Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, many consumers are bombarded with emails, offers, sales and promotions from all of the different products and services they use or have used. This makes it pretty challenging to differentiate yourself from competitors and get consumers to purchase your products and services over others, especially if it becomes just another annoying email in their inbox during a time of year that everyone is stressed and short on time. One way to stand out amongst your competitors is through your content. So, ‘tis the season…to improve your holiday messaging! Let’s focus on email marketing, one of the most popular ways to communicate to consumers.

1. Use your CRM to Customize Holiday Messages

Having a CRM system is an absolute must. The software allows you to store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and opportunities in one central location. This system will segment your consumers into various categories such as a product of interest, gender, and location. For example, let’s say you manage an apparel store. When you’re developing your campaign, you’re able to differentiate your holiday offers to folks in Florida (think bathing suits and beach towels) versus those in New York (winter hats and mittens!) The ability to specifically target these individuals will give you a higher success rate when closing sales this holiday season.

2. Pay Particular Attention to Writing Email Subject Lines

A strong subject line should entice the recipient to open your email. This is more important during the holiday season when consumers are receiving a higher number in their inbox. An even stronger, relevant subject line will more likely lead to the recipient clicking-through to your website or whatever call-to-action you use. A few things to consider when developing these subject lines:

  • Sense of urgency: “Act now!” or “Limited time offer!”
  • Curiosity: “I called. You didn’t answer.”
  • Offers or promotions: “Get 50% off your first month of service this holiday season.”
  • Relevance and timeliness: “What’s missing from your Thanksgiving dinner?”
  • Personalization: “Chris, we know you’re interested.”

3. Use Marketing Personalization Wherever You See Fit

Just as we mentioned personalization in subject lines, it also doesn’t hurt to include this strategy in your email content. It’s been reported that only 5 percent of companies use personalization. This is a pretty low number for an effective technique! Personalization doesn’t need to just be the recipient’s name. There are many other ways to personalize your emails:

  • Ask questions. Pose 2-3 questions that will lead the recipient down the path they want to go. For example, “what areas of digital marketing could your business use help with? Social media, SEO or PPC?”
  • Location and time. Not all of your customers live in the same area. Make use of your customer data to send out your emails at a time that makes sense. For example, 7 AM Eastern time may be effective in New York, but most likely will not be effective in California.
  • Behavioral triggered emails. These types of emails can be automated and triggered real-time based on reactions to how your customers are using your product.

4. Focus on Smartly Targeted Call-to-Actions and Landing Pages

Having a strong CTA that directs the consumer to exactly what you’d like them to do is important. More and more consumers are shopping online during the holidays. Use that to your advantage by linking your CTA directly to the featured product.

Make sure you’re using strong verbs, such as “Sign Up,” “Buy Now,” or “Take a Demo.” If you can add in words that provoke emotion or enthusiasm, that’s even better. Don’t forget to make the CTA stand out creatively, either through a button or bright color, like Spotify example below.

5. Create Promotions that Will Grab Your Customers’ Attention and Sell

Gift-giving holidays are all about promotions, offers and deals. The holidays are your opportunity to go above and beyond what your customers already experience from other retailers. Think of more exclusive offers you haven’t communicated to your customers yet. Maybe it’s free shipping or guaranteed shipping before the holidays. Or maybe it’s an extra marketing service with the purchase of a year contract. Know what your audience values, and add that to your content.

6. Use High-Quality, Personalized Photography Instead of Bad Stock Photography

Messaging doesn’t have to be the only thing you improve this holiday season. Get rid of the cliched holiday photography and consider including impactful imagery that supports your messaging, even if it’s non-product-related. Although your goal may be to sell, you want to capture and retain your recipient’s attention, and impactful photography is one way to make this happen.

Be relevant, impactful and a little creative this holiday season! Use these six above tips to improve your messaging this holiday season and stand out amongst your competitors.


Jeanna Barrett is the Founder & Chief Strategist of First Page, an award-winning online marketer and an expat entrepreneur. Through content, social media and SEO, Jeanna uses the power of words and data to drive growth in brand awareness, organic traffic, leads, revenue and customer loyalty. She has a combined 12 years of inbound marketing experience at venture-backed startups, digital agencies and Fortune 500 companies, with an expertise focus on small business and technology. She’s been named ‘Top 40 Under 40’ of brand marketers and ‘Best in the West’ for financial technology marketing. In 2016, Jeanna left the U.S. to lay roots and build her business in Belize.