It’s never too early to prepare for the holiday season.
But when should you start sending newsletters for the holidays, and what should you send, exactly? How do you stay on top of mind for your customers, without talking just about sales and discounts all the time?
To answer these questions, we’ve put together a brief guide to holiday email promos. Keep reading to discover 10 holiday newsletter ideas to help you generate sales and keep your subscribers engaged throughout the entire season.
When should I start sending holiday newsletters?
As a rule of thumb, the earlier you begin, the more time you’ll have to warm up and nurture your audience.
Our data shows that some ecommerce brands start getting ready for the Christmas sale as early as July.
One of the reasons merchants start getting ready 6 months before the end of the year is how noisy people’s inboxes get around the holidays. This makes it difficult to stand out against your competitors – especially when you’re competing against big brands.
And while you don’t have to send out holiday-themed discounts or promos in the summer, you can certainly start generating some hype – so when your customers know they’re ready to do their holiday shopping – you’ll be right there, at the forefront of their thoughts
Plus, you can tap into several holidays during the season – not just the typical Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day.
December holidays to keep note of
So, what are the main holidays you can add to your newsletter promo calendar in December?
First off, remember to take Black Friday into account. Afterwards, look for these specific dates in 2023:
- December 2nd — World Pollution Prevention Day
- December 4th — Santa’s List Day
- December 7th — Beginning of Hanukkah
- December 11th — Worldwide Candle Lighting Day
- December 15th — End of Hanukkah
- December 24th — Christmas Eve (and Last-Minute Shopper’s Day)
- December 25th — Christmas
- December 26th — Boxing Day
- December 30th — National Resolution Planning Day
- December 31st — New Year’s Eve
- January 1st — New Year’s Day
Believe it or not, this isn’t even a complete list. You can look at holidaycalendar.io for a complete list of special days.
Look through them and see which one would fit with your brand and products. For instance, if you’re an eco-conscious brand, World Pollution Prevention Day would make sense to highlight. But if you sell candles, Worldwide Candle Lighting Day on December 11 is a no-brainer for you!
10 engaging holiday newsletter ideas to drive sales
If you’ve decided to get an early start on your holiday newsletters, you’re in luck.
Below is a sample sequence you can use to start building awareness and hype around your brand.
This promo sequence was designed to be used in this order. However, feel free to play around with it depending on your goals and what feels right for your brand.
Let’s get right to it:
- Tease your upcoming holiday collection
- Launch an end-of-year sale
- Launch a holiday quiz
- Run an early gifting flash sale
- Curate a holiday gift guide
- Run a holiday-themed giveaway
- Put your team on display
- Showcase your product in a holiday theme
- Encourage bundle buying
- Get personal in your emails
1. Tease your upcoming holiday collection
Your teaser content can either hint at something that’s coming or give something for your audience to buy right away, depending on the context.
For example, Hobbii is a brand selling yarn and accessories to crochet and knit. And because working with yarn is something that requires a lot of time, it’s possible that Hobbii’s customers may want to get a head-start on creating gifts for their loved ones.
This is why this fun email works, even on September 1st:
This newsletter builds hype around the holiday season and allows customers to get a head start on their purchases at the same time.
And for those who don’t buy, they’ll at least get in the mindset of getting excited for future promos during the season.
2. Launch an end-of-year sale
Before Black Friday rolls around – let alone, before December rolls around – you can host an end-of-year sale to generate some buzz around your brand.
An end-of-year sale doesn’t have to be in December. For instance, you could tell your subscribers that you’re clearing out old stock to make room for upcoming holiday collections.
This will serve two purposes at once. First, it’ll give an opportunity for your subscribers to get a good deal on products they’ve been interested in for a long time. Second, it’ll keep building up hype for your new upcoming products.
Give plenty of details in your End-Of-Year sale newsletters so that subscribers are excited to click through and start buying. For instance, look at this email from Coco Village:
Coco Village provides tons of details in very few words in this email, such as:
- The discounts will be steep (up to 80% off)
- Over a hundred items are available at a discount
- The discounts are available while supplies last (provides urgency and scarcity)
- They can expect discounts between 20% and 80%
This type of promo is especially useful if you’ve got old stock you don’t know what to do with. If that’s the case, you can provide deeper discounts to attempt to recoup the cost of these items.
3. Launch a holiday quiz
Another way to warm up your audience before the holidays come around is by launching a quiz.
You can email your quiz to your existing subscribers, especially if it’s new. But you can also promote your quiz on your website, social media, and ads (if you have the budget to do so).
Quizzes are often used to generate new leads, but they can bring a lot more value beyond that.
First of all, quizzes naturally segment your list. You’ll find useful information about your subscribers based on what result they get on their quiz – and usually, those results are indicative of what products they’re most interested in.
Quizzes can also get your subscribers excited about upcoming product launches or promotions. They’re yet another way to tease them about what’s coming to your store.
Here are some quiz themes you can try:
- Gift finder for a loved one
- Fun personality quiz
- Product compatibility quiz
For example, let’s take a look at this gift-finder quiz from Green Pan. They ask guiding questions to figure out the best gift ideas, starting with finding out the person you’re shopping for.
