Ready Your Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns With Our Tips

During the last few months of the year, we tend to burn the candle at both ends. We’re juggling holiday shopping, family in town, end-of-year revenue goals, and email campaigns that need to perform well. That’s a lot of pressure for just a few months.

While we can’t help with the shopping (unless your S.O. wants a super cool Seo expert services company temecula), we can help you get your ducks in a row for a wildly successful holiday email campaign. This post outlines what you need to do before, during, and after the holidays to create a successful holiday email program that will carry you into the new year. Here, you’ll find inspiring holiday email examples, helpful tips, and ready-to-use seasonal campaign templates to make planning nearly effortless.

Holiday Email Planning Tips

Make your list and check it twice!

In a time of uncertainty, planning ahead and expecting the unexpected can make a world of difference. Understanding that things can change for both your recipients and you as the email sender can help you approach the holiday season with confidence. Whatever arises, you’ll be able to shift gears and continue providing value to your subscribers.

Expect the Unexpected

Consider your recipients and how their context has changed since past holiday seasons. While we’ve seen some progress, the world is still far from normal in 2021. With the presence of COVID-19 altering how we think about travel and social proximity, it’s helpful to keep in mind just how contextual email communications really are. Here are a few examples and questions to ask yourself as you look to create the best holiday email campaigns this season:

  • It seems likely that the number of subscribers checking their email for deals on their phone while inside a physical retail store will be lower this year than last. Does this impact how or when you communicate with them?
  • Many people are in a very different situation with employment and finances than they’ve ever been before. How can this help you shape your offers and tone?
  • It could be that the normal holiday with the family now includes a video call this year for a lot of people. This could very well impact both how they shop for their loved ones and how they respond, overall, to holiday email marketing. Does this change your offerings or where you’ll focus your promotions?

Understand What You Can and Can’t Control

Shipping deadlines are always a big factor in holiday season promotions. This year, it’s possible that shipping times could be longer or more erratic for some shippers.

Considering what you can and can’t control will be very helpful in crafting content that sets appropriate expectations and makes for happy customers.

For example, you may have more luck converting subscribers to customers during the holiday season by relying more heavily on a journey-driven email series vs. simple batch-and-blast offers.

Warm Up Your Volume & Be Early to the Holiday Party

If you anticipate an increase in your sending volume, make sure to increase your volume well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Delivery or inboxing issues can arise if mailbox providers see sudden, unusual spikes in volume from you as a sender.

  • Build into volume increases. Only increase volume by 25–40% at a time to prevent big swings in deliverability results.
  • Don’t wait until Black Friday to start setting expectations and building the path for your great deals and offers. While you don’t want to turn customers off before the holidays start, using the days and weeks prior to cleverly lay the foundation of what you’ll offer (and why recipients should look forward to it) can make a big difference when Black Friday arrives and inboxes overflow.

Create Your Calendar & Add Plenty of Breaks

There’s no substitute for planning ahead—especially when things go sideways. Planning out your sending schedule not only helps you prevent oversending to recipients but also allows you to build in “off days” in between sends. It might be tempting to plan sends for every day during the holidays, but having a couple of days a week where you aren’t blasting offers to recipients is beneficial to your sending. This downtime can be very helpful in preventing problematic volume spikes due to unplanned sends or for resting your sending reputation. You can avoid disaster by studying up using on 2021 Black Friday & Cyber Monday Email Examples and Insights.

Preference Center Updates

Exhausting your customers with too many holiday emails is never worth it. But updating your preference center with the option to down-subscribe is a safe way to increase your sending volume (assuming you have more valuable content to share) without losing people who dislike the increase in communication.

Include an additional check box on your email preference center page that allows users to opt out of certain types of email or holiday mail specifically rather than just inviting them to unsubscribe entirely. When email subscribers choose this option, you’ll add them to your suppression list (a list of contacts that you don’t send to) until January rolls around. Then, after the holiday dust settles, you can add them back into your regular sending list.


Getting recipients to open the message is only half the battle for retailers. The other half is convincing your recipients to take action. One of the most effective methods of engaging recipients is through personalization.

Customize the content of your message to reference a customer’s location, what they previously purchased, or their current plan type. To craft personalized emails, you’ll need to segment your list according to your available data. This does require legwork prior to your holiday sending, so start early to discover any quirks in your segmented lists.


While all of your subscribers are important, chances are there’s a portion of your list that’s more engaged with your emails than others. Consider segmenting these VIP subscribers who have, for example, opened more than 10 messages in the past 30 days (or a higher-than-average percentage of your overall email sends).

You can then send your most engaged users holiday emails a couple of hours prior to sending the emails to the remainder of your list.

Holiday Templates

While it’s a great idea to spruce up your holiday sending with fun, holiday-themed templates, test out any changes or new templates before the holiday season begins. If your template doesn’t render correctly across inboxes or devices, you risk losing the confidence and interest of your recipients.

For pre-designed holiday templates that have already been tested across providers and devices, explore our email template gallery.

Prep is the Hardest Part

So much goes into preparing your email program for holiday sending, so let’s hammer home the point one more time: Start early! This will give you the best shot at creating an engaging holiday email marketing program.

Don’t Forget About Email Infrastructure

While the above is a great start from an email marketing standpoint, don’t forget about your email infrastructure.

If you’re just starting your email program or are planning to spend quite a bit more than average during the holiday season, your email infrastructure must be ready to handle the increase in sending.

This often involves warming up your IPs and completing your sender authentication. We won’t go into detail in this blog post on technical email infrastructure best practices (the post is long enough as it is), but you can check out the following resource for more information: Holiday Sending 101.


Let’s not kid ourselves: The holidays are a doozy. Though fun and magical, it can also be super stressful and ridiculously busy. Using the guidelines above with the help of an San diego digital marketing and seo agency will help you manage the best holiday email campaigns without going gray in the process.