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7 Mistakes That Can Derail Your Holiday Email Marketing Efforts

Holiday season stands out to be the most effective and profitable quarter every year. As per a research, nearly three in four purchase by Americans du...

Holiday season stands out to be the most effective and profitable quarter every year. As per a research, nearly three in four purchase by Americans during holiday season are based on impulse. Marketers tend to make most of the holiday season to lure in new leads and convert them into recurring customers by employing new and innovative ideas and strategies. But email marketing is like walking on thin ice especially during the Holiday Season; one wrong step and you might find your brand in deep waters.

We have come up with some unholy email marketing mistakes that you need to steer clear from this Holiday season.

Mistake #1: Improper Planning

Most email marketers begin the planning for their holiday email campaign approximately a month early. This means they have ample amount of time to address to last moment changes and plug any leaks that were overlooked during planning.

F&M EmailF&M Twitter

(Fortnum & Mason have started Halloween promotions from mid-September)

Any email campaign planned and sent without proper planning is the primary mistake that can lead to following mistakes.

Facing a resource crunch during the peak season of Holidays? Get in touch with us for your email template needs.

Mistake #2: Dumping content agenda

Email marketing is all about providing relevant information to your subscribers and nurturing them enough to convert. Holiday season can be a good time for launching new products or introducing any new services, and your email needs to promote them (not overdoing it, though). Kara Trivunovic, VP/GM Client Services at Epsilon, states that “It isn’t just about driving your editorial agenda alone but about delivering content that subscribers want and care about during the holidays.

Mistake #3: No List Cleaning

No email marketer can pride on having a squeaky-clean emailing list. According to a study, email databases decay naturally by 22.5% every year. Owing to the holidays being quite close to each other, the sending frequency of your emails shall be considerably high and if a fraction of your holiday emails is bounced back, it can significantly damage the deliverability score. List cleaning is thus a must.

Mistake #4: Improper List Segmentation = Wrong Holiday wishes = Instant Unsubscribe

Email marketing is no longer restricted to addressing your subscribers by their first name. Modern day customers demand brands to send them custom tailor-made information based on their online behavior and anyone failing to deliver this is likely to get unsubscribed. Many brands have managed to ruin their reputation by committing the mistake of sending wrong holiday greetings. Do not make the mistake of not segmenting your list.


Imagine receiving an email with Hanukkah greeting waiting in your inbox instead of Christmas!

Mistake #5: Poor Email Design and No Testing

This is mostly connected to poor planning as discussed in #1. Marketers tend to make their emails colorful on the account of it being the Holiday season and it turns out to be an eyesore. Check out this email in which some text is not visible owing to same font color as background. Isn’t that a terrible experience!? fail

Image Credit: Twitter

Moreover, most subscribers are going to open emails on their handheld devices, and if you haven’t tested your email before sending it, be prepared for a major backlash.

Mistake #6: Email as a single image and no alt-text

Another grave mistake that email marketers commit is having an email that is nothing but a single image with a hyperlink that takes you to the dedicated landing page. With most email clients blocking images by default, it can be a bad decision as your message is hidden and even worse is if you don’t have an alt-text to your image. It’s like all your efforts going down the drain!


Email with Image disabled

Email with Image enabled

Mistake #7: Clickbait Subject Lines and no pre-header text

This is mistake that most email marketers (even you and me) are guilty of. In the quest of enticing and luring the subscribers to open your email, marketers tend to use clickbait type subject lines.

Even though there is no harm in using a clickbait subject lines, your email copy needs to be in conjunction to satisfy the curiosity raised in the subject line.

Email clients such as Gmail (Desktop and Mobile), android native client, iOS native client display pre-header text beside the subject line. Unfortunately, most brands don’t leverage the use of the pre-header text. MAKE USE OF IT!!!

Mistake #8: Cart abandonment gamification

This may only be connected to the ecommerce industry, but most customers tend to ‘game the system’ by intentionally abandoning their carts in search for better discounts (well, who won’t do that for discounts). Even though this is not a mistake from a marketer’s point of view, if overlooked, can cost your brand dearly. Your system should be able to cherry-pick genuine cart abandonments from the fraudulent ones.

Wrapping Up:

Even though this is only a tip of the iceberg of different places where your brand can take a hit from email marketing mistakes, committing these can sink your email marketing campaign like the Titanic. Share some email marketing mistakes that you have come across and we shall feature them here.

If you are looking for flawless email templates this Holiday season at reasonable prices, we have a special offer running for you.
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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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