How to create a holiday email marketing plan

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Looking at the title of this post, you’re probably thinking something like it’s barely summer, and you want me to think about the holidays?

Yea, it’s true. 

The reality is pre-planning your holiday email marketing campaigns is a smart move. It gives you the time to read through your customer data, figure out what products you want to feature and promote, and create awesome graphics and copy to put into your templates. 

All that takes some time and shouldn’t be rushed. As the end of the summer approaches, you need to have your campaigns pretty much set. Otherwise, you’ll get lost in your customer’s inboxes.

Plus, there’s the big elephant in the room; customers are starting to shop for the holidays earlier each year. In 2020, Amazon pushed Prime Day to October from its regular slot in July, setting off a frenzy of retailers and eCommerce stores trying to keep up. Most retailers don’t want to get caught flat-footed again.

So, here’s what you can do to get started with your planning.

Get organized

Maybe this one is obvious, but it’s worth digging into more. As you begin planning, it’s critical to focus on a few key factors. 

Important dates: 

Get every date set on your team calendar. And that’s not just the date of the holidays, but that helps! Have due dates for brainstorming and email design. Then include when you plan to launch your campaigns, when follow-up emails are going out, and so on. 


Also, think about what you want to accomplish with your campaigns. Sure, every retailer or eCommerce shop wants more conversions, but what other KPIs are you going to track? What does the data from last year tell you about how to focus this year? Think about these as you create your campaigns. 

Reengage your list

You don’t want to send your holiday campaigns out to a cold email list. If you haven’t been quite as diligent as you’d like keeping your readers updated this year, now is the perfect time to reengage. 

Doing this has a couple of benefits:

  • It helps to keep your brand top of mind
  • You can spot any potential deliverability issues ahead of time 
  • It tells you if you should clean your list if you have low engagement

With a fresh and clean list, you’ll have better numbers to gauge your open, click, and conversion rates moving forward.

Focus on your offers

Perhaps the most important part of any email campaign is the offer, and since holiday sales are so important, it really matters here. 

You want to give time and thought to the products you’re planning on featuring (plus any related products), how you’re planning on presenting what you’re trying to sell, and making it easy to buy. 

Also, think about any special bonuses, deals, or events you’re going to run during the holidays. If you want to offer your loyalty member VIP events or you want to get customers in the store with in-person coupons, plan out how you’ll include them in your campaigns.

Create a killer design

If you’ve got a drag and drop template with content blocks, this part is pretty easy. With a few snippets of code, you can transform any plain old email into something that’s entertaining, and more importantly, engaging. 

Using the Zembula platform, you can have content blocks that showcase your featured product with real-time ratings and reviews, countdown timers to add urgency, and notification banners to update customers with the latest news and deals. All that makes designing an email that gets great results super simple.

Don’t forget about automation

To get the most from your campaigns, make sure you have some personalized automation strategies built-in too. These can help you grab more customers and get them buying. 

With automation, it’s always a good idea to make your emails as personalized as possible too. Searching through your customer data is a good place to start. You can check their buying history, views, and other shopping behavior to trigger personalized automated campaigns.

Some examples include creating abandoned cart notifications and featured personalized product recommendations. Using geolocation, you can target weather in specific locations and tie in sales or in-store events. Use automated holiday messages and points updates in your loyalty or membership program emails too.

Ready to get into the holiday spirit?

We hope so. 

It’s never too early to start thinking about how you want to gear up for the most wonderful time of the year. Start creating your holiday email marketing plan now, and you’ll be in a great position when it’s time to gear up for the season.

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