Holiday Marketing Crash Course

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Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, you might be wondering what’s next. Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years are approaching quickly, but there's still time for you to plan out your content schedule and strategy. After you reflect on the results of your BFCM campaigns, you can take these learnings with you and apply them to your marketing strategy for the rest of the holiday season.

The videos below pick up from where our BFCM Crash Course left off and cover the steps you should take to make sure you're well prepared through New Years. Be sure to run through the holiday marketing checklist to track your progress.

Reflect on Your BFCM Campaigns

One of the most important things to take note of is the average open rate of your BFCM campaigns. You can see this in your Campaign Trends Report, which you can find by navigating to Options > View Email Trends from the Campaigns tab.


If you notice your open rates dip below 10%, use a 60-day engaged segment as a baseline for the segments you'll build below and check out our guide to monitoring deliverability performance for other best practices.

Another key metric to keep an eye on is the average unsubscribe rate for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns. Your unsubscribe rate should not be higher than 0.3%. If it is, this indicates that people weren’t finding the content you were sending them valuable. This can also be assessed in the campaign trends report mentioned above.

If you find that your average unsubscribe rate for your Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns is above 0.3%, you’ll also want to use your 60-day engaged segment as a base and also double-check your templates, asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are they well designed?
  • Are you tailoring the content to the segment that you’re sending to?
  • Is the call to action and message clear?
  • Does the experience on site match the email?

These are all important considerations as you move into the remainder of the holiday season.

Set Up Flows to Supplement Your Campaign Sends

Once you’ve dug into your campaigns’ open and unsubscribe rates, it’s time to start thinking about the journey of the customers who purchased during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Do you have a post-purchase flow in place? If not, you may want to build one. This will also be helpful down the line, as more customers purchase during the rest of the holidays.

Because the rest of the holiday season is much longer than Thanksgiving weekend, your strategy is going to be a bit different. You’re not going to be sending campaign emails at the same frequency as you were before because this could easily lead to subscriber burnout. This is also why it’s especially important to watch your open and unsubscribe rates to gauge how often you should be sending and to whom.

Flows are a great way to supplement campaign sending for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years. If you completed all the steps in our Black Friday / Cyber Monday Crash Course, you already have an abandoned cart flow that will help you capitalize on browser interest. Another, similar flow that you can set up next is a browse abandonment flow. Browse abandonment emails allow you to target people who view a product on your site, but don’t go as far as adding it to their cart or making a purchase. Following up with a reminder email to these browsers is a great way to take advantage of their interest and prompt them to make a purchase.

The last flow you’ll want to set up is a welcome series. This is a series of emails that will go to new subscribers once they sign up. During the holiday season, you can use this first email as an opportunity to collect more information about your subscribers’ interests and show them some of your trending or bestselling products.

Collect Information About New Subscribers in Your Welcome Series

When creating your welcome series, you may want to specifically tailor your message to the holiday season. You can ask subscribers about the types of gifts their shopping for in order to deliver more relevant content later on in the email series. 

To do this, use buttons to collect information about your subscribers. This information will then be stored on their Klaviyo profile and become available to use in segments and flows.


Then, you can branch your flows using conditional splits to create unique paths for each response. Be sure to include a default branch in case some of your subscribers don't click any of the buttons.


Build Key Segments

Before you start to plan out your content schedule and strategy, it’s important to identify the groups of people that you want to target during the holiday season. We’re going to walk through four key segments that you should build and send your campaigns to.

BFCM Browsers

First, we’re going to identify people who were browsing our site during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but didn’t make a purchase. We want to target this group because they have clearly demonstrated an interest in our holiday offerings, but they haven’t made the leap to purchase yet. They may just need the right discount or incentive. This group is a good group to stress urgency with, especially as you get closer to the holidays. Offers like “Order now, get it by Christmas” can work well for this segment if they’re procrastinators.


Last Year's Holiday Purchasers

Next, we want to identify people who purchased this time last year, but haven’t bought again since. If your store wasn’t up and running this time last year, you can skip this segment. This is a good group to target because it means they are receptive to sales and, with the right discount, you can convince them to purchase again.


