You know the Holiday season is the grand finale of the year, contributing to over 20% of the retail spending with people’s spending over 1000 USD. Over half of this spend is on gifts, one fourth on decorative items and the remaining on food and other goodies.

The reality is:

  • Smart marketers step it up, deploying such excellent Email Marketing Campaigns with the help of the robust platforms.
  • Your consumers are digitally fatigued this holiday season, with a barrage of lucrative and attractive emails heading their way. 
  • Most of the emails look similar, and your customers’ Spam Box has more heading its way.
  • Word of mouth is still king.
  • Customers are wary of counterfeits, fake links, and sites.

The challenge is to achieve this objective. Think about what you can do differently and stand out from the very adept competition employing state-of-the art campaigns and technologies?

Learn more about Holiday Email Marketing:


This holiday season fix your Performance Measures, Map the Holiday season, segment the Customer Market; customize and beef up the Message and copy, closely Monitor and timely Modify the Campaign.

You can see a wonderful example here



1. Start Early

You must plan early right from September onwards itself.  You could either “prepone the holiday season” or prep your current, former, and prospective customers.

2. Build Excitement

Your CRM is a wonderful place to start. You can start off with the 3 categories of customers: existing, (especially the evangelists), prospective, and dropouts. 

Build Excitement

Starting early will give you the time and runway to build excitement for all these 3 categories of customers. By the time, the holiday season is in full swing you could expect exponential sales, and a good percentage in auto-pilot mode.

Let us examine the strategies for each of these categories


Most of us underestimate the power of evangelists, referrals, and recommendations. You can consider these facts:

  1. 50-70% consumers buy new products and renewals via recommendations
  2. The average consumer reads 8-10 online user reviews before making a purchase decision
  3. It is 4 times more likely for referral customers to buy vis-a-vis non referrals 
  4. Referrals generate 2X revenue with 5-10 X cost effectiveness vis-a-vis traditional marketing tactics
  5. 90% of customers trust recommendations and word of mouth compared to advertising

3. Giving without any Catch

An unconventional but potentially powerful strategy you could deploy for these crème de crème customers or evangelists is to start “Unconditional Giving”.

You could simply give them a prepaid gift card without any conditions as a token of appreciation for just being a wonderful customer. Please see this:

Giving without any Catch

Source: Thegiftcardcafe.

4. Giving more for referring

Now many of your top customers with high wallet share, purchase frequency and referrals are mesmerized with your no-strings attached wallet / gift card.

This is now the time to take it to the next level; you could augment their wallets substantially for referrals. You can see these innovative examples:

Giving more for referring

Source: Extole.

20 Examples of Beautiful Referral Email Designs
Holiday referral program

It is to be re-iterated that these loyalty and referral gifts/ awards are akin hard cash and can be immediately utilized by your evangelists unlike conventional discount vouchers.

These evangelists love to see their wallets fatten by referring, referring, referring; they will spend the wallet balance on stuff they like. 


5. Welcome Series

Welcome Series are 86% more effective than your standard email newsletter and can have an open rate of approximately 91.43%. You can see the gradual progression on customer engagement and hooking onto. This is a great example

6. Story Telling

This is a great technique that is refreshing amongst the blitz of sales heavy emails. Your customers experience curiosity, engagement and can move nicely forward in their journey. A wonderful illustration below:

Best Email Ever! Storytelling in Email Newsletters...

Source: Uplandsoftware.

7. Quizzes & Rewards

You can effectively up the ante with your prospective customers through gamified quizzes and rewards. Not only do you engage and familiarize them with your product and brand, but rewards could also galvanize them to purchasing action. This is an excellent example:

Quizzes & Rewards

Source: Onmsft.


8.  Hit the Nerve

With your former customers, you should hit the sweet spot, and move them to either of the 3 engagement phases. This will amplify your chances of winning them back. Some good examples are:

Hit the Nerve


9.  Discount with Options 

Holiday seasons are swamped with discount emails; you can easily stand out by offering multiple options of discounts. Take a look at this innovative animated email that sets the perfect Black Friday vibe. 

GIF showing a black friday promotion page

Source: Sumo.

10. Interactive Emails

Interactive emails are great for marketers like you. According to Martech Advisor, “interactive email content increases the click-to-open rate by 73% and adding videos to your email content can boost click rates up to 300%.” Do check out this mesmerizing example:

Interactive Emails

Source: Reallygoodemails.


Competitors are Smart

These unconventional techniques, if implemented keeping into account the strategic, tactical, and aesthetic fundamentals of holiday email marketing, can surely differentiate you. Your competitors also have wonderful ESPs, adept designing teams, and consultants. 

Using these smart strategies, you can make your evangelist customers a goldmine for your business. Moreover, your prospective and early stage customers would increase wallet share and frequency and you can win back the high potential former customers.

Customers do have digital fatigue and less attention span; however, they will always await, open, and assimilate your emails since you are innovative and different!

Building Value

This strategy will ultimately ensure you sustained success in terms of customer acquisition, growth, frequency, and magnitude of purchase and most importantly loyalty and stickiness.

Your customers will have the implicit barriers of entry to your competitors even in Post-Holiday or lean periods. These are simple, yet powerful examples of unconventional but successful Holiday Email Marketing.

If you want to dive deeper into the subject and get actionable tips for each Holiday during the Winter Season, head to this insightful infographic created by the folks at Email Uplers: Holiday Email Marketing Tips 2020-2021.

Kevin George - Head of Marketing at Uplers


Kevin George

Head of Marketing at Email Uplers

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free responsive HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

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