Your Best Thanksgiving Emails: Subject Line and Design Tips That Will Win Turkey Day

‘Tis the season…. for Thanksgiving emails!

Soon, everyone and their families will be stuffing (Ha!) their stomachs with every delicious Thanksgiving food in the book. But before, during, and after that day, businesses will be stuffing their customers’ inboxes with many, many emails.

Like, a lot of emails.

Depending on the number of businesses they subscribe to, a typical customer inbox could be stuffed with…

  • New product emails
  • Company update emails
  • Sale announcement emails (Black Friday, hello)
  • Special discount emails
  • Blog emails
  • Newsletter emails

And to clarify, this all might show up in the span of just one hour. Every hour, more emails are appearing.

That’s how many businesses are sending Thanksgiving emails at the same time as you.

To do effective email marketing, you don’t have to send multiples of every type of email to every customer. You can (and should) make sure you are sending the right messages to the right people.

So, before a turkey tryptophan coma sets in for you AND your customers, it’s time to think smartly about how to approach a Thanksgiving and subsequent holiday season email plan as we enter the annual e-commerce frenzy.

Get ready, you’re about to receive a Thanksgiving crash course in…

  • How to create Thanksgiving emails that will convert
  • How to actually send your plethora of emails (hint: automate them, unless you’d like to spend countless hours sending them manually…)

Time to plan your Thanksgiving meal plan and email marketing plan. And we promise to help if there’s stuffing (just kidding, we’ll help without the stuffing. But we also wouldn’t turn it down…)

How to create Thanksgiving emails that convert

Opening an email and clicking in an email are two different actions. Beyond that, you want to see people actually clicking within the email and converting.

Converting is not just a sales concept. It could mean going to a specific landing page on your website, download content, subscribing to a blog, or shopping a product page.

During these different seasonal holidays and events, there is an opportunity to set up multiple automations and communicate regularly with your audience. But, there are some things to keep in mind when creating emails for those automations.

There are 3 main focuses to consider when creating emails: subject lines, design, and writing.

  1. Subject Lines
  2. Writing
  3. Design

Best practices for Thanksgiving email subject lines

The subject line is the crème de la crème of any email campaign. It’s the first impression and the last impression and for conversions’ sake, they have to be good ones.

So, what makes a good one? Here’s a couple good examples.

“We’re thankful for you, so enjoy 50% off.”

“Last chance to order in time for Thanksgiving!”

The rule of thumb for most subject lines is to keep them short and sweet. But around Thanksgiving when everyone is receiving hundreds of similar offer emails, consider the following 5 tips:

  1. Make it short
  2. Make it relevant
  3. Make it personal
  4. Make it curious
  5. Make it urgent

Here’s an example from my own inbox that does all 5.

Thanksgiving email subject line example
They’re definitely going to make a nice chunk of change off me with this subject line.

How does it accomplish all 5?

It’s short.

It’s relevant to the time of year (I’m as thankful for William Sonoma as they are for me).

It speaks directly and personally to me.

The ellipses at the end sparks curiosity as to what’s inside.

The small use of capitalization creates more urgency to open (Note- use CAPS sparingly!).

All of that in one line!

Following these subject line rules will give your emails a much better chance of being opened, clicked, and converted.

Best practices for email writing

It can be the easiest thing in the world to get caught up in fun ideas or themes when you’re crafting an email, especially around the holidays. There are ample opportunities to get creative, and you should!

But when writing, always remain true to your brand.

Don’t get caught up in only the fun themes of “Thanksgiving.” It’s easy to look at what competitors are using for email copy or ideas for their brands and want to follow suit for your own. If it worked for them it will work for you, right?

Not necessarily.

For the sake of your Thanksgiving email marketing success, make sure every campaign decision you make is staying in your brand’s voice and goals.

With that reminder, here comes another one. And it’s one you’ve already heard us say before.

Keeping content simple. This is so important for emails.

Keep the language simple. Keep the text style short and simple. Most people are not fluent in robot, so talk to your customers like humans. Also, don’t overwhelm every email with a lengthy blog’s worth of text.

simple language email example
Relevant to the season and relevant to their main product: A good night’s sleep.

Don’t try to cover every topic or send everything to every customer. Do what makes sense for your business and your recipients.

