10 email tactics to drive more sales this holiday season

Email tactics are the bedrock of a successful holiday season. And while Black Friday isn’t upon us just yet, it’s a different story for marketers. September is a time for retailers and ecommerce merchants to plan and strategize for the busy months ahead. And we’re not just talking about the Black Friday bonanza, but the entire holiday period. From October to December, consumers are holiday shopping and it’s either going to be with you or the competition. You have to make your offering irresistible and your messages relevant.

In this blog, we’re going to outline 10 ways you can get ahead this holiday season – 10 email tactics you can adopt to drive more holiday sales.

1. Employ an incentive

Incentives are the cornerstone of holiday marketing. And it’s not just because every store will offer one, but because they actually work. You’ll be surprised how many consumers are out there looking for a bargain – despite their sizeable budget.

Whether you’re offering 10% off first orders or free shipping over the certain amount, be sure to communicate your incentive clearly. Using a popover is a great way to highlight your incentive, yet isn’t overly intrusive.

2. Ask customers what they want

This tactic is super-important during the holidays – simply because there’s so much noise in the inbox. Having preferences to hand will help you tailor your message and make the experience much more relevant for potential and existing customers.

You can either collect preference during the opt-in process or the welcome series. The latter might be more effective, because new sign-ups don’t necessarily want to be bombarded with questions.

How should you structure you preference center?

  • Ask for key demographic data, like gender and location
  • Capture product/category preferences, like bags or blouses
  • Ask about interests: does editorial or promotional float their boat?
  • And don’t forget channels and frequency – would they prefer flash-sale SMS or twice-weekly newsletters?

3. Use email marketing insights

Email behavior is a useful indicator of customer intent – especially if you’ve offered up an incentive. For instance, an email recipient might have opened their welcome email a couple of times, but not redeemed their incentive yet. Use this insight to send them another email, urging them to take you up on the offer.

Other data like click-throughs can also help you become more targeted in your campaigns. Understanding what customers are receptive to enables you to tailor their future emails more. You could even try link grouping, whereby you group certain product-specific links based on the relationship they have with each other – i.e. party wear. Recipients will be segmented into these groups depending on what they clicked (i.e. party wear links), helping you drive more relevant content to them.

Email tactics

4. Abandoned browse and cart recovery

Having your data-triggered messaging up an running for the holidays is essential for success. With web tracking behavior enabled (see tactic 5), you can re-target website users who have either abandoned their browse or cart. Cart abandonment stands at about 70% – just think how much revenue you could be missing out on during the holidays. Just one or two timely reminders are all it takes to nudge customers back to the checkout. Your business is begging for it.

5. Web tracking behavior

Syncing your web tracking behavior directly from your store into your omnichannel marketing platform pays dividends. Why? Because you can segment users more effectively – depending on how they interact on your website. For example, someone might have viewed several product pages about plant pots, but not made a purchase yet. Collecting this information gives you powerful insight to make your emails smarter – with the use of hyper-relevant, contextual-based content. This particular recipient is likely to engage because ultimately, they’re in the market for a plant pot.

Psst! Don’t forget retargeting ads too, which work well with abandoned browse and cart recovery strategies. Users actually want personalization, but it’s important to get it done right. You don’t want to be targeted with a plant pot for days after you’ve purchased one. But, retargeting can lift ad engagement by 400%. So make sure you unlock everything your web behavior has to offer.

6. Product recommendations are key

Your bread-and-butter email marketing tactics wouldn’t be complete without product recommendations. For customers, they provide super-useful and relevant recommendations they actually want to buy. And for businesses, they drive a chuck of total of revenue: 26% to be exact.

dotdigital’s product recommendations provide marketers with countless sales opportunities. From bestsellers to most viewed, lookalikes to ‘best next’ – you can make your offering highly relevant to customers, every time.

For tips on how to sell more with product recommendations, check out our free cheatsheet here.

7. Segment valuable data

Segmentation is one of the most important email tactics out there. The more you segment, the better your engagement. From email activity and browse behavior to order history and preference data, identifying a razor sharp segment is always good for business.

Once you’ve selected your qualification criteria and built your segment, curate a message that speaks directly to the audience. You’ll only be engaging with people whose data matches the segment’s criteria, meaning your messages will always make sense to recipients.

Check out our awesome 10 segmentation hacks for beginners cheatsheet for more tips.

Email tactics

8. Adopt the RFM methodology

RFM stands for the recency, frequency, and monetary value of your customers’ purchases. Connecting your ecommerce store with your omnichannel marketing automation platform means you can fully ulitize your order history.

What does that mean?

Attributing each customer with an RFM score shows you how valuable they are to your business. And during the holidays, this can translate into more sales revenue. For instance, you can treat your high value ‘champion’ customers with a little more love. You can target your frequent customers with some relevant product recommendations. Plus, you can drive more sales among your recent ‘high-potential’ customers with a nice holiday incentive. This level of personalization helps engagement rates soar, and subsequently sales revenue.

Want more info on RFM strategies? Download our segmentation guide here.

9. Reward customer loyalty

The long-term aim of holiday marketing – especially on and around Black Friday, where fickle consumers are a plenty – is to drive customer loyalty. For loyalty to flourish, you need two things: one, a customer that buys; two, a brand that rewards.

Often, the experience after a big sales event like Cyber Monday leaves a lasting impression – either good or bad. A positive customer experience paves the way for even more sales in the future. And while your site, plus your email communications, need to be shipshape during the buying process, it’s your post-purchase program that’ll sow those loyalty seeds.

Create a loyalty program that both nurtures customers to purchase and rewards them for their efforts. Whether it’s loyalty points or one-off rewards, a mere ‘thank you for your custom’ will go a long way.

10. Extend the promotion

Not exactly an email tactic, but rather a multifaceted strategy, extending your promotions beyond their end dates will always bring in more revenue.

Just think about it: You’ve built up your promotional campaign for weeks, targeted customers based on their email and website behavior, made steady sales until the last push… And on the last day of the campaign the sales really start flooding in. So, why wouldn’t you extend your most revenue-generating period? Not only is it great for brands, but last-minute customers will love this too, because all of a sudden there’s more time to browse, select, and buy.


The holiday season is just around the corner – so take a moment to digest these tactics and make a plan about how to implement them. For many businesses it’s a make-or-break year, so getting ahead will make all the difference when it comes to your bottom line.

For more holiday inspiration and email tactics, take a look at this cheatsheet: 8 ways to smash your Black Friday sales.

Email marketing tactics

8 tips for effective seasonal email marketing

Seasonal email marketing: it's that time of year again to plan ahead for the holidays. Don't miss these eight awesome tactics to supercharge your seasonal campaigns.

5 steps towards a successful email marketing campaign

Create a successful email marketing campaign in five easy steps. From building your mailing list to engaging content and tracking, send emails that are worth opening.

dotties connected: shortlist announced

As marketers we often pride ourselves on our quick-thinking, reactive skills and ability to stay cool under pressure but 2020 has really put us to the test. It’s been a year like no other and we want to…

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site you agree to these cookies being set. To find out more see our cookies policy.