Shopify Ecosystem

Anatomy of a Good Holiday Email (2019 edit)

anatomy-of-a-good-holiday-email-(2019-edit)

Email may not be the newest or hottest craze in the world of digital marketing, but it continues to prove itself as the most effective channel for eCommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses alike, particularly during the holiday season. 

As marketing powerhouse, Neil Patel has mentioned, email has nearly three times the number of accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined – 2.9 billion! And a recent report by OptinMonster shared that 60% of users listed email as their preferred channel for promotions over social media (20% of users). But it goes further than that, the conversation rates of email alone should be enough to convince you!

marsello-good-holiday-email-infographic.png

Email marketing also yields a much higher return on investment than any other form of marketing. OptinMonster reported that email delivers a 21% ROI while social media yields 15%.

The popularity and effectiveness of email marketing is undeniable, and while that’s generally a good thing, it also presents one obvious challenge: because email is so popular, it can be difficult to stand out in the competition while staying true to brand messaging.  

So how can you ensure that your emails make the cut? 

To help answer that, we’re putting the spotlight on a handful of email marketing examples that you can use as inspiration for your own campaigns.

Retention first

Before you can start your holiday email marketing campaigns, it’s vital that you get your customer retention strategies sorted. Why? Because these are the long-term marketing tools that will keep your holiday season customers coming back throughout the remainder of the year. 

Considering some of the following tools to ramp up your retention strategies:

  • Loyalty program – loyalty programs reward your customers for completing purchases with you and considering the high-spend rates of the holiday season, they’re a powerful way to keep your customers coming back as they see the rewards quickly. Go one step further and add VIP tiers to keep customers excited about shopping with your store again and again. Offering customers seasonal rewards can also help them to feel appreciated during a busy and expensive season. If they feel rewarded for shopping with you, the chances of them shopping with you again increases hugely.

  • Automated email flows – creating emails that trigger as a result of specific actions (or lack thereof) are a proven retention strategy. Examples of these include emails that welcome first time customers (and include a discount); win-back emails targeting customer who haven’t shopped with you for a certain time period (usually around 60 days); abandoned cart recovery emails designed to draw customers back who added items to their cart but didn’t complete a purchase; birthday emails that trigger on a customers birthday and offers them a small reward and discount to thank them for their loyalty.

  • Forms – either embedding forms or creating them as pop-ups can help to capture customer details (namely emails) and funnel those customers into your direct retention marketing channels such as email campaigns and social media targeting.

  • One-off email campaigns – whether you’re creating newsletters, stock updates, business updates, one-off sales or even competitions, singular emails are should be a huge part of your retention strategy and are a powerful place to incorporate other tools like customer segmentation (we’ll get into this more, later). 

  • Customer feedback – show customers that you want their opinions, can take their feedback and that you’re open to learning and growing with them. It’s important that your customers feel listened to and appreciated, and gathering customer feedback is a proven way to do this.

Now, before you carry on and attack holiday email marketing themes, make sure that you read our upcoming 2019 guide, Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Boost Your Open Rates, Clicks & Sales in 2020.

Incorporate relevant themes

This may sound obvious, but many merchants continue to send uninspired and generic emails during the holidays. Don’t be one of them. Write and design your emails in such a way that they embody the holiday that you’re celebrating while staying true to your brand and excite your customers along the way. 

So if it’s Christmas, your campaigns should reflect the joy and cheer that people experience around the season. If you’re sending emails for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then your design and messaging should bring about excitement and a sense of urgency. 

Go through your marketing emails and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they contain key holiday terms? (e.g., ‘gifts’, ‘jolly’,‘Santa’ or ‘it’s Christmas’)

  • If not, have you considered adding a seasonal emoji to make your message more in line with each holiday?

  • Is your color palette in line with the holiday you’re celebrating? (e.g., black and white for BFCM, red and green for Christmas)

  • Is the design of your email relevant to the season?

