Ah, the holidays—the perfect time of year to cuddle up with an inbox full of offers from your favorite brands.

Thanks to email marketers, holiday shopping has become less stressful and the deals are just as good. This year alone, Black Friday online retail sales pulled in $5.03 billion, which is up almost 17% from last year’s online Black Friday sales. Online retail sales for the 2017 holiday shopping season are expected to break $100 billion.

For digital marketers, these numbers are nothing but good news. The only catch? Getting your brand’s message through the flood of holiday offers. With plenty of time left to get your message in front of buyers, we’ve rounded up 10 last-minute holiday email tips to help you cash in on the season’s sales.

1. Segment, Segment, Segment
According to Return Path, the average consumer receives 50% more email during the holiday season. Just think of how many offers you’ve already deleted from your personal inbox! One of the best ways to generate better engagement is to segment your list into categories rather than sending the same offer to your entire list. For example, you may choose to personalize emails to your high-value recipients (i.e., your regular buyers) with a VIP offer. For everyone else on your list, try segmenting them in terms of what webpages they’ve viewed, what lists they have already subscribed to, or where they are in the sales cycle.

2. Remember Your F and Your Creative
Copy and design are key elements to email conversion. Keep your layout simple. Invest in a pretty, easy-to-follow design and avoid the temptation to overkill with cliché holiday messaging (with that said, good puns are welcome). When designing your layout, take into consideration where your keywords are placed and be sure to emphasize benefits and value—those matter more this time of year than personalization. Don’t forget to include breathing room for your design elements, and above all else, place what’s important in the F shape.

Check out Jackson & Perkins’ post-Cyber Monday email, which showcases how simple emails can also be effective (and how to message post Black Friday and Cyber Monday):

last minute holiday email

3. Remember the Clock and the Calendar
‘Tis the season for A/B testing. With holiday shopping in full swing, email opens could come at unusual times or days. Remember that just because your buyers are at work, that doesn’t mean they aren’t browsing. The only way to hit your best spot is to test for it! You can learn the basics of A/B testing here, if you’re in need of a crash course.


And although Cyber Monday and Black Friday are behind us, you can still take advantage of Free Shipping Day on December 15th.

4. Find Your Influencers
Got a great sale? Find influencers who can speak on behalf of your brand and ask them to help you spread the word. You may even want to share a sample with them and in exchange, offer them a special discount code for their followers. Just be sure you do your research first. You’ll want to be sure they are open to receiving your brand and that their followers are truly who you want to reach.

Don’t have time to find an influencer this season? You can always ask your social followers to share deals with their friends and family, too.


5. Use a Calendar to Stay Organized
Shameless self-promotion, but the emfluence Marketing Platform has an awesome digital calendar built right in—it shows exactly what social messages and emails are scheduled for each day of the month, and it ensures you’ll never overbook a day with too many messages. Whether you use our platform or not, having a calendar to help you visualize holidays, days when people might take off work, or busy periods is key this time of year.

6. Understand Not-so-Sexy but Super Important Deliverability Tricks
If you don’t send to your list with regularity, setting up a send that is significantly higher than normal is a great way to start off your holiday email season in the junk folder. Spikes in sending activity often correspond with spam, so your better bet is to slowly ramp up your email send frequency and volume over several weeks.

Since we’re running short on time for this holiday season, try sending to your smallest email segment first, and ramp up to your biggest over the next couple of weeks. If you’re worried about the actual message contents, it helps to have a marketing automation platform that can track inbox placement before you hit send (we call it “Pre-Flight”).

Don’t forget to run a list cleanse, too!

7. Use a Modal
Have a special offer you want to run for just a few days? Try using a modal (or lightbox, as they are sometimes called) on your website to promote the offer. Want to offer a cross-sell on a popular product? Set up a modal to run on a specific webpage or shopping cart:


8. Return to Your Carts, Please
Let’s face it. Not all who abandon carts are simply forgetful shoppers. It’s not uncommon to abandon a cart while you price compare elsewhere. As frustrating as that may be, try to think of an abandoned cart as an opportunity. Set up an email series to win back would-be buyers who leave items in their shopping carts—if you haven’t run a campaign like this before, we’ve got a few of our favorite tips to get started here.

9. Follow up Sales with a Nurture
Once your buyer makes a purchase, you have an opportunity to build the kind of stickiness that can transform them into a powerful advocate. This is the beginning of a relationship! Try running an automated post-sale email series that helps them get the most out of their purchase—download a sample post-sale email series here.

10. Save the Date-A
You’re gathering some awesome data, but do you have somewhere to keep it? Make a plan now for what kinds of campaigns you want to run in the coming year and what data you’ll need to run them—and most importantly, where you’re going to store that data. Wherever you store it, pick a platform or tool that lets you easily slice your records into different segments, perhaps based on where they came from, what they bought, when they bought it, or how much they spent. This is your starting point for year-long success!

Need last-minute help with strategy? We’re here for that, too. Just drop us a line to get started at expert@emfluence.com, or fill in the form below.

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