Part 3:  Plan like a Pro: The Definitive Holiday Email Marketing Guide


23 Proven Tips to Help You Cruise into the New Year

Table of Contents


Content Management: How to Elicit Emotions with Creative & Engaging Emails 


13. Make Your Emails Snow

In your emails, you control the weather! That means you can add some festive cheer to your brand. Make sure your emails are decked out in holiday colors to give your brand the best chance to stand out in what is gearing up to be a competitive inbox. And yes, bonus points will be given to those email marketers who do this for their automated emails. 

Pro Tip: To effectively and easily swap in holiday-themed banners and text into automated emails, always use dynamic code snippets in your automated email template. This way you can just replace one snippet of code for all your automated emails! Just revert back to the regular look come January. 

And while we’re talking about January 2023, be sure to update the © line at the bottom of your emails if it contains the year.


14. All About Urgency

The inbox is a very competitive place and we must not take it for granted when we get eyes on our emails. Don’t push things off for later, make sure you give the sense that the best offer is right now – as in, your readers must stop everything and take action now. To do this, be sure to give a sense of urgency. Make flash sales for a limited time. Insert dynamic timers. And while these sales will look like last minute, make sure you prep them way out in advance – which brings us to the next point, but first another pro tip. 

Pro Tip: There’s nothing worse than getting a ginormous savings code right after making a purchase. Of course, I’m not talking about a “thank you for purchasing, here’s a coupon for your next order.” I’m referring to a straight up, non-connected promotion that will often leave your customers feeling, “shoot, I should have waited.” To avoid this, be sure to comb through your recent purchases and exclude them from these flash sales. 


15. Current Events

To keep up with the holiday rush, it’s best advised to plan your emails far out in advance. However, this leaves your emails cold when it comes to current events (or maybe you have that crystal ball that I pointed out in tip #4? if so please contact me!). 

With that in mind, be sure to put in some placeholders for current events. This will make your emails timely and relevant. And remember placeholders aren’t carved out of stone, so you may or may not utilize the space holder depending on the situation. 

Pro Tip: Do everyone a favor and make the placeholders sticky notes on your screen – never put Lorem Ipsum text in your emails – as Forrest Gump told us “S*it Happens.”


16. Don’t Let Lead Gen Out in the Cold

Lead generation is super important any time of year. True, they won’t necessarily be your VIP customers (this year), but treat them like royalty when they sign up and give them the best of the best. 

Naturally, this all starts with giving off a memorable holiday vibe on your sign-up forms. Come the holidays, people will be expecting your e-commerce storefront to be all decked out in holiday cheer. So when the marketing team is working on creating a holiday-themed site, be sure the holiday email sign-up forms get all the trimmings, too.

Pro Tip: Check out the pro tip in tip #13 to ensure the holiday spirit follows through into the welcome email automation funnels.


Protect your forms this holiday season with Webbula Lead Validation. Ensure you have the right people entering your database. 


17. Abandoned Shopping Cart: Timing is Everything

Abandoned shopping cart campaigns provide great value to the overall email marketing program’s efforts. But make sure you got it primed correctly. Three main things that cause abandoned shopping carts to go awry are the quick trigger, the coupon clipper, and the late nighter. 

The quick trigger is when you send your campaign out too early – in fact, sometimes they’ll see the email only after coming back to complete the purchase. This is not the ideal customer experience we want our valued patrons to have.  

This brings us to the coupon clipper. As we’re firmly ensconced in the 21st century, most savvy online shoppers know about abandoned shopping cart emails. And many go hunting for them – especially around the holiday season – so make sure your conversion numbers on this are aligned with your revenue goals. If you have coupon codes attributed to your abandoned shopping cart emails you can cross-reference this and see this is erroneously turning into a loss-leader – if so, you might want to cut back on the coupons.