  • Is the content of your email relevant to the season?

  • Are you positioning your products as holiday purchases? (e.g., ‘Dresses for your next holiday party’ vs just ‘dresses’)

Here are a few holiday email examples you can use as inspiration.

Francesca encourages shoppers to visit their store for the holidays

Got a brick and mortar shop? Be sure to use email marketing to drive in-store traffic. Once again, Francesca does an amazing job with this. In their email below, the team at Francesca promoted the fact that shoppers make their own jewelry pieces in-store.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-francesca.png

Area 51 keeps customers informed with holiday season in-store hours

When the holiday season came nearer last year, Area 51 took the opportunity to remind their customers of their hours over that season, but they also sweetened the deal by offering 20% to their online customers, making sure their customers new that online shopping at Area 51 was still an option.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-area51.png

nice laundry creates a holiday-themed product

Each year, nice laundry releases a Black Friday-specific sock that embodies their brand while giving them the opportunity to promote during a traditional tech-based holiday. This ‘Black Friday special edition’ product was offered to current customers for free when they used the code ‘BLACKFRIDAY’ in conjunction with another order. 

Not only do nice laundry entice customers with a one-off product, but they also encourage them to make a purchase to get access to the product.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-nice-laundry.png

Alex and Ani positions their existing merchandise as gifts

Alex and Ani took one of their mainstay products and positioned it as a holiday gift. With the adorable content, beautiful design that fits their branding, and their three top products, Alex and Ani curated a stand-out email sure to be successful with their new and returning customers.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-alexandani.png

Allbirds offers a holiday-themed giveaway to incentivize purchases

Last Christmas, sustainable sneaker company, Allbirds, went above and beyond in offering customers a festive deal – they created a festive themed version of one of their products: Christmas shoe laces. These were added as a special offer for customers who shopped during the holiday season, but not before customers were reminded to make sustainable choices with their gift giving and purchases. We love the way they’ve included their branding, marketing, calls to action, and ethos into one snappy and beautiful email.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-allbirds.png

UGMONK created a holiday gift guide with clever segmentation

When UGMONK released an email gift guide last year, they didn’t just stick to the mainstays of ‘gifts for mom’ or ‘his & hers’ organisation. With guide sections such as ‘cozy comforts’ and ‘mountains’ they were able to curate a guide that would appeal to anyone.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-ugmonk.png

Tip: Did you know that Marsello’s holiday email flows come with seasonal templates? No need to design an email from scratch; just take on of our best-practice templates, designed to keep your customers coming back, and then tailor to your business.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

A well-written and beautifully-designed email won’t be effective if the content is irrelevant to the recipient. That’s why you should always incorporate personalization into your campaigns

Studies show that eCommerce emails with personalized subject lines have 29% higher open rates so really it’s a no-brainer – personalization and loyalty go hand-in-hand.

So consider incorporating tricks and tools like customer segmentation, purchase history included in email content, and wish lists. Being able to easily tailor the content of your messages to each user will help you to reach them on a personal level and improve customer engagement drastically.

Take a leaf out the playbooks of these companies:

Pottermore sends emails tailored to each Hogwarts house

In 2017, Pottermore sent out holiday greetings to their members, but instead of using a generic message in their campaign, they segmented users according to their Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) and sent greetings tailored to each house.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-pottermore.png

This is a wonderful example of simple (but highly effective) email segmentation, and you should consider doing something similar with your user segments. Whether you group shoppers by gender, age, or any other category, find ways to tailor your messages for those various segments.

Nordstrom recommends products that shoppers might like based on their browsing activity

Nordstrom is one of the highest-ranked retailers when it comes to personalized marketing, and for good reason: the retailer does a tremendous job in tailoring their marketing content. 

Consider the following email, in which Nordstrom showcased some of the designer purses they have in stock. It’s a well-designed email, but what makes it noteworthy is how relevant the products are to my tastes. 

