The holiday season is upon us, and that means one thing for email marketers: it's time to ramp up those holiday promotions! We've all received a barrage of holiday emails from retailers, so how can you make sure that your holiday email marketing efforts stand out in the sea of holiday cheer?

While competition may be high, there are a few tried and true tactics to make sure your holiday email promotions shine. In this article, we'll cover five types of automated email flows that will help you boost holiday sales and drive customer engagement.

So grab a cup of hot cocoa and cozy up, because it's time to get holiday email marketing ready.

What are automated email flows?

Simply put, they are a series of automated emails that are triggered based on specific actions or behaviors from your customers. These flows can be set up in advance and run throughout the holiday season, allowing you to focus on other holiday tasks while still effectively engaging with your customers.

The most exciting part of automated email flows? They can truly be tailored to fit any holiday promotion or campaign. And they run on their own, freeing up valuable time for you and your team during the holiday rush.

Here are some of our favorites to get you started this holiday season.

1. Countdown emails

A series of countdown emails leading up to the big day(s) can get your subscribers excited for holiday deals. These can showcase sneak peeks at promotions or discounts, building anticipation for the main event. This can also be a great opportunity to highlight key holiday products or deals, giving customers a preview of what they can expect.

For example,  a clothing retailer can send countdown emails featuring holiday party attire or cozy winter essentials. Or a home goods store can tease holiday decor and gift ideas. The sky's the limit!

You could structure this to run for a week or even a whole month leading up to holiday sales events. This can also work for holiday-specific campaigns, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Here's a sample timeline you could play around with:

  • 5 days before holiday sales event: Tease the upcoming deals
  • 3 days before holiday sales event: Highlight key holiday products
  • 1 day before holiday sales event: Reminder for the big day
  • Day of holiday sales event: Promote any last-minute deals or discounts

By doing this, you're not only building excitement for holiday promotions, but also providing helpful reminders and prompts for customers to shop with your brand. Just be mindful not to spam your subscribers—find a balance between teasing holiday promotions and providing valuable content or offers.

2. Abandoned cart emails

Did someone add a holiday gift or item to their shopping cart, but never complete the purchase? Send a friendly reminder with an abandoned cart email flow. These can feature the item left in the cart, as well as complementary products or holiday deals. This is a great opportunity to offer a special discount or free shipping to encourage customers to return to your store and finish their purchase.

Just like the countdown flow, this could be tailored to holiday-specific sales events. For example, sending abandoned cart emails on Black Friday or Cyber Monday with special discounts for those days.

Here's a sample abandoned cart email flow timeline:

  • 1 hour after abandoned cart: Send a gentle reminder about the item left in the cart
  • 24 hours after abandoned cart: Offer a special discount as an incentive to complete the purchase
  • 48 hours after abandoned cart: Send a final reminder and prompt for holiday gift shopping

By setting up several reminders, you're giving customers the nudge they may need to finish their holiday shopping with your brand.

3. Gift guide emails

These can feature holiday must-haves, top sellers, or even suggestions based on past purchases.

Brands like Kate Spade have popularized gift guides, curating the most popular items to make the shopping experience easier. This is a great opportunity for holiday gifting and can also lead to more sales for your brand. You would only need to create a specific page on your website listing out these items.

You can send these as part of a holiday email flow, featuring new additions or deals on items to the gift guide. Or, send a standalone email promoting the list and providing easy ways for customers to access and share it.

Here's a sample holiday email flow for promoting a gift guide:

  • 1 week before holiday sales events: Introduce and promote the holiday gift guide as an easy way for people to do their holiday shopping
  • 3 days before holiday sales event: Highlight top holiday gifts from the guide
  • Day of holiday sales events: Reminder to finalize holiday shopping with items from the gift guide

Don't forget to include easy ways for customers to share their wish list or gift guide. This can encourage holiday shopping with your brand, as well as word-of-mouth promotion. You could also add special notes for specific items to increase urgency, such as notifying customers when an item is about to sell out.

4. Personalized holiday greetings

Personalization is key in email marketing, and sending these holiday greetings is a great way to stand out from the holiday marketing noise. This can be as simple as including the recipient's first name in the subject line or greeting them by name in the email copy.

You can turn this into an automated email flow, sending holiday greetings at the beginning or end of the holiday season. Or, send as a one-off email to customers who have recently made a purchase or engaged with your brand.

For example, this is a simple email flow that you can use to send personalized holiday greetings:

  • 1 week before holiday sales events: Send holiday greeting to recent customers
  • 3 days before holiday sales event: Send holiday greeting to engaged subscribers
  • Day of holiday sales events: Send holiday greeting to all remaining subscribers

When crafting holiday greeting emails, add a personal touch by including images of your team or office holiday decorations. You can also promote specials or deals for holiday shopping, and thank customers for their continued support.

You can even take that personalization to the next level with meaningful insights from past purchases. For example, sending holiday greetings with recommendations for similar or complementary products based on past purchases. This holiday email will show that you not only care about your customers, but also have a deeper understanding of their interests and preferences.

These types of messages are a great way to build holiday cheer and strengthen customer relationships during the busy holiday season. It's also an opportunity to drive holiday sales and boost engagement with your brand.

5. Post-holiday follow-up emails

These emails are a great opportunity to thank customers for their holiday purchases and offer any post-holiday promotions or sales.

You can also use post-holiday emails as an opportunity to gather customer feedback, whether through surveys or reviews. This can not only help improve your holiday email marketing strategies for the future, but also provide social proof for potential customers.

Here's a sample holiday email flow for post-holiday follow-up:

  • 1 week after holiday sales events: Thank customers for their holiday purchases and offer any post-holiday promotions or sales
  • 3 weeks after holiday sales event: Send survey or invite customers to leave a review
  • 6 weeks after holiday sales event: Final holiday follow up, with potential promotional offer for future purchases.

Including post-holiday follow-up emails in your holiday email marketing strategy can not only boost sales and gather valuable customer feedback, but also improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. It’s win-win.

The importance of automation for holiday email marketing

Regardless of what your plans are for this holiday season, automating your holiday email marketing can save time and improve efficiency. This could include setting up automated holiday greetings or post-holiday follow-ups, as well as abandoned cart emails for holiday shoppers. At the end of the day, it could mean the difference between holiday email success and holiday email overwhelm.

So, take the time to set up holiday email automation and focus on what matters most during the holiday season - connecting with your customers. Using tools like Automizely, you can easily set up holiday email automation flows and track their performance.

Try it for yourself and see the holiday email marketing magic happen!