holiday email marketing as seriesDon’t shoot the messenger! But the holidays are coming. The Christmas decorations are already up on some retailers’ brick-and-mortar stores, and I’ve already seen plenty of “only X shopping days until Christmas” messages.

Whether that stresses you out as a consumer or a marketer, rest assured, I’m not here to put pressure on you by saying all of that. Rather, I’m here to suggest a new approach to your holiday email marketing that might make this busiest of seasons a bit more enjoyable for you and your customers both: Do your holiday email marketing as a series.

Take full advantage of the holiday email marketing mindset
People are more likely to open your emails during the holiday, according to an article. So why not reward them for opening your emails during this busy time by adding an element of fun or anticipation? And marketers send more email at this time of year too, increasing your inbox competition. Wouldn’t you like your email to be the one people are searching for in their crowded inboxes?

With those happy thoughts in mind, consider these 5 reasons to change your one-off approach to holiday email marketing to a series approach instead.

Reason 1: People love stories
You’ve probably seen the Elf on a Shelf pictures by now. And think of all the stories traditionally told at this time of year, from “The Velveteen Rabbit” to, of course, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.” If stories aren’t your thing, you probably have holiday movies you watch every year at this time. I know at our house, it’s not the holidays without “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story.” So why not tap into that yearning for holiday stories by doing your holiday email marketing that way? Each email could present one part of the story, and the story can still hawk your wares.

Let’s use horse stuff as an example, since I get almost daily emails from A storyline might be centered on Wilbur, the horse in the barn wondering what all of the fuss is about while the barn gets decorated in one email, feeling the chill through his too-thin blanket as the nights get colder in another email, and so on until he gets the extra warm blanket as a gift. Each of these emails can tell a little bit of a story, while still marketing’s products. Customers like me would be hooked on the emails, eagerly awaiting the one to find out what happens to our heroic horse. And just consider the potential of the subject lines to get people’s interest as they watch for the next installment!

Reason 2: It adds an element of fun
Holiday email marketing should be fun for the consumer and for you the marketer. It’s the holidays, after all, and that means it’s an inherently stressful time. Let’s lighten things up a bit for our subscribers with some fun holiday email marketing that takes the customer from one email to the next. The whole “12 days of Christmas” theme is a little overdone now, but there are plenty of other ways to do your holiday email marketing as a fun series of emails. How about a “Where’s Waldo” approach, with subscribers looking for something hidden in each email, and when they find it and click on it, it takes them to a coupon? Or maybe each email has one piece of some kind of puzzle or riddle and at the end of the series, the customer finally gets to see it all put together? The sky is the limit here, and the goal is fun!

Reason 3: It builds anticipation
When was the last time you were excited to check your email inbox? I mean lately. Sure, we used to get excited about email before texting and Facebook messaging and Snapchat. But now we keep up with our friends via those channels, not email. So…when was the last time you were actually excited about checking your inbox? When was the last time AOL’s little “You’ve got mail” actually meant something?

Sadly, you’re not the only jaded one. Getting excited about email now is about the same as getting excited about paying the household bills.

Make your holiday email marketing into a series, however, and you might bring back a little of that anticipation to the inbox experience! There are so many possible storylines and themes that my head is spinning with ideas. How about a kitchen wares business stocking a kitchen throughout the series of emails? The first could feature a picture of an empty kitchen and then go through the essentials, showing the recently added items with each new email. (And think how compelling that might be with a storyline that told the tale of the empty kitchen?) Or each email could have a different color scheme or decorating theme for the kitchen? Or a hair accessories business could feature a different hairdo each email with lots of build up for the next one with messaging like, “If you like Sally’s updo, just wait until you see Brenda’s!”

Reason 4: People are expecting a countdown
Speaking of anticipation, there is something about the holidays that invites a countdown. People countdown the days until Christmas and Advent calendars are as popular as ever. Even if the grownups aren’t doing a countdown, the kids are! Make your holiday email marketing into a series with some kind of countdown to tie into this mindset. It will not only help to build anticipation; it will give your emails a sense of urgency too.

Reason 5: You’ll stand out
While the big box hardware store is sending out emails promoting random items like power tools and small appliances, like machine gun fire hitting customers’ inboxes every other day, your holiday email marketing series can stand out as something cohesive, as each email message picks up where the other left off. That alone will differentiate you in the inbox, but so will the story telling, anticipation, countdown and other elements that are possible with an email marketing series.

Halloween only just happened, but the holidays will be upon us before you can say “boo.” Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us and the holiday email marketing is in full swing, take a step back and consider the idea of a series rather than a staccato approach. Your customers might enjoy it more, and you might just enjoy it more too.

Published On: November 5th, 2015Categories: Email marketing best practicesTags: ,

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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