I’ve browsed Nordstrom’s designer purse collection numerous times and have even added several items to my wishlist. This leads me to believe that Nordstrom uses my web browsing or wishlist data (or both) to inform the content of their emails.  Either that or they just ‘happened’ to send me an email containing products that I love (but in the age of big data and personalization, I highly doubt that this email is a coincidence).

marsello-holiday-email-blog-nordstorm.png

Barebones recommends products based on previous purchases

If you’re marketing to existing customers, then use their purchase data in your product recommendations. This is a good way to show customers that you’re paying attention to their shopping habits. And if you implement this strategy in a friendly way (like what Barebones is doing in the example below), you’ll encourage people to continue shopping at your store.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-barebones.png

Tip: Marsello’s holiday email flows make it easy to send personalized product recommendations. Simply drag and drop the product widget onto your email, and it will automatically populate with the top 3 items that your customer is likely to purchase, based on their shopping history, and the shopping histories of customers like them.

Run compelling and creative offers

In an age when numerous brands are vying for shopper attention, it’s imperative that you craft offers that are both compelling and creative. 

There aren’t any one-size-fits-all promos that would work for every campaign, as your offers would depend on your customers, merchandise, and objectives. For example, if you’re trying to move slow-moving inventory, then multi-buy promotions (e.g., “BOGO,” Buy 2 get 1 free, etc.) would be the best offer type. On the other hand, if the goal is to increase order values, then conditional offers (e.g., “Free shipping on orders over $75”) would be a better way to go.

Have a think about the right type of offer for your campaign, and once you’ve decided on the type of promotions to run, inject holiday some themes to make them relevant.

Consider the following:

Flynn Skye shows shoppers how much they’re saving

You know what they say, showing is better than telling. Apparel retailer Flynn Skye puts this nugget of wisdom to good use by creatively “slashing” their product prices. Check out the image of their email below and you can clearly see the original price crossed off and replaced with their promotional pricing.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-flynn-skye.png

Wemo puts a holiday spin on some products that may not excite everyone

When Wemo created festive season emails last year, they put a holiday spin on their products and the email content to get customers excited for products that they wouldn’t necessarily buy during that time of year. They even added that holiday spin to an exclusive holiday deal: “Get up to $45 off Wemo and use your voice to control holiday lights.”

marsello-holiday-email-blog-wemo.png

Fossil uses some holiday puns

Last year, accessories store, Fossil, created vibrant and on-brand emails with a cute differentiator – a stand-out, festively decorated pun. They wished that their customers “have a tree-mendous holiday” and then drew attention to their early access sale and perks such as gift wrapping. 

Witty content, cute imagery, on-theme colours, and simple design make this email stand out to customers and invites them to shop.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-fossil.png

Stance offers free limited time shipping

Free shipping is a common promotional tactic, but that’s because it’s highly effective. This holiday season, consider testing free shipping and see if it entices more customers to shop. Stance did just that in their email below, while adding urgency to their subject line which read, “For a Limited Time: Shipping Is on Us”:

marsello-holiday-email-blog-stance.png

Girlfriend Collective runs a giveaway

Meanwhile, the team at Girlfriend Collective ran a giveaway and used email marketing to promote it. The subject line was direct to the point and powerful: “Free stuff! (It’s giveaway time.)” and the body of the email touched on the holiday season, with the lines like: “The holidays are stressful. Giveaways aren’t.”

marsello-holiday-email-blog-girlfriend.png

Animate your emails

A cool way to stand out is by incorporating a bit of animation in your messages. Why not insert a moving GIF image in your holiday messages, to really get them to pop? Have a look at the following example:

Búl’s Colorful Flash Sale

We love the way Australian retailer, Búl, uses GIFs and block coloring to stand out while staying on-brand. Check out their gorgeous spring sale email (leading into Australian holiday season)! It not only showcases their beautiful clothing, but also their stylish email design is simple, easy to understand and clear in intent. And it’s so simple! P.s. notice their addition of Afterpay, allowing customers to ‘wear now, pay later’. A fantastic way to entice customers into making a purchase now.

