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The best days to send email during the holidays

Brace yourselves, y’all, because it’s about to get real. You saw piles of pumpkin-shaped candy and festive harvest decorations lining the aisles of Target earlier this month and pretended like it wasn’t happening. But now that those fall wreaths are giving way to (gasp!) glittering ornaments and smugly smiling Frosty the Snowman figurines, you can’t deny it anymore: The holiday season is officially in full swing.

Don’t get us wrong – we’re all about the holiday cheer. But if you work in marketing, especially in the retail realm, you know that the last few months of the year can mean everything for your business. In fact, as much as 40% of annual sales are concentrated in the last two months of the year, and U.S. e-commerce holiday season sales are projected to top $82 billion this year (Yahoo, Statista). Which means the competition and pressure to drive holiday sales will be fiercer than ever.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed when it comes to your holiday marketing, take a deep breath: It’s not too late to develop a solid strategy that will see you through the rest of the year. To help, we’ve outlined the most important days to plan for if you want to make the most of the holidays (and attract the most holiday $$) these next few months.

1. Cyber Monday (November 30)

This is an obvious one, but Cyber Monday is by far the busiest email marketing day of the year: 93% of all ecommerce retailers send at least one email (RJMetrics). And it isn’t just the busiest day for email marketing – it’s also the busiest ecommerce day, which makes it a great example of email volume aligning with and amplifying naturally occurring sales.

Since inboxes will be more crowded than ever on Cyber Monday, we recommend upping your game by sending an additional email or two (ideally with super enticing offers) to your most engaged customers. It’s definitely the day to pull out all the stops, so bring out your biggest marketing guns and watch your sales skyrocket. It’s also a great time to use the urgency play: Language like “One day only!” “Ending soon” and “Last chance” are great motivators to get people to buy now rather than later.

2. Cyber Tuesday (December 1)

But if you’d rather play the long game, Cyber Monday doesn’t have to stop once the clock strikes midnight. Many retailers are extending their special offers further and further into the week, so now Cyber Tuesday has gotten even bigger than Black Friday! Consider extending your brand’s Cyber Monday sale to surprise and delight customers who feared they’d miss out on your amazing deals.

Note: This year, December 1st is also “Giving Tuesday,” so it’s a great time to donate a portion of sales to a good cause!

3. Green Monday (December 14)

“Green Monday” may sound like another opportunistic shopping holiday – and like any other holiday dreamed up by retailers (in this case it was eBay), it kind of is. But it’s also the third biggest online shopping holiday of the year. It falls a week later this year, so be sure to cash in by participating with your own special offers.

4. Black Friday (November 27)

Always the day after Thanksgiving (and encroaching closer and closer to Thanksgiving day each year), Black Friday conjures up images of eager shoppers lined up around the block, crazed dads battling it out over that last Turbo-Man action figure, and people-watching just to take in the insanity of it all. Expect a lot of ‘avoid the crowds, skip the lines’ messages from online retailers everywhere. Make yours stand out by making it mobile optimized for subscribers who are likely out and about or traveling during the holiday.

5. The Other Monday (December 7)

Ok, so we made this name up. But Mondays throughout the season are bound to be big. Take note that all the biggest online shopping days fall on weekdays, so your best promotions and deals should also line up with that trend. Give your emails attention-grabbing subject lines so you continue to stand out (and encourage opens!) in your subscribers’ extra-packed inboxes.

Bonus: The second week of December

Known in the retail world as “The Procrastinator Pop,” there’s usually a spike in retail sales a right before Christmas. It’s that moment when people realize that if they want their orders to arrive in time, they can’t put off their holiday shopping anymore. Offer an incentive like fast, free shipping to convince prospective buyers to choose your brand over the competition.

And to help you stay organized during these next few months, download our Top 10 Holiday Sales Day Calendar – it’s a handy resource for keeping track of your email schedule.