With the increased number of emails hitting our inbox this season, we figure it’s high time time to share some holiday season and sale newsletters that gave us a happy glow.
Marketers frequently break the mould for sale emails, creating bold messages with simple graphics. Holiday emails, on the other hand, are all over the map. Some are sentimental, while others look like garish holiday catalogues.
Photo by flickr member Hiro – Kokoro☆Photo
Given how crucial holiday emails are to generating seasonal sales, we recommend going with what has historically worked best for your audience. If you’re audience likes tacky, roll with it. If they don’t, turn out something that you know will resonate. Your takeaway: email content doesn’t have to contain the usual holiday themes to push subscribers’ warm and fuzzy gifting buttons.
The bulk of holiday emails we’re seeing are image-oriented, emphasizing big, shiny jpegs over text. We want to remind you that text in emails is also very important; HTML emails that include a few sentences HTML text will improve your deliverability. But popular holiday content is traditionally more about quickly getting your products in front of subscribers to elicit a quick response. As a result, best practices are often sidelined.
Below, we’re sharing some of the holiday and sale season emails that made our hearts beat a little faster.
Lost My Name: An email you can read to the kids
When you’re in the business of creating personalized children’s books, why not make a newsletter that the kids (and parents) are going to get into? Personalized book publisher Lost My Name went the extra mile by introducing us to some of the world’s weirdest holiday personalities… including Santa Claus. Interspersed with delightful illustrations, you really can read this one to the kids… and anyone who doesn’t laugh gets coal in his stocking.
BHLDN: Fill in the adorable blanks
We love it when hipster brands stop posturing for a minute and tell us how they really feel. Chalk it up to the holiday spirit, or a glass of that designer gin everybody is talking about. Either way, we genuinely felt all sweet and tingly as this gif cycled through its little wishes. If that isn’t enough, check out the sweetness in its closing sentence.
While this email doesn’t directly sell, we stand behind the impulse to not always deliver the hard sell, and instead send a heartfelt message to your subscribers every once in awhile.
Just a reminder: an all-image, no-text email has a much higher likelihood of getting caught in the dark pit of phishing filters, regardless of the well wishes. Create something this cute at your own risk… and make sure to redeem yourself with some creative alt text.
Need Supply: Old school
We wouldn’t be geeks if we didn’t find this brilliantly simple Cyber Monday message kind of sweet. It’s like everyone went to bed and left a lonely 286 to remind us that we should be shopping. We’d be tickled if this was a superbly designed HTML email… sadly, it’s a jpeg. Fashion retailer Need Supply took the stripped-down sale email to its logical extreme, creating something 100% unbranded. Maybe the robots are in charge after all.
Moment: Gifter’s block
While not super original, every bit of this email is carefully crafted. It stands out next to the usual glut of loud, product-stuffed gift guides and holiday emails. Everyone draws a blank finding a gift for that one particular human. Played right, blank page becomes a blank slate of opportunity. The text below may only be there to meet industry best practices, but we nonetheless appreciate the heartfelt message and thank you note.
Nest: Precious snowflakes
Way to make your cute technology look even cuter, Nest. In this adorbs holiday newsletter, even the creepy security camera has personality. Add some warm and nurturing copy into the mix and you have a holiday email that makes it almost okay to buy your special friend a thermostat controller for Xmas.
Note that this type of background image may not appear on all email clients. Make sure you have a good fallback for subscribers who are using Outlook. And of course, include some sexy alt texts to encourage people to display these festive little devices.
It’s easy to crank out the same old holiday content year after year. Add some bows, a few sparkly snowflakes, quote from a carol and you’ve got a holiday email.
Not so fast…
The key to a great holiday newsletter is not green and white: it’s evoking magic — however that comes to you. A big part of that magic comes from understanding what will inspire your subscribers to open, click and buy.
All the newsletters featured here (well, except the Cyber Monday robot one) share a warm and joyous tone. More than playing with classic holiday themes and images, each succeeds at extracting a feeling of togetherness with their content — whether directed at parents and kids, photography geeks, fellow robots or protective homeowners.