bul-gif-email.gif

The Vans Holiday Gift Guide GIF

Vans really know how to stand out with their customers when it comes to busy holiday season. Vans took the opportunity to stand out and show their creative “off the wall” brand with a GIF featuring a skater and some subtle holiday imagery. While this may not be great for mobile optimization (which is incredibly important for avoiding spam filters), Vans is a hugely popular retailer which means they have a little bit of freedom to play with less-optimized email content because their customers are likely to recognize their emails.

vans.gif

Instill a sense of urgency

Urgency can give your promotions an extra boost, so find ways to use it in your campaigns. Things like a looming deadline or fear of missing out (FOMO) can really drive people to act.

Use these emails for inspiration:

BioLite reinforces that sense of urgency with sale dates

Being clear about your sale terms and timing can give your customers the sense that they should buy sooner rather than later for fear of missing out.

BioLite have created this sense of urgency by reminding their customers exactly when their sale ends, and leaving that reminder in bold. They’ve then gone the extra mile and suggested some of their categorized top-picks.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-biolite.png

Udemy uses a countdown

Want to get more visual with your FOMO messaging? Countdowns can do wonders. If you’re running a promotion that’s approaching a deadline (ideally 24 hours or fewer), throw in a working countdown in your emails so recipients know exactly how much time they have left before the deal is gone. 

Here’s a great example from online course provider, Udemy:

marsello-holiday-email-blog-udemy.png

ThirdLove sends out reminders that an item is almost sold out

Got limited inventory? Use it to instill a sense of FOMO in shoppers. ThirdLove, for instance, sent an email giving people a heads up that some of their bras are almost sold out.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-third-love.png

Optimize the timing of your campaigns

Timing may not be everything, but in email marketing, it’s pretty darn important. Showing up in someone’s inbox at just the right time can mean the difference between a conversion or a missed opportunity, so optimize the scheduling of your emails as much as possible. 

The best way to do this is to rely on your subscribers’ data. Pay attention to when people are opening your messages and visiting your website, so can determine when to schedule your emails. 

To get a baseline for when you should be sending your emails, consider 10am, Tuesday, Thursday, then Wednesdays (in that order). 

Evaluating previous campaign performance can also help. Do morning emails work better than messages sent in the afternoon? What about weekdays vs. weekends? Go through your past campaigns and see if you can spot patterns around timing. 

Industry data can also offer insights that you can use in your campaigns. Does your email marketing provider have any data on which email time-frames work best?

Below is an excellent case study of email timing optimization done right:

eBags increases conversions by 65% thanks to timing optimization

Online luggage supplier, eBags, decided to switch up their email schedules by optimizing their timing based on when each subscriber signed up to their list. 

According to Econsultancy, eBags “carried out research based on the hypothesis that if users were available to sign up to an email list at a certain time, then they would be far more receptive to receiving an email at the same time as when they signed up.”

The experiment proved to be a success. As Econsultancy reports, eBags saw the following results after the experiment:

  • Increased click-through rates by 20% 

  • Increased conversion rates by 65% 

  • Increased average order value by 45% 

  • Increased overall revenue per recipient by 187%

The moral of the story? Well there’s a couple! Don’t be afraid to experiment based on your customer data, and optimize your emails to suit that data. If you know that you see the best results from emails that are scheduled for 10 am on a Tuesday, then schedule away! If you’re not sure when to schedule your emails for, fret not …

Marsello analyzes the shopping habits of customers at your store (and at businesses similar to yours) and then recommends the best time to send your emails.

Final words

Email marketing can elevate your campaign performance, but only if you do it right. To boost your marketing success this holiday season, keep your messages relevant and personalized and throw in come compelling offers for good measure. To top everything off, optimize scheduling of your messages you can get in front of your subscribers at the perfect time. 

