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Email MarketingCase study

10 Best Practices For Holiday Newsletter Ideas

3184 words16 min read

With the holiday season just a few weeks away, the most magical time of the year for eCommerce is about to begin. And while there are many great ideas to make the most of this high potential time, a special holiday newsletter campaign is always a fantastic way to elevate your holiday marketing plan.

This year, the holiday season is even more special with all the new regulations about social distancing everywhere. eCommerce is at the forefront of the gift market, you may be the only hope for some kids to get their wish list items. This article magically appears to help you start building your campaign and create beautiful emails full of joy.

Let's delve deeper and explore holiday email marketing, including:

  • Types of holiday email newsletters
  • Analyzing best practices and how to apply
  • Reviewing real-life holiday email marketing examples for inspiration
  • Seeing the tools you can use to optimize your campaign

These practical ideas will help you build holiday newsletters that can build a relationship with customers, increase engagement, and, of course, boost your sales in an enchanting way. Let's sprinkle some magical dust on your emails!

What are holiday newsletters?

The holiday season typically starts at Thanksgiving and extends to Christmas and New Year's Eve, but others consider the holiday season only begins at Christmas. With whichever definition, the holiday season is when people find time to travel back to their hometown and take time off connecting with the family. This makes the holiday season a great time to buy gifts and show appreciation to loved ones, with retail sales surpassing $1 trillion for the first time in history in 2019.

With so much opportunity for an eCommerce store, holiday email marketing is an efficient way to gather interest and capture a percentage of those sales. Via emails, companies can reach out to their most engaged audience - customers and subscribers - and create email campaigns that reach new leads.

By showing these audiences the value the stores can offer, particularly relevant to the holiday season, emails and newsletters help drive conversions for eCommerce businesses. There are many types of newsletters that marketers can use. Still, the central theme will be about the holiday spirit and assisting consumers in finding the perfect gifts for family, friends, and themselves.

How can holiday newsletters help your eCommerce store?

Emails have a special power in personalization and automation, making them a great marketing tool to reach out to different groups of customers. The success of email marketing also lies in the content which are relevant and action-oriented. Here is how holiday newsletters can help your eCommerce store this season:

Instant buying option

The 'Buy Now' button in an email makes it extremely easy for recipients to make a purchase, whether it is the item in the wish list or abandoned cart. By using calls to action in your emails, you can highlight a special holiday offer, a gift, or a promotional event that subscribers can buy in just a few clicks. Consumers are just as busy this time of the year, so anything that can speed up their holiday shopping is helpful, and for your conversion rate too.

Automation and personalization

The holiday season is filled with tasks for an eCommerce store, so marketing automation is really useful. With a variety of email campaigns, you can send automated emails, from welcome types to reminders and offers. Additionally, you can segment your audience base to create highly personalized messages.

Mobile-ready design

Your subscribers rely on smartphones for all kinds of information, including reading emails and shopping for the holiday. So a mobile approach for email design is essential. With an email app, you can easily connect with your customers and make them purchase with mobile-ready email templates - which you only need to edit a little bit to start.

Many types of campaigns

Email newsletters are suitable for promoting sales, inviting subscribers to a holiday event, showcasing unique gift ideas, sending relevant holiday blog posts, and much more. Business owners can use email marketing to reach out to customers and stimulate sales throughout the season. Emails can also assist other marketing activities, such as online and offline contests, reward programs, and social media advertising.

Easy-to-use email app

You can find all the benefits above in our app - AVADA Email Marketing. The app lets you set up automated email sequences with customized triggers, wait time, and content to target the right audience with the right message. All the email templates are editable with a drag and drop editor, making it easy for any business owner to create a beautiful campaign. The app is free to start using, so don't hesitate!

Types of holiday email newsletters

As customers prepare for the holidays with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, your email campaigns need some work to optimize their reach. You will need to consider the audience, your business goals, and possible return on investment - then track the results and improve through each campaign. With that in mind, here are the three key types of holiday email newsletters:

Welcome emails

75% of US consumers have tried new stores, websites, and brands to shop during COVID-19, so you have a high chance of getting some new customers and users this season. Welcoming them appropriately is a vital part of email marketing. Welcome emails help you kick off a personal connection with customers and invite them back to your online store through loyalty programs, special offers, and product recommendations.

The right welcome emails will have a serious impact on your customer lifetime value. Done well, and your new customers will become your loyal customers.

Promotional emails

Of course, you will need some promotion and discount events during the holiday season. Promotional emails will give consumers insights and set expectations on what you are going to offer, whether it is for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Eve. But rather than just running a normal promotion campaign, you should include some special features for the season, such as gift card service or gift wrapping option.

