October 9, 2018 By BJ Cook,
No, it is not too late to plan and create a successful email marketing campaign for the holidays. According to Salesforce 2018 prediction, this holiday season will see a peak in orders during Cyber Monday, and nearly half of the traffic to websites will be driven by mobile devices. To see more 2018 holiday prediction check out our recent article How to drive traffic and conversions this holiday season.

Now that we’ve checked-up on our predictions let’s dive into our 5 tips to create a successful (last minute) email marketing campaign.


When creating your email marketing campaign for the holidays you want the deck stacked in your favor. By emailing your list during the year you have accumulated a tremendous amount of information on your customers/prospects. Q4 is the perfect time to apply that knowledge.

If you don’t feel like you know who is part of your list and how they want to be reached you might want to look at your historical data, specifically, your basic email metrics such as open rate, click rate, click through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes. Now, instead of looking at them one by one try to have a birds-eye view to try to spot trends, some of the questions you might want to ask yourself would be:

  • What day do people prefer to be emailed?
  • What time of the day?
  • What format of the subject line generated the best open rate?
  • What email format generated the most engagement/orders?
  • What type of content generated the most clicks?

Once you have the answers to those questions you can start on tip #2.


You saw it coming, didn’t you? Our second piece of advice is segmentation, by understanding the specific characteristics that differentiate each group of your list, you can tailor the content of your campaigns to each individual segment and significantly increase your conversions.

MailChimp sampled about 2,000 users of their platform who are using segmentation and reported that segmented campaigns had open rates that were 14.37% higher, clicks that were 64.78% higher, and 8.98% lower unsubscribe rates than non-segmented campaigns by the same users.

Results from list segmentation Image via Optinmonster

There are different ways you can segment your list, you can create groups by:

  • Demographic
  • Purchase history
  • Click-through Rate
  • Type of purchase
  • Website activities
  • Open rate

Now that you know who you are talking to and have created different groups of people with similar traits and/or interests, it’s time to find the right type of content.


As our Marketing Director, here at Digital Operative, would tell you: “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful, you can repurpose old content and bring it into the new year with you.” -Jenny Chelsey, Director of Digital Marketing.

If you created good content during the year (or last year) that generated engagement and encouraged your customers to take action, refreshing that content and sending it to your list might help you find a good balance between promotional and educational emails.

The power of repurposing content is undeniable, not only will it save you time and effort but it will allow you to reach new audiences (with content that has proven to be interesting and engaging to your personas), reinforce your message, and allow you to delight your customers by providing free resources they may have missed.

If you are interested in reading more on content repurposing, Hubspot published a great article on 12 Examples of Strategic Content Repurposing.


Responsive designs are not just an “option” anymore, you want to provide the best experience possible for your customers when they interact with your content, and part of it is to make sure they can see your emails correctly and interact with all the different links.

According to Litmus 2017 Email Client Market Share, 47% of email is now opened on a mobile device. If your emails aren’t currently responsive and you don't have a developer at your disposal, these tips can help you keep it streamlined and simple:

  • Use a single column layout (see image below)
  • Create a minimalist design
  • Create a user-friendly navigation and noticeable CTA buttons
  • Choose compact images with proper alt-text

Example of single column layout Image via Campaign Monitor


Email automation can take away a lot of the stress and help save you time, once you have created an email series and scheduled the campaign all you have to do is monitor its progress and make sure it’s running smoothly. Now all that’s left is to watch it generate revenue.

As you prepare your holiday campaign schedule, here are five email series you could use:

  • Season’s greetings: Let your customers know you wish them well, and that you’re celebrating the holidays right along with them by wishing them a happy Thanksgiving/Holiday Season.
  • Seasonalized newsletter: Let your customers know about key dates coming up to get them excited about upcoming events, offers, holiday specials, holiday shopping guide, etc.
  • Welcome email: Quite possibly the most common type of automated message, welcome emails should be sent all year long and the holidays are the perfect time to refresh your messaging!
  • Retail holiday promotions & micro holidays: Make sure you have promotional emails and offers scheduled to be sent out in advance of major sales days such as Black Friday (Nov. 24) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 27) but you could also take advantage of micro holiday like Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25), Giving Tuesday (Nov. 28), Green Monday (Dec. 11) and Free Shipping Day (Dec.15).
  • Help for last-minute shoppers: Provide a helping hand to your customers by scheduling a reminder email, letting them know which day they have to place their orders to ensure on-time delivery.

That’s it! You’re all set to tackle your 2018 email marketing program!

Need help setting-up or auditing your current email program for 2019? Digital Operative is a full-service agency that focuses on KPIs to grow your business through more conversions. Book a time to talk about our Email Marketing Program.

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