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Summer is over, and for marketers Christmas has already started as they’ve begun planning their seasonal campaigns with 82% of them expecting sales to increase compared to last year. But many of you might be wondering when it’s okay to mention the ‘C’ word in your email campaigns. You don’t want to be the first one and be ridiculed by your subscribers, or the last one to tune in and miss the wave of early planners.

To help you, we’re going to publish a series of regular blog posts advising you what type of messages to send, how to keep your subscribers engaged as email volumes rise, and keep your brand top of mind during the holiday season.

This month we’re focusing on setting the tone, and keeping subscribers ‘warm’ until the shopping season starts.

Switch on the reds, browns and yellows

Most consumers, myself included, are still coming to grips that the season of picnics, sunny cycling days and ice creams has come to an end. Start by introducing autumnal colours in your email design like dark reds, browns and yellows. This subtly suggests the change of season and the mood for feeling warm and cozy. Accessorize and Debenhams do this very well.




Subtlety is key when setting the tone

Don’t just let the colours do the talking, use your copy to set the mood for the cosy season. In the examples below Dorothy Perkins invites us to ‘Step into autumn’ with new boots, while The White Company talk about ‘comfort food, warming flavours of the season’. Fortnum & Mason also suggest a season change with ‘The chapter has nearly closed on summer picnics, and it’s not quite time to lavish parties, yet’. In terms of imagery, we can also see the fireworks behind the bottle of bubbly in their email, and the fairy lights in The White Company’s newsletter.

Dorothy Perkins preview email


Fortnum & Mason preview email


Don’t mention the ‘C’ word just yet

We might all be thinking of Christmas in our marketing teams but consumers are not ready for it yet. This chart from eMarketer shows September is definitely too early for that!eMarketer_Time_of_Year_When_US_Digital_Shoppers_Prefer_to_Receive_Holiday_Season_Emails

Consumers have other things to think of first like late summer holidays, back to school, Halloween, Bonfire Night for the UK, or Thanksgiving for the US. If you start too early, you could risk alienating them as they see you as too sales-focused.

Groupon-preview email



Meanwhile in the Santa’s workshop…

The above tips focus on what you should be sending at the moment, but what about the focus your marketing team should have? Email thought leader Ryan Phelan wrote a great post about it for Only Influencers, and we’ll include some of his points:

By the time I finished this post I, for one, am feeling quite set for the cold and cosy season, so it’s mission accomplished from these brands! What examples of email campaigns setting the tone have you seen?

Stay tuned for the next Holiday Email Planning post!