Fa la la la la! It’s the most wonderful time of the year: holiday marketing planning. It’s time to draft those email subject lines, finalize the copy for your social posts and decide what deals to highlight. Ah, the magic of the season!

Already, 40 percent of people have started their holiday shopping, according to research from the National Retail Federation. More people will be choosing to shop online this year, as eMarketer predicts e-commerce sales will increase 15.3 percent.

That works out for you! If you start your social ads in October, you’ll get more impressions for less money.

But as marketers, you know it’s your emails that drive most of your conversions. Research shows that 66 percent of people have made a purchase after getting a marketing message on email compared to just 20 percent of people on social.

As you’re finalizing your holiday marketing emails, make your content stronger than ever by avoiding what annoys people the most! Instead, opt for the best practices below.


Note: All research unless otherwise specified is from Yes Lifecyle Marketing’s analysis of nearly 8 billion emails sent in Q4 of 2017.

Email too much. Hands down, people agree that this is the most annoying feature of email marketing, according to 2017 eMarketer data. Emails increase 15 percent during the holiday season. In response, people open 15 percent fewer messages! Reduce the number of emails you send and improve the quality.

Push the wrong products. Data shows that this is what frustrates people the most.33 percent of shoppers will avoid shopping at retails that recommend them nonsensical items, found eMarketer research.

"Nearly 90% of organizations say they are focused on personalizing customer experiences, yet only 40% of shoppers say that information they get from retailers is relevant to their tastes and interests," said Brendan Witcher, a principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in a Wall Street Journal article.

Before you send out what you think is personalized email, make sure it’s based on the readers’ taste and items they’ve viewed or expressed interest in. Otherwise, you might lose them for good!

Forget about the holiday! While you may be thinking about sales, sales, sales, your customers are trying to soak up the holiday spirit. If you send an email out on Thanksgiving or Christmas, avoid conversions. Instead, lead with a message of gratitude.


Start Black Friday early. Debut significant deals (especially those that feature limited quantities) on Tuesday. That’s the day with the highest conversion rate. If you’d still like to send an email on Friday, remove the offer from the subject line. Surprisingly, those messages had the highest open and click-through-rates.

Extend Cyber Monday. Slashing prices? If it’s over 50 percent, include it in the subject line. Fewer people will open your email, but a staggering 18 percent will convert. If you want another way to stand out, advertise an extension of your sale on Tuesday. Your open rate will increase as will your clicks.

Be helpful. As Christmas gets closer, people start to get fatigued with the barrage of emails! To break through the noise, stick to practical info. People want to know when the last day they can order and have their gift in time with regular and expedited shipping.

Double dip on offers. Emails with "free shipping" in the subject line are opened much more than the typical holiday email. For this magic to work, you’ve got to showcase a “percent off” within the email itself. Then, the conversion rate is over 50 percent!