Never underestimate the importance of strong creative during the holiday season. Start your campaign planning early, keep some ad hoc email templates in your back pocket, and think about the different ways to get your creative to stand out amongst the crowd.

Here are some tips and tricks from our resident email experts:

Let’s start with the subject line since it is the first thing that people see. Think of it as a first impression – it needs to grab the subscriber’s attention. It should be informative and brief, describing what the reader can expect to see in the body of the email. Incorporate urgent elements such as time remaining on a sale, the percent or dollar discount being offered, and special characters to increase overall open rates.

The subject line might get your subscribers to open, but the email content is what will ultimately drive them to your site. Since just about every brand increases its email frequency during the holidays, you need to be especially relevant and clever in order to cut through the inbox noise. Utilize personalization, segmentation, and CRM data to drive your creative strategy. Optimize your email content by placing the offer details and/or promotion codes above the email fold, emphasize the urgency (if applicable), and always include a strong call-to-action (CTA).

Have fun with your creative, but make sure your design is based on customer preferences and any relevant testing data. The creative should flow naturally from the top of the email to the bottom. Use non-traditional fonts, colors, imagery, and copy to tie each of the email elements together. Also, use language that is easy for customers and brand fans to understand since the interaction with each email is brief.

If time allows, build an email series that tells a story throughout the holiday season. This strategy works well because it gives your subscribers something to look forward to. For example, promote specific products or gift sets during the twelve days of Christmas, or feature quick gifts and stocking stuffers when holiday crunch time hits. If your brand is heavily promotional during the holiday season, consider offering daily deals through email (and all of your digital marketing channels!)

It is no secret that browsing and buying on mobile devices has increased drastically in the last two years, and it is essential that you consider this when designing your holiday emails. Make sure copy is large enough to read and CTAs are large enough to touch/click. Feature barcodes in emails that store associates can easily scan in store, and if you haven’t converted your email templates to responsive design, do that now!

People like to feel good during the holiday season, so consider giving your subscribers a warm fuzzy feeling with messages of philanthropy or community outreach. Tell your subscribers how much you appreciate them with emails related to all aspects of the brand – not just sales and promotions meant to drive site traffic and revenue.

You only get a few short seconds to engage your email subscribers so make the most of that time with these creative tips & tricks!