The Best Holiday Email Marketing Campaigns of 2016

January 19, 2017
By Phil Davis

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The holiday season brings out the best in email marketers. There are major gains to be had—especially for retailers, who collectively generate over $3 trillion in sales during the holiday shopping season.

Businesses pull out all the stops in November and December to capitalize on the annual increase in traffic and purchases. We always enjoy seeing the remarkable creativity and what these brands come up with.

Without further adieu, here are our three favorite holiday email marketing campaigns of 2016. We think these will give you some excellent inspiration for your 2017 campaigns.

Brit & Co.: White Elephant Gift Guide

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White elephant gift exchanges can be perilous. Sometimes you bring the gift everyone wants to steal and sometimes you bring the gift that elicits a not-so-positive reaction upon reveal.

For its 2016 holiday campaign, Brit & Co. wanted to help its subscribers fall into that first category of gifters. The email is light on text and heavy on colorful images, and the headline, “It’s time for the absurd, the unexpected and the totally delightful” immediately captures the attention of readers.

Not only is the content of the email engaging and entertaining, its decision to deviate from standard holidays emails and focus on white elephant parties is an idea brands should consider using in their own campaigns.

Everlane: Last-Minute Gifts

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It’s easy to think of gift ideas when there’s no pressure to deliver. But the moment the holiday season hits, it’s like mental gridlock. We all have enough stress during the holidays without last-minute shopping sending us over the edge. (And some people are just plain difficult to shop for.)

Everlane’s last-minute gifts email campaign is excellent because it shows the brand understands the way many of us feel during the chaotic shopping season—stressed. The slate blue background is calming, and the messaging is reassuring. And the call-to-action buttons, “Gift Her” and “Gift Him” provide subscribers with a quick route to the merchandise they need.

This email also showcases some of the retailer’s products, which is a smart move. It’s like window shopping without the freezing temps, slushy sidewalks and crowded shops!

J.Crew Factory: 12 Days of Deals

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What’s better than one special promotion? How about 12? We loved J. Crew Factory’s email campaign because it provides subscribers with a different deal every day for 12 days straight. And if the first deal is 40% to 60% off everything, it leaves subscribers to wonder—what does the 12th deal offer?

The artwork is simple and doesn’t draw attention away from the message, which is loud and clear in bold black text. The overall campaign is festive but remains faithful to the modern and edgy J.Crew brand style. And the call-to-action buttons support online and in-store shopping. If subscribers choose to capitalize on even a couple of the 12 days of deals offered in this campaign, J.Crew has a great shot at converting customers into brand loyalists.

Top 10 Holiday Takeaways

Holiday email marketing campaigns represent the best a brand’s marketing team has to offer. Here are 10 things to take away from 2016 and use throughout the new year:

  1. 1. Be creative about how you get subscribers to your website.
  2. 2. Keep email text light and to the point.
  3. 3. Incorporate eye-catching design but don’t allow it to draw attention away from the message.
  4. 4. Include an expiration date on the deal to create a sense of urgency.
  5. 5. Make it easy for your subscribers to take action by adding “Shop Now” or “Find a Store” buttons in your email campaign.
  6. 6. Show off your products in the email to create the impulse to shop.
  7. 7. Make customer engagement a priority.
  8. 8. Demonstrate empathy for your subscribers and connect with them on an emotional level. From the design and content to the value point, put yourself in their shoes and consider what they really want and need.
  9. 9. Stay true to your brand style.
  10. 10. Promote in-store and online avenues for shopping to support both branches of business.

It’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! We hope you got a few ideas for your own 2017 campaigns so you can really knock it out of the park this year.

To create engaging campaigns, marketers must know their audience. And the best way to know your audience is with data. See how Email Intelligence can help you create effective, personalized campaigns.

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