Good luck!

Email may not be the newest or hottest craze in the world of digital marketing, but it continues to prove itself as the most effective channel for eCommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses alike, particularly during the holiday season. 

As marketing powerhouse, Neil Patel has mentioned, email has nearly three times the number of accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined – 2.9 billion! And a recent report by OptinMonster shared that 60% of users listed email as their preferred channel for promotions over social media (20% of users). But it goes further than that, the conversation rates of email alone should be enough to convince you!

marsello-good-holiday-email-infographic.png

Email marketing also yields a much higher return on investment than any other form of marketing. OptinMonster reported that email delivers a 21% ROI while social media yields 15%.

The popularity and effectiveness of email marketing is undeniable, and while that’s generally a good thing, it also presents one obvious challenge: because email is so popular, it can be difficult to stand out in the competition while staying true to brand messaging.  

So how can you ensure that your emails make the cut? 

To help answer that, we’re putting the spotlight on a handful of email marketing examples that you can use as inspiration for your own campaigns.

Retention first

Before you can start your holiday email marketing campaigns, it’s vital that you get your customer retention strategies sorted. Why? Because these are the long-term marketing tools that will keep your holiday season customers coming back throughout the remainder of the year. 

Considering some of the following tools to ramp up your retention strategies:

  • Loyalty program – loyalty programs reward your customers for completing purchases with you and considering the high-spend rates of the holiday season, they’re a powerful way to keep your customers coming back as they see the rewards quickly. Go one step further and add VIP tiers to keep customers excited about shopping with your store again and again. Offering customers seasonal rewards can also help them to feel appreciated during a busy and expensive season. If they feel rewarded for shopping with you, the chances of them shopping with you again increases hugely.

  • Automated email flows – creating emails that trigger as a result of specific actions (or lack thereof) are a proven retention strategy. Examples of these include emails that welcome first time customers (and include a discount); win-back emails targeting customer who haven’t shopped with you for a certain time period (usually around 60 days); abandoned cart recovery emails designed to draw customers back who added items to their cart but didn’t complete a purchase; birthday emails that trigger on a customers birthday and offers them a small reward and discount to thank them for their loyalty.

  • Forms – either embedding forms or creating them as pop-ups can help to capture customer details (namely emails) and funnel those customers into your direct retention marketing channels such as email campaigns and social media targeting.

  • One-off email campaigns – whether you’re creating newsletters, stock updates, business updates, one-off sales or even competitions, singular emails are should be a huge part of your retention strategy and are a powerful place to incorporate other tools like customer segmentation (we’ll get into this more, later). 

  • Customer feedback – show customers that you want their opinions, can take their feedback and that you’re open to learning and growing with them. It’s important that your customers feel listened to and appreciated, and gathering customer feedback is a proven way to do this.

Now, before you carry on and attack holiday email marketing themes, make sure that you read our upcoming 2019 guide, Email Marketing Best Practices: How to Boost Your Open Rates, Clicks & Sales in 2020.

Incorporate relevant themes

This may sound obvious, but many merchants continue to send uninspired and generic emails during the holidays. Don’t be one of them. Write and design your emails in such a way that they embody the holiday that you’re celebrating while staying true to your brand and excite your customers along the way. 

So if it’s Christmas, your campaigns should reflect the joy and cheer that people experience around the season. If you’re sending emails for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then your design and messaging should bring about excitement and a sense of urgency. 

Go through your marketing emails and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they contain key holiday terms? (e.g., ‘gifts’, ‘jolly’,‘Santa’ or ‘it’s Christmas’)

  • If not, have you considered adding a seasonal emoji to make your message more in line with each holiday?

  • Is your color palette in line with the holiday you’re celebrating? (e.g., black and white for BFCM, red and green for Christmas)

  • Is the design of your email relevant to the season?

  • Is the content of your email relevant to the season?

