The fall brings Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Free Shipping Day and Christmas. They’re all big email marketing opportunities.

Kevin George, Email Monks

Kevin George is head of marketing at Email Monks

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for many e-commerce business owners and email marketing will play a big role in their results. Reports from Statista reveal that the number of email users in the U.S. will reach nearly 254.7 million by the end of 2020, which makes email a primary marketing medium for many retailers.

Here’s a quick guide to help your e-commerce business get the most out of your holiday email marketing strategy. We have that will help you plan it in the right way.

Before you start, you need to find answers to the following set of questions:

  • What are my marketing goals this holiday season?
  • What am I planning to offer to my customers?
  • What unique benefits will I be providing?
  • What type of holiday emails will I send, how many and when?
  • How should I plan and schedule the emails and what extra help will I need?
  • What holidays should I focus on the most this season?
  • What subject lines should I use for my holiday emails?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can start off with a rough campaign plan.


Let’s Plan your Holiday Email Campaign

The top holidays that you must include in your holiday campaigns are:

Halloween: October 31, 2017

Halloween is about pumpkins, costume parties and haunted houses, and one of the biggest days for businesses to draw sales through email marketing. The planning for Halloween should ideally start from July itself but always remember that it’s better late than never.

Instead of simply sending promotional emails, segment your subscriber list and send them relevant, timely and more useful offers and information. For effective email marketing, evaluate previous year’s Halloween sale emails and draw out insights about what worked and what didn’t. Target your Halloween emails more to those consumers who purchased from you last year as the chances of their buying from you again are high.


October is also the time to initiate emails for other big sales days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Also, plan for post-Halloween emails to keep your customers engaged and amp up your marketing for the rest of the holidays.

There is a lot of scope for making Halloween emails interactive with the use of design elements and animations.

Christopher Donald

Thanksgiving: November 23, 2017

Apart from the turkey and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving is the time to open the floodgates for holiday email campaigns and a lucrative time for businesses to boost website traffic, sales, and overall profits through email marketing. Retailers will send many emails sent in the coming days, so plan far ahead for your Thanksgiving email campaigns.

Experiment with different subject lines, content, and imagery, and start sending gift offers and suggestions to shoppers well in advance. To boost conversions, create urgency in the emails by stating- “only ‘x’ products remaining”. Using countdown timers to depict the time of sale is also a great way to persuade the users to act. Offer special promotional discounts and free shipping to your customers to keep them engaged with your brand.

Kath Pay

Black Friday: November 24, 2017

The day following Thanksgiving, Black Friday is one of the busiest retail days of the year. Most people have started their Christmas shopping by this time and hence it is the busiest email marketing weekend of the year. This is the time when subscribers’ inbox will be flooded with holiday emails.

Marketers need to pay extra attention to making their emails effective by using engaging subject lines and visual elements to STAND OUT in the holiday shoppers’ cluttered inbox. Try experimenting with different messaging options like special deals, holiday discounts, back-to-stock notifications, holiday collections, etc. Highlight your best deals and make sure your emails are responsive so that they display properly on mobile device, and that your holiday deals are available on all social media platforms too.

Kara Trivunovic

Cyber Monday: November 27, 2017

The Monday after Black Friday, Cyber Monday (a marketing term used by online retailers across the world) is the second biggest online shopping day and the busiest email marketing day of the year.


To retain traffic and drive sales immediately after a major retail event like Black Friday, marketers need to use catchy content, bright graphics, color schemes and high-emotion call to action. Send sneak peek emails to your subscribers to make them aware of your offers. Run combined campaigns for Black Friday and Cyber Monday well in advance to stand out when the email volume is comparatively low.

You can also create urgency by sending last-chance offers and cart abandonment emails to draw consumers towards making purchases. Incorporate machine learning to send automated emails and engage maximum customers.

Shanon Strahl

Free Shipping Day: December 15, 2017

Free Shipping Day is a promotional holiday when small and large online businesses offer free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve. This is a great chance for online retailers to make one final push before the conclusion of holiday shopping.

If your business already offers free shipping, consider providing quick delivery with free shipping. Send promotional offers with emails saying “# days for Christmas”. Also, consider combining free shipping with complimentary gifts to entice the customers to make a purchase.


Christmas: December 25, 2017

Christmas is the most magical time of the year when people spend more on gifts, decorations, and travel. It is the time to knuckle down and produce your best campaigns.

Plan well in advance, ideally starting in September, and be prepared for last-minute issues and tweaks. But, as we said earlier, it’s better late than never. You might face technical glitches and inventory issues, which you need to consider while planning. Send surprise e-gifts and special greetings to your customers to delight them. Also, you can launch after-Christmas sale with exciting offers, deals, and gifts.

Ryan Phelan

Wrap Up

Having a specific plan for every holiday, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Christmas, can help you stay sorted. So, plan ahead and map your strategy for this holiday season. And make sure the campaigns you create, delight your subscribers instead of just adding to the holiday noise. Happy Emailing!


EmailMonks is an email design and coding company, specializing in crafting email templates.