15+ Email Tips with Proven Examples for a Very Merry (and Profitable) Holiday Season

Vladislav Podolyako
Dec 14, 2022
Reading duration
15 min

Ho, ho, ho. Christmas is around the corner, and it again brings the greatest (once in a year) opportunity to dazzle your warm and cold audience. If you’ve been selling online for a while, you are probably patiently waiting for holiday email campaigns, just like we are.

Almost 68% of holiday shoppers said they are more attentive to emails from companies during the Christmas holidays. Sounds wonderful. But how to stand out in the overwhelmed holiday inboxes and succeed with your holiday email marketing campaign?

It’s all about adding some ✨elf magic✨ with proven techniques. Folderly experts gathered the most effective holiday email marketing ideas (with explanations) in this dedicated marketing guide!

Holiday Email Marketing Strategy: The Best Practices

Before we dive into the best practices, let’s briefly discuss essential things to remember about holiday email campaigns:

➡️ People are ready to spend more during the holiday season. In fact, 92% of Christmas shoppers buy online, and $850 is the average holiday spend per customer. Thus, a timely holiday marketing email opened on a mobile device will drive the users to your website.

➡️ The variety of options and competition increases. This fact is the key reason why you should use the right techniques to target your audience. Without them, it will be challenging to skyrocket during the season.

➡️ It’s not only about boosting sales, but also about increasing brand awareness. Holiday email campaigns serve more purposes than you have initially, though.

➡️ The right approach leads to instant purchases. Another great thing about holiday email campaigns is that well-thought holiday advertising campaigns will lead to instant purchases based on the product and the bonus you include. The trick here lies in spicing your message with a “Buy now!” or “Limited offer” bate. But will discuss all the practices in detail below.

➡️ Customers are more likely to turn into loyal. A loyal customer base is almost as critical as a well-designed marketing strategy and the quality of your products or services. By getting great Christmas offers and buying your products during the Christmas season, customers are likely to stay with you during the upcoming year.

Are you ready to create impossible-to-resist holiday emails? 

It’s high time to dive into the best holiday email marketing tips known to present-day marketing experts

Plan ahead and do some testing

A goal without a throughout plan stays a wish. Launching your holiday advertising campaigns a day before the holiday is acceptable in some cases, but if you want to reap the most from your marketing campaign, it helps to start it earlier than your competitors. Such an approach will give your clients an idea of what to expect from you so that they don’t book the services from another vendor. Just put yourself in customers’ shoes — most of them create a Christmas shopping list a few weeks before Christmas. 

Moreover, there are additional perks to early planning:

  • You can come up with more pieces of appealing marketing content.
  • You can test marketing efforts and your strategies to spot the most effective ones (For instance, do subject line testing).
  • You can gather the conversion statistics necessary for a precise post-season analysis of your promotional campaign.

Segment your email lists

One of the most effective ways to boost holiday sales is to consider your customer’s needs and preferences. Thus, list segmentation is critical. You can divide your list according to the following criteria:

  • Interests. If you offer more than one category of services, it helps to segment the audience according to their previous purchases. Depending upon the category of products, you can target each consumer with as personal an approach as possible.
  • Yearly clients vs. seasonal visitors. You can evaluate the frequency at which people shop at your store. When you do so, you can target seasonal and year-round clients differently.
  • Discount-oriented users. Some people are drawn by coupons and discounts. If you have such a group at hand, you can come up with a specific offer to trigger their interest.

Introduce marketing automation

When you plan your email marketing holiday season, you must ensure that your messages reach the users’ inboxes at the right time. Sending mass holiday emails is possible, but it proves to be too time- and effort-consuming. Thus, we suggest that you implement marketing automation into the process

There are a few trending automation strategies that you can add to your to-refer-to list:

  • Abandoned cart – due to intense competition in all industries during the holiday marketing email blast, an abandoned cart reminder can persuade the client to carry on with the purchase despite the reason they left previously.

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  • Welcome emails – while your loyal base matters, you shouldn’t forget about new subscribers. Thus, despite the holiday season rush, it helps to create themed welcome emails to send when a new client joins the gang.
  • Lead scoring – a well-compiled client profile will provide enough information on whether the person is ready to buy from you when the email marketing holiday season hits. Such an approach ensures you don’t waste your time and effort in vain.

💡 Statistics to remember while setting your automated email campaigns:

  • 72% of people are not going to open your emails on Christmas day.
  • Monday produces the highest revenue per Christmas deals email.
  • Nurtured leads are likely to spend 47% more.

Ensure your holiday emails are mobile-friendly

What is the first thing that a recipient notices about your email? 35% of users open your emails based solely on the subject lines. If the line is too salesy, too dull, and unappealing, the chances are slim that the client will open it, let alone buy something. This concerns new subscribers in particular. Since email marketing isn’t a new approach, it’s all been invented already. All you have to do is to play around with the “power words” in the subject line of your ​​happy holidays marketing emails:

➡️ Sales-driven power phrasescoupon, discount, free shipping, hot deal, overnight shipping.