Abandoned cart emails

There are many reasons why your visitors may abandon their carts; it is a busy time, after all. But you also have an opportunity to convert them back just by sending a compelling abandoned cart email campaign. People mainly abandon carts during the holidays because of unexpected shipping fees, better deals elsewhere, and out-of-stock items. Your automated abandoned cart emails will provide answers to these needs and determine what buyers need from you.

Note: Those problems above are real problems that you will encounter during the holiday season, so take time to prepare. Try to reduce the shipping costs because free shipping often encourages more sales. With prices, if your products are worth the price, show it to the customers before offering a discount. And don't let your items go out of stock, it can be hard to restock during the holiday season.

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Best practices for holiday newsletters

With a new situation this holiday season, both online businesses and consumers are finding new ways to do normal things. At this time, you should strive to create email communication that is relevant and thoughtful, not just a simple promotion like every year. Here are some useful best practices to offer real values to customers and drive conversions.

Grow the email list

If this year is the first time email marketing has come to your mind, then you need to build a new email list as soon as possible. You can create a newsletter campaign only where there is an email list to send. If you already have a list, this time is a great chance to find new subscribers and expand the sales opportunities.

The holiday season offers plenty of fantastic content ideas to boost your subscription base. The most useful tool to grow your email list is the opt-in form on the website. It helps capture visitors' emails when they agree to receive your newsletter or an exclusive deal. You can create a lead magnet with a cool holiday guide to convince users to sign up.

Read more on how to build an email list fast in this article: How to Build your Email List Fastest? All-in-one Guide

Once you've had an email list, send content regularly with drip campaigns to trigger promotional emails at specific times.

Learn what the audience wants

The US eCommerce industry has seen 10 years' growth in just three months this year so that people will spend even more money this holiday season. Savings have increased, in-store visits are not ideal, and many people are looking for the best gifts possible, considering the situation.

It is beneficial to segment your email list and send personalized content to different groups of consumers. You can break up your segments based on demographics like age, professions, and hobbies. For example Millennials and Gen Z prefer entertaining content with moving graphics, while Baby Boomers and Gen X prefer text-based content reflecting low risk.

Also, reach out with survey and feedback forms before the holiday season to understand your audience better. Ask them what kind of communication and products they are interested in. Getting information directly from your customers plays a decisive role in creating relevant content.

Personalize holiday newsletters

Talking about personalization, you have a chance to skyrocket your conversation rate by sending the right message during the holiday season. AVADA Email Marketing can help you segment your list based on purchase history, interests, buying frequency, and other data with your own preference. As you can see in the picture above, there are many segments to select, and you can add a new segment based on subscribers' conditions.

Also, remember to address your customers by their names in the subject line and the content. Most audiences would appreciate personalization as it suggests that the company is professional and respect the customers. This simple touch can humanize your brand and make your emails more memorable.

Focus on gifts

Something that you can prepare from now is the "best Christmas gifts" category in your store. Include a bundle of products from last year's holiday's most popular products, and include new items that can work as gifts this year. Having a category for gifts on the website helps consumers save a lot of time shopping.

You can then build your newsletters based on this category with the main call to action leading to your holiday collection. You can highlight the best sellers, the trending ones, and types of recipients such as kids, moms, dads, teenagers, etc. It is a good idea to include a 'Gift' button in your newsletter's navigation bar, too, so recipients can always see it.

Use discounts wisely

Discounts and special offers are definitely among your tools to attract customers this season. However, before providing noticeable cuts, you can offer free shipping first. A good financial offer can compete effectively on the market even if your competitors have better gift ideas.

Most importantly, emphasize and highlight your competitive advantage in your holiday newsletters. Adding your offers to the header and footer so the email can be 100% clear. You should also add a time urgency element to optimize your discount offer.

Create a pleasant reading experience

Interactive elements and mobile-optimized design will help you get more attention and engagement during this holiday season. It is a crowded inbox this time of the year for consumers with hundreds of deals each day, so if you can stand out even a bit more, you are winning.

  • Video: A simple video can introduce your brand, highlight social proof, educate consumers, and more. Video content tends to be memorable so you can convey your brand values and messages.
  • GIFs: Animated images can make your newsletter campaign more dynamic and show more products. They also bring your emails to life with all the animations.
  • Timer: Time-sensitive offers often have more engagement, so adding a countdown timer will be effective during the holiday.
  • Gifts: Santa is not the only one giving out presents this year, you can be kind and put out gifts to customers in your emails too. You can send them rewards for being loyal customers, or surprise them with a random gift.

Provide relevant value

It is the gifting season, so your values should be relevant. You can create a holiday guide based on your products and a digital catalogue to increase engagement. You can add pop-up images, videos, and outbound links to showcase your products at their best.