  • Are you positioning your products as holiday purchases? (e.g., ‘Dresses for your next holiday party’ vs just ‘dresses’)

Here are a few holiday email examples you can use as inspiration.

Francesca encourages shoppers to visit their store for the holidays

Got a brick and mortar shop? Be sure to use email marketing to drive in-store traffic. Once again, Francesca does an amazing job with this. In their email below, the team at Francesca promoted the fact that shoppers make their own jewelry pieces in-store.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-francesca.png

Area 51 keeps customers informed with holiday season in-store hours

When the holiday season came nearer last year, Area 51 took the opportunity to remind their customers of their hours over that season, but they also sweetened the deal by offering 20% to their online customers, making sure their customers new that online shopping at Area 51 was still an option.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-area51.png

nice laundry creates a holiday-themed product

Each year, nice laundry releases a Black Friday-specific sock that embodies their brand while giving them the opportunity to promote during a traditional tech-based holiday. This ‘Black Friday special edition’ product was offered to current customers for free when they used the code ‘BLACKFRIDAY’ in conjunction with another order. 

Not only do nice laundry entice customers with a one-off product, but they also encourage them to make a purchase to get access to the product.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-nice-laundry.png

Alex and Ani positions their existing merchandise as gifts

Alex and Ani took one of their mainstay products and positioned it as a holiday gift. With the adorable content, beautiful design that fits their branding, and their three top products, Alex and Ani curated a stand-out email sure to be successful with their new and returning customers.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-alexandani.png

Allbirds offers a holiday-themed giveaway to incentivize purchases

Last Christmas, sustainable sneaker company, Allbirds, went above and beyond in offering customers a festive deal – they created a festive themed version of one of their products: Christmas shoe laces. These were added as a special offer for customers who shopped during the holiday season, but not before customers were reminded to make sustainable choices with their gift giving and purchases. We love the way they’ve included their branding, marketing, calls to action, and ethos into one snappy and beautiful email.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-allbirds.png

UGMONK created a holiday gift guide with clever segmentation

When UGMONK released an email gift guide last year, they didn’t just stick to the mainstays of ‘gifts for mom’ or ‘his & hers’ organisation. With guide sections such as ‘cozy comforts’ and ‘mountains’ they were able to curate a guide that would appeal to anyone.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-ugmonk.png

Tip: Did you know that Marsello’s holiday email flows come with seasonal templates? No need to design an email from scratch; just take on of our best-practice templates, designed to keep your customers coming back, and then tailor to your business.

Personalize, personalize, personalize

A well-written and beautifully-designed email won’t be effective if the content is irrelevant to the recipient. That’s why you should always incorporate personalization into your campaigns

Studies show that eCommerce emails with personalized subject lines have 29% higher open rates so really it’s a no-brainer – personalization and loyalty go hand-in-hand.

So consider incorporating tricks and tools like customer segmentation, purchase history included in email content, and wish lists. Being able to easily tailor the content of your messages to each user will help you to reach them on a personal level and improve customer engagement drastically.

Take a leaf out the playbooks of these companies:

Pottermore sends emails tailored to each Hogwarts house

In 2017, Pottermore sent out holiday greetings to their members, but instead of using a generic message in their campaign, they segmented users according to their Hogwarts houses (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin) and sent greetings tailored to each house.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-pottermore.png

This is a wonderful example of simple (but highly effective) email segmentation, and you should consider doing something similar with your user segments. Whether you group shoppers by gender, age, or any other category, find ways to tailor your messages for those various segments.

Nordstrom recommends products that shoppers might like based on their browsing activity

Nordstrom is one of the highest-ranked retailers when it comes to personalized marketing, and for good reason: the retailer does a tremendous job in tailoring their marketing content. 

Consider the following email, in which Nordstrom showcased some of the designer purses they have in stock. It’s a well-designed email, but what makes it noteworthy is how relevant the products are to my tastes. 