After less than a minute of answering questions, website visitors get the perfect gift idea! They can then click to shop for this product category, or shop for all gifts.
Along with this quiz, Green Pan has added incentives to encourage people to purchase. Here is what customers get:
- Free shipping over $125
- A free utensil set with purchases over $275
- 30% off using a code they receive after the quiz
Anyone who’s getting ready to buy gifts early for the holidays will be happy with these early savings.
4. Run an early gifting flash sale
Speaking of early savings – go against the grain and run an early limited-time holiday flash sale for the people in your email list who are ready to get their shopping done early.
In your holiday newsletter, you can talk about the benefits of getting your gift-buying out of the way early. One of the benefits is that they won’t stress over last-minute shopping or worry about the items on their list being out of stock.
You can also take a page out of Made by Mary’s book by mentioning order deadlines for those who need to get their items before Christmas arrives.
While Made by Mary ran this promo in December, feel free to run yours ahead of time as well.
5. Curate a holiday gift guide
Apart from quizzes, holiday gift guides are a great way to help your subscribers make purchasing decisions for their loved ones.
You have several options for how to do this. First, you can create a page on your website to house the gift guide. You can then link to that page in your promo emails.
Second, you can create a short gift guide as a separate holiday newsletter. Wool And the Gang did something similar for their holiday promos last year.
You can also take a blended approach:
Create a longer guide on your website and send a shorter version of your guide in your newsletter. Your subscribers can then click to purchase specific products from the guide or access the full guide with a call-to-action button at the bottom.
6. Run a themed giveaway
The holidays are the perfect time for gift-giving – not just for your customers, but for your brand, too.
Get your subscribers in the mood for festivities by running a holiday-themed giveaway in your newsletter.
Hosting a subscriber-only giveaway doesn’t just increase engagement and encourages people to open your emails during the holidays. It also gives them a good reason to stay subscribed to your email list, since they now know they get access to exclusive promotions.
Plus, you can up the ante by asking your subscribers to refer their friends to your email list in exchange for more chances to win the giveaway.
7. Put your team on display
What are holidays, if not a time to connect on a human level?
In addition to your regular email promos, take some time to feature your team in your holiday newsletters. You’ll remind your subscribers that real people run your brand.
People love to buy from people they like. So give your subscribers a chance to like your people!
Don’t hesitate to showcase tons of personality in these emails. Just look at Hobbii’s email featuring their team member Gea:
We can sense Gea’s personality not just from her favorite products, but from the goofy pictures and fun graphics and emojis they’ve used here. (Note that subscribers also get discounts on the items from Gea’s list of favorites).
8. Showcase your products in a holiday theme
As you get closer to the holidays, it’s time to get in the mood and crank up the holiday theme in your newsletters.
If your products aren’t naturally “holiday-themed”, you can use imagery, design, or text in your emails to communicate the spirit of the season. Or you can have fun and use holiday props to “dress up” your products in photos.
On the other hand, if you have products that fit in with the spirit of the season, make sure to showcase this in your emails. Take this email by Wool And The Gang as an example:
The brand specifies these kits will keep you cozy. This helps subscribers imagine themselves with the product. And who doesn’t love to get cozy during the holidays?
Once people can imagine themselves with it, they’ll be more likely to buy so that they don’t have to sacrifice that vision.
9. Encourage bundle buying
With all the deals you’ll be throwing around during the holiday season, how do you make sure your promos stay profitable?
Give your customers an incentive to buy several products. But don’t just incentivize them with deals – let them picture what it will be like to buy more than one item.
For example, Ana Luisa gives a quick tutorial on how to layer several rings for the best look. Thanks to the images, subscribers can see the beautiful result.
They’ve also “stacked” this helpful guide with a promo. The more rings someone buys, the bigger the discount!
10. Get personal with your customers
So you’ve sent several emails to keep subscribers engaged and generate sales.
Here is another, less obvious holiday newsletter idea: once the holidays do arrive, take a moment to pause the promos and send some good cheer.
You can send an email from you, the founder, and get personal with your loyal customers. Here’s how the Simons brand did it for last year’s holiday season:
This won’t generate sales right away since there’s no call to action. But it will show you appreciate your customers and don’t just send emails when you have something to sell.
And that goes a long way for the long-term relationship you have with your subscribers.
Make this holiday season count
There you have it – 10 fun, nurturing, and engaging holiday newsletter ideas to generate sales this season!
Don’t hesitate to put your own spin on these newsletters. It’ll help you stand out and become memorable for your subscribers.
💡 If you’re growing your list in preparation for the holidays, try Getsitecontrol! It’s an email marketing suite that will help you collect emails, automate welcome sequences, and send holiday newsletters – all in one place! Sign up for free to try out now.
Charlene Boutin is a freelance content writer & email marketing strategist for hire specializing in helping Ecommerce and SaaS businesses increase conversions by growing authentic relationships with their audience. She loves helping business owners tell their unique stories to capture the hearts of more customers.
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