Naughty or Nice? A Quick Holiday Email Critique


Beth Perry

The holiday season is right around the corner. How do you plan to play up your seasonal promotions and reach your customers, while spreading some holiday cheer?

Let’s look at a few examples from our Holiday Lookbooks for some inspiration. Specifically, we’ll review what’s naughty and what’s nice about some emails from holidays past. Let’s see where these retailers did a great job with their festive campaigns and where they may have missed the mark.

Holiday Headers

Here’s a really nice seasonal header from New Look. As you can see, it’s located right under the company’s navigation bar. New Look header exampleWhy does it work so well? Among other things, it immediately shows us how to get to New Look’s gift guide. It also offers logistical information about deliveries, an area that some retailers almost hide during the holidays. But at this busy time of year, don’t make the delivery information hard to find. It should be one of the first things shoppers see, particularly for those messages you send closer to the holiday.

Schuh exampleThis example from schuh uses their regular old header, which is fine, but it does leave out quite a bit of need-to-know information for the holiday season. Delivery dates are a top concern for consumers during the holidays. Always be sure those details are front and center.

With all the extra white space at the top of the message, there was definitely room for schuh to spruce up the existing header and make room for seasonal features above the fold.

Stack_1It’s not that schuh didn’t have holiday information to share. If you scroll down, you see they do have gift ideas, such as hats, socks, bags and shoes. And they also link to details about Christmas delivery dates and “check and reserve” options.

But none of this information is visible when you first open the message, and it could be easy to miss these images if you fail to scroll. It would be more effective to feature that information higher up on the page to really grab the reader’s attention right from the start.

Black Friday Messages

TheBeyond Retro example Friday after Thanksgiving is arguably one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and Black Friday campaigns are some of the most important messages retailers will create. They have to be able to stand out in a crowded inbox and quickly entice shoppers to do their all-important holiday shopping that day with your brand rather than the competition.

In this example, Beyond Retro did a wonderful job of standing out. Among other things, the email is bright and colorful. The arrangement of featured items by color makes it very tempting to click on. It also includes images of specific sale products and highlights the discount for each one. Read more about how to choose the right holiday template for the holidays.

Barbour exampleThis example from Barbour, however, doesn’t work quite as well. With all the competition surrounding Black Friday and the weekend that follows, it’s important to really grab a shopper’s attention and show them very clearly what you have to offer. But this message is a bit vague. It doesn’t really tell us about their Black Friday offer. What’s on sale? What’s not? Unfortunately, I think this message could easily be overlooked during the Black Friday email flurry.

Christmas Day Messages

Savile Row exampleIt can be a very nice touch to remember your shoppers on Christmas Day and send them a message recognizing the holiday and wishing them well. It’s an opportunity to continue building your brand, connect with your customers and maybe even send a little incentive.

When it comes to Christmas Day emails, this message from Savile Row Company works for a number of reasons. Not only are they wishing their consumers a Merry Christmas, but they also offer a great free gift. It’s a very simple message, and the offer goes along with theme of Christmas gift-giving.

Brooks Brothers exampleWhile this message from Brooks Brothers offers some holiday cheer, it fails to provide any kind of value for the consumer. It’s more of a general “Merry Christmas” message with a pretty generic background image. It doesn’t stand out or offer anything unique.

I’ve seen some beautiful images from Brooks Brothers in the past that use animated GIFS and a lot of color, so I was a little disappointed with this one. While it’s a nice sentiment, when compared to other eye-catching images and those messages that include attractive offers, this email could be pretty easy to ignore.

So there you have it. These are just a few examples of various campaigns you can use throughout the season. For even more inspiration, download our Holiday Lookbooks and check out our other resources at Bronto’s Holiday Marketing Academy.


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