I’ve browsed Nordstrom’s designer purse collection numerous times and have even added several items to my wishlist. This leads me to believe that Nordstrom uses my web browsing or wishlist data (or both) to inform the content of their emails.  Either that or they just ‘happened’ to send me an email containing products that I love (but in the age of big data and personalization, I highly doubt that this email is a coincidence).

marsello-holiday-email-blog-nordstorm.png

Barebones recommends products based on previous purchases

If you’re marketing to existing customers, then use their purchase data in your product recommendations. This is a good way to show customers that you’re paying attention to their shopping habits. And if you implement this strategy in a friendly way (like what Barebones is doing in the example below), you’ll encourage people to continue shopping at your store.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-barebones.png

Tip: Marsello’s holiday email flows make it easy to send personalized product recommendations. Simply drag and drop the product widget onto your email, and it will automatically populate with the top 3 items that your customer is likely to purchase, based on their shopping history, and the shopping histories of customers like them.

Run compelling and creative offers

In an age when numerous brands are vying for shopper attention, it’s imperative that you craft offers that are both compelling and creative. 

There aren’t any one-size-fits-all promos that would work for every campaign, as your offers would depend on your customers, merchandise, and objectives. For example, if you’re trying to move slow-moving inventory, then multi-buy promotions (e.g., “BOGO,” Buy 2 get 1 free, etc.) would be the best offer type. On the other hand, if the goal is to increase order values, then conditional offers (e.g., “Free shipping on orders over $75”) would be a better way to go.

Have a think about the right type of offer for your campaign, and once you’ve decided on the type of promotions to run, inject holiday some themes to make them relevant.

Consider the following:

Flynn Skye shows shoppers how much they’re saving

You know what they say, showing is better than telling. Apparel retailer Flynn Skye puts this nugget of wisdom to good use by creatively “slashing” their product prices. Check out the image of their email below and you can clearly see the original price crossed off and replaced with their promotional pricing.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-flynn-skye.png

Wemo puts a holiday spin on some products that may not excite everyone

When Wemo created festive season emails last year, they put a holiday spin on their products and the email content to get customers excited for products that they wouldn’t necessarily buy during that time of year. They even added that holiday spin to an exclusive holiday deal: “Get up to $45 off Wemo and use your voice to control holiday lights.”

marsello-holiday-email-blog-wemo.png

Fossil uses some holiday puns

Last year, accessories store, Fossil, created vibrant and on-brand emails with a cute differentiator – a stand-out, festively decorated pun. They wished that their customers “have a tree-mendous holiday” and then drew attention to their early access sale and perks such as gift wrapping. 

Witty content, cute imagery, on-theme colours, and simple design make this email stand out to customers and invites them to shop.

marsello-holiday-email-blog-fossil.png

Stance offers free limited time shipping

Free shipping is a common promotional tactic, but that’s because it’s highly effective. This holiday season, consider testing free shipping and see if it entices more customers to shop. Stance did just that in their email below, while adding urgency to their subject line which read, “For a Limited Time: Shipping Is on Us”:

marsello-holiday-email-blog-stance.png

Girlfriend Collective runs a giveaway

Meanwhile, the team at Girlfriend Collective ran a giveaway and used email marketing to promote it. The subject line was direct to the point and powerful: “Free stuff! (It’s giveaway time.)” and the body of the email touched on the holiday season, with the lines like: “The holidays are stressful. Giveaways aren’t.”

marsello-holiday-email-blog-girlfriend.png

Animate your emails

A cool way to stand out is by incorporating a bit of animation in your messages. Why not insert a moving GIF image in your holiday messages, to really get them to pop? Have a look at the following example:

Búl’s Colorful Flash Sale

We love the way Australian retailer, Búl, uses GIFs and block coloring to stand out while staying on-brand. Check out their gorgeous spring sale email (leading into Australian holiday season)! It not only showcases their beautiful clothing, but also their stylish email design is simple, easy to understand and clear in intent. And it’s so simple! P.s. notice their addition of Afterpay, allowing customers to ‘wear now, pay later’. A fantastic way to entice customers into making a purchase now.

