Email & SMS

4 Ways to Optimize Your Holiday Email Program

By Tinuiti Team

The holiday season is the most important time for ecommerce businesses, with email marketing being a massive driver of revenue during this period.

Getting the best results, however, requires more than simply sending out Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale emails.

Here are some seasonal strategies to grow your holiday campaign performance through automation, acquisition, and loyalty rewards.


1. Implement Seasonal Triggers & Automations


Most triggers and automations use evergreen content that is relevant all year round, but these triggers can benefit from seasonal content updates to drive increased engagement and conversions during one of the highest traffic periods of the year. 

Adding holiday copy and creative elements within these emails can drive home gifting messaging to subscribers to motivate them to complete their purchase. 

Welcome Series

Shortening the series and logic during the holidays to avoid inundating new subscribers during a very heavy cadence period.

Browse and Abandoned Cart

Consider adding a third or fourth email and shortening the timing between abandon and the initial email to drive quick conversions during this fast-paced period.

Also look at highlighting your return policy and any shipping benefits (i.e. free shipping on orders $50+; fast shipping, etc.) within welcome, browse abandon, and cart abandon series to help potential new purchasers and gift buyers avoid common barriers to purchase.


2. Boost Email Address Acquisition


The holiday season brings a dramatic increase in website traffic for many online retailers, whether from organic sources or as a result of increased spend on paid search and social campaigns. 

So how do you capitalize on this peak in website traffic? Three words: optimize capture sources. 

Consider increasing your sign up offer during this highly competitive period. For example, instead of just offering free shipping for sign up, consider sweetening the deal with an additional percentage off – i.e 10% off plus free shipping.


holiday email capture example gir


Also take a look at who you’re targeting with your overlay to be more aggressive (triggering earlier or more frequently) and expand rules to capture contacts who might have previously unsubscribed, but want to hear about holiday offers. 

Most people know that some of the best offers from online retailers come on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so using this language to prompt sign up for “exclusive pre-shop” or “early access” to these sales can be very effective on-site and across other channels, including social campaigns.

You can even update your transactional post-purchase emails to include this type of messaging in order to build up your email list prior to the holiday. 


3. Show Your VIPs Love During the Holidays


VIPs, your most valuable customers, should be treated as just that throughout the year. With the right approach, personalized VIP messaging can be especially effective during the holiday period. 


holday email loyalty vip


For big seasonal sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and seasonal product launches, consider adding an “early access” email specifically to your VIP or high-value customers to let them shop early or access the sale before anyone else. 


holiday email vip promo pele soccer


You may even want to offer these VIPs an increased discount/promotion or “free gift” perk on top of your standard BFCM offers to further reward these high-value customers and stand out in their inbox on these highly competitive shopping days.  

Including VIP incentives within each email can also drive increased conversions from this highly engaged group. Consider adding a banner within email sends to these users that highlights any additional benefits you may offer like upgraded shipping, a personalized customer service email address, or access to a personal shopper.


4. Maintain Newly Acquired Contacts Post-Holiday


The holidays bring a drastic increase in site traffic, which in turn leads to an increase in email sign-ups.

But what happens after the holidays when these new subscribers have already taken advantage of your sign up offer, purchased a gift, and may not be as interested in hearing from you?

Post-holiday email churn is real and can be a painful hit to your email list, but there are several effective ways to combat the high unsubscribe rates common during the post-holiday period.


cyber monday email example


Reduce your cadence

An increased cadence during the holiday rush is expected by most consumers, but taking a step back on sending in January can help mitigate contact loss. 

Set up a preference center

For those subscribers that open an email post-December 25th only to look for an unsubscribe link, you’ll want to have options set up for them to choose to opt-down, versus opting completely out.

Whether you offer cadence-based options (i.e. 1x/week email, 1x/month email, etc.) or send-type options (i.e. promotion vs. content), make sure you’ll be able to segment by these choices within your program moving forward. 


Personalizing your content to create meaningful subscriber relationships is key to keeping people interested in what you are sending and thus, keeping them on your list.

Take a look at what you’re sending: is it relevant to a subscriber who hasn’t purchased in over a year? What about someone who has just purchased several products? It’s important to use your subscribers’ behavior to drive more personalized content. 

Segment Your Audiences

Email segmentation allows you to personalize your email content to keep subscribers engaged and interested in what you are sending. Segment based on subscribers’ engagement, opening or clicking frequency, as well as behavior (on-site and purchase).

Segmenting will also help you identify groups of subscribers that are not engaging post-holiday so you can send them a specific re-engagement series to help re-activate those dormant subscribers, clean up your list, and help aid your overall email program’s deliverability. 




Think beyond your usual Black Friday and Cyber Monday email sends to generate more impact from your holiday email campaigns.

Optimizing automations, email capture overlays, and VIP campaigns with seasonal creative and messaging are key for driving success this holiday season.


black friday holiday email example


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