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It’s the busiest online shopping season of the year and solid ecommerce email marketing can make all the difference. With countless online retailers vying for your customers’ attention, you need to be strategic about your messaging to achieve optimal results. Pay close attention to these five factors in your messaging for an explosive fourth quarter.

Ecommerce Email Marketing for the Holiday Season

1. Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines
2. Converting the Coveted Ecommerce Email Marketing Click-Through
3. Shift the Focus to Holiday Gifting
4. Email Discounts and Deals
5. Utilize the Ecommerce Email Marketing Tools Your Platform Provides

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ecommerce email marketing for holidays - festive celestial pinterest graphic

1. Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines

Don’t think that your newsletter will be the only one in subscribers’ promotion inboxes. This time of year, online shopping is huge, and the ecommerce email marketing competition is fierce.

Use your subject lines and preview text to get attention, entertain, and entice potential customers to click through. By using humor, urgency, and specifically pointing out the value of the email’s content, you’re more likely to achieve a higher open rate.

At the same time, make sure your messaging doesn’t come across as spammy. Email marketing software like Active Campaign offers spam checks as you build your emails, looking at your subject lines to see if they are likely to get targeted by spam filters.

In general, avoid large block caps text in your subjects lines (HUGE SALE) and excessive use of exclamation points, i.e. Click to BUY NOW!!!

A person writes at a typewriter. Getting the right messaging for your eCommerce email marketing is crucial to a successful holiday season.

2. Converting the Coveted Ecommerce Email Marketing Click-Through

Big brands and businesses will be serving up competitive discounts throughout the season, so your newsletter copy really matters here.

While it’s great to highlight a product, pay extra close attention to how you frame your message. By highlighting what makes your products unique, you can remind customers of their inherent value, compared to other retailers.

Another great technique to use this time of year is writing blog posts and guides. Let’s say that you run an online home decor boutique. Blogging about modern holiday decorating allows you to show off your expertise while plugging your exclusive products.

Gift guides allow you to highlight your own top sellers, as well as brands that you’ve partnered with. Speaking of gifts, the holidays are a great excuse to target your messaging to the specific time of year.

Christmas decor and CHristmas cards. Using seasonal content to bring people to your site through ecommerce email marketing.

3. Shift the Focus to Holiday Gifting

It’s not uncommon for small businesses to talk about holiday cheer, and even offer seasonal sales, but drop the ball on a key messaging element when it comes to ecommerce email marketing. The focus of your email should shift to gifting, rather than simply buying. It’s a small tweak with major consequences.

Throughout most of the year, we’re primarily shopping for ourselves. We don’t necessarily think about what other people might want, because we’re responsible for fulfilling our own needs. But, at the holidays, this changes, and when a product transforms into a gift, the number of possible recipients rises exponentially.

Remember: there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Offering BOGO discounts allow customers to buy a gift and get a little something for themselves as well.

A person presents a christmas gift with outstretched hand. Shifting your tone is a great way to make ecommerce email marketing more effective during the holidays.

4. Email Discounts and Deals

We’ve talked about the ups and downs of offering deals and discounts in the past, and the holidays are a perfectly appropriate and effective time to use them. Use special offers to appeal to customers, and set time limits to create a sense of urgency and increase conversions.

If you’re worried that not enough customers will be able to act in time, don’t worry. You can always create another sale in the holiday season, or offer a different type of savings.

Free shipping at the beginning of December, for example, can drive sales, while ensuring that packages will arrive well before the holiday.

Sale signage, because deals and discounts can enhance your eCommerce email marketing

5. Utilize the Ecommerce Email Marketing Tools Your Platform Provides

Most businesses increase their outreach this time of year, and it’s a good strategy to rake in extra holiday sales. However, if you take advantage of the tools your platform offers, you’ll have something equally valuable as you begin the new year: cold, hard data.

Make sure that all of your tracking and testing options are live, so you can reflect on this season and use it to have an even better holiday season next year.

This is a great time to build your email list to grow your repeat business in the new year. Make sure to capture emails at checkout, or consider offering a discount to customers that sign up for your email list, as in this example from Kirkland:

Sample lead magnet image. eCommerce email marketing relies heavily on growing your subscribers.

These tips should help you to maximize the ROI of your ecommerce email marketing efforts this holiday season. Remember, every December offers lessons for your business. As it grows and expands, you’ll be better equipped to reach more customers and earn more profits, each year.

About the author

Tara Storozynsky

Tara lives in Portland, Oregon. She writes about the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, after a decade of working in the food, tech, and wellness industries. Her work has been featured by American Artists Watercolor Magazine,, and others. Aside from writing content and copy, Tara is also a social media strategist.


  1. Tara Storozynsky

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your insightful, challenging comment! It’s true that if a business if doing well, it’s not going to be in the same place at the holiday season that it was a year ago. That being said, this busy season can provide a lot of data. From the best week days to contact subscribers, to which coupons led to more sales, there’s a plethora of insight to be gained. However, as you said, it’s worth taking with a grain of salt, if your business has evolved dramatically over the year. This information can help you craft a superior strategy, but it doesn’t mean that you should exclusively market based on those results. Try new things, experiment, and keep pushing your business to its best each year!

  2. Andrew F

    Do you think email marketing campaign results are really relevant a year later? i don’t know about that.

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