of sales begins after Christmas when consumers shift back to buying for themselves instead of others and companies attempt to clear inventory by the end of the year.

17. GlassesUSA

For some marketers, Christmas Day is no longer off-limits. GlassesUSA excused its Dec. 25 sale with a holiday greeting and a nod to the activity of the moment: eating pie.

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18. UGG Australia

UGG Australia targets its sale on boots and shoes at those treating themselves to a little post-holiday shopping. “What wasn’t under the tree is now on SALE,” read this email sent Dec. 26.

UGG.png

New Year

As the year winds down, consumers are looking forward, looking back, and resolving to start or stop doing something—all of which can be useful themes for New Year’s email marketing.

19. House Trip

When subscribers were looking ahead to a new year of travel opportunities, House Trip took a look back. In this email, the home rental site in the United Kingdom reflected on top properties booked in the previous year.

HouseTrip.png

20. Bellabox

Anything seems possible at the start of the new year, making it prime time for companies to predict you’ll need to buy their stuff. In this email, Australian beauty subscription service Bellabox explained how makeup would be worn in the coming year.

Bellabox.png

21. Barneys

Companies can use Jan. 1 as a chance to call for a fresh start, like Barneys New York did with this email encouraging subscribers to focus on their skin care. 

Barneys.png

22. La Tienda

Ever made a new year’s resolution about Spanish pork? Probably not, but facts don’t stop companies from using resolution-themed marketing messages. In this email, Spanish food store La Tienda suggested a resolution: “Grill more!” 

La Tienda.png

10 steps to boost sales this holiday season

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