This Year's Holiday Purchasers

The third group we’re going to target are people who have already made a purchase this holiday season. This is a good group to send cross-sell promotional emails and special offers to. It’s also good to exclude this group from your main holiday campaigns, as they likely won’t be relevant because they already bought.


VIP Customers

We’re going to target are our VIP customers, or big spenders. This is a group that we can try to sell bigger ticket items to since they’ve already demonstrated that they are willing to spend a good amount of money with our brand.


Non Opted-In EU Contacts

The last segment we going to use is our Non Opted-In EU Contacts segment. We are going to exclude this segment from all of our campaign sends to ensure that we don’t accidentally violate GDPR by emailing anyone in the EU who hasn’t opted in to receiving emails from us.


Develop a Content Schedule and Strategy


As a baseline, you should plan on sending three campaigns a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the holidays. You can modify these send dates as you get closer to specific holidays. For example, you may want to send the Saturday before Christmas to prompt any last-minute shoppers to buy and still get their products in time for the holidays.

If you’re seeing open rates around 16% or above, you could consider sending more frequently and running a “12 Days of Christmas” type promotion, where you run a different type of deal each day leading up to Christmas. For example, one day you might offer 10% off items from one collection, and the next day offer 15% off items from a different collection, and so on. You could also do something similar during the 7 days of Hannukkah.

There are some important things that you should keep in mind when positioning your campaigns. To start, you’ll want to push larger or more expensive items earlier on in the holiday season. These are not likely to be last-minute purchases, so it’s important to get these in front of potential customers as early as possible to ensure that they have ample time to consider the purchase and buy.

Based on the amount of information you collect on your subscribers, you can also tailor your emails based on things like gender and product interests. For example, if you ask subscribers if they’re shopping for a man or woman in your welcome series, you can then use this information down the line to offer tailored campaigns. Likewise, if you know certain subscribers live in cold-weather areas, you can promote relevant products specifically to these people.

As you get closer to the holidays, there are several tactics you can use to inspire urgency. Promoting things like free 2-day shipping, $5 overnight shipping and the like can appeal to any last-minute buyers. Also, promoting smaller, stocking-stuffer type products as you get closer to the holidays can convince anyone who has already gotten the majority of their big-ticket shopping done to buy.

A lot of your unique content strategy will depend on your product offering and whether or not you sell any seasonal items. That said, these tips are important to consider for any business since they pertain to consumer buying habits.

For more ideas on who to send to and when, be sure to check out this course’s additional resources. If you have any questions, explore our Help Center or reach out to our Customer Success team. Thanks for watching our post-Black Friday Cyber Monday course, and best of luck sending over the rest of the holiday season. Stay tuned for our third and final video in this series, which will cover transitioning back to a normal sending schedule and plan after the holiday season.

Holiday Marketing Checklist

  1. Reflect on BFCM campaigns
    • Measure key metrics (open rate, unsubscribe rate, etc.) to ensure that your deliverability is strong
  2. Set up a post-purchase flow to nurture the relationship between any new and existing customers who purchased during BFCM
  3. Set up a browse abandonment flow
  4. Set up a welcome flow
  5. Build key segments for the remainder of the holiday season:
    • BFCM browsers
    • Last Year's holiday purchasers
    • This Year's holiday purchasers
    • VIP customers
    • Non opted-in EU contacts
  6. Establish a sending schedule and cadence leading up to New Years
    • This should be no more than one email a day, but will depend in large part on what your open rates were during BFCM. Flow emails can fill in any gaps and are tied directly to contact behavior
  7. Develop a content strategy
    • Push big ticket items earlier rather than later
    • Once it’s down to the wire, focus on non-tangible items (i.e. gift cards), offer discounted overnight shipping, or offer in-store pickup if you have a brick & mortar location

Additional Resources

Below, we've included a lookbook of example emails that you can flip through for inspiration. 

Holiday Email Lookbook

Blog Posts

For more information on how to approach your holiday email marketing, check out these additional articles:


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