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6 Stellar Ways to Automate Holiday Marketing Emails to Drive Engagement

By Jennifer Bowman | October 8, 2020

It’s October, and holiday marketing and advertising are in full swing. Many brands rely on email marketing during the holiday season to communicate their sales and promotions to their customers, as well as create and send content that converts prospects into buyers. When you automate holiday marketing emails, not only do you increase touchpoints with customers and prospects, you save yourself time so you can sip on cocoa.

Email marketing has been a cornerstone of many marketer’s holiday strategies for years. This year, due to COVID-19, it’s expected to play an even bigger role than usual. Though most brick and mortar stores have reopened across the country, most in-store shopping has limited capacity, so retailers are relying heavily on online sales and eCommerce. According to NetImperative/Rakuten, a whopping 73% of holiday shoppers reported that they would purchase primarily online this holiday season.

With such a high amount of potential traffic, it’s important to have a strong strategy for your customers and prospects. Instead of custom-crafting each and every touchpoint, one of the best things you can do as a marketer to save time and still drive results is to incorporate automated emails into your repertoire.

So, in anticipation of a busier holiday season than usual for our fellow marketers, we put together a list of six ways you can automate holiday marketing emails to drive engagement—and sales.

6 Ways to Automate Holiday Marketing Emails to Drive Engagement

1. Make Your Marketing Automation Work for You

Marketing automation is a crucial component of successful marketing campaigns and yet is more often than not under-utilized. With so many programs available — Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, MailChimp…the list goes on — it’s become easier than ever to implement marketing automation.

Email is one of the best parts of marketing automation. When you have a robust CRM, full of customers and prospects, and you know their location, interests, demographics, and behaviors, you’re able to craft emails that will reach the right people with the right message at the right time. Additionally, personalized automated emails are one of the best ways to boost your email open rates and engagement.

So, this holiday season set yourself up for success by creating marketing automation emails that work for you. One of the best ways to automate holiday marketing emails is to set up abandoned cart automation workflows. With so many sales and promotions, shoppers are rife for adding items to their carts, only to just abandon them — with reasons unknown. Maybe shipping was too high? Maybe they didn’t want to spend that much?

To help drive engagement and sales, you can create an email that is triggered once a customer leaves your site and abandons their cart. Sweeten the deal and increase chances of engagement by including a promo code for a percentage off their total or free shipping. After all, 79% of US consumers said free shipping would make them more likely to shop online.

2. Welcome New Subscribers

With an increase in traffic and shoppers, you should also expect to see your email subscriber list grow. A way to automate holiday marketing emails for these new subscribers is to create an email series welcoming them to your brand.

Not only do welcome emails make your brand appear more personable and friendly, but they also tend to have a higher open rate that makes them very effective.

welcome email example Harry's

Image via Instapage

This example from Harry’s is great because it is short, to the point, and has a call-to-action that encourages exploration and engagement. It also has a fun fact at the end, and who doesn’t love fun facts?

For other ideas on must-send welcome emails, check our top five examples to send to blog subscribers.

3. Create a Drip Campaign with Holiday Content

You can take the most straightforward approach and automate holiday marketing emails with a drip campaign of holiday content. For example, if you’ve created a piece of holiday content—like an ebook or a guide—that generates leads, create a special drip campaign that highlights other holiday content you’ve created.

These email drips can highlight blog posts or customer success stories that address the holidays. An email that links to a customer success story of how a brand used your solution to drive sales over the holidays is pure gold for B2B marketers. And not only do these email drips help you engage with your audience, but it also allows you to get your holiday content in front of more eyes.

The holidays also offer a unique time for marketers to toy with their email imagery and create fun, festive designs that they normally wouldn’t. Have fun as you consider different ways to grab your subscribers’ attention — just be careful to not stray too far from your brand!

4. Send RSS-Based Emails to Engage with Customers

An often-overlooked strategy and way to automate holiday marketing emails is to send RSS-based emails to drive engagement with your customers and prospects. Your blog is chock-full of great content just waiting to be shared with the world, so why not set up RSS-based emails to automatically send whenever you publish new content?

You can also use these RSS-based emails as part of the drip strategy we mentioned above! A great content marketing tool that you can use to automate these emails is FeedOtter. FeedOtter reduces errors and increases your website traffic no matter what software you use to send emails using the RSS feed from your company website.

5. Promote Sales through Different Holidays

It goes without saying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest drivers of email engagement and sales. But there are quite a few lesser-advertised holidays that you can use to automate holiday marketing emails. Giving Tuesday, Small Business Saturday, Hannukah, New Year’s, and even Friendsgiving are all opportunities for you to create an email for automation to promote an upcoming sale. Yes, Friendsgiving — Each year, it’s gaining more and more traction as a marketing holiday, as seen in our example below.


thanksgiving email campaigns

Image via Campaign Monitor

6. Send a Gift

Another way to automate holiday marketing emails is to send an email gift to your most loyal subscribers and customers — or all of your customers! And we don’t mean an actual gift — more so a gift in the form of a promo code, in-store coupon, free shipping, or rewards for referring friends to your brand. Make sure whatever email you decide to send is of worth and value to your customer or prospect. Otherwise, you run the risk of being tossed in the virtual trash can or worse — the customer unsubscribes.

The best practice to avoid the dreaded ‘unsubscribe’ would be to segment your target audience and send them a personalized, relevant offer based on their past interactions with your brand. For example, sending an in-store coupon to someone who only makes online purchases would not be a useful gift for your customer to receive.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it! Six tried-and-true ways to automate holiday marketing emails to help you drive engagement and sales this holiday season. Be sure to check out our post on B2B content marketing tactics to try in Q4 for more ideas!

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