Interested in another way to keep Thanksgiving emails simple? Look no further than AC email templates and automations.

Best practices for email design

Making Thanksgiving dinner and a Thanksgiving marketing plan is already a lot of work. Let templates (and automations) take the labor out of reaching your customers.

Using ready-made templates in your EMD platform could leave time for making an extra pumpkin pie!

ActiveCampaign templates make it so easy you could even make two extra pies.

Gone are the tedious days of creating full emails from scratch. ActiveCampaign has templates at the ready with a drag-and-drop builder that helps you create beautiful email designs that are just waiting for your great content to fill them.

Whether you end up using a pre-made template or not, here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your emails.

About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go (mobile) and 75% of say they use their smartphones most often to check email. – Fluent “The Inbox report, Consumer perceptions of email” (2018)

  1. Design for all devices. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, Apple watches. Whatever the device, make sure your emails are compatible with it. In this, you’ll need to configure text as well as images.
  2. Highlight a call-to-action. Make it short, sweet and prominent. Did you know that content placed above the fold will receive 84% more attention than content further down an email? Call them to your action early and at the top.
  3. Don’t use illegible fonts. For someone reading an email on a computer screen, script or other fancier fonts are annoying to read. For someone reading on mobile, it’s near impossible. While you’re keeping the actual content simple, extend the same practice to fonts.

In the spirit of giving, we will give you one extra piece of advice for your Thanksgiving emails — automate them!

Why and how should you automate your Thanksgiving emails?

The better question is really, “why wouldn’t you automate your Thanksgiving emails?”

And we’ll explain.

Even outside of a busy holiday time, automations take the labor out of communications. They allow you to focus on other parts of your business. It’s basically like free hired help during the busiest time of the year.

Already sounding good? Awesome.

Want to know more? You’re in the right place.

Say, for example, that you’re a company that sells a meal service subscription.

During the holiday season, you might be sending out emails with extra promotional discounts on your subscription, a weekly holiday recipe newsletter, a limited time holiday meal plan, a charitable giving update, and Thanksgiving-themed blogs.

Plus all of your regular emails. These could be cart abandonment, order reminders, suggested meals, or other messages.

That’s a lot of emails. Fortunately, automations can help.

automation example
A peek at a time-saving automation.

Within an automation, you can map out each campaign clearly. You can send the right emails to the right lists of contacts. You can set conditions and triggers to have them go out at the right times. Basically, you can control an entire campaign in one automation without having to put in a ton of manual hours.

So, what types of automations might you set up for Thanksgiving and holiday campaigns? A few suggestions…

  • Black Friday reminders
  • Rewarding your most loyal and VIP customers in time for big events.
  • Onboarding new customers
  • Abandon cart emails (especially important during Black Friday).
  • Seasonal content campaigns (like a weekly featured Thanksgiving recipe)

We’ve gone through a lot, so here are some last thoughts…

Think beyond just a single email idea; Do more with ActiveCampaign

The emails you create and send will impact your site visits. To see and track their behavior once they land on your site, enable site tracking within ActiveCampaign automations.

Once you know what pages & products your contacts view, you can apply tags based on their interests—and trigger more targeted campaigns.

Don’t forget post-Thanksgiving needs

Once you’ve pulled yourself out of the Thanksgiving-induced food coma, be prepared to keep working. Thanksgiving ends, but customer retention efforts never should. Once Thanksgiving is over, it’s less turkey and more talking!

Specific Thanksgiving emails may be mostly done, but the holiday e-commerce shopping season has only just begun! Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, there is still plenty of opportunity for more contact.

Here are some options for great customer retention:

A Few More Emails
After Thanksgiving and Black Friday end, extend their spirit! Send extra offers, introduce giveaways and more valuable content suggest products based on past purchases, and let them know that the party still continues with upcoming Christmas sales and promotions.

Also, continue to build and nurture relationships by asking for feedback.

Stellar Customer Service
The pre- and post-Thanksgiving shopping season is fast and furious, and often customers will need to make returns or exchanges or have additional questions.

Make sure you continue to provide stellar customer service and make your policies clear and easily accessible. A company who has the backs of their customers will retain more of those customers. Live chat, phone, email, any and all of these are great resources for your customers.

Happy Thanksgiving (emailing!)!

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