If you can have a downloadable guide like this, remember to mention it in your opt-in form as extra value for becoming a subscriber. This guide will not only enrich your newsletter but also grow the contact list and generate more leads. If a holiday guide doesn't fit your brand, you can create educational content about your products.

Build a relationship

The holiday season is for celebration, so don't be shy and invite your customers to enjoy this time together. You can simply send an email to express your gratitude towards them being loyal customers. With this, you can re engage with subscribers and expand the number of followers. You can also invite them to join your event on social media, virtual parties have shown quite a potential during the pandemic - perhaps a livestream of your store having fun and sending out gifts to watchers is the holiday spirit you need.

Craft the best subject lines

I don't have to repeat myself, but emails with personalization always have more chances to be opened. So, personalize your subject lines with your subscriber's first name this season. There are also other ways to write subject lines that deliver the expected experience to your subscribers, such as naming their abandoned item, letting them know your wishlist items have free shipping, or congratulating them on the years of being a customer. The possibilities are endless with holiday newsletters' subject lines.

Some more tips to craft the best subject lines are:

  • Try using some power words to grab attention, like 'Exclusive', 'Hot Deals', 'Season's Greetings', 'Our Appreciation', 'Last Minute Offers'.
  • Consider using some emojis ⛄🎃🎅🏻 to make your emails more eye catching in the inbox.
  • Put your offer right at the front of the subject line so customers can quickly see why they should open your emails. For example, you can offer free shipping during the holiday season with: "Free Shipping For Our Holiday Collection. Shop Now! ⛄"

Get the timing right

Timing is essential in email marketing, letting you send the right message at the right time. For a busy time like the holiday season, your email's timing is even more important to get in touch with customers when they are ready. Your sending time will depend on the group of subscribers, strategy, and the relevance of the offer.

The best approach is to automate your email series so your strategy is applied with consistency. Our app AVADA Email Marketing lets you set up email campaigns with adjustable timing and wait time, so you can relax while your emails hit the right moments. For example, a Christmas email series can look like this:

  • 1st email: Sent 2 weeks before Christmas, letting subscribers know the holiday is coming and you have many gifts await, such as a special 20% discount for early comers.
  • 2nd email: Sent 1 week before Christmas. Based on the recipients' reactions, you can remind them about the discount code they received or didn't receive, and include a gift guide with mentions of free shipping and gift wrapping.
  • 3rd email: Sent 2 days before Christmas, urging customers to use the discount code soon before the sales end.

You can further customize the timing for your target audience too. Remember to save them the effort of finding the perfect products with your emails.

How to create Holiday Newsletters easily?

There is an easy email app that helps automate your holiday newsletter that can bring magic to your email campaign. AVADA Email Marketing app is here. All you need to start is by clicking on the link above and installing, the app is free to use with all powerful tools in email building, automation timing, and customer segmentation.

Once installed, you get access to the AVADA Email Marketing dashboard like this. Head to Messages -> Campaigns to start making an automated newsletter campaign. Click on 'New Campaign'.

At the first step of creating a holiday newsletter campaign, you can select the email templates. There are already some premade templates, but you can also select a blank template to customize as you wish or edit the templates too. Once you are done, just click on 'Next'.

For example, let's send an exclusive offer email to subscribers on Tuesday at 8am, a week before Christmas.

When selecting a template, you can edit the email's content, from subject line to design, and offer all affect the emails' performance. It is the holiday season, so take some time to perfect your email as an irresistible gift offer, such as a list of the perfect gifts for the family. Once you are done, click 'Next'.

In the final step, you can edit your newsletter campaign's general information, from name, description, to the recipients. As your email list may combine different groups of recipients, it is a good idea that you segment them and see which content fits for each group better. Then, you can set the timing to send the campaign. As mentioned, I would set the campaign to send at 8:30am on Tuesday, Central Time, about a week before Christmas.

Here, just click 'Finish' and your newsletter campaign should go live.

After the campaign is live, you can check its performance. There are statistics on sent, open rates, conversion rate, clicks, revenue, and unsubscribe rate. This will be valuable information to achieve best results for your holiday email campaigns. By analyzing and further optimizing, you will create great holiday newsletter for your audience.

Final words

Your holiday newsletter is a special opportunity to connect with new customers and show appreciation to loyal customers. Join the cheerful spirit of the season and send special messages that reflect your brand at its best. I hope this article can help spark inspiration for your holiday email campaign. Also, keep in mind that this special year requires a more personal and humane touch, show them that you care.

For more ideas on other email marketing ideas on special days, check out our other articles on the AVADA blog. Also, share with us your ideas of this year's holiday newsletter campaign, I look forward to hearing from you!

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