UPDATED, 29 OCT 2020—There’s a reason why business owners look forward to the holidays—it’s the season of shopping! That means more sales and more revenue. So it’s only normal to go all out on your holiday promotional emails. Plus, you can seize this opportunity to connect with your customers on a deeper level and level up your brand’s presence.

While it’s important to make sure your emails are optimized to make the most sales, don’t forget to add in a healthy level of creativity to really make them stand out from the rest.  So, here are a couple of tips to level up your holiday promotional emails to get your customers excited and in the buying mood this BFCM.


1. Weigh in on Holiday-themed Emails

If you want to strike a chord with your customers as human beings, stick to the themes of the holiday season.

For Halloween, humorously playing with darker concepts is the way to go. For Christmas, generosity, humanity, family, and giving back are some overlying themes that come to mind.

Basically, each holiday has its own themes and connotations. So think of emails not just as ads for selling products, but as your gateway to showing who you are as a company. When done right, these are great tools to build brand loyalty.

Here’s a great example from the brand ForChics. They put just enough holiday spirit into their email while still remaining on-brand. The confetti in the background along with a reference to a classic jolly saying to their headline makes this a fun and engaging email that’s sure to catch your subscribers’ attention.


2. Use Humor and Wit to Win at Halloween

Halloween is a playful holiday that uses humor, costumes, and play to deal with it’s darker origins. If you can tackle some hallow themes with a bit of pizazz and fun, you will undoubtedly win points with your audience.

Take a look at this example from Peet’s Coffee.

peets coffee halloween email example

They creatively play on the concept of being “afraid of the dark” by tying it with their dark roast coffees. It’s great branding because it’s memorable and relevant.


3. Show how you are giving back to the community this Thanksgiving

It can be a really great move to show some human touch, albeit virtually. Show your customers that you and your staff care about your community. Demonstrate what you’re doing to give back, just like Whistlefish.

whistlefish gives back
Source: Jeff Bullas

In addition to highlighting their charity efforts, they also preview their upcoming Christmas products. Marketing campaigns can be multi-dimensional, and both sell and deepen the customer relationship at the same time.

Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, is also a great time to showcase efforts like this. You can even run a special charity-focused promotion. Again, Peet’s Coffee nailed it.

peets coffee email example

They collaborated with No Kid Hungry and donated a dollar for each pound of coffee beans sold. What a way to touch your customers emotionally!


4. Share a Gift Guide That Looks Great and Makes Sense

If you are releasing a gift guide, pick your products with care. You can even refer to Google Trends, or look at Amazon bestseller lists to get trendy gift ideas. Then, make sure to design it in a way that it’s organized. If it’s hard to navigate, that defeats the purpose.

Finally, shell out for a professional design. A great gift guide helps you build brand awareness and engagement. People will share it by email or in-person to their close circle of friends.

Pro tip: With email segmentation, you can create and deliver personalized gift guides that are relevant to each reader.


5. Incentivize giving in your holiday promotional emails

‘Tis the season to be jolly, good and generous, so make sure your marketing efforts reflect that. It’s a great idea to help people choose your product as their gift option, by giving the shopper a little gift of their own.


If the gift itself is excellent, the email doesn’t have to be fancy or over the top. Choose a gift that aligns with your brand personality, and let your customers know by email.

If you want customers to tweet, share, and give you increased awareness, it needs to be something that interests them. 


6. Go big on holiday email subject lines

If you’re wondering what subject lines you can use around the holidays to boost open rates, we’ve got you covered. 


  • Chronicle Books: Put Some Boo in Your Next Book Order
  • Petsmart: Fang-tastic Halloween savings – 4 days only
  • Etsy: Wonderfully Wicked
  • DAVIDsTEA: We’re soo pump(kin)ed about this free gift

If you want more, check out Campaign Monitor’s list of 100 Halloween subject lines.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday

  • Leapfrog: Black Friday Savings without the Big Crowds! 
  • MadeWell: Your Boss Is Shopping Today Too
  • Dell: It’s Cyber Monday All Week! 
  • Herschel: Don’t miss out, it’s almost over


  • Peet’s Coffee: Last-minute gifting? We’ve got you covered.
  • JC Penney: Ho, ho, HURRY! Final hours for EXTRA 25% OFF
  • Target: Still need the kids’ holiday looks? We’ve got you.
  • Postmates: The Only Gift That Delivers!
  • Pottery Barn Kids: The BEST gift: 20% OFF anything (TODAY ONLY!)
  • UberEATS: Brr — warm up with some free hot chocolate.

Keep in mind that these are only examples. You don’t want to leave your brand identity in the dirt just for a holiday subject line.

If you want to win the holiday season, it’s not enough to spam promotional emails over and over. You’ll end up doing more harm to your business instead of leveraging on the holidays. You have to create campaigns that help potential customers relate to your business. 

Add a personal touch, get the theme right, and blast off a social media campaign, and your holiday seasons will be very jolly indeed. And if you’re still not sure how email fits into your holiday campaigns, schedule a free 30-minute call with us!

Once you’ve nailed your themes, it’s time to put them to good use! To fully optimize and streamline your BFCM email gameplan for 3-10x more sales, you’ll need our Ultimate Guide to Crush Record-Breaking Sales this BFCM!

What’s in the secret recipe that keeps the gravy flowing for 8-9 figure stores? Read through our guide as we break down their formula so you too can enjoy record-breaking numbers by the end of 2020.



Campaign Monitor
Jeff Bullas

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