➡️ Timelineslimited offer, last-minute chance, open now, exclusive offer, etc.

➡️ Holiday phrases12 Deals of New Year, Christmas cheer, etc.

➡️ Gratitude phrasessupport, gratitude, thank you.

💡 Don’t forget that you can use holiday emojis, which are plenty, to your benefit too.

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Besides, here’s an extra tip from Folderly team — you can always create a strong appeal with the word play (Yeas, pun is always the king):

Ideas with Christmas Puns for your subject lines:

  • Have a Tree-Mendous Holiday
  • It’s the most wine-derful time of the year
  • A mistle-toast to the holiday season
  • Sleigh, what?!
  • Time to spruce things up
  • Ready, set, glow
  • Let’s get elf-ed up
  • Gaining some elf-confidence
  • Be your best elf!
  • It is love at frost sight
  • On the count of tree!

Work on holiday designs (but don’t overplay)

While you are working on the holiday vibes in your email designs, it is critical to always keep your brand in mind. You can improvise a little and switch your creative side on. No one is going to judge. A top of appealing images and marketing text, it’s critical to invest your marketing efforts in creating a well-written CTA to help your customers make up their minds. 

However, make sure the letter is not overloaded with high-quality images and animations. Otherwise, it may look wrong in the recipients’ inboxes that don’t support the design or have a poor Internet connection. 

💡 Always add alternative text to images used in your emails. It will improve the chances that users will still be able to read the letter and make the purchase even if the Internet connection is poor.

Group 9

Share a gift guide

You’d be surprised how many people get lost when it comes to holiday shopping. The overwhelming range of options to pick from and the pressure of the day X coming makes it nearly impossible to focus. That is where a dedicated brand comes in, suggesting the best routes to explore based on one’s personal needs and preferences. 

You can divide your stock according to the following criteria:

  • Price range – gifts under $25 go out the quickest.

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  • Relationships – gifts for partners, family, friends, or colleagues.
  • Interests – presents for those who love fishing, hiking, biking, cross-stitching, and so on.

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  • Age groups – gifts for kids, seniors, adults, or teenagers.
  • Product categories – clothes, electronics, crafting, toys, etc.

Tempt your customers with last-minute deals

One of the primary points to memorize when it comes to holiday email marketing is that every client is different. While some choose to shop safely before all the goodies are bought out, others wait until the last minute to go on a holiday shopping spree. As a devout marketer, you must approach either group equally. That is why treating your user with a last-minute deal is precisely what you need to consider.

The last-minute holiday email marketing strategy has more to it than meets the eye. If you want the campaign to work, you shouldn’t stress your users further out—no need to emphasize that the holiday is right around the corner. The best thing to do is to offer a helping hand instead. You can try to soothe the recipient a little.

Group 12

Another last-minute method would be to present your clients with a virtual gift option. Many vendors present different gift e-cards that can be used instead of cash. 

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Exploit the power of gamification

Everyone likes playing games, no matter the age.  That is why you can spice your happy holidays marketing email with a little quiz, puzzle, or any other simple game. Once done with the fun part, you can share a sweet complimentary bonus that a client can use when purchasing from you later on. While such a strategy raises a necessary wave of excitement, the word-of-mouth campaign will also be triggered. Should the customers like your game, they will surely share it with their friends and family so that the range of potential buyers grows like a snowball.

Group 6

Test the “Early Bird” approach

Early birds oppose the last-minute shoppers, and you should appreciate them equally during the email marketing holiday season. Many brands launch special campaigns for those who like to shop in advance. Not to make empty promises, you can launch consumer discounts and bonuses. Such an approach will make your clients feel they are granted the same holiday sales opportunities, but will prepare their presents in advance.

Consider free shipping

Cent makes a dollar, and a dollar makes a million. Surprisingly, free shipping cost makes people sometimes complete the purchase. The win-win approach would be to notify your users that if they reach a predefined price point – they will get a free shipping bonus. When you think about it, you drive your clients to buy more to save on shipping, and no one loses much when such a bargain is struck. 

Group 8

Trigger FOMO effect

In case you don’t know, FOMO stands for Fear of Missing Out. The strategy is based on consumers’ worries about missing the most fantastic offers of email marketing holidays. Some vendors use textual appeal to indicate the pressing matter, but you can take things a little further and add a timer to your email. Every time the recipient opens the message, they will see how much time is left until the deal is off.

The success of such a strategy is dictated by people’s festive state, which usually triggers impulsive decisions. To sweeten the pot, you can promise free shipping if a client purchases from you within the set period. Besides, you can send more than one countdown email to ensure your campaign is noticed.

Group 1

Celebrate your loyal client base

When balancing between the best holiday email campaigns, it helps to take a bit from each so that you can create a unique strategy. While appreciating holiday-season visitors and new subscribers, you must also know your loyal client base. Any returning client will feel valued and celebrated if you suggest something personal for them. These can be loyalty points, single-purchase discounts, or a range of products offered to select people only. You may go as far as segmenting the loyal base based on their purchases, comments, and recommendations. 

