The Perfect Gift – hit the mark with email this holiday season

The most successful email marketing gets the right message to the right people at the right time, so when the time in question is not only the most competitive consumer season of the year but one in which people take time away from their regular schedule, you have to think outside the gift box a little more to give your email marketing an edge.

Holiday Behaviours

For most people, the Christmas/New Year period means holidays and if there’s one thing that’s certain, our behaviour changes when we are enjoying our well deserved time off. Over Christmas people travel, spend time with loved ones, escape to their favourite destinations and participate in recreational activities that they otherwise may not have the time for. Their time is occupied in ways outside of the routine, so your usual practices might need to be adjusted to reflect this.

As a result of behaviour change, email engagement also changes – attention spans may be shorter or longer at different times of the day, work email addresses may be less frequently used and most certainly, there will be a greater use of mobile devices. Reflect on these changes to usage behaviour and identify opportunities to align yourself more closely with your subscribers.


In the lead up to Christmas, people are bombarded with advertising and busy with holiday preparation – leaving them increasingly time poor. Think about the decision process for your offering and ensure that your pre-Christmas campaigns allow subscribers enough time to make a purchase decision.

After Christmas, particularly between Boxing Day and New Year’s, people will have more downtime to shop online or visit your store. This is a great time to promote cheaper, faster moving products that require less consideration. Impulse purchases are often at their peak at this time as sales are frequent and post-Christmas boredom can take hold.

For longer content or more complex purchases, the holiday season may also present opportunities to catch people when they have the time to read information at a deeper level. Take this opportunity to run new customers through a series of educational emails or aid the research process for potential leads with a nurture series, especially if they are signing up as a result of a sale.

Content & Design

Christmas is perhaps the year’s peak time for terribly worn out cliches and marketing tactics that should have been long forgotten. Email subject lines often fall victim to some of the most cringe worthy cliches – ‘12 Days of Christmas’, ‘Grab these stocking stuffers’, ‘He’s making a list and checking it twice’ – just to name a few . Don’t fall into the same trap! If everyone’s doing it, you’ll never stand out. Think of ways to entice people while also reflecting your brand’s voice and identity.

With rich segmentation data at your fingertips, there should be no reason to replicate the dreaded mail-out catalogue. Generic email catalogues are nothing more than digital junk mail. Use what segmentation data you have to send shorter, more relevant campaigns to your various audiences.

While Christmas sales are no doubt the short-term goal for the season, it doesn’t hurt to play the long game and give back. Position yourself as the trusted brand by giving subscribers useful content to support their purchases and enhance their holiday experience. Providing how-to guides, recipes, holiday advice and hot tips will go a long way to building better relationships with your customers, ultimately driving loyalty and repeat purchase.  

Product Lifecycle

For products with a medium – long life, a holiday purchase is just the beginning of the customer’s relationship with your product. If you know the lifecycle of your product think about the automated emails you could build out to support the product over the coming months. When will companion products or accessories become relevant to the customer? When will they need to update, upgrade or replace the product? Each of these moments is an opportunity generate greater lifetime value from your customers and if your messages are on point, a chance to build affinity with your brand and product ecosystem.  

For me, the customer experience is everything. The way a customer discovers your brand and the interactions they have with you along the way are the most valuable opportunities in marketing. Create a fantastic experience and you’ll have customers for life! My passions lie in exploring customer journeys with brands and uncovering opportunities to generate value while also optimising experiences. Striking this balance is motivated by the idea that a customer is for life. Great marketing works interactively with the customer through their lifetime, solving their problems and meeting needs along the way. When I’m not rocking out lifecycle marketing strategies, you’ll find me hanging out at cafes and record stores or playing guitar somewhere - always geeking out about the intricacies of music past, present and future. Otherwise, I’ll be pottering around in my garden attempting to grow some veggies!

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