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Tips for Building Better Holiday Email Templates

Mailgun Team
5 min read

Not everybody looks up tips for holiday email templates before using a brand new template, that's how you end up with hundreds upon thousands of terrible holiday email templates each year.

It's the nature of the beast. Businesses wait until the last minute to get their Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Christmas/New Years deals out the door and into as many inboxes as possible. While it's important to start thinking about your email marketing tactics sooner rather than later, sometimes it can't be helped. Before you send out that holiday email blast to the masses, there are few things you should double-check to keep your sender reputation in the green this holiday season. 

Let's Start at the Beginning...

We've covered this before in more detail, but it's essential to inline your CSS and media queries for responsive email templates before you start styling and sending HTML emails. Otherwise, you can end up with a busted template that can make your holiday campaign look illegitimate and spammy. 

Once you've done that, you can move on to styling your holiday templates. A mistake some senders make is thinking they have to create brand new email designs and HTML email templates from scratch for these holiday templates. However, you can usually use an existing template as a model, then all you have to do is make minor tweaks to fit into your holiday theme. For example, if you already have an email newsletter template, you can either chose to tweak the HTML elements and create a new template or change out the variables in a different version of the core template. 

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Holiday Templates Variables

Depending on how in-depth of an email marketing campaign you are building for the holidays, you'll likely want to adjust your personalization variables. These variables are dependent on customer data, and if you've never adopted some form of email personalization, now is the perfect time to start. Email campaigns that contain zero personalization perform poorly, and it's easy to understand why.

Email is much more robust than it was in its early years, where you could get away with bland subject lines and poor email templates. Nowadays, email is robust. If you already have personalization tokens in your email templates, considering adjusting for or creating new ones to be more in line with your holiday initiatives.

For example, if you want to push more traffic onto your ecommerce site this shopping season, you might want to change out your personalization tokens to be less about what the user wants, and more about who someone important in their life might want. Tweaking your holiday messages within the body of your email alongside this will make sure that everything matches up for what you aim to do with your email marketing. 

Outside of Email Templates

Outside of making sure your templates look nice across all inbox service providers, most of what you're going to want to do revolves around email marketing tips. While we won't go into those details, there are few things you can do to help improve the deliverability. For starters, you can look at cleaning your email list to make sure that any outdated addresses are out of your latest holiday campaign.

From there, it's a great idea to segment your engaged users from your unengaged users. If the same mailbox opens your emails week over week, put them on a separate email list. This email list can be your primary mailing list for all holiday promotions, whereas the unengaged list can still get some of the same deals. However, in doing so, your entire email campaign and sender reputation won't be as profoundly affected by those users. 

Whether you're just now prepping your thanksgiving email template or already have your cyber Monday email scheduled for sending, remember that a solid technical foundation sets you up for success during this time of year. Double-check to make sure that you have all the right email authentication protocols in place and up your new dedicated IPs ahead of time so that you won't be stuck in the spam folder. 

Should you be struggling with a few of these topics, don't worry! We have some tips and tricks coming out this holiday season that will help keep you away from the island of misfit emails.

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Last updated on December 31, 2019

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