In either case, a holiday “Thank you!” is a must-have when launching your holiday marketing campaign.

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Be caring and mindful

As much as we love every holiday season, you must realize that for some people, holidays bring in sad emotions and trigger hidden feelings based on their personal life stories. That is why you should give your clients a chance to decide whether they are ready for the season or not. You may want to implement an opt-out email into your email marketing campaign.

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Feature post-holiday campaigns

There are countless holiday email marketing tips on how to send early promotions and last-minute options. However, it will speak ill of you if you stop reaching out to your clients simply because the season is over and you have made your fortune. Thus, sending a post-holiday message will show your clientele how much you care for them no matter what. Besides, it happens that people don’t get what they want during the holidays, which is your golden ticket. You can present your users with ongoing discounts so they can get the items they dreamed about and make the holiday season last for a little longer.

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Now, here’s your holiday checklist with the best practices discussed above so you can remember the essential tips:

Winning Holiday Email Marketing Strategies Checklist

✔️ Plan ahead and do testing
✔️ Segment your email lists
✔️ Introduce marketing automation
✔️ Ensure your holiday emails are mobile-friendly
✔️ Work on your subject lines
✔️ Work on holiday design (but don’t overplay)
✔️ Share a gift guide
✔️ Tempt your customers with last-minute deals
✔️ Exploit the power of gamification
✔️ Test “The early bird” approach
✔️ Consider free shipping
✔️ Trigger FOMO effect
✔️ Celebrate your loyal clients
✔️ Be caring and mindful
✔️ Feature post-holiday campaigns

What To Consider Before Starting a Holiday Email Campaign?

Before you start crafting unique and one-of-a-kind holiday email marketing templates, you must consider a few points so that your campaign turns out to be a success.

Test your sending rhythm

If you don’t trigger mass send-outs too often, it helps to try and build up your volumes gradually, so that you are not sent to the spam box. A timely and gradual warm-up will ensure great deliverability rates so you can get ahead of the competitors.

Test your mailing lists

Another point that inexperienced marketers often neglect is the validity of their mailing lists. Should your list be full of incorrect or inactive addresses, you will not only reach as many customers as you have hoped for but also suffer from all the damage that increased bounce and complaint rates can bring to your company.

Test your mobile-friendliness

It is not a secret that a wide variety of clients use their mobile devices to check their inboxes throughout the day. No matter how lucrative your offer is or how appealing and unique the message content is, it will go to waste if a recipient can view it in mobile mode.

Test time to start a holiday email marketing campaign

No matter how great your wish to figure out precise holiday email marketing timing is, there is no one-for-all answer. The timing depends on your particular industry and chosen marketing strategy, but there are two main pointers to set you on the right course.

Evaluate the buying cycle

Evaluate your clients’ behavior to decide when to cover them in your holiday offers, and during which stage of your promotional campaign. For some people, it takes a week or two to finalize the purchase, while others brood upon it for over a month. Should such data miss, you can start your campaign at least 40 days before the occasion.

Consider the buyer’s shopping behavior

It takes time for a client to get down the sales funnel. Thus, it helps to independently target every stage of the buyer’s journey. You can start with an awareness campaign, proceed with product introduction and seal the deal with a tempting promotion.

The Best Email Marketing Tools for Your Holiday Email Campaign

Launching a holiday email marketing campaign without a set of reliable tools at hand is close to impossible (if you want to stay out of the spam folder, of course).

Luckily, the modern market is filled with a great variety of useful software that will ensure your campaign’s success

Let’s briefly look at the best options you can use this holiday season.


Deliverability issues may occur without you even knowing it. You don’t want them to spoil your Christmas campaign. Folderly is a professional email performance platform designed to help you detect and fix existing issues and make sure your email lands in recipients’ inboxes.

So, here is a winning formula: 

Perfect eye-catching content + email marketing strategies discussed above + Folderly domain setup = the winning holiday email campaign 🚀 Time to skyrocket inboxes!


Should you be struggling with coming up with holiday email marketing templates, Klavio is one of the tools that has your back. On top of that, the system is designed to help you sync your existing email lists and segment them according to your needs and preferences.


MailChimp will help you automate your holiday email campaigns with ease. Moreover, the software can be used to create and publish different ads, which come of tremendous use during the holiday season. Lastly, the platform will grant you valuable insight into your clients’ behavior so that you can attune your marketing strategy to it.


A successful holiday email marketing strategy isn’t centered around Santa, elves, and mistletoe only. It’s also not centered around best discounts and “BUY IT NOW” messages.

The balanced mixture of proven email marketing strategies will bring you the desired results. We have shared the checked and effective holiday email marketing tips so that you meet and greet the season in full armor.

And, of course, have a Holly Jolly Christmas! 🎅

Vladislav Podolyako
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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