5 Ways to Make Your Emails Stand out During the Holiday Season

The end of the year is shortly approaching and with revenue goals needing to be met, the fastest and most efficient way to make those extra sales is by sending out emails. This isn’t a secret anymore as your inbox sees an increase in emails during the holiday season. With many companies trying to push that last sale and gift guides, how do you make your emails standout?

As the Director of Retention Marketing at Acadia, I work with our clients to make sure we are sending the right message at the right time. Here are my top tips to help you cut through the noise this holiday season.

1. Don’t forget the Preview Text

Of course the subject line is important, but don’t forget about the valuable real estate with the preview text. In mobile, this becomes particularly important. The last thing you’d want is to miss out on including copy that would help encourage your subscribers to open your email. What messaging is important to include? Discounts, deadlines, sales or product details, or any extra info you’d like the subscriber to be informed about.

*Examples of Preview Texts in mobile. When you take the time to be mindful of the preview text, you get an additional chance to try and convince a subscriber to open your email.
*Examples of Preview Texts in mobile. When you take the time to be mindful of the preview text, you get an additional chance to try and convince a subscriber to open your email.

2. Consider Frequency & Segmentation

It’s fine to send an email out every day, but this doesn’t mean that everyone on your email list should receive an email every day. You don’t want your subscribers to be overwhelmed by the volume of emails and then unsubscribe. This is where segmentation is key for the holidays.

For example, if you are sending out an email about Dog Sweaters, it might make sense to create segments to include and exclude in the email. You want to make sure that dog customers and those who might be interested in receiving products about dogs are receiving your email. But if someone has been actively buying and looking at cat products on your site and then receives an email about dog products, they might be turned off by your email messaging and feel like your company is out of touch.

Inline Image 1
Inline Image 2

3. Improve Deliverability

If you are going to send an email to your entire list (especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday), we would recommend being very mindful about deliverability. Since many other companies will be sending out emails, if the email provider is seeing a higher rate of unsubscribes and emails not being opened by your email domain, you risk being put in the spam folder, which is the last thing you want during the holidays. We recommend segmenting out your email list to make sure the most active subscribers are receiving your email first, that way the email provider recognizes the email engagement and increases your chance of the next email making it to the inbox. Below is an example of the segments and lists to include and exclude in your Black Friday email.

Inline Image 3
Inline Image 4
Inline Image 5

4. Plan out Key Emails to Send

Below are the 4 most impactful emails we would recommend sending out during the holiday season: Gift Guides, Sales Reminders, Last Day to Ship, and Post Holiday ‘Treat Yourself’.


Gift Guides

Don’t let your subscribers assume your company is a place to only buy one gift. Give them ideas on what to purchase and for who. Be the go to place when it comes to gift ideas for the father-in-law, teacher, cousin, dogwalker, and significant other.


Sales Reminders

Create a segment for those who have been actively opening and clicking on your sales emails or visiting your sales page and be sure to send them an email reminder on when the sale is ending. These contacts are actively engaged with your sale, so don’t miss out on this low hanging fruit email.

'Ends tonight' is a key message in this campaign.
'Ends tonight' is a key message in this campaign.
This email campaign had the witty subject line "Procrastinators - Amazon to the rescue!" to help customers discern deadlines for last orders.
This email campaign had the witty subject line "Procrastinators - Amazon to the rescue!" to help customers discern deadlines for last orders.

Last Day to Ship

Reach out to your operations team and figure out when the last day an item can be shipped to ensure the package gets delivered before the holiday. We would recommend including the date in all emails leading up to the last day to ship and sending an email out a dedicated email 24 hours before the deadline.

If your brand sells on marketplaces like Amazon, you may also include that deadline - if it is closer to Christmas than you’re able to ship yourself. The email example above uses the subject line of “Procrastinators - Amazon to the rescue!” to let their customers know that they can purchase last minute gifts if needed.


Post Holiday ‘Treat Yourself’

The gifts have been given but sometimes there’s a miss on what was actually to be desired. This is the perfect time to promote a Post Holiday Sale or even a New Arrivals Collection. It’s a great time to give your subscribers an excuse to treat themselves to what they really wanted this holiday season.

5. Non-retail brands can benefit too

Email marketing is not just for retail brands that sell physical items. Service companies, software solutions, and healthcare can all benefit from creating special touchpoints with customers during the holiday season.

  • Extended Hours
    • If you’re extending your hours during the holidays, let your subscribers know! Not only will it keep them informed, but it’ll also keep your company top of mind.
  • Gift Cards
    • Own a restaurant or a hair salon? Remind your subscribers that they can give a gift card to the person they never know exactly what to give.
  • End-of-Year Checkup
    • The end of the year is a great time to remind customers to schedule a check-up. You can even use your segmenting tool to figure out if someone hasn’t scheduled an appointment in the last 6 months.
  • Letter From the CEO
    • Let your customer know that you are thankful for them and appreciate doing business with them. You can even offer a discount for the new year to show your appreciation.

Get expert advice

Email marketing is not new, but it can still be one of your most effective marketing channels. At Acadia we help brands with all aspects of their digital growth - including email and sms marketing. And not just retail brands, but also other industries like hospitality, healthcare, and financial services.

Request a consultation with us to learn more about how Acadia can help your brand this holiday season and beyond.

Whitney Wicks