Email Marketing: Increase Your Holiday Conversions with These Tips

Written by: Chris Donald

Published on: 10-26-2018

Chris is Managing Partner at InboxArmy and has more than 25 years of experience in email marketing

The holidays are fast approaching! It’s that time of year when nearly everyone is scrambling to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, which means it’s likely also that time of year when your business sees its heaviest online traffic and profits.

In fact, the National Retail Foundation estimates holiday sales represent 30% of a business’s annual sales. So, how can you capitalize on the season of spending? Increasing your web conversions even just slightly can have a tremendously positive effect on your bottom line. Let’s take a look at how you can take your holiday sales from so-so to so GREAT with these tips for upping your conversions!


Your usual segmentation/targeting of email campaigns and automations most likely needs to be reviewed for the holidays. Since we tend to segment/target based on buying habits, those historical buying habits will go out the window when it comes to holiday shopping: Most people are shopping for others this time of year, so everything is on the table. To solve for this, employ a broader segmentation strategy that accounts for gift buying situations where the customer is purchasing products they usually wouldn’t. You can avail our proficient email marketing services in case you are stuck anywhere.

Consider creating segments based on buyers from last year’s holiday season—chances are, many of them will be buying for the same people. Send messages to these new segments that remind customers of their purchases. If those gifts made their friends and family happy, you’ll have a better chance of additional purchases this year. Send out a “Thanks for buying from us last year!” message and offer a special discount to repeat customers.

Don’t Forget Your Inactive (Holiday-Only) Buyers

As you pour over your historical data, you just might find that some people only shop with you during the holidays. As an example, you may shop at “XYZ Retailer” during the holidays but rarely during other times of the year. This means you’re likely considered “inactive” on “XYZ Retailer’s” mailing list, since you haven’t purchased in nearly a year. And if you’re inactive, you won’t receive any marketing messages from the company—especially those promotional emails geared specifically toward holiday shoppers. As a retailer, strategize differently for your holiday sends and bring your inactives back into the fold. If you’re concerned about bounces or bad email addresses since you haven’t mailed to these folks in so long, consider running your list through a list-cleaning service (see resources below) before sending out any messages.

Cart Abandonment

All online retailers should have cart abandonment messages set up, but how can you take advantage of this automation during the holidays? If you’re using the standard 3-message set up (with email 1 deploying one hour after abandonment, email 2 deploying 24 hours after abandonment, and email 3 deploying 48 hours after abandonment), it likely won’t be as effective during this busy shopping season.

Why’s that? Around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, retailers tend to run a lot of 24-hour sales, with many including countdown timers within their messages to create a sense of urgency. So, you might see the problem with a standard cart-abandonment program: a 3-message stream over 48 hours doesn’t work for a 24-hour sale, and it can even backfire when users realize their items are no longer available at the 24-hour sale price.

Consider setting up a second or even third cart-abandonment program that you can toggle between during the holidays, one with a 24-hour timeline and another with a 48-hour timeline. Consider rules based on timing during the sale to allow for at least 2 abandoned-cart messages to be delivered, and think about incorporating the same countdown timer you have in your sale messages in your Cart Abandon messaging; this will create a sense of urgency and should increase conversions at a higher rate.  We’ve seen really good results with this tactic.

Test, Test, and Test Again

As with any email-marketing advice you receive, always be sure to test, test, test!  See what works for your business and refine it as needed. Good luck this holiday season, and may your revenues reach new heights!

Final Thoughts

Holiday season is the most profitable time of the year. These tips will guide you to create better emails that will woo more customers for you and bring greater revenue during the holiday.

About Author

Chris sent his first email campaign in 1995. He’s worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government agencies in all facets of their email marketing and marketing automation programs. He’s also a BIG baseball fan, loves a good steak, and is mildly obsessed with zombie movies. For more information follow him on linkedin

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