Finally, the late nighter. You’ve been there before. Browsing when you should be snoozing. So, you close up and hit the sack. And while you’re sleeping, you’re getting bombarded with many, many more emails – including that abandoned shopping cart email; however, when morning rolls around, that email is ancient history buried under megabytes of pixels. So, make sure you’re timing takes into account late nights – either hold off all abandoned shopping cart emails from a certain time or add in a follow-up email.

Pro Tip: Don’t think of this as an abandoned shopping cart email. You can and should think of this as an abandoned shopping cart funnel.


18. A/B Test Now, Not Later

As we gear up for the holiday season, we’ve got to put our best foot forward. That being said, this isn’t the time for A/B split testing. No, I’m not advocating split-testing subject lines – that’s always a good thing to do in real-time. 

What I am proposing is that you figure out which type of email campaigns move the needle now, and then implement them with confidence during the holiday season. Some practical examples of this would be figuring out if an “X% off sale” works better than a “save X% sale” with your brand, or long-form copy vs. short-sweet-and-to-the-point text. 

Pro Tip: Sure, you could go with your gut or simply Google which one is better, but going with your data is always the best shot for success.


19. Remember at the End of the Day, Emotions Sell

Why do we remember commercials from our childhood? You could say that repetition helps, but a 30-second spot can only go so far. The real reason is that emotions sell. 

Think back and you’ll easily conjure up vivid memories from these commercials. The emotion conveyed in these advertisements left an indelible mark. As you’re working with your marketing team this holiday season, don’t let graphics and wordsmithing take a back seat. Be sure you put them on a pedestal to make your email memorable.

Pro Tip: Look back to see what your top campaigns were for the past 24 months. See which campaigns got the highest engagement and made highest RPM (revenue per mille). Capture those emails and wrap them up for the holidays.


20. Give the GIF of the Holidays

And speaking of “gifts”, I would be remiss not to talk about “GIFs!”

At least one lucky GIF is going to go viral over the holidays, and that GIF could very well originate in your email campaign. But do me a favor – don’t add any GIFs in as an afterthought. Be creative because when they are strategically sprinkled into your email campaign, they can turn a bland email into something magical!


21. Be Kind, Show Gratitude

Show your gratitude and be thankful. When the dust settles from all the shopping frenzy, send out a friendly thank you email wishing your customers a happy holiday season. And if you have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), use this email as a platform to share your excellent work with your loyal readers.

Pro Tip: Remember the ideas on email equity. Not every email’s result has to start with a dollar symbol. 


22. Mobile First

I know a lot of people say they’re optimized for mobile, but seriously, when was the last time you looked at your email on mobile? 

Here are a few things you should have on your mobile-first checklist:

  • Is the text large enough to read without squinting?
  • Do the images stack and fit properly with the text?
  • Are the links* linking to the right place?

* — The last note is important for triple-checking your desktop email, too!

Pro Tip: Cloning emails are great and I advocate this all the time, but I am also cognizant of the fact that this is playing with fire. I’ve received emails in the past with banner and footer links consistently going to wrong URLs (yes, I kid you not!) because someone creating those emails missed it the first time and never bothered checking it the second time. Don’t be that guy or gal!

Bonus Tip: One Final Thought to Take You into 2023 and Beyond


23. The 6th Sense

Last but not least, let’s not forget the 6th sense – common sense. Like the Book of Proverbs says, “there is a time for every activity under heaven.” So, when you’re reviewing these tips, remember that these are general tips and might not apply to every business and use case out there. So before applying these tips, remember to use common sense because this tip trumps them all.

Happy holidays!



About the Author


Shmuel Herschberg - He is a frequent contributor to the Webbula blog. 

Shmuel Herschberg is a seasoned digital marketing executive, who lives and breathes email marketing. He is the founder of Shyn Media (, a boutique agency that offers creative marketing automation, content strategy, and digital media services. 

Shmuel possesses a unique blend of technological awareness coupled with strategic thinking and customer psychology. This enables him to translate customer needs into actionable, winning strategies. Contact him today and see how he can power up your email marketing game in only 15 minutes!  


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