If you’re anything like me, your inbox looks fa-la-la-la frightful from November through January. And if you’re a business or agency trying to reach customers or prospects, you better believe those cheesy holiday emails you might be sending are getting lost in the shuffle.

So, let’s talk about doing away with ho-ho-horrible holiday email copy once and for all. Here are our 9 tips for crafting email copy this holiday season that gets results without getting too cheesy.

Check your clichés.

How can you avoid sounding like the cover of a 90s homemaking magazine? Check your clichés. If a holiday phrase comes to you too easily or plays off a popular holiday song or phrase, it might be a cliché.

Here’s a good practice: when writing email copy, don’t go with your first idea. Think of one or two more options before deciding which one wins. This will encourage you to think creatively, rather than impulsively, about how to communicate.

Make your message genuine and unique.

Telling your customers that you wish them “peace, love, and joy this holiday season” may be fine – as long as you mean it. A shallow email with some general platitudes won’t do much to improve your customers’ opinions of you, but a personalized one, or an email paired with a gift or unique offer, will stand out.

Don’t forget your CTA.

A holiday email without purpose is better left unsent. Make it worth your customer’s while by including a call to action that inspires or benefits your customer in some way. A few ideas:

  • Refer a friend. Reward your customers for referring friends to your business and leverage the social nature of the holiday season. In a similar vein, ask them to like share your content on social media in exchange for a discount.
  • A holiday-themed promotion. Do you have products or services that can be spun in a new light to relate to the holidays? Digital Marketer’s Black Friday Bootcamp turned an infamous day of “getting” into a day-long digital course to cater to those who’d rather not brave the crowds.
  • A limited time discount or offer. There’s a sense of urgency around the holidays, and plenty of businesses have seen success creating discounts that last a short while.
  • Invitation to join a club or a list. Alert your subscribers to exclusive clubs or lists they may not know about.

Channel the spirit of giving.

We focus on giving during the holidays, meaning it’s the perfect time to think about what you might give your customers (rather than selling). Go beyond the traditional coupon or big sale: what can you actually give your subscribers, at no cost to them?

Try storytelling.

People everywhere love stories, and many of our best childhood memories revolve around the stories and traditions associated with the holidays. Incorporate storytelling into your email copy: can you highlight a customer or employee who’s exceptionally kind or giving?

Use multimedia content.

If you haven’t experimented with video or interactive content in your emails yet, now may be the time. Inboxes are cluttered with holiday offers around this time, so whatever you can do to help your content stand out will be in your favor.

Plus, if you’re hoping to attract more attention from cold leads, video tends to be more attention-grabbing than other types of content for those in the top of your marketing funnel.

Consider who they’re shopping for.

Most people like to think of themselves as kind and considerate. Feed your customers’ self-esteem by angling your copy to speak about how your business can help their friends and family, rather than selling directly to them. If you’re a women’s retail store, who are the other women your current customers may be shopping for? If you’re a marketing agency, how can you center your offer on serving your clients’ clients?

Celebrate your customers’ accomplishments.

This may not work in every industry, but it’s worth considering. While many businesses like to send end-of-year emails announcing everything they achieved that year, why not turn this concept on its head and celebrate your customers’ successes instead?

For example: a web design agency might send an attractive recap of everything you created together this year. A major retailer might send the total amount of money you saved by shopping with them instead of a competitor. The key is to highlight the benefit of doing business together, to keep those loyal customers loyal.

Think beyond the holidays.

Instead of focusing on holiday-themed promos and doing business right now, why not get your customers thinking about what next year will bring? Let them in on an upcoming product or something exciting in store for January.

Give them a sense of exclusivity by inviting them to a new email list or club. Give them an insider peek into your plans for the next year, or ask for their advice to help them feel like their opinions are valued.

If your emails have purpose and stay on brand, it is possible to spread some cheer without the cheese.