bul-gif-email.gif

The Vans Holiday Gift Guide GIF

Vans really know how to stand out with their customers when it comes to busy holiday season. Vans took the opportunity to stand out and show their creative “off the wall” brand with a GIF featuring a skater and some subtle holiday imagery. While this may not be great for mobile optimization (which is incredibly important for avoiding spam filters), Vans is a hugely popular retailer which means they have a little bit of freedom to play with less-optimized email content because their customers are likely to recognize their emails.

vans.gif

Instill a sense of urgency

Urgency can give your promotions an extra boost, so find ways to use it in your campaigns. Things like a looming deadline or fear of missing out (FOMO) can really drive people to act.

Use these emails for inspiration:

BioLite reinforces that sense of urgency with sale dates

Being clear about your sale terms and timing can give your customers the sense that they should buy sooner rather than later for fear of missing out.

BioLite have created this sense of urgency by reminding their customers exactly when their sale ends, and leaving that reminder in bold. They’ve then gone the extra mile and suggested some of their categorized top-picks.

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Udemy uses a countdown

Want to get more visual with your FOMO messaging? Countdowns can do wonders. If you’re running a promotion that’s approaching a deadline (ideally 24 hours or fewer), throw in a working countdown in your emails so recipients know exactly how much time they have left before the deal is gone. 

Here’s a great example from online course provider, Udemy:

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ThirdLove sends out reminders that an item is almost sold out

Got limited inventory? Use it to instill a sense of FOMO in shoppers. ThirdLove, for instance, sent an email giving people a heads up that some of their bras are almost sold out.

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Optimize the timing of your campaigns

Timing may not be everything, but in email marketing, it’s pretty darn important. Showing up in someone’s inbox at just the right time can mean the difference between a conversion or a missed opportunity, so optimize the scheduling of your emails as much as possible. 

The best way to do this is to rely on your subscribers’ data. Pay attention to when people are opening your messages and visiting your website, so can determine when to schedule your emails. 

To get a baseline for when you should be sending your emails, consider 10am, Tuesday, Thursday, then Wednesdays (in that order). 

Evaluating previous campaign performance can also help. Do morning emails work better than messages sent in the afternoon? What about weekdays vs. weekends? Go through your past campaigns and see if you can spot patterns around timing. 

Industry data can also offer insights that you can use in your campaigns. Does your email marketing provider have any data on which email time-frames work best?

Below is an excellent case study of email timing optimization done right:

eBags increases conversions by 65% thanks to timing optimization

Online luggage supplier, eBags, decided to switch up their email schedules by optimizing their timing based on when each subscriber signed up to their list. 

According to Econsultancy, eBags “carried out research based on the hypothesis that if users were available to sign up to an email list at a certain time, then they would be far more receptive to receiving an email at the same time as when they signed up.”

The experiment proved to be a success. As Econsultancy reports, eBags saw the following results after the experiment:

  • Increased click-through rates by 20% 

  • Increased conversion rates by 65% 

  • Increased average order value by 45% 

  • Increased overall revenue per recipient by 187%

The moral of the story? Well there’s a couple! Don’t be afraid to experiment based on your customer data, and optimize your emails to suit that data. If you know that you see the best results from emails that are scheduled for 10 am on a Tuesday, then schedule away! If you’re not sure when to schedule your emails for, fret not …

Marsello analyzes the shopping habits of customers at your store (and at businesses similar to yours) and then recommends the best time to send your emails.

Final words

Email marketing can elevate your campaign performance, but only if you do it right. To boost your marketing success this holiday season, keep your messages relevant and personalized and throw in come compelling offers for good measure. To top everything off, optimize scheduling of your messages you can get in front of your subscribers at the perfect time. 

Good luck!

This article was originally posted by our friends at Marsello

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